google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html Gems in the Letter of 1 John - Part 112
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Gems in the Letter of 1 John

Part 112 - 1 John 3:14
Dead or alive!

In a quite astonishing verse John says, “We know that we have passed from death to life, ...” John is actually suggesting that our lives before we started to follow Jesus were like those of someone dead! Death is horribly terminal. If you have ever had to pick up a dead cat or dog or rabbit, or seen a dead lamb, that pitiful scrap of fur and skin that when alive was so full of life, you will know what I mean. (I have carefully refrained from talking about dead humans!)

We thought we were full of life. We perhaps even thought we were more full of life than those called Christians who, in the mistaken thinking of many people, being unable to do some things without being told off such as getting drunk or having pre-marital sex, are less than fully alive.

But it is not so. The real difference is who our master was then and who he is now. If you look back towards the beginning of the chapter you will find that another character has been involved in what John has been talking about. And he is the devil, also called ‘the evil one’. We like to think that we are independent, having no master, but it is not so. Such is human nature that we all, always, everywhere, are slaves to someone and in the natural order of things that person is the devil. That, unfortunately, is the way things are. John goes back to very near the beginning of the human race, the descendants of Adam and Eve. He tells us not to be like Cain who was in only the second generation of their descendants. How exactly it is that the tendency to evil which started with Cain’s father and mother has come down to us through many centuries and millennia we do not know although many people like to argue about it. No matter, it is a fact, which we cannot escape however hard we try to or to argue it does not exist.

All those many people around us who seem to be so full of of life and like to look down on us as being poor deprived people missing many of the good things of life are sadly wrong. Think back to your pre-conversion days. You may have got up to many things in those days that you would not do now. You were dead then; now you are alive in Christ, there are indeed many things you would not now do but life does not consist of the number of things you can do. It never has done and it never will do. If you make the mistake of thinking that it is the number of experiences you have that will be the best thing of life you will only spend all your days in a hopeless chase to try and catch up with as many of them as possible. No, that is a dead end! Which is why John said that the people he was writing to had passed out of death to life.

They had turned aside and escaped the dead end. So have you, as you follow the Lord. But – hold on a minute – how full of life are you now? Perhaps, like me, you are rather old so you are bound not to have a great deal of life left in you and, one way and another, it has started to seep away as though you had a small hole somewhere in your system from which life is steadily leaking away. With that exception – how full of life are you, real life, spiritual life, God centred life, Jesus type life? Spend a moment to do a stock check. “The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”

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