All of this deeply profound introduction concerning the person of Christ has a purpose.  John was not simply looking for a novel way to begin an epistle, which would catch the fancy of literary critics.  He has a high aim in mind, which he brings into focus in verse 3.  He is writing to a specific group of people, who have believed on the Son of God unto everlasting life.  He wishes these saints to attain to the heights of spiritual experience and joy.  This can only be had if they enter into the bliss of spiritual fellowship available to the child of God.

Thus, he gives the reason why he and his fellow apostles spoke so much and so highly of Him Whom they had seen and heard: they wished all their converts to enjoy the same fellowship with the Saviour as they had.  Jesus no longer walked on the earth, but He had fully honored His promise to send the Comforter to abide with them forever.  But this blessing was not for the Lord’s immediate disciples only, but for all those who would believe through the Gospel they preached.  Those who received apostolic doctrine enjoyed fellowship with those apostles, who were the witnesses of Jesus Christ, the glory of His person and the efficacy of His saving work.  Though their persons have long since died and moldered away, yet we too enter into apostolic fellowship when we receive the doctrine that they taught, as it is preserved for us in the sacred text.  The key here is, as John makes plain, that it is not fellowship with Peter, John, and Paul that is of any great moment.  Fellowship with these men, and with the message they brought, is important only because it brings us into fellowship with the divine.  There is always a limit to the advantages gained from communion with any of our fellow men, be he even a prince or a conquering general.  To know Paul or John would have been a marvelous thing.  But there were many who knew them, and were none the better for it, but rather were worse.  Such were Demas, who loved this present world, and the apostates of whom John will soon speak, who departed from apostolic company and fellowship because they were not true members of Christ’s church.

 

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