That Your Joy May Be Full
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship, is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you, that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:1-4)
The above four verses “constitute no less than John’s basic pivotal statement” (Lenski 369) on which the Epistle of First John is built. However, there is also a sense in which these four verses constitute that upon which the case for Christianity is built. These verses are at the very heart of the nature of the apologetics (defense) of the Christian faith. Christianity claims to rest, not upon “cunningly devised fables (myths)” (2 Peter 1:16), but rather in historical fact verified by eyewitness testimony. Christianity is not based merely on ideas, but on events. Events can be investigated historically and interpreted logically and rationally. The above verses (1 John 1:1-4) are as clear as any contained in the New Testament that speak concerning the historical, verifiable, logical and rational nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Prologue (1:1-4) of John's first epistle lays the solid foundation of the epistle and serves as a powerful reminder of the solid foundation upon which the case for Christianity rests. Truly, “. . . Christianity is a religion of fact. . . . It rests upon incontrovertible facts—facts attested by the very best and most reliable historic testimony in existence . . .” (Scott xvi). On such a solid and sure foundation our fellowship with God rests in Him whom having not seen we love and, though we do not now see Him, yet believing, we rejoice with a joy inexpressible and full of glory that will be made full and complete when we are permitted by His grace to bask in the glorious light of His face in that shadowless and sorrowless eternal city. What fellowship! What hope! What joy! What a Savior and Lord we have in Jesus Christ—the Word of Life!
Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation of the epistles of St. Peter, St. John, and St. Jude. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1968.
Scott, Lawrence W. Handbook of Christian Evidence or Facts Against Infidelity. 1880. Cincinnati: Rowe, 1914.