1 John 

(1 John 1:1) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word [logos] of life;

(1 John 1:2) (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew [show] unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

(1 John 1:3) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

(1 John 1:4) And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

(1 John 1:5) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

3 Errors

John mentions 3 errors...

  1. That we can have fellowship with God if we live a life of sin
  2. If we claim we don't sin, perhaps by denying there is such a thing as sin
  3. If we claim we have never sinned, perhaps by denying there is such a thing as sin

(1 John 1:6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

You can't have fellowship with God if you walk in darkness. You can't live a life of truth if you walk in darkness. Walking is a work; works are required to have fellowship with God (works of faith, not works only).

(1 John 1:7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

We must walk in the light to be saved, but walking is a work. We are cleansed from sin by walking in the light, not by accepting Jesus Christ as our personal savior (there is no such teaching in the New Testament).

Notice unity in the Church comes from walking in the light, from being holy. Church unity is not institutional.

(1 John 1:8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

It is wrong to say we don't require cleansing from our sins. It's like being born in a swamp with murky water all over us. We need to take a shower at some point to get the dirty water off of us. But it is the soul which is contaminated by sin and the shower requires repentance and turning to Christ.

(1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This verse states we are unrighteous if we have unconfessed sin. Confession makes us again clean.

Is confession of sins merely stating them verbally to someone or to God, or is repentance also required? What good is it to state a past sin then to immediately do it again? Why would God forgive a sin if we did not seriously intend to avoid doing it again? To illustrate: a Catholic Mafia assassin who goes to confession, confesses killing someone, then immediately proceeds to his next assignment, doing it again.

Three questions...

  1. Must you confess to a priest? No, and it's problematic: they tell statistics of how many people confess what kinds of sins and they discuss topics they heard in the confessional in their homilies.
  2. Must you confess out loud? No.
  3. Should you confess in a group? No, and it's problematic: I found it offensive and annoying to hear other people's garbage and it warped my relationship with them making me their priest or counselor. If I wanted that garbage in my head, I would watch TV or go to the movies. Only trained counselors are equipped to deal with such things. (Most pastors do not have this training and should not be doing it, plus they are often guilty of point #1 above.)

What does it mean for God to forgive our confessed sins? Those thinking all sins are equally bad have a problem: since our salvation depends on our sins being forgiven by God, if he has to forgive every smallest sin, this implies we lose our salvation after every tiny sin. Or, that forgiveness means one thing before we get saved and another afterwards. I prefer the Catholic idea of two degrees of sin: mortal (loss of salvation) and venial (smaller sins interfering with God's ability to bless us and with our relationship with others). Confession and repentance of mortal sins results in redemption.

(1 John 1:10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

God says we all are sinners in need of salvation by God's grace through faith having works. If we reject this foundational aspect of the gospel, God's word is not in us. This is what is wrong with liberal Christianity.

(1 John 2:1) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Jesus Christ is our advocate [paraclete / intercessor / comforter / helper]. John also uses this term for the Holy Spirit. There is a lot written about this in commentaries and a lot of disagreement of what it all means. In this verse, being an advocate is for the purpose of forgiving sin.

When we sin, our sins can be forgiven. This only occurs if we repent of them and ask in faith for forgiveness. Mortal sins interfere with our redemption. Smaller venial sins must ultimately be resolved (forgiven) during this life or in purgatory before entry into the new heavens and new earth.

Jesus Christ is righteous; he is deity, the second person of the Trinity. As a human, he was sinless. For us to be righteous requires humanity to be deified; we must become like Christ.

John uses the phrase "little children" referring to adults.

(1 John 2:2) And he is the propitiation [atoning sacrifice] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

There is a lot written about this in commentaries and a lot of disagreement of what it means. The two topics: (1) how propitiation works, and (2) who it applies to.

Propitiation is merely that process by which God disentangles our soul in the spiritual realm from the wicked evil spirits that seek to destroy us. It involves Jesus as deity taking on human nature into the Godhead via deification after having conquered the powers of darkness via his incarnation, death, and resurrection. We must agree that sin is bad, that it offends God's nature, and that it interferes with our redemption. We must repent of our sins and accept forgiveness for them from Jesus, the advocate.

The phrase "whole world" refers to every person. Of creatures living in the world, only humans sin, so this doesn't refer to animals. Jesus provided the possibility of redemption for everyone. (Some teach he only died for the redeemed. In a sense this is true; he only forgives sins we ask to be forgiven.)

