Intimate knowledge
-->law keeping
-->sibling loving


We start with the recognition that we’re mixed (2:1-2): it’s possible not to sin, but we sin anyway. God takes care of us. First, Jesus is our helper, helping us be more able not to sin. Second, Jesus IS the way of reconciliation. In other words, god himself is the way God takes care of our sin, our shattered relationship with him, and the enmity between us and God.

Lest we think this is a mere judicial transaction, John begins talking about knowing Jesus. This is not cognitive knowing, but relational knowing—more like spouses or best friends than like history class. If we know Jesus, then we keep his word. It is word—his command—is to love like he loves. The evidence for this is our love for Christian siblings.

For me the crux of this is the vertical and horizontal relationships. They are tied together and it seems one cannot be a God-follower without having both. It seems to be all or nothing. Yes, there is a growth curve from more messy to less messy to not messy at all (AKA heaven), but it seems we either have the vertical-horizontal or we have nothing at all.


God, I do see these in me, I think less messy than before, but tons to go. I wonder, though, how can I both embody this truth and encourage collegians to reflect on it?


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