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Showing posts with the label #Apostles

Satan’s excuses precede lawless Christians.

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1 John 3.7-12.Many of the verses from today’s passage tend to be yanked out of context.“Let no one deceive you” 1Jn 3.7 —used to refer to anything which might trick or mislead Christians, from heresy to the latest internet conspiracy theories.“The Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil” 1Jn 3.8 —treated as though it’s the only reason Jesus came to earth, so certain dark Christians use it to justify their fixation on demonology instead of good news.“Everyone borne of God doesn’t sin” 1Jn 3.9 —used to condemn Christians who do sin, instead of encouraging them (really, all of us) to go back into the light.And of course those folks who wanna interpret the Cain and Abel story to make Cain an irredeemably evil person… instead of recognizing the LORD and Cain had a conversational relationship, Ge 4.9-15 and God obviously wanted to redeem Cain, not destroy him. (Otherwise he’d have destroyed him!)All right, best I jump into the text before unpacking it.1 John 3.7-12 KWL7 Children, …

If you think it’s okay to dismiss the Law, you clearly don’t know Jesus.

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1 John 3.4-6.Here we get to the parts of 1 John which bug Christians.1 John 3.4-6 KWL4 Everyone who commits sin also violates the Law. Sin’s against the Law.5 You knew Jesus was revealed so he could take away our sins, and there’s no sin in him.6 Everyone who remains in Jesus doesn’t sin:Everyone who sins has neither seen him, nor knows him.“Violates the Law” is my translation of τὴνἀνομίανποιεῖ/tin anomían piheí, literally “does the anti-Law.” (KJV has “transgresseth… the law”; NIV “breaks the law.”) I capitalize Law because John wasn’t writing about Roman law; plenty of Roman laws encouraged if not committed sin. John meant the Law of Moses, the Hebrew Law, the תּוֹרָה/Toráh. The stuff God commanded the Hebrews at Sinai and thereafter. It’s the formal part of the relationship between the LORD and Israel, the backbone of Hebrew culture, the foundation of the Old Testament, the basis of the commands and interpretations Jesus himself presented to his students, and the backdrop of the C…

Making us Christians like God.

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1 John 3.2-3.Elsewhere in the New Testament, Paul, Silas, and Timothy wrote that we’re gonna get raptured at Jesus’s second coming: Dead Christians will be resurrected, living Christians will be transformed into our resurrected selves, and all of us will meet Jesus in the air. 1Th 4.15-18These sinful sacks of meat we currently carry around: They get swapped for something eternal, to match the eternal life God always meant for us to have. They no longer have the same self-preservation instincts we currently do, ’cause they last forever… and therefore these instincts won’t go overboard and become self-centered and depraved. Our first impulse won’t be to do the selfish, sinful thing; it’ll be to do as Jesus does. Christians call this “the new nature.” Human nature is considered selfish and fallible, but this’ll become the new human nature: Selfless and Spirit-led.Plus we can finally see Jesus as he really is. Without freaking out, Mk 9.2-8 passing out, Rv 1.17 or going blind. Ac 9.4-9Thi…

Society doesn’t know what to make of Christ-followers.

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1 John 3.1.John didn’t write any of his books and letters with chapters and verses. Medieval Christians did it: They gave every line in the bible an address, so we could more easily find it. It’s great for that. But every so often, it splits a sentence, paragraph, or train of thought, right where it ought not. As a result Christians tend to lose the train of thought, if not miss it altogether.Don’t love society, which is passing away. 1Jn 2.15-17Don’t be misled by antichrists; you know better. 1Jn 2.18-23Hold on to what you learned in the beginning. 1Jn 2.24-29After all, society doesn’t understand us, or God, anyway. 1Jn 3.1Meanwhile clean yourselves up. Jesus is coming! 1Jn 3.2-3And stop sinning, wouldya? 1Jn 3.4-6And so on. But today’s bit is gonna zero in on that bit about society not understanding us Christians.The word I translate “society” is κόσμος/kósmos, and I already explained why I’m interpreting it that way: The KJV renders it “world,” but that’s imprecise. It means the so…

Needing not that any man teach you.

