1 John 1:1-4 – Reality
Over the past several weeks I’ve been discussing the need for modern day Christians to “connect” with their faith. In essence, to plug into the historical and biblical context of what they profess. It is a necessary and daunting task to undertake and I have in no means exhausted the Scriptures in it’s calling us to remember and connect with what the Lord has done as it translates into His continuing work in the present. 1 John brings into sharp focus the issue that keeps most modern, especially American, Christians from truly connecting with their faith: Is this real? Most Christians would not even utter such non-sensical queries based on how they’ve been raised. You don’t ever doubt God’s existence out loud. If something bothers you about what the Bible says, you simply find a denomination that has changed the meaning of what you don’t understand to fit the imaginary god you would prefer to worship. This doctrinal shopping around defines what is truly at the heart of most problems in our churches today. We don’t believe the Bible or in the God of the Bible. We have redefined Him and argued away the validity and reliability of Scripture to appease our own appetites and comforts.
The Apostle John in writing this letter to first century believers draws them back to the reality of who Christ is. He doesn’t use a clever story or anecdote. He simply makes the claim that only an apostle could make. He testifies to what he has heard, seen, touched, and witnessed firsthand. Most modern Christians forget that the faith that we hold to is not something that has been followed blindly for thousands of years. It is firmly rooted in history, strengthened by first hand, eyewitness accounts passed down from generation to generation. We, as modern Christians, rarely truly connect with the intimacy with which the authors of the Scriptures wrote their accounts and letters, all writing with full belief and acceptance that the Spirit of God was giving them words that held a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and life. They weren’t just recounting their favorite children’s stories or moral tales, they were writing the very words of God to His people and to those who would seek Him generations after the words were written.
John in the first four verses of his letter implores us to return to the reality of the God we serve. The way to this reality is only through the person of Jesus Christ who John calls the Word or the Life. In order to understand the reality of Christ as God and our only means of true Life, we must first move past our own imaginary, pre-conceived ideas about who we think God should be and return to who God says He is. We must stop approaching Scripture looking for how it can make our lives easier or more guilt-free and start allowing it to work as the two-edged sword that pierces all of our self-righteous pretension. We must stop trying to make the Bible line up with how we believe our lives should be in our enlightened state and start lining ourselves up with how the Bible says our lives should be. The Scriptures are perfect in showing us who God is and directing us to Him as our source for all things. If we do not believe this then it is most likely that we are making up our faith as we go along. And that is called idolatry. God is calling us back to what is real. He is drawing us back to Himself and His Word. He is drawing us to a deeper sense of truth. A deeper well of life. A truer and more tangible reality. All which are defined by Him and Him alone. May we heed His call and pursue Him with utter abandon. I love y’all more than you know. Grace and peace,