Archive for the ‘1 John’ Category

Remain True to Christ

January 20th, 2008

“Do not be surprised brothers, that the world hates you”

(1 John 3:13)

1 John is a relatively small letter, with an uncompromising platform. One of the planks of John’s platform is to remain (Greek, meno) true to the Lord. This concept of remaining true is sometimes translated “abide” (as in the English Standard Version). 1 John 2:27,28 shows that John uses the term abide with the preposition “in” (Greek, en)—“abide in the Son and in the Father,” and “abide in him.” In other words, the action called for here is in relationship to God through Christ.

Remaining true is not only affirming the positive things of the Christian faith, it is reacting against the negatives:

1. “darkness” (1:6)
2. “the evil one” ( 2:13,14; 5:19)
3. “the devil” (3:7-10)
4. “the spirit of the antichrist” (4:3)

To remain true is to have understanding of the Lord’s ways; and to be in relationship with the Lord ; and, it is to be weary of idols (divided allegiance) – See 1 John 5:20-21.

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: 1 John, Bible, commitment, New Testament Tags:

Liberalism American Style

July 15th, 2007

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols”

(1 John 5:21)

The New Testament scholar, Dr. Neil Lightfoot, recounts the old line of American liberal theology in 5 general observations (Notes taken September 7, 1989, RMH). Since these observations are still a part of American mentality, we make them available, as follows:

1. God is pure goodness and love. All men are his children. Sin does not separate man from his love. So, let us talk of, and emphasize, brotherhood and the Fatherhood of God.

2. Man, likewise is good; a spark of the divine. Men need only to be encouraged to express their natural goodness.

3. Jesus Christ is man’s savior in the qualified sense that he is a perfect example and teacher; though there is nothing really unique about him. He was not born of a virgin; didn’t work miracles; and, was not raised from the dead.

4. Christianity is different from other religions only in that it is the highest and best that has so far appeared.

5. The Bible is not a record of divine revelation. Bible doctrine is not necessary or normative. The essence of Christianity is ethical, not doctrinal.

The above should be carefully studied and understood, because they are where many Americans live (especially see 1 John chap. 5 and Romans chap. 3).

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: 1 John, Bible, New Testament Tags:

The Classical Defense Mechanism of Denial and 1 John 1:8-10

March 26th, 2006

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar,

and his word is not in us.”


(1 John 1:8-10, ESV)

The church phone number and the Wood & Huston Bank phone number are similar. In fact, it happens regularly, once or twice a week and sometimes even twice a day, that the church building gets calls intended for the Wood & Huston Bank. When these misdialed calls come into the office, the person on the other end often appears involved in the ego-defense mechanism of denial (a conscious or preconscious distortion of reality). The following is a typical interview: “Hello, Church of Christ, may I help you?” “Wood & Huston Bank?” “No, this is the church of Christ office.” “This isn’t Wood & Huston Bank?” “No, sorry.” “Well, that’s the number I dialed.” “They’re very close.” “Well, okay, if you say so.”

If denial is relevant when it comes to such trivial things as misdialed numbers, how much more applicable when it comes to being true to who we are as sinners. John 1:8-10 addresses this tendency to distort the reality of sin. Notice two distinct types of denial here: (1) Denial of sin as a potential concept (1:8), and (2) Denial of actual sin in one’s personal life.

Sin is being challenged on many levels today. Rather than accept personal responsibility for one’s own sins—other areas are being blamed instead. But, to deny the reality of sin, either in concept and/or behavior, is to deceive oneself, implicate God as a liar, and fail to acquire forgiveness and cleansing. Confess your sins, therefore (1 John 1:9).

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: 1 John, Bible, confess, New Testament, sin Tags:

How Satan Operates in Churches

December 12th, 2004

(As Taken from First John)



“These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you”

(1 John 2:26)

In some theological circles, Satan is denied. But, the New Testament is explicit when it comes to warning Christians of a real threat coming from Satan, “the devil” (1 John 5:19). The fact is, even among God’s people there are those like: “Jezebel” and “Alexander the coppersmith.” These seem to have forgotten the adage, “Do all the good you can, and no harm at all,” if not the Golden Rule itself.


1. This Biblical information is not welcomed by the Devil, for in it, he, “Satan, the devil,” is exposed (Revelation 12:9,17). Not only does the truth of God’s word hurt the devil it also hinders his activity. Such information from the word can counter deception (1 John 2:26).
2. 1 John 3:4-15 indicates that Christians, by sinning, open the threshold for no good–even within the congregation of the Lord’s people. While all men are sinners (Romans 3:23), and that includes the baptized (see 1 John 1:8; 2:1), there is a particular sinfulness which rears its head within the congregation itself.

a. The devil operates through sin (1 John 3:8).
b. Sin sometimes occurs in the church, among brethren (1 John 3:10).
c. Such undesirable brethren are compared to Cain (1 John 3:12).
d. Hateful brethren are murderers, without eternal life (1 John 3:15).
e. Love is the answer (1 John 3:11).

Satan longs for human harbors. Some preaching and teaching is intervention, and some is prevention. May this data serve to identify and isolate the works of darkness within the growing congregation .

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: 1 John, Bible, Devil, New Testament, Satan Tags:

About Your Happiness:

November 21st, 2004

“And we know that the Son of God
has come, and has given us understanding…”

(1 John 5:20)



There is a major difference between the lifestyle and world view of Christians and the way of the world (1 John 2:15-17). This difference may be expressed in terms of the difference between “happy” and “blessed”. The “understanding” spoken of in 1 John 5:20 allows us to do this comparative study.

1. Happy appears to have more in common with circumstances; whereas, blessed is primarily a spiritual matter arising from one’s relationship with God. A relationship with God is never merely circumstantial, or arbitrary. It is the sense of constant communion which enables the worshipper to be able to count on God, as it were, even when the shifting sands of circumstances may dishevel one’s life (1 John 4:13).

2. Happy is essentially about one’s feelings. Blessed, on the other hand, is based on the promise of God, via the word of God (1 John 2:25).

3. Happy seems to be limited to the here and now, while blessed is about forever (1 John 3:2). Blessed involves a process of both now and later, and of both being and becoming.

4. Happiness is usually evaluated in terms of a human perspective. Contrarily, blessedness is derived from God’s point of view (1 John 2:16,17).

Chistians may be both blessed and happy. But, to be blessed is most important. Do you have this kind of life? Circumstances come and go; but choices abide.


– Robert M. Housby

Categories: 1 John, Bible, New Testament Tags: