[quote=dljl]I thought 1st John was mainly a refutation of gnosticism. thanks
1st John is a refutation against the Gnosticism of the Docetists. These heretics had their own peculiar form of the OSAS heresy. The Docetists believed that matter was evil, that Christians were only regenerated spiritually, and because of that, Christians were trapped inside the evil matter of their own bodies. (A belief not to different from what many Calvinists believe).
Some Docetists believed that one could commit sexual sin without affecting the inwardly regenerated man, since sexual sin was a sin committed in the flesh that trapped the spirit. John had to rebuke this nonsense, and that is why he writes: “Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him. Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God. (1John 3:4-9) Calvinists often misinterpret John when he writes that a Christian “cannot sin”. The Calvinists believe John is saying that the “true Christian” has had irresistible grace forced upon him, and irresistible grace makes a “true” Christian incapable of sinning (i.e. he cannot sin). But this is not what John is saying at all. John clearly understands that a Christian is capable of committing sin, and that is why he writes,“If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1John 1:8-10). When John says that the Christian cannot sin, he means that being a Christian does not give one a ticket to sin because he has some sort of “assurance of salvation” given to him by a legal contract with God. The Christian cannot sin (he is not permitted to sin), because sinning is fruit of the children of the devil.No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God. In this way, the children of God and the children of the devil are made plain; no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God, nor anyone who does not love his brother. (1John 3:9-10).The OSAS heresy of modern day Protestants is only a minor variation of the OSAS heresy of the Docetists. Christians have free will, and John clearly teaches that Christians can commit mortal sin: There is sin which is mortal … (1John 5:16)
A standard argument by evangelicals for the assurance of salvation is 1st John 5:13 :"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. "
A Christian does have eternal life as long as he is in a state of sanctifying grace, but OSAS Protestants don’t understand what John is talking about when he says a Christian has eternal life.
In the very first sentence of the First Epistle of John, John spells it out that Jesus Christ is eternal life. The Christian that has not committed mortal sin has Christ (eternal life) dwelling in his soul (abiding within). John teaches that hatred is a mortal sin, and that one who hates his brother is a murderer that has no eternal life abiding within his soul. He who does not love abides in death. Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1John 3:14-15). The first Epistle of John is great source to refute the heresy of OSAS (“assurance of salvation”, “eternal security”, etc. ) OSAS believing Protestants are typically confused by what John is teaching in this epistle, and they must work very hard to twist the words of John to support the Protestant heresy of OSAS.