1 John 1:1–4 (NKJV)
John pens his first letter to the church, and begins abruptly with a statement of the subject matter concerning the validity of the gospel. This gospel is powerful proof of God’s grace and a source of great joy.
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.1 John 1:1-4
John speaks of the long-term knowledge of the gospel. It was from the beginning of the ministry of Jesus in which John was a key player. He and the other disciples heard the gospel message, saw it with their own eyes. They looked upon Jesus and handled His risen body. They heard the Word of life. They witnessed the life of Christ, God in the flesh, manifested before their eyes. They bore witness of Him and the glorious gospel. He is the eternal life which was with the Father and then manifested on earth in the flesh. John stated that they saw Him, witnessed Him and His glorious ministry, and then declared Him to all who would receive Him as Lord and Savior. The purpose and result of this gospel was fellowship with God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. The truest fellowship, the most effective message, the powerful effect of this message is salvation for those who believe. This gospel is preached so that those believers, reading that great message of salvation, will have joy. This joy is not just a feeling of happiness or a warm fuzzy emotion. No, John reminds them of the great gospel of Jesus Christ that is given so that their joy may be full.
Salvation and the forgiveness of all committed sin is a joyful blessing, a grace that transcends humanity and evil. The joy that results from salvation is overflowing and effervescent. It moves sadness to the side and lifts the spirit of the saved. Joy is not always logical or sensical, but it is consistent and dependable. When things are tough, joy wins. When situations do not go your way, God brings joy. Dwell in the presence of God, saved by grace, bathed in the gospel, and full of joy!