Thoughts from The Bible

The Message Is…
by Joey Carroll Corinth Missionary Baptist Church

In 1 John, John is busy about proclaiming a message, but it is certainly no insignificant message. It is THE message that leads to true and everlasting joy in our lives, and it is THE message that, if received, gives us true and everlasting fellowship with God. And that message is about the One who came to us, Jesus Christ, who John refers to in verse 1 as the “Word of Life.”
If you are a follower of Christ, you too need to be busy (especially during this time of year) about proclaiming the only message in which people can have eternal life and that life is with the Father and only comes to us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
One of my favorite things about the New Testament writers is their attention to detail and their love for words. John describes the message that He is proclaiming by using a word that helps us better understand the significance of the message. And that word is “is.” Nope, that is not a typo. The word “is” really helps us if we will pay attention to what is going on.
In Exodus 3:14, God says of Himself “I am.” While we would never use such a phrase, it really does help us understand more about who God is. “I am” describes for us our God who is ever-present, eternal, unchanging, self-sufficient and self-existent. Certainly only God could be described in such a way.

John begins the body of his letter in a similar way, “This is the message,” (1 John 1:5). In other words, the message that he is proclaiming “is.” It is a message that is forever the same; it exists as unchanging, ever-present and forever. We live in a day when everything under the sun seems to need “updating.” From our phones to our computers and every other electronic device in our homes, from our apps and subscriptions, and even to the piece of paper you have to fill out everytime you go to the doctor’s office!!! What’s up with that?! BUT, this is one message that will never need updating because it will never change.

And even though so many have crept into the church and tried to update and change the message as the culture around us has changed, the way that John describes it here lets us know that this message will forever remain the same.
If you have been reading this column very long, you can recall that the Bible is first and foremost the revelation of the person and character of God. Hopefully, you also recall the very first thing that God wants us to know about Himself — that He is the Creator of all things. As you read forward from Genesis 1, more and more is revealed about the person and character of God. But the greatest revelation of the person and character of God was made in the person of His only Son, Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews describes this grand revelation of God in this way, “And He (Jesus Christ) is the radiance of His (God, the Father) glory and the exact representation of His (God, the Father) nature,” (Hebrews 1:3, NASB). So when Jesus, the eternal Son of God, came, God was made known to us in the most clear and significant way.

John, in his letter of 1 John, wants us to know three attributes of God. In fact, he outlines his letter around these three attributes of God. The last attribute in John’s letter is probably the first on many’s list when it comes to the character of God. It is found in 1 John 4:8, “God is love.” We live in a day when that seems to be the only attribute of God we talk about anymore. In fact, many start their gospel message in this way, “God loves you.”

It is true that God is love, and He loves more than any of us can comprehend or explain. But that is not the only attribute of God. In fact, for John the first thing we need to know about God is found in 1 John 1:5, “God is Light.”
So what does this teach us about the character of God? Well, it is very important. In fact, for John it’s what you need to know before you know that God is love. Next week, we will jump into this attribute.

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