In John’s first letter his overall theme is “the basics of the Christian life.” He expresses the character of Christianity in very simple terms. In reading this book I see three traits that he reveals as being basics of a spirit filled life.
John begins the epistle by telling us his purpose for writing it; that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (vs 3-4).
The first trait is obedience found in 2:3-5 3And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. This is not referring to keeping the Ten Commandments but an obedience to all of God’s word (see 5:3, Jn 14:15-24, 2 Jn 1:6.)
The second is sound faith. He emphasizes this in his warning of false prophets in 2:20-25. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us —eternal life. This implies that we know God’s word which requires us to spend time in it. (see Titus 1:13, 2:1-2)
The third is love. Love for God our father and for each other. 4:7-8 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 5:1-2 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.
How are you doing in these three areas?