In John’s introduction to his first letter he says that he writes these things ‘that your joy may be full’ What things? The things that he has handled, heard and seen of Jesus, the things that John writes about in the coming verses.
This statement is very similar to Jesus’ words in John 15:11 as he is spending His last hours with disciples recorded in chapters 13-17 and says…
‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.’
John is going to share with us the wonderful things he learnt when he was here on earth with Jesus, he’s going to share the things that Jesus taught him, the things Jesus told them in those last hours so that the joy they had in the presence of Jesus would remain with them just as it can remain with us.
There’s a couple of verses preceding this one that stood out to me.
The verse immediately before…
‘If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.’
This isn’t a legalistic keeping of the law to earn God’s favour, it’s an obedience that springs from overwhelming love and gratitude for all that Christ has done for us.
So what is the law? It’s more than the ten commandments, it’s the hundreds of instructions in the New Testament too such as…
• Rejoice evermore , pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.
• Have faith in God.
• Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
• this do in remembrance of me.
• love one another, as I have loved you.
• Let all your things be done with charity. (Love in action)
If those commands have made you feel such a failure take a look at the other verse I wanted to mention, verse 3 in John 15…
‘Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.’
The Greek word ‘katharos’ is translated as clean, hold that thought a minute.
Have you ever looked at the Beatitudes and this verse…
‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.’ …and thought that that will never be you, that you’re far from pure?
This Greek word ‘katharos’ interpreted in John 15:3 as ‘clean’, is the exact same word that is translated in the beatitudes as ‘pure’.
So back to what Jesus said to us that our joy might be full…
‘Now YE ARE clean (pure in heart) through the word which I have spoken unto you.’ that word that God spoke to you, even if many years ago now, it has made you clean ‘Blessed are the ‘katharos’ – clean/pure in heart: for they SHALL see God.’
It’s the great exchange…
‘For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.’
If our sins have been forgiven, when we approach God, although He knows far more than we do our unfitness and filthiness of heart, He doesn’t see that, He sees us as we are in Christ, covered in His righteousness.
‘Let us therefore come BOLDLY unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’
Great God! from thee there’s nought concealed,
Thou seest my inward frame;
To thee I always stand revealed
Exactly as I am!
Since I can hardly, therefore, bear
What in myself I see;
How vile and black must I appear,
Most holy God, to thee!
But since my Saviour stands between,
In garments dyed in blood,
’Tis he, instead of me, is seen,
When I approach to God.
Thus, though a sinner, I am safe;
He pleads, before the throne,
His life and death in my behalf,
And calls my sins his own.
What wondrous love, what mysteries,
In this appointment shine!
My breaches of the law are his,
And his obedience mine.
1 John 1:4, John 15:11, 1 Thess 5:16-18, Mark 11:22, Luke 6:37, 1 Cor 11:24, John 15:12, 1 Cor 16:14, John 15:3, Matt 5:8, 2 Cor 5:21, Heb:16.