I would not say there is no value at all in good, uplifting, and moral teaching or that there is no benefit to be derived by society from the consideration of noble ideas and exalted conceptions with regard to life. That is all right, but it is just not Christianity. It has nothing to do with it, in a sense, and we can do no greater violence to the New Testament doctrine than to represent the message of Christ’s birth as but some vague general message of goodwill and of good cheer and happiness. That is not its message at all.
If we do not start with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, if we are not absolutely clear about Him, then there is nothing. There is no good news, there is no evangel, there is no gospel; there is nothing to cheer us up, there is no hope. We are just living in the darkness of the world, and we are unutterably foolish in trying to persuade ourselves that things are better than they really are. There is no such thing, in a sense, as “the Christmas spirit.” That is not the Christian message, which is not a vague spirit; it is a message of news concerning Christ. So, therefore, we must of necessity start at this point and be absolutely clear about this matter.
As has often been pointed out, Christianity is Christ. It all centers around Him, and every doctrine that we have and every idea that we possess is something that comes from Him. Therefore, of necessity we must start with Him, and of course John in this letter has already done so. The whole message that John has to deliver to us is that there is only one way of fellowship and communion with God, and that is because of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is He alone who can enable us to know this fellowship, for there is “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
This article is adapted from Walking with God Day by Day: 365 Daily Devotional Selections by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.