In 1 John we find considerable scriptural backing against the doctrines of “Faith Alone” and “Once Saved Always Saved” or “Eternal Assurance”.
John makes it clear here that something additional to faith is required.
That is to strive to live a life without sin, and if we do sin, to acknowledge our sins in order to be forgiven by God; that “if we live in the light” the blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin, implying that if we do not live in the light, it won’t; that if we say we have no sin, the truth has no place in us.
That if we do not keep the commandments, the truth has no place in us, and if we say we know Jesus without keeping the commandments, we are liars, who, Rev 22:15 tells us, will not inherit eternal life (– “everyone of false speech”); that if we claim to be in Jesus we need to act like Jesus did; that the proof that we are in God is that we keep his Word; that to remain in Jesus we have to act as he acted; that he who hates his brother is blinded by darkness; that for anyone who loves the world, the love of the father finds no place in him, because disordered desires of the body and the eyes and pride in possession are not from God; that he who does the will of God remains for ever; that everyone whose life is upright is a child of God.
That whoever sins has neither seen nor recognized God; that whoever lives sinfully belongs to the devil; that whoever does not live uprightly and does not love his brother is not from God; that whoever does not love remains in death; that whoever hates his brother is a murderer and has no eternal life remaining in him; that God’s love does not remain in him who does not share his worldly possessions; that our love must be something genuine and active; that Jesus’ commandment was that we should believe in him and love one another as he commanded us; that whoever keeps Jesus’ commandments remains in God and God in him.
That whoever fails to love does not know God; that when we love one another God remains in us and comes to perfection in us; that anyone who says “I love God” and hates his brother is a liar;
That we know we love one another when we love God and keep his commandments; that to love God is to keep his commandments;
John tells us that sin and failure to love cuts us off from God, that we are to keep Jesus’ commandments and act as he did and that eternal life does not remain in him who hates his brother. John also makes it clear that we must always be on our guard against falling, which tells us that we can fall.
1 John 1.
“5 This is what we have heard from him and are declaring to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.
6 If we say that we share in God’s life while we are living in darkness, we are lying, because we are not living the truth.
7 But if we live in light, as he is in light, we have a share in another’s life, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and truth has no place in us;9 if we acknowledge our sins, he is trustworthy and upright, so that he will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all evil.”
1 John 2.
“1 My children, I am writing this to prevent you from sinning; but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the upright.
2 He is the sacrifice to expiate our sins, and not only ours, but also those of the whole world.
3 In this way we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 Whoever says, ‘I know him’ without keeping his commandments, is a liar, and truth has no place in him.
5 But anyone who does keep his word, in such a one God’s love truly reaches its perfection. This is the proof that we are in God.
6 Whoever claims to remain in him must act as he acted.
9 Whoever claims to be in light but hates his brother is still in darkness.
10 Anyone who loves his brother remains in light and there is in him nothing to make him fall away.
11 But whoever hates his brother is in darkness and is walking about in darkness not knowing where he is going, because darkness has blinded him.
15 Do not love the world or what is in the world. If anyone does love the world, the love of the Father finds no place in him,
16 because everything there is in the world — disordered bodily desires, disordered desires of the eyes, pride in possession — is not from the Father but is from the world.
18 Children, this is the final hour; you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and now many Antichrists have already come; from this we know that it is the final hour.
19 They have gone from among us, but they never really belonged to us; if they had belonged to us, they would have stayed with us. But this was to prove that not one of them belonged to us.
24 Let what you heard in the beginning remain in you; as long as what you heard in the beginning remains in you, you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
27 But as for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you; since the anointing he gave you teaches you everything, and since it is true, not false, remain in him just as he has taught you.
28 Therefore remain in him now, children, so that when he appears we may be fearless, and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
29 If you know that he is upright you must recognise that everyone whose life is upright is a child of his.”
1 John 3.
“6 No one who remains in him sins, and whoever sins has neither seen him nor recognised him.
7 Children, do not let anyone lead you astray. Whoever acts uprightly is upright, just as he is upright.
8 Whoever lives sinfully belongs to the devil, since the devil has been a sinner from the beginning.
11 This is the message which you heard from the beginning, that we must love one another,
14 …… Whoever does not love, remains in death.
15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you are well aware that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
17 If anyone is well-off in worldly possessions and sees his brother in need but closes his heart to him, how can the love of God be remaining in him?
18 Children, our love must be not just words or mere talk, but something active and genuine.
24 Whoever keeps his commandments remains in God, and God in him.”
1 John 4.
8 Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love.
12 No one has ever seen God, but as long as we love one another God remains in us and his love comes to its perfection in us.
20 Anyone who says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, is a liar, since whoever does not love the brother whom he can see cannot love God whom he has not seen.
21 Indeed this is the commandment we have received from him, that whoever loves God, must also love his brother.”
1 John 5.
2 In this way we know that we love God’s children, when we love God and keep his commandments.
3 This is what the love of God is: keeping his commandments. Nor are his commandments burdensome,
20 ….. Children, be on your guard against false gods.”