(1 John 2:3) And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

We must keep Christ's commandments to be saved. That this is a salvation issue is clear from the following two verses (truth in him).

(1 John 2:4) He that saith [says], I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Notice that works are necessary for faith. Jesus has commandments which are binding on Christians. Those who don't follow them, who don't do them, are not really Christians, are not really saved. When someone who commits mortal sin, a sin unto death, says they know Christ, they are lying. This is exactly what the apostle John is saying.

Someone who has bad doctrine does not have the Holy Spirit within them; they do not have the Truth in them. Doctrine is essential to the Christian life. Some try to dismiss this, saying all you need to do is love Jesus or accept him into your heart or some such nonsense.

(1 John 2:5) But whoso [whosoever] keepeth [keeps] his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby [by this] know we that we are in him.

When you obey the commands of Jesus you are perfect in the love of God. You express your love of God by doing good works; that's what this verse says.

You are only united with God, with Jesus Christ, by following the commands of Christ, by practicing virtue and being loving.

The word "word" is logos. Elsewhere John uses this word to refer to Jesus. The commands of Jesus, his will, and his person are all the same thing. God does not have distinct attributes as we do. Every aspect of his nature is his complete nature; he is not divisible into parts and groups. His essence is expressed completely in every interaction he has. This is why we worship God by being virtuous, because in this we unite with God. This is also why each person of the Trinity is completely God, because one part of God is completely God. By way of analogy, one drop of water in the ocean is water just as every other drop of water is water.

(1 John 2:6) He that saith he abideth [lives] in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Live as Christ lived in order to have union ("in him" = salvation) with Christ. Must be obedient which is a work.

(1 John 2:7) Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

(1 John 2:8) Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

(1 John 2:9) He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

(1 John 2:10) He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

(1 John 2:11) But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither [where] he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

(1 John 2:12) I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

John uses the phrase "little children" referring to adults.

(1 John 2:13) I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

The words and phrases "fathers", "young men", and "little children" do not refer merely to age, therefore, John's calling some of them "father" means more than having the others as your biological progeny. There is an authority aspect involved beyond that of a nuclear family. Notice the "young men" are not also children as the "little children" are.

(1 John 2:14) I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

Notice John calls people "father" even though Jesus commanded us to "call no man father".

(1 John 2:15) Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

(1 John 2:16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

It is not the body that sins but, rather, the soul. The body tempts us to sin only because the sin nature of the soul is tempted to responded to the bodily senses in sinful ways. There is nothing wrong with the bodily urges of hunger, for example, but we should not respond by overeating.

(1 John 2:17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Saved by doing, not merely by faith.

(1 John 2:18) Little children, it is the last time [hour]: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time [hour].

John mentions that Christians have heard that a person referred to as Antichrist will someday very soon, at the last hour, appear on the human scene. In this verse he seems to be correcting their views about this. Rather than think that the last hour is some very soon future time, he states that the last hour is now because there are already many antichrists on the scene.

Based on this verse I find it odd so many teach so strongly that there will someday be a person called Antichrist. Note also that John refers to his time as the "last hour".

At the time John wrote this there were many antichrists and it was already the last hour. He clearly refutes their idea that there is only one Antichrist by telling them that there were already many of them and that there would continue to be antichrists throughout the church age. The Antichrist that his readers had heard about could be Nero who it was thought would reappear to take possession of the Roman Empire.

(1 John 2:19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Those who were mere pretenders in the faith abandoned the apostles. True Christianity is apostolic, that is to say, true Church leaders will be holy and orthodox. We should reject those claiming to be Church leaders who are not qualified.

Notice that there were people who were trained by the apostles who went out in the apostles name, but they did not teach what the apostles taught. This raises the question of whether someone teaching anything not taught by the apostles can claim to be true teachers of the faith. For example, the apostles clearly taught that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. Is someone who teaches it to be merely symbolic a trustworthy teacher of the faith?

(1 John 2:20) But ye have an unction [anointing] from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

The Christians at large have an anointing from God, meaning, they know truth infallibly. The source of this infallibility is apostolic teaching. They Holy Spirit residing with keeps true believers, true disciples of Christ, firm in their belief of what they learned from the apostles.

(1 John 2:21) I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

(1 John 2:22) Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

The key characteristic of a person called antichrist is that they will deny 3 things...

