Focal Passage: I John 5:1-13
I love Chick-fil-A. Their food is delicious, the restaurants are clean, their service is friendly and efficient. I would like to nominate whoever designed their drive-thru system for the next president (I’m only half kidding). In my opinion Chick-fil-A stands out as the model for excellence among every other fast-food option.
What makes this franchise so different than all the others?
I believe it goes back to their corporate purpose. You can find this statement on their website, “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” A different kind of corporate purpose has made for a different kind of dining experience.
We should apply the same principle that we used to assess Chick-fil-A’s uniqueness to our study of the Bible. One of the first questions we should ask when reading a passage of Scripture is, “What was the original author’s intent?” This question can help us discover the purpose of the book. Which, like Chick-fil-A, impacts everything.
Finding the purpose statements in some biblical books are easier than others. The Apostle John reveals plainly his purpose in both his gospel (John 20:31) and his first epistle (I John 5:13).
As you study the book of I John it’s crucial to keep the purpose statement in mind, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” How does this statement impact the way that we study this particular book?
I John is mainly for Christ-followers. While the reality of Romans 10:17 certainly applies to I John, the book is intended to inform and encourage those who already have a relationship with Jesus.
The implications of this truth could not be more significant, particularly when considering the tough question at hand.
Could a critic or skeptic find information relevant for their skepticism about the exclusivity of Christian claims in I John? Sure. We should never limit the way the Holy Spirit can use the Word of God in anyone’s life. At the same time, we should realize the truth in I John is going to most significantly be applied to the believer’s life.
I John is meant to make confident Christ-followers. The Holy Spirit inspired John to write this epistle so that those “who believe may know that you have eternal life.” This reveals some very important truths for Christians. One of them being that we can and should be secure in our salvation. It is not God’s intent that Christians doubt their salvation. He wants us to be confident with who we are in Christ. If you have doubts, read I John prayerfully and allow the Lord to use His Word to reveal to you the condition of your heart.
With confidence comes conviction, and conviction leads to obedience. Once doubts are dealt with, Christians can focus on applying the truth to their lives. I John 5 tells us that we should love other believers.
As Christ-followers obey this command, skeptics can see the uniqueness of God’s love through Christ in the life of people that have been transformed by His power and grace. If you think that’s a stretch, check out Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-21. B&R — Bosak is pastor of First Baptist Church, Savannah.