1 John Bible Study

Am I Really Saved?: A First John Check Up ~ Lesson 3: Love and Hate

1 John Study

Am I Really Saved? A First John Check Up
Lesson 3: Love and Hate
Please Read: 1 John 2:1-17

Previous Lessons: 1, 2

(Helpful Hint: Using the cross-references {footnotes to related verses} provided in your Bible or in the Bible Gateway links I’ve provided will be very helpful as you study.)

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5

1 John 1:8-2:2

The closing verses of chapter 1, as we saw in last week’s lesson, deal with whether or not a person walks in unrepentant sin. Lost people deny that they are sinners and continue, unrepentantly, in their sin. (1:8, 10) Saved people confess their sin and are forgiven through Christ. (1:9)

John continues his line of thought in the opening verses of chapter 2 (Remember, when he wrote this, there were no chapters and verses. It was just a letter like you might write today.). He’s not writing just to point out sin and how lost and saved people deal with sin differently. He’s writing so that people will not sin. (2:1)

But when Christians (“my little children” refers to John’s “children” in the faith), do sin, John reminds us, Christ has already paid the penalty for our sin. Verses 1-2 of chapter 2 encourage us to remember this, repent, and be forgiven.

And that’s not all. Look at those great little words at the end of verse 2: “but also for the sins of the whole world.” That means that if you examined yourself according to 1 John 1 and found that you are indeed a liar who walks in the darkness while claiming to belong to Christ (1:6), or someone who denies that she’s a sinner, or claims she’s not sinning when she does things the Bible clearly labels as sin (1:8, 10), and you’re grieved over that and want to repent, there is hope.

The perfectly sinless son of God, Jesus Christ, stepped between you and God (“advocate,” 2:1) and propitiated God’s wrath against you for your sin so that you could be reconciled to God. He offers this precious gift of salvation to anyone who will turn from her sin and place her faith in Christ. (2:2)

  • What did you discover last week when you examined yourself according to 1 John 1? Do you walk in the darkness or in the light? Do you agree with the Bible’s definition of sin and confess your sins, or argue against the Bible and continue in sin?
  • Has there ever been a time in your life when you came before God, confessed and admitted that He is right about your sin and you are wrong, asked His forgiveness, and placed your faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as payment for your sin? If not, I urge you to do so now.
  • If you are saved, this passage is also an encouragement to remember, when you sin – and you will – that Christ has already paid the penalty for your sin. Remember the hope you have in Christ. Repent and be forgiven.

1 John 2:3-6

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 3: Do I keep God’s commands?

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

With this passage, we have to make sure we don’t get the cart before the horse. John is not, I repeat, not saying that you become a Christian by being a good person and obeying all of God’s rules. The Bible is exceedingly clear that salvation does not come from our good works but by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

John is saying that people who have genuinely been born again keep God’s word out of a heart of love for Him. Apple trees just naturally grow apples because they’re apple trees. You could buy a bag of apples at the store and tie them to an oak tree, but that would not make it an apple tree. It would just be an oak tree with fake fruit hanging from it. See?

  • Examine your heart- do you desire to keep God’s commandments? Why? What is your motive for obedience to God’s word? Are you an apple tree growing apples or an oak tree trying to pass yourself off, with fake fruit, as an apple tree?
  • Verse 4 is very similar to 1:6. Do you claim to be a Christian while actively disobeying Scripture, justifying your sin, or giving no consideration to keeping God’s commands? What do 1:6 and 2:4 call people who do this? Is this the description of a saved person or an unsaved person?
  • What does it mean to “walk in the same way in which [Jesus] walked”? Are there any areas of your life that don’t match up with the way Jesus lived?

1 John 2:7-14:

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 4: Do I hate others? (9-11)

9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

  • This passage talks about living a lifestyle of hate. Do you have an ongoing pattern of hate in your life? Do you hate a certain person? People who behave a certain way? A a certain racial group or class of people?
  • Compare this passage to 1:5-7. Which two words does John again use to draw a sharp contrast between sin and holiness? What does 2:9 say about people who claim to be Christians, yet whose lives are characterized by hate? What does 2:10 say about the one who loves his brother? Which characterizes the life of the Christian, love or hate?
  • Which three groups of people does John address in verses 12-14? What are the reasons he gives for writing to them?

