Rightly Divide Jewish Epistles – I John 2:3-6

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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We have a Christian friend with a clear testimony of salvation. At one point, she was really struggling spiritually and failing in a besetting sin. For weeks she listened to a popular preacher on the radio who repeatedly said: “If Jesus isn’t Lord of all in your life, He isn’t your Lord at all.” What he meant was that truly saved individuals will not sin. He was preaching the doctrine of sinless perfection, basing it on passages written to Jews who were still under the Mosaic Law with an earthly eternal hope. Though our friend was an established grace believer, she became so confused, convicted, and discouraged that she nearly took her own life.

It is of the utmost importance, when reading the books written to Israel, that we rightly divide the Word of truth. Paul tells us all Scripture is “profitable” (II Timothy 3:16) for grace believers and is provided for “our learning” (Romans 15:4). Therefore, we should also study the books of our Bible not written by the Apostle Paul. However, we must always compare Jewish doctrine with Paul’s letters and only make a direct application to our lives when we can verify similar principles found in Paul’s epistles. With this in mind, we know we will find a number of applications in Jewish books that can only be properly applied to Jews and should not applied to ourselves. The following are some examples from the Book of I John. The Apostle John told his readers they could know saving faith in Christ “if” they kept his commandment. If they did not obey, they did not know Christ (I John 2:3-6). This does not apply to us today. Even though the Corinthians were extremely carnal, Paul did not question their salvation. In fact, he called them “saints” (I Corinthians 1:2). John continued, “if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). Yet when Demas quit ministering with Paul because he “…loved this present world” (II Timothy 4:10), Paul never questioned his salvation, because grace is not a performance system. We are saved by grace, kept by grace, and God deals with us every day by grace.

We can glean many edifying examples and principles out of books written to Jewish saints still under the Law (I Corinthians 10:1-11). So don’t avoid these books. However, be careful to apply only what is consistent with our primary instructions for today from the Apostle Paul.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."