I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and know [that] no lie is of the truth.
1 John 2:21
I find it interesting that John repeats the phrase I have written to you or some variation thereof so often. This is the eighth time the phrase or some variation has been used in this chapter alone. So it is no wonder that this verse caught my attention as I read over it.
The purpose of this writing — why John is writing or has written this letter — is something that John wants clear in my mind. He is writing so that our joy may be made complete (1:4); so that I may not sin (2:1); because my sins have been forgiven … for His name’s sake (2:12); because I know Him who has been from the beginning (2:13); because I have overcome the evil one (2:13); because I know the Father (2:13); because I am strong and the word of God abides in [me] (2:14); and because I know the truth (2:21).
At a glance, these reasons for writing comprise the message of salvation (know the truth and be forgiven my sins for His Name’s sake) and walking as a believer (know the Father, Who was from the beginning, be strong and let the word of God abide in me that I may not sin and might overcome the evil one). And that seems like a great bit of a message to have driven home this morning.
In addition, this verse reiterates something for the believer: you know the truth and can tell truth from lies. John writes with full confidence that his audience can tell the difference between God’s truth and a pretender’s lies. I suspect that he is so confident because he is confident of their ability to discern truth from lies because he is confident that they know the Father and that the word of God abides in them. I heard a story from the days before Monopoly money as currency about how bank tellers were trained to recognize forged bills. The banks would have them handle real bills for a long time. The tellers would get used to the feel and the weight and the sound and everything about genuine currency. From prolonged and intimate exposure to the real, the tellers would readily recognize the fake and not accept them. John seems to have a similar confidence in these believers. He seems to think that they have handled the Real so much and for so long that the fake is obvious to them.
This morning, I am challenged to examine myself. Do John’s reasons for writing apply to me? If no, I need to get those things straightened out.
Father, thank You that You are Truth and that You cannot lie. Thank You that You have put forth Truth in Your Word. Please examine me and communicate Your findings to me that I might know whether or not John’s reasons for writing — forgiven my sins, making efforts not to sin any more, know You, overcoming the evil one, strong, and Your Word abiding in me — apply to me. If they do not, please show me where the deficiency is and fill up what is lacking in me.