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1 John 2.26-29.Ever heard of a “life verse”? It’s an idea y’find in some Evangelical circles; it means there’s a bible verse which isn’t just a Christian’s favorite verse, but one they kinda consider their personal mission statement. They base their life on it.Heck, a number of these “life verses” are all found in the very same chapter of 1 Thessalonians:“Always rejoice” 1Th 5.16 for people who are big on joy.“Pray without ceasing” 1Th 5.17 for people who are big on prayer.“Give thanks for everything” 1Th 5.18 for those who definitely do.“Don’t quench the Spirit” 1Th 5.19 for those who love to listen to the Spirit.“Don’t dismiss prophecy” 1Th 5.20 for prophecy (or prophecy scholar) fans.“Test everything” 1Th 5.21 for big skeptics.“Abstain from every form of evil” 1Th 5.22 for big legalists.Anyway. I once worked with this woman whom I’m gonna call Eustacia. Her “life verse” was clearly this one:1 John 2.27 KJVBut the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need n…

We can’t have the Father without the Son.

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1 John 2.20-25.In my article about antichrists, I pointed out not every antichrist is a radical atheist. Plenty of people totally believe in God… yet deny Jesus is Christ, or Lord, or in any way like Christians describe him, or that he’s even real.Jews fr’instance.And let me preface this with a warning about antisemitism. ’Cause there’s still a ton of racism out there. Racists want to hassle and exclude anybody they consider different, and they don’t care if there’s no reason for it, or if their “reasons” are stupid or nonsense. They wanna hassle Jews, and any excuse will do for them. They will, and historically have, used “antichrists” as an excuse. It is not an excuse, not a valid reason. The racists are simply being evil.In John’s definition of antichrist, anybody who actively rejects Christ Jesus is an antichrist. Plain and simple. So if you worship YHWH, Abraham’s God, same as Christians, yet reject Jesus the Nazarene as Christ the Lord, you’d be an antichrist. Cut ’n dried, plai…

Antichrists: When pagans wanna see Christianity gone.

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1 John 2.18-23.There are four definitions of antichrist we find in our culture:Someone who’s anti-Christ: They object to Christ Jesus and his authority, refuse to recognize him, and counter those who do.Someone who rejects the orthodox Christian view that Jesus the Nazarene is Christ. They insist he’s not, or that he’s not human, not divine, not historical.Someone who claims they, not Jesus the Nazarene, is Christ.The Beast, Rv 13.7 or lawless one, 2Ti 2.3 an End Times figure who attempts to deceive and conquer the world. Christ Jesus overthrows him.Most of the time when people, Christians and pagans alike, refer to an antichrist, they mean the Beast. And it may surprise you to learn the Beast is never called an antichrist in the scriptures. Seriously. Oh, it’s definitely anti-Christ, so medieval Christians got into the habit of calling it Antichrist, and it stuck. But in the bible it’s just the θηρίον/thiríon, “wild animal,” KJV “beast.”The apostles reserved the word ἀντίχριστος/a…

Don’t love society.

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1 John 2.15-17.The Greek word κόσμος/kósmos can be a tricky word to translate. Obviously we get our word cosmos from it, which means “universe.” But when ancient Greeks used it, they didn’t mean the entire universe. Just their universe—the harmonious order of things. Their world. Which is why we usually just translate it “world.”But “world” is likewise a tricky word. What do we mean by it? The literal planet we’re planted on? The people of this planet? A segment of this planet, like the English-speaking world; or a segment of time, like the ancient world, or the age to come?Define “world” wrong, and you wind up teaching the wrong idea. Because God so loved the kósmos that he gave his only-begotten son for it. Jn 3.16 So he loves the world, and he wants us to love our fellow Christians, our neighbors, and our enemies—which means pretty much everyone in the world. And that idea would therefore contradict what John’s teaching in today’s passage, in which he tells his readers not to love …

Stages of Christianity.

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1 John 2.12-14.John already stated in previous verses he wrote this letter so his joy might be full, 1Jn 1.4 and so his readers won’t sin. 1Jn 2.1 Here he gives a few more reasons, along with the people attached to the particular reasons: This letter is to τεκνία/teknía and παιδία/pedía, children and invants; πατέρες/patéres, parents; and νεανίσκοι/neaníske, young people, and since adulthood back then began when you were 13, teenagers.1 John 2.12-14 KWL12 Children, I write you because your sins are forgiven in God’s name.13 Parents, I write you because you knew this from the beginning.14 Youths, I write you because you conquer evil.14 Infants, I wrote you because you know the Father.Parents, I wrote you because you knew this from the beginning.Youths, I wrote you because you’re strong,and God’s word remains in you, and you conquer evil.The repetition is Hebrew-style poetry, where you repeat ideas instead of phonemes. Sometimes the very same idea, ’cause John wrote twice that he’s …