1John 2:28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
To shrink back in shame at his coming indicates one is not saved, as it says in Heb 10:37-39 "For in just a very little while, 'He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.' (Hab 2:4 LXX) But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved."
Jesus said, "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels." Mr 8:38
Furthermore the Greek word for "confident" indicates "freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech", much as Jesus said, "whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." Mt 10:32,33
Thus what constitutes legitimate faith in Christ is not the "secret" faith of the rulers of John 12:42 who "believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue" Rather, saving faith confidently confesses Christ.
1John 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
While there is a positional righteousness we receive from Christ, which is namely the forgiveness of sins, yet there is also a righteous behavior characteristic of children of God. What is righteous behavior but simply doing what is right in the eyes of God. True that most people do what they consider right in their own eyes, as Proverbs says, "All a man’s ways seem right to him." Pr 21:2 But to do what is right in the eyes of God is another matter. For "the way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice."Pr 21:15 How do we determine what is right in God's eyes? In cooperation with the Spirit of God through the Word of God in fellowship with the people of God.
1John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
It was gracious enough that Christ died for our sins so as to reconcile us to God, but to go beyond that and give us the status of children of God is really over the top! Of course sonship is limited to those who have faith in Christ. "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" Gal 3:26 And "to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" John 1:12
"Now if we are children, then we are heirs— heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" Rom 8:17
Yet just as the world did not recognize the Son of God so also the world does not recognize the sons of God. But the theme of 1John is that, having known the Father, we can recognize those who have been born of God.
1John 3:4-6 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
John is clear here that sin is associated with a certain behavior - namely lawlessness. And as Jesus appeared to take away our sins, those who live in him purifying themselves from sin. If a person does continue to sin, that indicates they had never come to know Christ. This is an indicator of whether one has been born of God.
But realize also that the sense in which John is speaking is that of overall lifestyle or the general characateristic of the person. He's using the Greek Present Tense here, which as I mentioned at the beginning of this study he uses in this sense. He's not speaking of what a person might do uncharacteristically from time to time. He's not speaking of sinless perfection here. Nonetheless, as we will see throughout this chapter, this characteristic is measurable. It is something which can be seen and determined to a relative degree.
1John 3:7-8 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
There are many warnings in the New Testament concerning being led astray in this matter. Both in the early church and today many Christians are led astray to believe that there is not necessarily any correlation between one's behavior and one's salvation status. The Bible warns:
1Cor 6:9,10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.To the unbelievers Jesus said, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
Ephesians 5:5,6 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person— such a man is an idolater— has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
Those who are children of God reflect the character of their Father, and likewise the children of the devil theirs as will further be elaborated upon in the next verses.
1John 3:9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
While there have been many different interpretations of this verse, only one is correct. In my analysis at http://www.bcbsr.com/books/1jn3_9.html I conclude that once again John is referring to one's overall lifestyle or that which generally characterizes one's attitudes and behaviors.
Those who have been born of God have lost the ability to live a lifestyle of sin. The word "cannot" in "he cannot go on sinning" (vs 9) is the greek word "dunamai", from which we derive the English word "dynamite", and it refers to the person's ability. This is the effect of being born of God. It affects the person's free will such that it is inevitable that those born of God will exhibit behavior characteristic of children of God. If a child of God tries to live a lifestyle of sin, they find that they cannot do it., just as those who have not been born of God find they are incapable of living the Christian life.
Furthermore, having the seed to remain in us is not a function of personal effort or will. Consider the last phrase "he cannot sin, because he is born of God". "is born" in the Greek is perfect passive. More literally it should be translated "has been born of God". Being born of God is a passive event, not an active event. (John 1:13) One cannot make oneself born of God. And it is because of this past event that happened to a person that he presently is incapable of living a lifestyle of sin. This is the explanation that the Apostle John gives as to why no one born of God continues to sin. Obedience is not a cause but an indication of whether one has been born of God. Bible scholar Howard Marshall also comments on the meaning of the perfect tense as it relates to the participle in 1 John 3:9: "The perfect tense marks not only the single act of birth, but the continuous presence of its efficacy" (Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament. By Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, pp. 790-791, Zondervan Corporation Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1980).
1John 3:10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
The Greek word for "know" here ("phaneros") means to be plainly recognised. This verse is one of many which answers the question as to how we can plainly recognize whether a person in the Christian community has been born of God or whether they are still children of the devil.
The two distinguishing marks here are:
1. Do they do what is right in God's eyes?
2. Do they love fellow Christians?
1John 3:11,12 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
Prior to the murder, the only thing recorded of Cain is the following:
Gen 4:3-5 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.Apparently there was something evil about Cain's sacrifice. It says in Heb 11:4,5 "By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings."
While under the Law of Moses grain offerings were accepted, they were contingent upon blood offerings to atone for sin. The modern equivalent would be to feign friendship with God apart from the blood offering made by Jesus Christ. That is to enter God's house not through the door but through some other way.
Cain was involved in a religious activity which outwardly was to honor God, but in fact he was doing evil. So also both in Jesus' time and today, those most hostile against the children of God are those who are zealously involved in false worship. And those who are of the evil one, rather than dealing with their own guilt will characteristically lash out against those who are behaving properly.
1John 3:13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
Jesus said, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." John 15:18,19
And why did the world hate Jesus? Jesus said, "It hates me because I testify that what it does is evil." John 7:7 If you are born of God you should expect the world to hate you. And why would the world hate you? Because, just like Jesus, you are to testify that what it does is evil.
The world hates being convicted of sin. In fact when you convict the worldly of sin, they typically will respond by claiming that you hate them. Such is the case of false brethren in the Christian community. If other Christians hate you for illegitimate reasons, don't be surprised if they turn out to be children of the devil.
