What Does 1 John 1:4 Mean?

These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.

1 John 1:4(NASB)
Picture courtesy of Hawksky

Verse of the Day

In the introductory remarks of his first epistle, John quickly places his focus on Christ Jesus... the incarnate Word of God Who was manifest in the flesh and spoke the words of eternal life. John reminded his readers that the Man about Whom he was speaking existed from the beginning, and yet He lived with His disciples for three amazing years and walked with them day by day.

Jesus was the Word made flesh, Whom they saw with their eyes, touched with their hands, and heard speaking with their own ears, and John wanted to make it very clear that he and the other apostles were not propagating second hand information to their readers, but were actual eye-witnesses of Christ's amazing ministry. They all heard His teaching and could give personal testimony of His miracles. They all saw Him die on the Cross and were witnesses of His glorious Resurrection.

The joy of the Lord was John's hope and strength and he was writing his epistle for a particular purpose. "These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete." The things about which John and his fellow apostle wrote, produced in them a harvest of joy, for a knowledge of the gospel produced spiritual well-being in all to whom they ministered.

John was getting on in years and he knew that his letter would not only rejoice his own heart, but would bring spiritual joy to all who are one in Christ - a mutually beneficial joy - joy unspeakable and full of glory!

In his second epistle to the elect lady, John wanted to make her joy complete by coming to speak to her about the Lord Jesus, face to face, while in his third letter to Gaius, he admits he has no greater joy than to hear that his children are walking in a knowledge of the truth of the gospel.

It is here in John's first letter, that the joy of the Lord in his heart compelled him to write of the good news of Christ. He knew that the truth he taught, not only completed his own joy but would fill to overflowing the inner, spiritual joy of his readers.

There are certain translations that suggest that this verse is better translated, "These things we write, so that YOUR joy may be made complete." But whether it is my joy, our joy, your joy, or John's personal joy in the Lord, the joy of knowing that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, brings with it a boundless and unfathomable spirit of joy.

A knowledge of the truth of God's Word brings joy to every heart that trusts in Christ for salvation. But there is an even greater joy that can be experienced, when the people we care about and those with whom we share the truth of the gospel, also discover that same, inner thrill that bubbles up into a spiritual knowledge and understanding of who we are in Christ and what He has accomplished on our behalf. "These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete - these things we write so that your joy may also be complete"

May the joy we have in our Lord Jesus Christ be made complete as we speak of the lovely Lord Jesus, through Whom we have received forgiveness of sin and life everlasting.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that the joy of the Lord is my strength. Thank You for the Gospel and the epistles of John and for the writings of the other apostles and the amazing truth they contain about the Person and work of Christ... and the joy that is mine by faith in Him. Overflow my heart with Your boundless love and joy, and I pray that other believers will also experience the inner, spiritual joy that is ours when we are walking in spirit and truth and remain in fellowship with our heavenly Lord. Thank You for sending Jesus to be the Lord of my life, the Light of my soul, and the joy of my heart, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.

Picture courtesy of JillWellington

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