1 John 2:15-17:

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 5: Do I love worldliness?

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

  • What does verse 15 mean when it says not to love “the things in the world”? How does verse 16 define this phrase? Can you give some real life examples of “the desires of the flesh”? “The desires of the eyes”? “The pride of life”? Why does verse 16 say these things are “not from the Father”?
  • What does verse 15 say about people who love the things of the world? If “the love of the Father is not in” a person, is that person a Christian? Instead of loving the world, what characterizes a Christian, according to verse 17? Which is temporary, the world, or the one who does the will of God? Which is eternal? (17)

This week, we are examining our salvation with three questions:

1. Do I keep God’s commands?

2. Do I hate others?

3. Do I love worldliness?

Christians, out of love for God, desire to obey Him, love others, and reject worldliness. Lost people may behave outwardly in a way that looks like obedience to God’s commands, but, because they have not been born again, there is no love for Him leading to true obedience and love for others. The lost person’s true love is the things of this temporal world.

Where do you stand in light of 1 John 2:1-17? Do you love the right things, such as God’s word, others, and the things of God? Do you hate the right things, like sin and worldliness? Prayerfully examine your heart, comparing your motives and actions to these Scriptures. Surrender your life to Christ if you find that you are not truly saved. If you are saved, repent of any sin God reveals to you and ask Him to help you “walk in the same way in which [Jesus] walked.”

Additional Resources:

1 John 2– Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Propitiation: How the Cross Affected God by Steve Lawson

True or False? A Study in 1 John– at Naomi’s Table (lessons 7-9)

Faith, Gospel, Heaven, Hell, Salvation, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ From Here to Eternity

Originally published March 20, 2014here to eternityFred_Phelps_10-29-2002

Fred Phelps died last night. And I’m glad.

I’m glad there’s one less person on earth publicly sullying the name of Christ and dragging His holy Word through the mud.

What I’m not glad about is that, as far as we know, yesterday was the first day of his eternity in Hell.

Hell? But he claimed to be a Christian.

Fred Phelps and his kindred are a perfect example of the fact that you can claim whatever you want, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.


“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Matthew 7:21-23


And that’s not just the case for people like Fred Phelps whose lives seem to define the word “vile.” It’s also true for “nice” people. People you’d never put in the same category as Fred Phelps. People who volunteer at hospitals and run marathons to raise money for cancer research. Moms who’d do anything for their children. Men who are faithful to their wives. Your next door neighbor. Your brother. Your coworker.

Vile people don’t go to Heaven.

Nice people don’t go to Heaven.

Saved people go to Heaven.

The bad news is that you could never do enough good things to earn your way into Heaven. And, the good news is that you could never do enough bad things to forfeit Heaven.

Because being reconciled to God is not about what you do. It’s about what Christ has done.

We’re not always good. He was. We’re not always pleasing to God. He was. We don’t always do the right thing. He did. He lived the perfectly good, right, and pleasing-to-God life that we’d never be able to live. And then came the cross.

Some people refer to what happened at the cross as “the great exchange,” and, indeed it was the greatest exchange ever. At the cross, Christ suffered the execution that we deserve as the punishment for our crimes against God, and in exchange, we can have the perfect life He lived. His rap sheet for ours. Our guilty verdict for His innocent verdict. His death penalty for our exoneration. And it’s all ours if we’ll let go of the sin we cling to and throw ourselves on the mercy of the Judge.

Could someone as evil as Fred Phelps do that? Yes, and I hope he did before he died. Because no one who repents and trusts in Christ is beyond the reach of His saving grace. Not even a nice person like you.

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Hebrews 10

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Hebrews 10

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
    but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
    as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
    after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
    and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

“Yet a little while,
    and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider:

1. What is the overall theme of Hebrews 10?

2. What are the “good things to come” (v.1) that were foreshadowed by the law?

3. Why, according to verses 11-14, 18, do priests no longer need to make sacrifices for sin?

4. According to verses 19-22, how may we now approach God, and why are we allowed to approach Him this way?

5. What reason, as described in verses 26-30, would someone have to fear falling into the hands of the living God (v.31)?

