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Insights & Encouragement

Welcome to the Family



1 John 3:1 

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God!                                   

The letter of 1 John is very different from other letters in the new testament, like Romans or Galatians. The author, John, doesn’t step us through a linear argument or truth. Instead, he circles around, covering and covering the same idea adding a bit more or explaining it differently. 

Here’s an illustration of what the letter of 1 John is doing, that really helped me understand and appreciate the truths in it. 

I want you to picture yourself dating the perfect human being. Then you meet his or her family and they are incredible, too. You get married and are now part of this family – really a part! And you are excited about this, but you aren’t really sure how to be, how to act, how to relate to Uncle Frank. What’s expected of you? How do you see and treat the rest of the world now? Does this change things? 

An old white-haired grandpa hobbles up and he sits you down in a rocking chair and starts to tell you everything you need to know - the benefits of being in the family, the riches you have been given and all that is yet to come! He tells you about your new father and what he is like, what is important to him, and the love that your new family members have for you, and how you should treat each one of them. Lastly, he explains the threats to you from the world, now that you are in this family, and how to respond. 

He doesn’t go through each of these once, he explains it and then remembers another aspect or detail and jumps back to something he’s told you and elaborates on it more – just like you would if I asked you what your family or roommates or friends were like. You’re trying to put people and relationships into words. That is what John is doing here in 1 John. And it’s not “like you were part of a new family” – and please don’t miss this – YOU REALLY ARE part of the best family in the universe now, and for the rest of eternity, and it’s just going to get better! 

John is saying, “Here’s what your new spiritual dad (God the Father) and brother (Jesus) are like and have done to bring you into their family forever.” We could substitute dad and brother and it would be true for us. 


God is light, and in him is no darkness at all 

He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness 

We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 

He is the propitiation for our sins, and for the sins of the whole world 

The promise he made to us – eternal life 

He is righteous 

He is pure 

He appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin

The Son of God appeared to destroy the works of the devil 

He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world 

Love is from God 

God is love 

God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him 

In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins

He has given us His Spirit 

God is love 

He first loved us  

His commandments are not burdensome 

The Spirit is the truth 

He hears us in whatever we ask 

He always answers us 

He always protects us 

The Son of God has come and given us understanding 

He is the true God and eternal life 


See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God!