1John 3:14,15 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
Those who have been born of God have already passed from death to life. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24
The evidence John speaks of here that a person has come to genuine faith in Christ, and has consequently passed from death to life, is their love for fellow Christians. Hatred for fellow Christians is akin to murder - just as John spoke of the Cain as a precedent for such.
Murderers, along with many other categories of sinners, do not have eternal life. To name a few: "the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars— their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur." Rev 21:8 Similar lists are found in 1Cor 6:9,10; Eph 5:5,6; Gal 5:19-21
1John 3:16,17 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 and this greater love is what we are called to. Biblical love is not simply a "feeling" of affection. Rather it is the willful intention of meeting the real needs of others. As such, Biblical love is measurable by the degree to which you are meeting the real needs of those you allegedly "love".
There are those who grumble against God claiming the God hasn't demonstrated love to them. But while God doesn't demonstrate love to them in the manner in which they would prefer, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Rom 5:8 Likewise, having demonstrated your own Christian love by meeting the real needs of others, there will be those who will grumble against you because you didn't "love" them in the manner is which they would have preferred. Don't be surprised if the world hate you even when you love them.
1John 3:18-20 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
How do you know whether you belong to the truth? By evaluating whether your love is simply lip service or whether you actually love in actions and in the truth. Consider Jesus. He loved in action by healing diseases and by dying on the cross, among other things. He love in truth by his teachings. Christians are to love by meeting people's real needs in action and by teaching them the truth. If you're just involved in meeting practical needs, that is not Jesus' example.
Few object to having their practical needs met, but they may have a hostile reaction when you tell them the truth. In view of this fact many Christians may opt to do the one without the other, or even introduce false ideas. "The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ." Gal 6:12From time to time our heart will condemn us - whether for legitimate or illegitimate reasons. But if we evaluate our lives as Paul writes, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you— unless, of course, you fail the test?" 2Cor 13:5, and if we determine our love is genuine, John is saying that this fact is meant to give us a feeling of assurance of salvation.
Assurance of Salvation is not simply based upon our claims of faith. It is based upon those measurable and inevitable effects of being born of God, such as genuine love for fellow Christians.
1John 3:21,22 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
Confidence that God listens to us in prayer with the intention of doing what we ask is not based upon our feeling of confidence, nor is it simply based upon a literal reading of the promises of answered prayer, such as Matt 21:22 "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Such promises are given under the assumption that you are obeying his commands and doing what pleases him. As such, the degree to which we conform our lives to His will is the degree to which we can have confidence in prayer.
1John 3:23,24 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
God has give us his Holy Spirit. "Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?" Gal 3:2 Upon believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, you received the Spirit. "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." Rom 8:9 And "the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children." Rom 8:16
But an alleged witness of the Spirit cannot be taken in isolation. It must have the corroborating evidence of the confession of faith in Christ, submission to his commands and by one's love for fellow Christians.
|2:28 And now continue to dwell, in him so that
when he appears
You'll be unashamed when he comes, free from any fears
29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that this is true
You know that all who do what's right have been born of him too.
3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us
That we should be called sons of God having been make righteous.
The reason the world doesn't know us, is because it knew not God.
For Jesus was a stranger to them, so how they treat us is really not odd.
2 We are children of God, and what we will be has not been revealed.
But we know when he appears, we'll be like him as we see him for real.
3 Everyone who has this hope in him, strives to live holy and pure.
For we know we're destined to be like him, and he is holy for sure.
4 Everyone who sins breaks the law, in fact sin is lawlessness
5 But you know when he appears, he'll give us perfect flawlessness.
6 No one who keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin
Has seen or know Christ our Lord, nor does Christ live in him.
7 And this I say to you dear children, let no one lead you astray
He who does what is right is righteous, just as Christ is righteous (I'll say!)
8 Those who are of the devil, practice a lifestyle of sinning
For the devil also has been sinning, and that from the beginning
9 Of those who live a lifestyle of sin, not one is born of God.
God's seed dwells in them changing their life, so from such a life they are barred.
10 Because of this fact we can know, who God's children are
And also identify those of the devil, for their behavior is like a scar.
For those who don't do what is right, are not children of God but another.
And the same goes for him, who does not love his brother.
11 This is the message you've heard from the start: we should love everyone who believes
12 Don't be like Cain who killed his brother, who belonged to the one who deceives
Cain killed him cause his works were evil, but his brother's were righteous and good
13 Don't be surprise my brothers, if you're hated for doing what you should
14 Thus we can know from this also, that we have passed from death to life
Because we do love our brothers. Those who don't remain under the knife.
15 A murderer is anyone who hates, his brother and his prospects are grim
For you know that no murderer, has eternal life in him.
16 This is how we know what love is: Christ Jesus laid his life down
So we should do the same, for our brothers in view of the crown.
17 He who sees his brother in need, and has stuff but not any pity
How can the love of God be in him, he's not on the way to God's city.
18 Let us not love with words or tongue, but in action and in truth.
19 By this we know we belong to God, when we see him our hearts he'll sooth
20 Whenever our hearts condemn us, let's remember how we've behaved
For if we have loved our brothers, that indicates we've been saved.
21 And if our hearts don't condemn us, then we can be bold before God
22 and receive from him what we ask, because all his commands we regard.
23 And what's his command you may ask, but to believe in the name of his Son
And also to love one another, that's what he commands everyone.
24 Those who obey his commands, do with him abide.
But how do we know he lives in us? By the Spirit he gave as a guide.
The Berean Christian Bible Study ResourcesJul 01,2016