Faith, Gospel, Heaven, Hell, Salvation

From Here to Eternity

here to eternityFred_Phelps_10-29-2002Fred Phelps died last night. And I’m glad.

I’m glad there’s one less person on earth publicly sullying the name of Christ and dragging His holy Word through the mud.

What I’m not glad about is that, as far as we know, yesterday was the first day of his eternity in Hell.

Hell? But he claimed to be a Christian.

Fred Phelps and his kindred are a perfect example of the fact that you can claim whatever you want, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.


“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Matthew 7:21-23


And that’s not just the case for people like Fred Phelps whose lives seem to define the word “vile.” It’s also true for “nice” people. People you’d never put in the same category as Fred Phelps. People who volunteer at hospitals and run marathons to raise money for cancer research. Moms who’d do anything for their children. Men who are faithful to their wives. Your next door neighbor. Your brother. Your coworker.

Vile people don’t go to Heaven.

Nice people don’t go to Heaven.

Saved people go to Heaven.

The bad news is that you could never do enough good things to earn your way into Heaven. And, the good news is that you could never do enough bad things to forfeit Heaven.

Because being reconciled to God is not about what you do. It’s about what Christ has done.

We’re not always good. He was. We’re not always pleasing to God. He was. We don’t always do the right thing. He did. He lived the perfectly good, right, and pleasing-to-God life that we’d never be able to live. And then came the cross.

Some people refer to what happened at the cross as “the great exchange,” and, indeed it was the greatest exchange ever. At the cross, Christ suffered the execution that we deserve as the punishment for our crimes against God, and in exchange, we can have the perfect life He lived. His rap sheet for ours. Our guilty verdict for His innocent verdict. His death penalty for our exoneration. And it’s all ours if we’ll let go of the sin we cling to and throw ourselves on the mercy of the Judge.

Could someone as evil as Fred Phelps do that? Yes, and I hope he did before he died. Because no one who repents and trusts in Christ is beyond the reach of His saving grace. Not even a nice person like you.

Gospel, Salvation, Sunday School

What is salvation? What is the gospel? (Cont’d) ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 10-6-13

sunday school

These are the notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

What is salvation? What is the gospel? (Cont’d)

I. Recap of our three problems in having a relationship with God.

A. Problem 1: God is holy, and we can’t be in His presence because we’re not.

B. Problem 2: God demands that we be holy as He is holy, but we can’t, due to our sin.

C. Problem 3: Because of our sin, we deserve hell.

II. People without Christ don’t know or care that they have these problems, nor that they need a solution to them. (Ephesians 2:1-3) For all of these reasons, the only way the gap between us and God could be bridged is for God to bridge it Himself. (Genesis 22:1-13)

A. Even our good deeds are tainted with sin. (Isaiah 64:6)

B. God is merciful. He wants us to be reconciled to Himself. (2 Peter 3:9; Romans 5:6-8)

III. God’s solution: Jesus.

A. Jesus was the perfect, spotless sacrificial Lamb. (Hebrews 4:15, 1 John 3:5)

B. On the cross, Jesus absorbed all of God’s wrath towards our sin (propitiation). (1 John 4:9-10; 1 Peter 3:18)

C. If we trust in Christ’s payment for our sin, His righteousness is imputed to us just like our sin was imputed to Him on the cross. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9)

IV. How does Jesus’ death bridge the gap between us and God and solve our three problems?

A. (Problem 1) Through Christ, we are made holy and can come into God’s presence to be in a relationship with Him. (Colossians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:4)

B. (Problem 2) Because of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, we are holy, and our sin is forgiven. (Hebrews 10:10, 1 Corinthians 6:11)

C. (Problem 3) Because Christ paid for our sin in full, hell is moot. (John 3:16, 36; John 5:24)

D. Summary: Ephesians 2:1-7

 V. Extra Study Resources:

A. “What is Propitiation?

B. “Why Does Christ’s Righteousness Need to be Imputed to Us?”

C. “God Saves Bad People” by Art Azurdia

D. “Substitutionary Atonement of Jesus Christ