  1. Jesus is the Messiah, the savior, the Christ.
  2. Jesus is deity, the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God.
  3. Jesus did not really come in the flesh.

An antichrist is a liar, as is anyone who teaches false doctrine. Should we allow that liars are teachers and defenders of the faith? What about when one of these liars is a bishop? or pastor or teacher or theologian? or pope?

(1 John 2:23) Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

(1 John 2:24) Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

Notice they "heard from the beginning" before the Bible was written. This demonstrates that the verbal message is valid supporting the idea that scripture alone is not the authority for infallible Christian truth, apostolic teaching is. Notice John doesn't repeat what they heard, he merely assumes they know it or that they will continue to hear it from orthodox church leaders.

(1 John 2:25) And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

(1 John 2:26) These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

(1 John 2:27) But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

They are to abide in the message they heard from the beginning, that is to say, in apostolic teaching. This, because it is infallibility true. The Holy Spirit teaches truth.

(1 John 2:28) And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

(1 John 2:29) If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

A righteous lifestyle is necessary for salvation.

(1 John 3:1) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

(1 John 3:2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

(1 John 3:3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

(1 John 3:4) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

(1 John 3:5) And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

(1 John 3:6) Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

Believers don't sin; if they sin they are not saved.

(1 John 3:7) Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

Our own righteous acts make us righteous; not mere faith, nor Christ merely covering our sins.

(1 John 3:8) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Satan's sphere of influence encompasses the entire universe. Because Adam, when given the chance, did not rebel against Satan, his tentacles of sin permeate all aspects of the created order. Only is repenting from sin do we free ourselves from its influences.

(1 John 3:9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

There are two aspects to this...

  1. Those who are saved no longer sin (because the indwelling Spirit prevents them from sinning)
  2. Those who sin are not saved (because God judges us based on our works)

I find it odd that so many fundamentalist evangelical Protestants spend so much time exhorting us to not sin; they emphasize it in nearly every sermon. The reason this is so odd is that they also teach that the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit prevents us from sinning by granting us supernatural sinless perfection (or some such equivalent version of this teaching). Clearly their teaching about this topic is confused.

(1 John 3:10) In this the children of God are manifest [known], and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not [doesn't do] righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

You can tell who is redeemed and who is not by observing whether they are are committing mortal sin; it's that simple. To be redeemed you must not be committing mortal sin and you have to love your neighbor.

The word "brother" here is the same word supposedly proving that Jesus had blood brothers. But this verse doesn't use the word "brother" in this limited manner. Fundamentalist evangelical Protestants who strongly insist the Bible teaches Jesus had blood brothers are not using the Bible to guide them in formulating this view but, rather, have a hidden agenda originating from some other non-biblical source. They are being anti-Catholic rather than pro-Bible. Weird.

(1 John 3:11) For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

(1 John 3:12) Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

(1 John 3:13) Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

(1 John 3:14) We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

Saved by love, not merely by faith. Specifically by assisting fellow believers / Christians (brothers) in their material needs.

(1 John 3:15) Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

(1 John 3:16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

(1 John 3:17) But whoso hath [has] this world's good [material possessions], and seeth [sees] his brother have [in] need, and shutteth [closes] up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

The question is whether the word "brother" refers to a fellow Christian or to anyone? Elsewhere in this letter, John uses the same word clearly referring to Christians. In the letter 3 John, he uses this word exclusively for fellow Christians.

Paul says Christians who won't work should go hungry. Presumably we don't have to give anything to them, including food, clothing, shelter; all the things needed for life. In conclusion: the Bible is not a very good guide about such moral and ethical questions as these. It asks the questions but doesn't give the answers.

You are only required to give to others if you have something to give. We should wonder how much we can have before we need to start giving of the surplus? In other words, how much is essential and how much is surplus? This is nowhere defined and in a few places Jesus commends giving everything, not just the surplus.

If you have surplus and don't help others who are in need, you are not redeemed. Does this mean you have to give all your surplus or just some of it? And who decides how much? We should note that the early Church at first attempted a communal lifestyle, sharing everything in common. By the time John wrote this letter this had been abandoned but perhaps he did not abandon it and expected it for his churches in Asia.

This is a funny verse that shows just how idiotic the radical "king James only" teaching is. Is the phrase "bowels of compassion" really God-inspired? We should remember that Anglicans from the 1600's translated this version using English from that time and that place. Certainly the question of which text to use as a basis for translation is valid.

