1 John 1.1-4
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—
1.1-2: What is John talking about here? Jesus? Jesus was “in the beginning” (John 1.1) but what was from the beginning? It is something that existed from the Garden of Eden. Life (substantiated by the use of a neuter pronoun, rather than a masculine). Those who have fellowship with God have life. And not just any life – eternal life, life with the Father. “What the apostle stresses in his proclamation of the gospel is the historical manifestation of the eternal” (Stott, 63).
Adam and Eve had fellowship with God until they ate of the fruit and died spiritually, ending fellowship with God. That which was with God from the beginning has reappeared in Jesus Christ. “We” (that is the apostolic college) heard it, saw it, beheld (contemplated, to look at something with continuity and attention as if the thing observed in unusual) it, and touched it (John 20.28) in a man who had absolute and perfect fellowship with God (“made manifest”). He was no mere man and yet he really was man!
This quickly puts away many of the “-isms” making them “wasms.” They touched a real human body, saw one…this is Jesus. With one round house kick/punch, John KOs the false teachers.
3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1.3: Here is the message of the apostles: eternal life found in the man Jesus Christ. They preach this so that men might have fellowship with them. Ultimately, fellowship (in the Christian sense) among men necessitates fellowship with God first. If there is no fellowship with God, there can be no fellowship among men. If God is not first our Father and we begotten of Him, how can we be brethren?
Fellowship: sharing, partnership, and expresses a two-sided relationship with a close bond. This can be good or bad (see Prov 28.24 for ex. Of bad). In the OT, never do you find this word, either in Hebrew or Greek, a sense in which man has fellowship with God (something very common in Greek theology). The Israelite had a real of sense of distance from God. This is even communicated them in the place of worship, the temple. Only the HP is allowed in to the Holy of Holies once a year.
But under the New Covenant, things change. Because of Christ, now John triumphantly says, “indeed our (he and his recipients) fellowship is with the Father.” As Christians, we share a common bond, a common undertaking, a common life that is grounded in the person and nature of Christ (cf. Psa 119.63), yes, but the over-above that is our new relationship with the Father. There is a common bond, undertaking, life (eternal) with our God and with Jesus Christ, His Son. Herein is the spirit of NT Christianity.
4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
1.4: John’s purpose – to make the joy of your salvation, fellowship complete (perfect in every regard).