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4. Problem of 1 John

Physical Activities

Antagonists’ Action Toward Reader

The Antagonists are attempting to deceive the readers into believing they can access God on their own, apart from Christ (2.26; 3.7). They are trying to convince the readers to follow their theology of works rather than adhering to the exclusivity of Christ (2.27). Going hand in hand with a denial of Christ is the poor treatment of His followers.

Reader’s actions resulting from accepting errant theology

By accepting the antagonists’ doctrine that one has access to the Father apart from Christ, the readers are susceptible to a number of harmful doctrines and behaviors.


The readers will refrain from abiding in Christ (2.28) and will refuse to believe in Him any longer (3.23).


The readers will turn away believers in need since followers of Christ are in error (3.17). Furthermore, the readers will refrain from loving Christians since they no longer appreciate what God did in sacrificially sending His Son (4.20-21).


The readers will love the world and grow accustomed to the things in the world, since there is no longer an edict to not be of the world (2.15). Also, since the reader has forfeited the exclusivity of Christ, the world will no longer hate him. He will not marvel, then, at its treatment of him (3.13).


The readers will unknowingly be deceived by the antagonist by accepting his teaching that the Father can be accessed in ways other than through Christ (3.7).


The readers will reject the Apostolic teaching that Jesus is the Christ, thereby discounting the testimony of the author.


Source of Antagonist’s Theology

Human Wisdom

The antagonists trust in human wisdom rather than Divine Revelation. These teachers are lovers of the world and its wisdom (2.15-24), and their theology represents a fallen mind and its desires rather than the will or plan of God.

Old Testament

The antagonists borrow portions of their theology from the Old Testament. This source, carefully interpreted through their human wisdom, allows them to believe in a God, but prevents them from recognizing that Jesus is the promised Son in the Old Testament (1.5-2.11). So then, in rejecting Christ, they are left to their own works with which to access the Father.

Content of Antagonist’s Theology

The antagonists teach that one has access to the Father through good works rather than through Jesus Christ (2.12-28). They claim to have fellowship with God (1.6) and to love Him (4.20), yet they explicitly deny that Jesus is the Christ (2.22-23). There is no propitiatory sacrifice (1.7; 2.1; 4.10), but such is unnecessary for eternal life (1.1-3; 5.11-13).

Application of Antagonist’s Theology

If the necessity of Christ for access to God is denied, one must come to God through good works. Furthermore, if Christ is not necessary, believers should receive no special treatment. In fact, they should be shunned for their exclusivity and hatred by the world.

Problem Summary Statement

Antichrists who deny Jesus as the Son/Christ are trying to deceive believers to accept their teaching that; the Old Testament interpreted through the world’s lusts (human wisdom) indicates that one has access to the Father through good works rather than through Christ, which will result in denying Jesus as the Son of God and poor treatment of Christians.

Related Topics: Spiritual Life, Introductions, Arguments, Outlines, False Teachers

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