Do you feel like you were reading someone else’s letter here? Again, the elder (presumably John) has written to a friend. This letter has found it’s way into the Bible on purpose. There is a message here for us. Did you see it? There are probably several things we can take away from this reading. If I miss one, please leave me a comment.
When we get beyond the normal letter format, including the salutation and wishes for health, we learn that John is happy with his friend, Gaius. John says, “I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.” That is true for us, too, isn’t it? We always want what’s best for our children or for individuals we have nurtured.
If you knew that your friends or loved ones were in danger, you would let them know, right? I think of weather alerts that attempt to educate the public of an incoming storm or potential for severe weather. Sometimes we tend to ignore those reports because they often seem exaggerated. I remember school being cancelled because there was a threat of ice followed by heavy show, and then no precipitation came. I also know for some dear friends of ours, heeding the tornado warning in our little town was the difference between life and death.
So why do we often ignore the warnings? Do we think we know better? John is attempting to warn a friend of his in the reading we have today. We easily consumed one whole book of the Bible in this one entry. However, the message should be taken seriously and can serve us way into the future.
John points out several truths that we should know as he concludes this book. The first is a promise to behold and identifies why he wrote this book he in the first place. He says, “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” As believers of Jesus as the Son of God, we have eternal life. It’s a promise of a life devoted to Jesus that never ends.
What is your response to that truth? How does it make you feel? Take some time to just let that one promise resonate with your soul. Eternal life with Jesus. For me, that’s a feeling of peace and security.
The battle here is against the world. Who can win it? The world is big and oftentimes scary. There are unknowns. There are traps. John tells us “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.”
As Christ followers we are not only children of God but we can defeat this evil world. We don’t have to feel like the victim. Too many times people take the easy way out and blame others. We can easily lose our identity. God made us just how we are. Why don’t we embrace that and live life to its fullest?
Is God living in you? How do you know for sure? John spells it out simply here,“All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.” That seems pretty straightforward. In John’s day, and probably still in current day, there are people who believe Jesus was a man and not God, or God but not a man. John goes out of his way in this book to make sure we are clear that Jesus is God and also a man.
If we are clear on who Jesus is – God’s Son, we can also be sure that we have God living inside us. Since we know that God is love, we know that we are capable of loving because God is in us. It’s a beautiful love triangle. But it all depends on God.