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1 John Study

Am I Really Saved? A First John Check Up
Lesson 3: Love and Hate
Please Read: 1 John 2:1-17

Previous Lessons: 1 2

(Helpful Hint: Using the cross-references {footnotes to related verses} provided in your Bible or in the Bible Gateway links I’ve provided will be very helpful as you study.)

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5

1 John 1:8-2:2

The closing verses of chapter 1, as we saw in last week’s lesson, deal with whether or not a person walks in unrepentant sin. Lost people deny that they are sinners and continue, unrepentantly, in their sin. (1:8, 10) Saved people confess their sin and are forgiven through Christ. (1:9)

John continues his line of thought in the opening verses of chapter 2 (Remember, when he wrote this, there were no chapters and verses. It was just a letter like you might write today.). He’s not writing just to point out sin and how lost and saved people deal with sin differently. He’s writing so that people will not sin. (2:1)

But when Christians (“my little children” refers to John’s “children” in the faith), do sin, John reminds us, Christ has already paid the penalty for our sin. Verses 1-2 of chapter 2 encourage us to remember this, repent, and be forgiven.

And that’s not all. Look at those great little words at the end of verse 2: “but also for the sins of the whole world.” That means that if you examined yourself according to 1 John 1 and found that you are indeed a liar who walks in the darkness while claiming to belong to Christ (1:6), or someone who denies that she’s a sinner, or claims she’s not sinning when she does things the Bible clearly labels as sin (1:8, 10), and you’re grieved over that and want to repent, there is hope.

The perfectly sinless son of God, Jesus Christ, stepped between you and God (“advocate,” 2:1) and propitiated God’s wrath against you for your sin so that you could be reconciled to God. He offers this precious gift of salvation to anyone who will turn from her sin and place her faith in Christ. (2:2)

  • What did you discover last week when you examined yourself according to 1 John 1? Do you walk in the darkness or in the light? Do you agree with the Bible’s definition of sin and confess your sins, or argue against the Bible and continue in sin?
  • Has there ever been a time in your life when you came before God, confessed and admitted that He is right about your sin and you are wrong, asked His forgiveness, and placed your faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as payment for your sin? If not, I urge you to do so now.
  • If you are saved, this passage is also an encouragement to remember, when you sin – and you will – that Christ has already paid the penalty for your sin. Remember the hope you have in Christ. Repent and be forgiven.

1 John 2:3-6

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 3: Do I keep God’s commands?

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

With this passage, we have to make sure we don’t get the cart before the horse. John is not, I repeat, not saying that you become a Christian by being a good person and obeying all of God’s rules. The Bible is exceedingly clear that salvation does not come from our good works but by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

John is saying that people who have genuinely been born again keep God’s word out of a heart of love for Him. Apple trees just naturally grow apples because they’re apple trees. You could buy a bag of apples at the store and tie them to an oak tree, but that would not make it an apple tree. It would just be an oak tree with fake fruit hanging from it. See?

  • Examine your heart- do you desire to keep God’s commandments? Why? What is your motive for obedience to God’s word? Are you an apple tree growing apples or an oak tree trying to pass yourself off, with fake fruit, as an apple tree?
  • Verse 4 is very similar to 1:6. Do you claim to be a Christian while actively disobeying Scripture, justifying your sin, or giving no consideration to keeping God’s commands? What do 1:6 and 2:4 call people who do this? Is this the description of a saved person or an unsaved person?
  • What does it mean to “walk in the same way in which [Jesus] walked”? Are there any areas of your life that don’t match up with the way Jesus lived?

1 John 2:7-14:

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 4: Do I hate others? (9-11)

9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

  • This passage talks about living a lifestyle of hate. Do you have an ongoing pattern of hate in your life? Do you hate a certain person? People who behave a certain way? A a certain racial group or class of people?
  • Compare this passage to 1:5-7. Which two words does John again use to draw a sharp contrast between sin and holiness? What does 2:9 say about people who claim to be Christians, yet whose lives are characterized by hate? What does 2:10 say about the one who loves his brother? Which characterizes the life of the Christian, love or hate?
  • Which three groups of people does John address in verses 12-14? What are the reasons he gives for writing to them?

1 John 2:15-17:

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 5: Do I love worldliness?

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

  • What does verse 15 mean when it says not to love “the things in the world”? How does verse 16 define this phrase? Can you give some real life examples of “the desires of the flesh”? “The desires of the eyes”? “The pride of life”? Why does verse 16 say these things are “not from the Father”?
  • What does verse 15 say about people who love the things of the world? If “the love of the Father is not in” a person, is that person a Christian? Instead of loving the world, what characterizes a Christian, according to verse 17? Which is temporary, the world, or the one who does the will of God? Which is eternal? (17)

This week, we are examining our salvation with three questions:

1. Do I keep God’s commands?

2. Do I hate others?

3. Do I love worldliness?

Christians, out of love for God, desire to obey Him, love others, and reject worldliness. Lost people may behave outwardly in a way that looks like obedience to God’s commands, but, because they have not been born again, there is no love for Him leading to true obedience and love for others. The lost person’s true love is the things of this temporal world.

Where do you stand in light of 1 John 2:1-17? Do you love the right things, such as God’s word, others, and the things of God? Do you hate the right things, like sin and worldliness? Prayerfully examine your heart, comparing your motives and actions to these Scriptures. Surrender your life to Christ if you find that you are not truly saved. If you are saved, repent of any sin God reveals to you and ask Him to help you “walk in the same way in which [Jesus] walked.”

Additional Resources:

1 John 2– Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Propitiation: How the Cross Affected God by Steve Lawson

True or False? A Study in 1 John– at Naomi’s Table (lessons 7-9)

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