Sunday, 8 March 2020
And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. 1 John 1:4
The words here are closely aligned with Jesus’ words of John 15:11 –
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
John, having recently written his gospel, is aligning the thoughts of it and of this epistle together to form a better understanding of what is being conveyed, and it is certainly a way of helping his audience remember what was presented there as well. The submission of the letter, taken together with the gospel narrative, would then form a united whole. If this is what occurred, the two form a unique transmission of detail concerning the Person and work of Christ.
Whether this is the case, or whether they were sent separately, John’s words here are perfectly consistent with the gospel, and they demonstrate that what Jesus said to the disciples is now intended by John to be realized in those who later read his letter as well as his gospel. Understanding this, he begins with, “And these things we write to you.”
This immediately speaks of what he has said in the first three verses. What has been presented so far is reliable, it is confirmed by certain testimony, and it deals with the very Creator of all things in relation to His manifestation in the Person of Jesus Christ.
The words also are certainly inclusive of the entire epistle. As this is so, and as the words of the epistle often carefully and intricately align with the gospel narrative, that too must be considered as a part of what will bring full joy. And again, as that is so, and as the gospel narrative aligns harmoniously with the rest of Scripture, showing that Christ Jesus is the fulfillment of everything prophesied and anticipated in advance, the entire body of Scripture is implicitly included in that which will bring forth what John speaks of here. And that is, “that your joy may be full.”
Some texts say “our” instead of “your.” The difference then would be that the joy Jesus promised to the disciples in John 15 would only be fully complete when the message of Him was properly, accurately, and fully transmitted by them. This was their task, and in expressing the gospel, they would receive the fulness of the joy that Jesus spoke of. Another option is that it could be John including himself and the other apostles in with his audience in one message of joy being realized for all as their message is received and accepted.
Either way, the extension of the joy to the reader is obvious. There is to be a fulness of joy in understanding that God Himself has taken such minute interest in His creatures and has come to reveal Himself to us as He did. In reading, meditating on, assimilating, and living by what is presented in Scripture, the joy of God which is found in Jesus Christ can be ours – in its fulness. What a testimony to our need to be in the word always.
Life application: In the book of 1 John, we are given seven reasons for the things he writes –
1) that our joy may be full; 2) that we might not sin; 3) to share the commandments of the faith; 4) because our sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name; 5) because we know Jesus – who was from the beginning; 6) because we have overcome the wicked one; and 7) because we know the Father.
All of these carefully weave together into one major reason – the first given – that our joy may be full. Think it through…
1) If we don’t sin, we are living rightly in God’s presence and are freed from condemnation and/or judgment – a true joy.
2) If we receive the commandments and accept them, we will be following the instruction our Creator has given. This instruction is for our benefit, not ill. Therefore, when we receive them and follow them, it is a true joy.
3) The fact that our sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name means that we are granted eternal life. The wages of sin is death; therefore, if we are now sinless in God’s sight, we receive eternal life – a true joy.
4) Knowing Jesus means knowing the Creator. He “was from the beginning.” As there can only be one Creator and everything else is contingent and temporary, then Jesus Christ must be the eternal Word of God – the means of creation. Therefore, to know Him is to know true joy.
5) Overcoming the wicked one is something mankind has waited for since expulsion from Eden. Restoration between us and our Creator was impossible until Jesus came. But through Him we have that restoration. This, in turn, opens the doors to a restored paradise – this is true joy.
6) Knowing the Father is to know the Source. He is the One we look forward to with anticipation – ever straining our human hearts in hopes of knowing Him. Jesus reveals to us the Father because He and the Father are One. Through Jesus, we have the full revelation of who God is and are restored to eternal felicity and intimacy with Him – our joy is full.
Praise be to God for what He has done in the Person and work of Jesus Christ our Lord. Truly in knowing the Bible which tells us of Jesus, we can then know Jesus. And in knowing Jesus, we can know the very heart of our Creator, and we have attained joy to its fullness!
Simply unimaginable! What a glorious honor to be called a child of the Living God because of what Jesus did on our behalf. There is no greater joy to be obtained in all of creation than the restored relationship we now possess! We look forward to the Day when our faith will become sight and our eyes will behold the beauty of the Lord forever! Amen.