When to fight and when to compromise are not always easy choices to make. Stubbornly defending the truth can easily end up in arrogance that discredits the gospel, while too readily seeking middle ground can leave truth by the wayside. Torn by conflict and marred by schism, the congregation to whom John addressed his letters stood in need of his strong exhortations to love and unity within the bounds of truth. His word to them is well suited to the church today, confronted by controversies within and without that challenge its ability and will to stand for the truth in a pluralistic society. In this careful study of John's letters, readers will find an introduction that discusses the letters' occasion and purpose, authorship and date, order and theological themes. A passage-by-passage commentary follows that seeks to explain what each letter means for us today as well as what it meant for its original hearers. Students, pastors, Bible teachers and everyone who wants to understand John's message for the church will benefit from this excellent resource.
“In The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer penned the words, ‘Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate’ (1959:47). Cheap grace means living as though God ignores or condones our sins. But forgiveness means that sin is real, and must be dealt with. We cannot ignore it, because God does not ignore it. The denial of sin is not grace: it is a lie. Cheap grace means living without the demand of obedience upon us.” (1 John 2:3)
“In confessing our sin before God, we accept our unworthiness—not worthlessness!” (1 John 4:17)
“What one may not ask for with respect to those whose ‘sin is unto death’ is that they be given life apart from their repentance, confession and returning to following Christ. Prohibition of prayer in the Old Testament and Jewish literature roughly contemporaneous with 1 John is a sign of God’s judgment on unrepentant sinners (compare Jer 7:16–17; 11:14–15). One can pray that unbelievers may repent and come to fellowship with God. But if God were to forgive them as they persist in their sin, that would not be forgiveness: it would be denial of human sinfulness which, in the Elder’s view, is an abhorrent lie.” (1 John 5:16)
“But where there is no confession, there is ‘sinning unto death,’ sin committed in the realm of death, sin that comes from and leads to death for the one who is guilty of it.” (1 John 5:16)
“Confidence comes from knowing what God asks of us, and knowing that our aim is to live in conformity with God’s standard” (source)