(1 John 3:18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

(1 John 3:19) And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

We should seek assurance that we are pleasing God (because if we are not pleasing God, we are not redeemed). Note how we can do this: by being charitable to our fellow Christians in need.

Notice that Paul equates being a Christian with being of the truth. Christianity is a religion concerned foremost with truth. Thus, in assessing teachings and doctrines from various sources, we should judge them using truth as the criteria. Any that are provably false should be rejected (as should the source of the false teaching, the false teachers, even if they are bishops or popes).

(1 John 3:20) For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

(1 John 3:21) Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

(1 John 3:22) And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

(1 John 3:23) And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

(1 John 3:24) And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

(1 John 4:1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

This is probably not the best place to start a new chapter because the thought continues from the previous verse. This verse contrasts the Spirit of God which dwells within true believers and enlivens them by enabling them to keep God's commandments.

John raises the topic of false teaching, false teachers, and false prophets. In his day there were New Testament prophets. Later, the Church stopped having these, for no good reason as far as I can tell. I think this reflected the growing trend for bishops to become political rulers who controlled the people. Perhaps they got rid of prophets to solve the problem of false prophets but this didn't work because they ended up having heretical bishops and political bishops instead.

John assumes that there is a spirit behind every teaching, behind every utterance of a prophet. A true prophet will deliver the message of the Holy Spirit while a false prophet will deliver the message of a false spirit. Thus, Church teachers are merely discerning spirits and delivering the message they believe to be of God. If they choose wrongly, we are to reject the message and to reject them as teachers.

(1 John 4:2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

In John's day, the key to properly discerning infallible teaching was to see what it said about who Jesus is. If the teaching confirmed that Jesus took on a human body, the teaching is trustworthy. Today this test is not enough since there are now plenty of teaching systems which accept the doctrine of the Trinity but which, nevertheless, contain errors. We should reject false teachings even if they are otherwise in harmony with the Nicene creed.

(1 John 4:3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

The word "spirit" refers to the spirit being who is the messenger of the message behind the utterances of a prophet.

As soon as Jesus appeared in the world, the spirits of darkness opposed him by corrupting his message. Many false teachers and false prophets were all too happy to deliver these false messages and thus, the era of false teachers, the era of antichrists began.

(1 John 4:4) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

(1 John 4:5) They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

(1 John 4:6) We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby [by this] know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

Truth vs. error. Those of God vs. those of the world. This verse is in the context of antichrist, of those teaching error about the nature of Jesus. It is not referring to Atheism or evolution.

John states the authority for true teaching is the apostles (not the Bible.)

Truth and error are "spirits". Evil is not merely the absence of good, as commonly taught by Christians. Everything residing in the spiritual realm is living. The word "spirit" means "residing in the spiritual realm".

(1 John 4:7) Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

John strongly emphasizes love. Those seeking God must love others, must love the created order created by God.

(1 John 4:8) He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

In order to know God, to be united with him, you have to be like him. God's primary attribute is love, so this should be our primary focus and concern. John strongly emphasizes love.

Those who don't love are not redeemed. If you don't know God you are not redeemed.

(1 John 4:9) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

The word "beget" doesn't mean born. As second person of the Trinity Jesus is eternally begotten of the Father. It's easy to understand how some would interpret this to mean that Jesus is a created being and not deity. But this is why we need the Church, to provide correct doctrine.

Love requires an object. Love is not a mere idea but, rather, the communication between two persons. In being love, God the Father transmits this love to the Son who is thereby "begotten", who receives the love. The Son was not created at some instant but, rather, existed from eternity past as the recipient of God the Father's love. Only deity could be in this kind of relationship and the second person of the Trinity, the Son, Jesus, is deity.

(1 John 4:10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation [atoning sacrifice] for our sins.

Atonement involves making amends and reconciling, of somehow making up for the mistake. Propitiation includes additionally a sacrifice, of standing in the place of someone else, of enduring their judgment. Jesus did this by taking human nature as God's nature, enduring the effects of sin, and judging it forever. We must still await the final eternal resolution which will usher in the new heavens and new earth.

