1 John 5:18–21: Eternal Life

by Sep 15, 20140 comments

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As we have talked about, 1 John is not written as a straight, linear argument that builds one topic upon another, always moving forward and progressing through the material. The Apostle Paul writes that way, but not John. Instead, John writes this letter in a spiral, addressing God’s righteousness, our sin, our salvation, our love for one another, and then finally starting back again at the beginning. These four topics all spill into one another, so that John goes back and forth, developing and applying, reminding and clarifying, always moving closer to the center of his message.

Over the course of chapter 5, John’s spiral is quickly tightening. As he arrives at the core of his purpose for writing this letter, the tone of his writing intensifies. John has written about faith, God’s testimony, the life that is in the Son of God, our confidence before God, and prayer. But now, as we come to the end of 1 John, the apostle leaves us with three “we have come to know” statements and one command at the climax of his message.

Discussion Questions

1. How have you experienced unsustainable sin in your life? That is, where have you seen God’s grace keeping you from pursuing sin as completely or as fully as you might have done before you came to know Jesus?

2. Which do you tend to value more: the objective knowledge of Jesus (historical facts and supernatural significance) or your subjective experience of Jesus (the work of the Holy Spirit in making the gospel real to you)? Why do you think that is? Why is the other kind of knowledge of Jesus so important, and what would it look like to balance out the two in your mind?

3. What idols do you have in your life? What illegitimate things are you pursuing? What legitimate things have become so important that they are distracting you from Jesus himself?

4. What would be the first three things that would change in your life if you genuinely loved Jesus more than anyone or anything else?