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— 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. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. – 1 John 1:1-4
Take a look at a beautiful sunset, a grand mountain vista, a beautiful flower. It’s obvious to me that there is a God who is creative and glorious. Creation testifies to God’s glory, power, and existence. Our conscience is the inner testimony to God’s character. There are certain things we may know about God – or at least surmise about him. There is a God. He created the universe. We are accountable to him. There are moral rights and wrongs by which we we be judged. This is called the natural knowledge of God.
The grace of God and the forgiveness of sins is not something we can know by natural knowledge or reason. It must be revealed to us. It is not knowable by observation. So John says that this grace – the life of God and the gift of eternal life – has been revealed. Although it was from the beginning (cf. Genesis 1:1; John 1:1), it is being revealed, manifest, made known. God has revealed his grace, love and life. He wants us to know it.
I thank God that this is the case. He offers us the opportunity for a relationship that goes beyond mere knowledge about. He offers us the opportunity for us to fear, love, and trust in him. He has revealed a heart of kindness and mercy. He has let us know of the blessings of eternal life. He has not kept it a secret.
We must, therefore, understand that people do not figure out the gospel. We must proclaim the love, forgiveness, and eternal life of God to those to whom it has not been revealed. Just as we have received this gift because others have revealed it to us by their proclamation of the gospel, so may we proclaim it to others to their great benefit and eternal joy.