(1 John 4:11) Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

(1 John 4:12) No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

(1 John 4:13) Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

Upon receiving redemption, God's Spirit mingles with ours in some way. The holiness pushes away the worst aspect of our original sin, namely, eternal rejection by God. God is then willing to keep us in his family as his children; but he still needs to purify us before we can enter in to total unity. Therefore, this indwelling of the Holy Spirit is limited — for now anyway, until the new heavens and new earth.

(1 John 4:14) And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

In some way the Father initiates activities of the Trinity. He's not exactly in charge like a boss but is the source of things. Things flow from him to the Son via the Spirit. All three roles are needed in order for the Godhead to possess relationship within his very nature. Relationship and love requires multiple persons. One person can't love without others to express their love to. The same with faith: you can't have faith without works, otherwise it's mere belief having no action. Things that go together are aspects of the same thing. Love defines God as Trinity.

(1 John 4:15) Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

The purpose for Jesus taking on human nature, of God taking on human nature into the Godhead is to provide redemption from original sin.

(1 John 4:16) And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

(1 John 4:17) Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Since they are waiting for Christ's coming, this implies that he comes at their death; that everyone encounters Christ at death and they are received into the kingdom of heaven at that time. It doesn't make sense for them to be exhorted to wait for Christ's coming if it occurs thousands (millions?) of years after they have died.

(1 John 4:18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Fear = fear of judgment. We are to become perfect (in love) so that we will have no fear on the day of judgment.

(1 John 4:19) We love him, because he first loved us.

Our love for God is merely in response to his love for us. In responding favorably to his love for us we enter into union with him. Just as Christ is united with God by a bond of love, so also with us. But love is not love unless expressed as love to others: to God and to other people.

(1 John 4:20) If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

We are saved by loving God, not by faith only. At each of our death we will encounter Christ and choose to spend eternity with him if we love him.

If a someone hates God by hating their brother, how can they be considered as saved? Thus, works have a role in salvation. If someone commits mortal sins how can they be saved even if they "accepted Jesus as their personal savior" at a moment in the past.

(1 John 4:21) And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

(1 John 5:1) Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

(1 John 5:2) By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

Saved if we obey his commandments. Keeping the commandments requires work, it is not merely abstaining from doing any bad works.

(1 John 5:3) For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

(1 John 5:4) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

(1 John 5:5) Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Belief assumes obedience or it is not really belief (faith).

(1 John 5:6) This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

(1 John 5:7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word [logos], and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

This verse demonstrates that John uses the term "logos" to refer to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

We may wonder why he chose to use an existing term having various meanings, a term used in both Hellenistic [Greek] philosophy and in the Old Testament, and to give it a new meaning. Perhaps his purpose was to inform them that their various ideas of logos were flawed or incomplete; that the truth of the matter is that God became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. Perhaps John was hinting that they should therefore revise their views to line up with Christian teaching.

Later, certain of the early church fathers delved into all kinds of philosophical discussions, but John doesn't do this — he merely uses the term "logos" as a name for Jesus Christ.

(1 John 5:8) And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

(1 John 5:9) If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

(1 John 5:10) He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

(1 John 5:11) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

(1 John 5:12) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

(1 John 5:13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

(1 John 5:14) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

We can ask God for anything according to his will and he will hear these prayers.

(1 John 5:15) And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

God always grants prayers such as these, prayers according to God's will.

(1 John 5:16) If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

Even praying for salvation for someone who is in sin, but not in mortal sin, even this will be granted because it is God's will to redeem everyone not in mortal sin. You can't pray for someone living in mortal sin and expect God to answer; they must first repent of their sin. This is the problem with the teaching of saved by faith only: it ignores the role of works in salvation.

Certainly you can pray that God will draw those in mortal sin or those unredeemed to himself via the Holy Spirit. And certainly God will attempt to influence them in this way. But he will not violate their free will choice to reject him.

(1 John 5:17) All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

John is strongly emphasizing the two kinds of sin: (1) sin unto death (mortal sin), and (2) sin not unto death (venial sin).

(1 John 5:18) We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

This verse clearly states that those who are redeemed don't sin. This implies that those who do sin are not among the redeemed. The fundamentalist evangelical Protestant teaching on this topic is completely wrong; works do have a role in salvation.

(1 John 5:19) And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in [lies in the power of] wickedness.

(1 John 5:20) And we know that the Son of God is [has] come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

God the Father and the Son of God are two persons of the same Godhead. If we are in God the Father, we are also in Jesus Christ the Son of God.

(1 John 5:21) Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

King James Version