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1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 1 John
Book: 1 John
Chapter: 1

The Apostle prefaces his epistle to believers in general, with
evident testimonies to Christ, for promoting their happiness and
joy. (1-4) The necessity of a Life of Holiness, in order to
Communion with God, is shown. (5-10)

1-4 That essential Good, that uncreated Excellence, which had
been from the beginning, from eternity, as equal with the
Father, and which at length appeared in human nature for the
Salvation of sinners, was the great subject concerning which the
Apostle wrote to his brethren. The apostles had seen Him while
they witnessed his Wisdom and Holiness, his miracles, and Love
and Mercy, during some years, till they saw him crucified for
sinners, and afterwards risen from the dead. They touched him,
So as to have full proof of his resurrection. This Divine
Person, the Word of Life, the Word of God, appeared in human
nature, that he might be the Author and Giver of eternal Life to
mankind, through the Redemption of his Blood, and the influence
of his new-creating Spirit. The apostles declared what they had
seen and heard, that believers might share their comforts and
Everlasting advantages. They had free access to God the Father.
They had a happy experience of the Truth in their souls, and
showed its excellence in their lives. This Communion of
believers with the Father and the Son, is begun and kept up By
the influences of the Holy Spirit. The benefits Christ bestows,
are not like the scanty possessions of the world, causing
jealousies in others; but the joy and happiness of Communion
with God is all-sufficient, So that any number may partake of
it; and all who are warranted to say, that truly their
Fellowship is with the Father, will desire to lead others to
partake of the same blessedness.

5-10 A message from the Lord Jesus, the Word of Life, the
eternal Word, we should all gladly receive. The great God should
be represented to this dark world, as pure and perfect Light. As
this is the nature of God, his doctrines and precepts must be
such. And as his perfect happiness cannot be separated from his
perfect Holiness, So our happiness will be in proportion to our
being made holy. To walk in Darkness, is to live and act against
religion. God holds No heavenly Fellowship or intercourse with
unholy souls. There is No Truth in their profession; their
practice shows its folly and falsehood. The eternal Life, the
eternal Son, Put On Flesh and Blood, and died to wash us from
our sins in his own Blood, and procures for us the sacred
influences By which Sin is to be subdued more and more, till it
is quite done away. While the necessity of a holy walk is
insisted upon, as the effect and evidence of the knowledge of
God in Christ Jesus, the opposite error of self-righteous pride
is guarded against with equal care. All who walk near to God, in
Holiness and Righteousness, are sensible that their best days
and duties are mixed with Sin. God has given Testimony to the
sinfulness of the world, By providing a sufficient, effectual
Sacrifice for Sin, needed in all ages; and the sinfulness of
believers themselves is shown, By requiring them continually to
confess their sins, and to apply By Faith to the Blood of that
Sacrifice. Let us plead guilty before God, be humble, and
willing to know the worst of our case. Let us honestly confess
all our sins in their full extent, relying wholly On his Mercy
and Truth through the Righteousness of Christ, for a free and
full forgiveness, and our deliverance from the power and
practice of Sin.

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