Series 24


by Francis Dixon

(Scripture Portion: 1 John 4:11-21)

No less than five times in his First Letter, John emphasises the fact and the purpose of our Lord’s incarnation. Sometimes the question is asked: How do we know that Jesus came? There are two main lines of evidence for the fact of our Lord’s birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension and exaltation:

  1. His coming was prophetically anticipated. Frequently in the Old Testament scriptures we find predictions of the first advent of our Lord. The fact and purpose of His coming are presented to us in pictures, types and promises – look up and compare Genesis 3:15,21; 4:1-5; Exodus 12:13; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; 53:5-6; Lamentations 1:12.
  2. His coming was historically authenticated. In the four Gospels and in the Letters we have the historical record of the Saviours birth and life. Added to this, of course, we have the independent testimony of secular historians. Thus, we can join the writer of this letter and say, “We know also that the Son of God has come” – look up 1 John 5:20. We can be sure of our Lord’s coming and the reasons why He came.

1. 1 JOHN 3:5 – He came to be our Sin-bearer.

This verse reads – “you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin.” The word ‘appeared’ is significant; it infers our Lord’s pre-existence. When He was born at Bethlehem, that was not His beginning – look up and compare John 1:1-3; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Galatians 4:4; 1 John 1:1-12. Why then did He come? The answer is: to take away our sins! So the essential purpose of the incarnation was not that our Lord might become our Example or our Teacher, but that He might be our Sin-bearer.

2. 1 JOHN 3:8 – He came to destroy the works of the Devil.

The verse reads, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” Satan is the instigator of all the sin and suffering that the human race has known; all the sickness, heartbreaks, murders and wars come because of his presence in the world. But Jesus came to destroy Satan and to restore to us all that we have lost through his evil workings; and He did this by His death upon the cross of Calvary. There, once and for all, Satan was defeated – look up Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 20:10. Jesus bound the strong man – look up Mark 3:27. He did this potentially; and soon, at His second coming, He will do it actually – look up Revelation 20:10. In John 10:10 there is a beautiful illustration of this. Satan, as a thief, comes to rob, spoil and destroy, but Jesus comes to reverse the whole process and to overthrow and remove all Satan’s works. What a great thing it is to be on the side of the Lord Jesus Christ! What a solemn thing to be on the Devil’s side! look up Matthew 12:30. Satan today is doing his utmost to keep men and women in the dark concerning the Person and the work of Jesus Christ our Lord – look up 2 Corinthians 4:4. He is also intent on attacking and accusing God’s children, but thank God he is a defeated foe! – look up Romans 16:20.

3. 1 JOHN 4:9 – He came to give us Eternal Life.

The verse reads, “This is how he showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.” Jesus came to give us eternal life. This was our greatest need, because the coming of sin had brought death upon the whole human race, spiritual death, which is separation from God – look up Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1, and compare John 5:40. We were spiritually dead; God loves us and sent his one and only Son into the world that we might have eternal life. This is the good news of the gospel – look up John 3:16. How do we get this life? – look up 1 John 5:11-12 and see. Do you possess eternal life and have the assurance that you have passed from death into life? – look up John 5:24.

4. 1 JOHN 4:10 – He came to be the Atoning Sacrifice for our sins.

The verse reads, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” These words are saying that the Lord Jesus not only came to take away our sins, but that because He did that by offering Himself as the sacrifice for sin, He entirely vindicated the holy and righteous character of God, and satisfied all the demands of His holiness and justice, thus enabling Him to be merciful to the sinner. God is righteously angry with our sinfulness – look up Psalm 7:11. His holy and righteous nature demands this. Sin must be punished. But sin has been punished in the Person of our Substitute, who bore our sins in His body on the tree – look up 1 Peter 2:24. Thus, we can say with the psalmist – look up Psalm 103:10. The Lord Jesus has once and for all dealt with the sin question, and because our trust is in Him we are safe and secure. How wonderful to have this assurance!

5. 1 JOHN 4:14 – He came to be the Saviour of the World.

The verse reads, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.” This is the glorious note with which we end our study. Jesus is the Saviour of the world; the work of salvation which He accomplished upon the cross is adequate for all people, everywhere. Christ is the universal Saviour. The message given to the shepherds on the first Christmas Day is still true – look up Luke 2:10-11, and compare John 4:39-42. Does this mean that everyone is saved? No, it means that salvation is available and provided for all – but it has to be accepted. Jesus is the only Saviour – look up Acts 4:12. He is well able to save all who come to Him – look up Hebrews 7:25; but to be saved we must call upon and trust Him as our own personal Saviour – look up Romans 10:13.