Archive for October 20th, 2009


1 John 5


According to my wife, you can’t have too many dimmers both in and outside a home.  Whether for your own enjoyment, entertaining, or trying to display a home for sale, the right lighting makes a big difference.  There was a time, early in the life of electricity, when people went from lighting lanterns to simply flipping a switch.  Back then, the simple on-off switch was enough.  But much like the rest of our lives, over time, simple is tweaked and added to until we have more options than we know what to do with. 


I’ve noticed in John’s first letter, the simple on-off perspective from which he writes.  He is writing to a group of people ‘who believe that Jesus is the Christ’ (on) to warn them of a group ‘who denies that Jesus is the Christ’ (off).  Those who believe, as John points out, are ‘born of God’; they have ‘overcome the world’; they are on; there is no in between.  5:12 is a good example of his simple perspective.  “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”


There was a time, early in the life of Christianity, and at least with this group of people to whom John is writing that when people went from not having Christ to having Him, it was enough.  But over time the simple has been tweaked and added to until, again, we have more options than we know what to do with.  We still believe that Jesus is the Christ, but we believe a lot of things.  Instead of one belief being all the way on, we put all beliefs on dimmers so they can all be on a little. 


Yet, I believe John would still say to us today, “He who has the Son has life”.  Though your belief may be on a dimmer, you still have life.  Though it may not be as full as it could be, you have life.  And in light of all that was working against those who believed in his day, and as we too have things working against us, he would still say to us what he said to them in 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life”.


Aware of so many forces that try to convince us that we do not have this life, John does all he can to assure us that we do.  The fact is we’re all on dimmers.  Whether we are dialed up and our lite is bright or dialed back until there is just a flicker, there is still lite.  And while there is still lite, John encourages us to turn our dimmers up.


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