1. We must love one another
This is one of the most common commands throughout the New Testament. It is especially used in John’s letters. After all, John was the disciple who “loved Him (Jesus).” In the Greek there are three words used to describe love, two of them are found in the New Testament text. agape means the unlimited, unconditional love, such as that which God has for us, philos is used to connotate friendly, or brotherly love. Throughout 1 John, John tells us to agape-love one another, signifying that as Christians, we are to love one another with an unlimited, unconditional love. The importance of love is seen not only in John’s writings, but also in Paul’s, the most well known of which is 1 Corinthians 13, where he gives a detailed description of agape-love and how it is more important than all other actions. Jesus says in Matthew 22:3 “You shall love (agape) the LORD your God with all your heart, with all you soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love (agape) your neighbour as yourself.” Jesus clearly regards love to be God’s primary command.
2. We must keep God’s commandments
Not all, who believe in Jesus will enter heaven. Revelation 22:14 says that the city of heaven, and the tree of life within is only for those who keep God’s commandments. Keeping God’s commandments is thus essential to being a Christian, just as much as faith in Jesus is. The “commandments of God” does not just refer to the Ten Commandments revealed at Mount Sinai, but refers to any instruction that God gives to us. Fortunately, although no one obeys God’s commandments perfectly, God will forgive those faithful to Him and cleanse them so that they can enter His paradise, because of Christ’s death on the cross. Keeping God’s commandments is not only important for our salvation, but also it acts as a witness to unbelievers, that we take God seriously. This will greatly assist in bringing them to salvation. In John 15:14 Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.” This should also be a good incentive to obey God’s commandments.
3. We must live as Jesus lived
Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Colossians 1:15
He is our direct view of the Father, which “No one has seen at any time” John 1:18.
Although no one has ever seen the Father, through Jesus we can have a view of Him which is just as accurate. Since Jesus lived a perfect life, He provides the ultimate standard for us as Christians. Fortunately, much of Jesus life has been recorded in the Bible, which allows us to see how we should live. Because this modern age is so far removed from the Bible times, there are many situations in life that we will encounter, for which no direct parallel was recorded in Jesus life. We will often have to use our knowledge of scripture, and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, to extrapolate the most likely action that Jesus would take in each situation. This is often done by asking the famous question “what would Jesus do?” Living as Jesus lived encompasses all of the other evidences, and is the basis for them all.
4. We must not sin
Sin in the Greek is hamartia. Which literally means “shortcoming,” It is used in
Romans 3:23 when Paul tells us that all have sinned (haemartone) and fall short of the glory of God” Sin can also mean disobedience of God.
Sin is what doomed humanity, and what nailed Christ to the cross. Clearly then, no Christian is to remain in sin after they have been saved. To do that is a horrible insult to God. Fortunately, when Christ died on the cross, taking our sins onto Himself, it removed not only our sins, but also our human propensity to sin. According to Ephesians 4: 22-24 we now have the power to destroy the old self which is corrupt, and become a new person, being transformed into the image of Christ. Whenever we sin, it is as if we are trying to resurrect the rule of the old man in our lives. We must no longer operate under the law of sin and death, but rather, the law of forgiveness and life. As Paul said in Romans 6: 2, “How shall we that died to sin, live any longer in it?”
As to how these evidences affect us personally, This author indeed sees them as being very important to do. In Matthew 10:32 Christ says, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven,” We not only confess Christ with our mouths, but also with our actions. This is part of why living a life evidencing Christian faith is so important. There is no power in evangelizing when the evangelist is not evidencing Christianity with his actions in addition to his speech.
John’s evidences are not only important for drawing unbelievers to Christ, but also for our own personal relationship with God. It’s hard to pray when you know that you’re disobeying the very person you’re talking to. As the believer lives out the evidences of Christian faith, his attitude, and mindset is transformed into one that is far better than previous.
In conclusion, it 1 John gives us some very practical instruction his letter. Christians at all levels of spiritual development, will benefit greatly from reading, and putting into practice, the things that are written in it.