For the Love of God!
Looking more closely at the third chapter of 1st John we find John names several quite specific addressees. Of these his favorite appears to be “dear children.” Once he even calls them “My dear children…” (v.1); “Dear friends,” (v.7); “dear children,” (v.1,12,14,18,28); “fathers,” (v.13,14); “young men,” (v.13,14).
John was known as “the beloved disciple.” It was he who leaned upon Christ at the supper and asked which it was that would turn traitor (John 13:25). John’s gospel is unique; each chapter paints a picture of an aspect of his beloved Christ’s character. And it was John to whom Christ revealed the great end-time mysteries (Rev. 1-22).
Love exudes from John, and all the more in these final epistles of his as an aged exile on Patmos. So it is befitting of John to think of these familial and brotherly love relationships, and he has specific commendations to each: To the dear children he reminds, “your sins have been forgiven… you know the Father.” To the fathers he emphasises, “you know him who is from the beginning…. you know him who is from the beginning.” To the young men he encourages them on in vigour and in truth, sandwiched between reminders of ultimate victory, “you have overcome the evil one… you are strong,.. the word of God lives in you… you have overcome the evil one.”
Then, to all these groups he gives warning:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (v.15-17)
It is a warning couched in love, a warning of great and eternal peril indeed, but more instructive than harsh. John had learned in his heart that great secret of walking in truth. Love is greater than Law. He took pains to teach us all that the eternal love of God, Agapé, is far superior than all fleeting and fleshly worldly loves of Eros.
“We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:19-20).
Press on… For the Love of God…