1 John 1:1-4.
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, concerning the Word of life – the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us – that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
In 1 John 1:2, John the apostle refers to Christ Jesus simply as “the Life”. It was Christ Who was manifested. John had established Christ Jesus as “the Word” Who is deity or God (see the gospel account by John). Christ (deity) appeared in human form. In 1 John 5:11, 12, we read, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” So, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is our Life. When we share fellowship with Him, we share in life.
This Life is eternal. “the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us-” (1 John 1:2). Christ, our Life, was present in the very beginning at the creation. He is eternal. He had no beginning. He has no ending. He is not part of creation. In the beginning He is the source of creation. All life comes from Him. He is the spring, not part of the river.
The Life was manifested. The eternal Christ became visible. He appeared in the flesh. He became a man. Here is a great stumbling block – those who refuse to believe in God incarnate. Such are referred to in 2 John 7: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” When God became a man, He stripped away every pretence of man to be “god”. We can no longer do our own thing; we must do what Jesus – the Son of Man and God – wants us to do. We can no longer pose as self-sufficient, because Jesus says we are all sick with sin and must come to Him for healing. We can no longer depend on our own wisdom to find life because Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
When God became a man, man ceased to be the measure of all things, and this Man (Jesus Christ) became the measure of all things. This is simply intolerable to the rebellious heart of human beings.
God has come in the flesh. In 1 John 4:2 we read, “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.” Only the Spirit of God can break our rebellion against God and cause us to submit gladly to this one Man (Jesus Christ) as our absolute sovereign. Therefore, the confession that God has come in the flesh is John’s doctrinal test of whether we are of God.
The confession of the Ethiopian eunuch is relevant to all who would be saved as recorded in Acts 8:36-37: “Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’ Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'” He was expressing his belief in God incarnate.
Fellowship with the Father and His Son. We have fellowship with the Father and His Son (1 John 1:3) means that we have come to share their values. We believe what they believe and love what they love. So we delight to spend time together. “What a fellowship, what a joy divine” we sing. We love to include Them in all that we do. We cherish the thought of sharing an eternity together getting to know Them better.
In 1 John 1:3, we understand John as saying, “since our fellowship is with the Father and His Son, the only way we can cultivate fellowship with you is to proclaim to you what we know about the Son Whom we have seen and heard.” Shared doctrine is the basis of Christian fellowship. Let us be like John. John says in effect, “here is what we believe of Christ; this is what we cherish.”
In 1 John 4:6, he says, “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” Do we cherish what we do regarding Christ?
Joy in God’s fellowship. John wants to share this joy that he has in God’s fellowship. In 1 John 1:4 he says, “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” Our joy in God’s fellowship is complete in the joy that others have in God’s fellowship. We pursue our own happiness in the holy happiness of others.
God loved us first. We love one another because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). It is a commandment of Christ Jesus. He said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” [John 13:34-35].
Let us continue in this love as we yearn for fellowship with the LORD and with one another.