This valuable teaching began in the February issue, was continued in March and is being concluded this month.
He Wants Us to be Confident
“And now little children, abide in Him that (hina) when He appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming”(2:28). In the early part of the epistle John distinguished between being in Him, our position, and abiding in Him, our condition (cf.2:5 and 2:6). The former refers to our relationship and the latter to our fellowship with Him. The former is therefore a chain which cannot be broken and the latter a thin thread which is dependent on our conduct and on the confession of our sins. The word “parresia”, translated “confidence,” refers to unreservedness in speaking and it is to be the Christian’s goal that, “If He should appear at any time, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”
This confidence then is in view of the imminent return of the Lord. The Christian is to live a life, “like unto men that wait for their Lord,” for He may come at any time to take us into His presence.
He Wants Us to be Compassionate
“And this is the message that ye have heard from him that (hina) ye should love one another”(3:11). John promised the believers that from the world they should expect only hatred. However, the family was to be marked by love, for the Lord had said, “by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”(John 13:35). This mark of discipleship was not to be displayed in word only but in actions. How could the love of God be dwelling in one who saw his brother in need and “shut up his bowels of compassion from him” (3:17)? John teaches us that charity that is not compassionate is not the love of which the Savior spoke.
He Wants us to be Consecrated
“And this is the love of God that (hina) we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome” (5:3). Love will keep us clean and love will keep us confident (4:17-18). Love will keep us compassionate and, according to this verse, love will also keep us consecrated as the Lord Jesus taught: “If ye love me keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Obedience and a desire to serve are the true tests of love in a believer. The Hebrew bond-servant confessed his love for his master, and, in having his ear bored through with an awl, professed that he was not his own and that he would serve his master forever (Ex 21:1-5). Have we a lesser love, a lesser response to the Lord and Master Who has purchased us and Who teaches us that His commandments are not a burden?
He loved us and wanted us to be in His family. It is His purpose that we display the characteristics of the family members.
This is the Father’s primary purpose toward us in this epistle.