When I read a book, I like to know why the author has written.
John carefully gives us at least two reasons. First, that God’s people experience ecstatic joy as we respond by faith to the invitation of God the Father and Son to share life in relational koinonia both with God and with one another (1:3-4). Second, that we might know by personal experience this unique quality of life called eternal life. This life comes only by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and restores assurance of intimate, ongoing relationship with the Son of God for eternity (5:13).
In Genesis 2:7 God inbreathed His life into humanity. In the first four verses of 1 John, the Apostle John describes this life that burst into time and space in 1st century Palestine in the person of Jesus. He now inbreathes it again into all who embrace Him by faith, yet this time permanently.
John seems to like the number three, bringing together the tensions of holding all three essential parts simultaneously.
Three cycles. God is Light, Love, and Life for His people. God calls us to Three persons of the divine Godhead, Father, Son and Spirit. One interlude in each of the three cycles, 2:12-17; 3:19-24; 5:1-2. John also intersperses three fruits that evidence authentic family life in three ever rising cycles or spirals, willing obedience, life-embracing faith and brotherly love. Look for them as you continue to read. These three will become more and more of a norm on our journey as we discipline ourselves in our…
Willing Obedience (1st life-releasing response: abandoned living): Because God is Light (1:5), sharpen our commitment to know and do God’s will (1st Test, 1:5-2:6; 2:28-3:10; 5:3-4).
Life-embracing Faith (2nd life-releasing response: Reality-based living): Because God is Life (5:20b), refine our understanding of truth or Reality (3rd Test, 2:18-27; 4:1-6; 4:13-15; 5:6-12).
Brotherly Love (3rd life-releasing response: other-centered living): Because God is Love (4:8+16), heighten our intensity to care for others (2nd Test, 2:7-11; 3:11-18; 4:7-12; 4:16-21).
Now the question Scripture always asks is: “what will we do with God’s gracious invitation into life with Him?”
The Bible often cuts across the grain of our self-life. We think of reading the Bible, yet the Bible also reads us. In the accompanying crisis of faith, we must choose. Our comfort may seem attractive. Yet the only safe place is fulling embracing the radical mutuality that the Father and Son call us to. Link His truth to your life without compromise.
This link leads to a free PDF download of Radical Mutuality on the tab, “Books by Jim Fredericks.”