Christianity is the only religion that abounds in song. Atheism is songless; agnosticism has nothing to sing about; the various forms of idolatry are not tuneful; but God’s people say, “O come, let us sing unto the Lord.” When Christ came, the angels greeted His birth with praise, and since then Christian song has gained in fulness and strength of voice with each passing century.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only
that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)
First John was written to warn and instruct the readers about false teaching (2:26; 3:7) that denied Jesus Christ had come in the flesh (4:2, 3). This teaching held that Christ only appeared to be human, so that there was no real incarnation and no divine Savior who was able to die as an atonement for sinners. Christ only seemed to die. There is much speculation about precisely who these false teachers were, but the letter does not offer much information about them. The false teaching of 1 John is generally known from early Christian history and is called “Docetism” (from the Gk. dokeō, “to seem” or “to appear”).
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:1-5)
It started with a simple tweet on Twitter, which reminded me of one of those old gospel songs we sang and loved. The message mentioned the theological inaccuracy of the song in this way:
“When He was on the cross, I was on His mind,” so the song says. Not primarily you weren’t. Jesus redeemed us “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:6). This is repeated in 1:12 and 1:14. When He was on the cross, the glory of God was on His mind.
So much of evangelicalism omits this most important aspect — salvation is not about us, but, through God’s gracious, sheer, unmerited favor, it includes us. The Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation are expressed this way:
- Sola Scriptura: The Bible is the sole written divine revelation and alone can bind the conscience of believers absolutely (Matt. 4:4; 2 Tim. 3:16).
- Sola Fide : Justification is by faith alone. The merit of Christ imputed to us by faith is the sole ground of our acceptance by God, by which our sins are remitted (Rom. 5:1; Gal 2:16).
- Solus Christus: Christ is the only mediator through Whose work we are redeemed (John 14:6; John 3:16).
- Sola Gratia: Our salvation rests solely on the work of God’s grace for us (Rom. 2:4; Eph. 2:8-10).
- Soli Deo Gloria: To God alone belongs the glory (Isa. 42:8; Col. 3:17).
The central event of history is the advent of eternal life in Jesus Christ. John is one of the chosen witnesses who saw, heard, and touched the Son of God, who had existed from the beginning and whose eternal fellowship with the Father is now extended to those who trust in the Son alone for salvation. In his first epistle, John seeks to reassure his readers that they are in Christ, and he provides them with a number of ways in which they can know that they are believers. The third chapter contrasts those who walk in darkness with those who walk in light. It begins with the love of God in adopting us into His family.
In light of this postmodern area, the proclamation of objective truth is frequently met with opposition and even hostility. Even though relativism fails any standard of logical reasoning, its adherents embrace it with tenacity and zeal. As radically corrupt human beings, we tend to grope in the darkness throughout life, never finding real and objective meaning to existence whatsoever. The Apostle Paul, in the book of Romans, states it quite clearly:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20).