Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Christian community (fellowship, koinonia) is predicated on forgiveness—the forgiveness of God for our sins. We are a people who have been rescued and still need rescue from sin. When John sets out to communicate the Gospel he heard from Christ, this is where he begins.
Some might think that John is laying a guilt trip on us, but this misreads the situation altogether. John is laying a forgiveness trip on us, no doubt, and a reality check, for sure.
Neal Plantinga, in his book (which I highly recommend) “Not the Way it was Meant to Be,” commenting on our text, writes, “God is perfectly just, holy, and good. According to the massed testimony of Scripture, God therefore hates sin. God outlaws sin, judges it, redeems people from it, forgives it, and suffers to do so.” (74)
Those truths are at the heart of the Gospel. When we look to the beginning of the Gospel message, they are essential. They are both scary and wonderful at the same time.