1 John 4
Watch out for deception and make certain that we love one another! These are the two main topics of today's passage in 1 John 4. What I find so telling is what John did not say. His points are clear and simple. John did not talk about false doctrine or traditions in the church to be avoided. What was important was that we have a faithful confession of the God/Man personage, the resurrection of Jesus the Christ, and our live for each other. We can be so judgmental in the church and we confuse commandments with tradition. John was so focused on the basics that he rarely departs from them. Here is the man who probably knew Jesus best and he is focused on Christ and Christ crucified and the absolute principle of Love. Whenever I hear someone say that they cannot follow my teaching because I "water down" the Gospel and give a pass to those whose doctrine does not match some denomination's or group's doctrine, I praise God. I also pray that their hearts might be opened to know the difference between faith sufficiency and adiaphora! I am in good company with the likes of our founding Apostles - Christ and Christ crucified (justification, sanctification, and glorification) and Love. This is the Gospel message - not the doctrine of trans-substantiation, baptism by immersion, and the like!
So what is John's point? Let's stay faithful to what we have been taught about Christ and the love we need to have for one another and therefore God . This is so analogous to the 2 main commandments Love God and your neighbor as being the 2 most important commandments. All else comes from these, Jesus said. Well Do not be deceived about the personage of Jesus Christ and Love one another - these are the 2 essential foundational principles of the Gospel. All other things come from these in this higher order Church of Jesus Christ. We can debate doctrine and we can choose to worship according to that doctrine (law of free agency), but it is NOT okay to speak ill of others, castigate them for it, and justify your disdain for another because of it? Why? Because it violates the 2nd law of the Gospel - love!
Beloved, let us keep our Gospel simple, direct, and transactional like our fore-fathers of the faith in Jesus Christ. Let us teach the Word of God and let the WORD do the work. Amen!