We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. – 1 John 5:19-21
As John ends his letter to these early followers of Jesus with two “we know” statements. These apparently are anchors for faithfulness to which God’s people are to cling. The first is that there is a battle going on. The world is opposed to the ways and purposes of God. The world does not acknowledge God’s place as creator and king. The world does not think it has need of a Savior. The spirit of the world is unholy.
On the other hand the Son of God has come and revealed truth to our hearts and centered our minds in Jesus. He has revealed himself as the source of eternal life. He is the true God.
John’s final thought may seem abrupt: Keep yourself from idols. But the world offers many idols. From the quest for power and prestige, to the lust for money or sex, to the lure of the latest technology or self-gratifying experiences: none of these lead to true life. The world’s values all too quickly lead us away from God.
As I reflect on these words, I am reminded of the pure truth of God’s word. I want to shape my life by these truths, centered in Jesus Christ the Son of God, and center my hopes in the gift of eternal life that is in him. These are my anchors of faithfulness. Jesus is the true God and eternal life; all others are mute, dumb, impotent, and life-robbing idols.