We started looking at the first letter of John tonight, studying 1 John 1:1-4 TNIV. Here, we see John firmly establishing Christian doctrine about God. ‘That which was from the beginning’ refers not to the beginning of the world or the beginning of creation, but echoes Genesis 1:1 TNIV and John 1:1 TNIV, reminding us that there never was a time ‘before’ the existence of God. John takes us back to this time in eternity past to meet the One who has always been and always will be. The eternal nature of God looks back as well as forward (when we think of having eternal or everlasting life, we tend to view it only as something from the present to the future: unlike God, we do have a beginning!)
Gnosticism denied the physical reality of Jesus, but John gives his unashamed testimony that this eternal Word of life was seen, heard, touched. In effect, he is saying “we deliver nothing by hearsay, nothing by tradition, nothing from conjecture; we have had the fullest certainty of all that we write and preach.” (Adam Clarke commentary) This eternal God can be known and has revealed Himself to us.
John identified this eternally existent being as the Word of Life (the same Logos spoken of in John 1:1 TNIV). The idea of the Logos had significance for both Jewish and Greek readers, and John affirms that this life was manifested and he is an eyewitness of the fact. This Being has an eternal relationship with the Father (after all, since God is love, there is a sense in which there is fellowship within the Godhead before even man was created.) John invites us to share relationship (fellowship) with other Christians but also with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ (Jesus in the Incarnation being the physical manifestation of the Logos). Fellowship (koinonia) indicates sharing, communion, a common bond (see Acts 2:44 TNIV). To be invited into fellowship with God is a stupendous thought! Often, people will come into that fellowship with God through the fellowship they can share with other Christians. We need to understand that relationship is at the heart of God and therefore needs to be vitally important to us too; the result of relationship is joy (see John 15:11 TNIV, John 16:24 TNIV, John 17:13 TNIV). We can have fullness of joy even in the midst of difficulties, for joy is not rooted in circumstances but in the reality of the God we worship.