As we have seen to be the norm with other apostles, the author of this one does not make himself readily known by naming himself in the greeting; however, it has been agreed upon as Christians since the beginning of the church that the author is, in fact, the apostle John. This determination can be made through witnesses such as Polycarp, an early second-century bishop who, as a young man, knew John personally. The author also clearly denotes himself as being a part of a group of apostolic eye witnesses to the life and ministry of Jesus, noting in 1 John 1:3 that “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also.”
On top of that, John also did not directly specify the intended recipients of this letter; however, if we take a look at what was written in Revelation Chapters 2 & 3 we can deduce that he is likely writing this to the seven churches in the immediate vicinity of Ephesus in both letters, which is where John spent his time ministering late in his life.
Though 1 John is clearly lacking in the detail department it is not lacking in truth and authority! John states with clarity the purpose of this letter here in 1 John 1:3 as he proclaimed the good news saying, “so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the father, and with His son Jesus Christ.” And again in 1 John 2:1 in saying “so that you may not sin”. As well as in 1 John 5:13 - “so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
As we dive into this book we are also going to encounter many parallelisms surrounding topics such as Christ vs antichrists, light vs darkness, truth vs falsehood, righteousness vs sin, and love of the Father vs love of the world, - just to name a few. In other words, there is right and there is wrong! There are no two ways about it! But this truth is presented in a way that doesn’t allow us to forget that even in bringing correction, it must always be done in a spirit of love - God’s love. The same grace filled, unending love Christ has shown to us.
As we take a closer look here at Chapter 1 we are going to find two fairly distinct parts or sections. First, in verses 1-4, we are given a sort of eyewitness experience of the author with Jesus. Second, in verses 5-10 John reminds us of the absoluteness and fullness of Christ's excellency by referring to Him as “the light” - noting that those who claim to be Chrstians must live lives that prove this claim to be true. This theme of light and darkness can be seen in many different portions of scripture, including all of the way back in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 as well as in chapter 1 of the Gospel of John. The point John is driving home here is that those who know Christ “walk in the light” and those who do not “walk in darkness”. Therefore, since, as 1 John 1:5 tells us God “is light, and in Him is no darkness at all”, our goal as believers must be to walk in the light with Him. (1 John 1:6)
But John doesn’t stop there! He continues in verse 8 to remind us that though we receive forgiveness and redemption in Christ, we are still human. We are still flawed and, as Romans 3:23 states “ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” That means you can set down that weight of perfectionism. You can take off that mask you wear in hopes of hiding your flaws in an attempt to appear to others as a “good Christian” who “has it all together”. In fact, John lays it out plainly for us here that when we try to hide our shortcomings, from the Lord and others, we aren’t just short changing ourselves but we are also inadvertently contradicting God’s word. Again, Romans 3:23 - “for ALL have sinned”. That means you. That means me.
So today - let’s set down those weights of perfectionism, let’s take off the masks we wear in an attempt to hide our shortcomings and flaws. And let’s come real, raw, and boldly surrendered to the feet of Jesus where He will fill us with all of the wisdom, knowledge, strength, and power we need to tackle the day.