1 John Lessons


1John 2:28-3:3 Literalize

vs 28  And now, little children, take up a lifestyle abiding in Him,
that when He should appear at some point in time,
we may be characteristically confident and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
vs 29  If you have perceived that He is righteous,
you know that everyone who practices righteousness as their lifestyle has been born of Him.

3:1  Perceive what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us,
that we should be called children of God!
Therefore the world characteristically does not know us,
because it did not know Him. (John 1:10)

vs 2  Beloved, now we are children of God;
and at this point in time it has not yet been revealed what we shall be,
but we have perceived that when He is revealed at some point, we shall be like Him,
for we shall see Him as He is for ourselves.
vs 3  And everyone who has this hope in Him characteristically purifies himself, just as He is pure.



Confident Faith

1John 2:28  And now, little children, take up a lifestyle abiding in Him,
that when He should appear at some point in time,
we may be characteristically confident and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

As mentioned previously, this "abiding" regards salvation. This is the same command as verse 24. (see http://www.bcbsr.com/books/1jnss_2_19-27.html)

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 Fatherís 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.

The Bible offers no assurance of salvation to those who don't abide in Christ.

Abiding

To abide is to remain in him. The same word "abide" here ("meno" in Greek)  is used in 1John 2:19 of those who left the faith. There John reveals this principle, "if they had been of us, they would have continued with us" The same word "meno" is used there. This principle also correlates with John 15 where Jesus spoke of the analogy of the vine and the branches.

John 15:2a "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away"
John 15:5b "He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit"
John 15:16 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."

So abiding corresponds to a person's salvation status. And it also correlates with one's fruitfulness. This is consistent with the principles we learn of in 1John in which there is a correlation between a person's behavior, and consequently one's fruitfulness, and one's salvation status due to the nature of regeneration. In fact if we go to 1John 3:9 notice also the word "meno" (abide) is used. "Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God."

Here's a counter-example. And as I said before what John is teaching affects affects how we view many of the parables. Concerning parable of the sower we read, "The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away." Mt 13:20,21 Or in Luke it Jesus states, "Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.." Luke 8:13 These people "believed" for a time. For a time they were "believers". But they didn't remain. They didn't continue. They didn't abide in it. This is not to say they lost their salvation, but rather to question whether they were saved to begin with. Though it says they believed for time, not any kind of faith saves.

Due to the way the gospel has been preached over the last century many are under the misconception of the kind of faith that saves. The kind of faith that saves is a conviction. It's the faith that doesn't fall away when trouble and persecution come due to the Word because the person had already considered the implications of the faith and has decided to believe regardless of the consequences.

And this is what the command to "Abide" is all about. Make a decision to hold to faith regards of the consequences. Make it not simply an opinion, but a conviction. Back in John 15 Jesus promised, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you." John 15:4a



The Right Birth Mark

1John 2:29 If you have perceived that He is righteous,
you know that everyone who practices righteousness as their lifestyle 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 manís 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.

Here practicing righteousness is speaking of the characteristic lifestyle of those born of God. This is not to say that such people do not uncharacteristically sin from time to time. 

"has been born" - the perfect tense indicates that righteous living is not simply an indication of one's state at the moment, but rather of one's past state which has continued up to the present. This in contrast to those who view "born of God" as a moment by moment status, varying according to one's behavior.



Children of God

1John 3:1  Perceive what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us,
that we should be called children of God!
Therefore the world characteristically does not know us,
because it did not know Him.
(John 1:10)

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 heirsó 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. And this principle is not limited simply to discerning your own salvation status.

Likewise you will find false Christians misindentifying those who have been born of God. We see this kind of irony on a grand scale when countries like Iran claim the US is the great Satan. Or more generally you'll find Muslims reckon themselves as the righteous while categorically condemning Christians as unrighteous.

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Is 5:20

So when you feel others have misindentified you as unsaved, you may not only want to examine yourself one the matter (2Cor 13:5), but also take a look at them. For it is not uncharacteristic for those not born of God to misindentify those who have been born of God.



A Motive for Purity

1John 3:2,3  Beloved, now we are children of God;
and at this point in time it has not yet been revealed what we shall be,
but we have perceived that when He is revealed at some point, we shall be like Him,
for we shall see Him as He is for ourselves.
And everyone who has this hope in Him characteristically purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Likewise Peter writes, "Since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." 2Pet 3:14 And Paul, after speaking of scripture which promises, "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty", says, "Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." 2Cor 7:1

Christ is the pattern, the image of what we are to become.

Applications:
1.So if you want to be motivated to seek holiness, keep in mind your final destiny.
2. If a person isn't purfying themselves, that may be indicative that they don't believe.(In other words another indicator of whether one has been born of God is by whether they are purifying themselves) "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." Ga 5:24

Better yet, going back to 1John 2:18 as to not being ashamed with regards to Christ's return, ask yourself if Christ returned now, what would you be ashamed of. What have you been doing of which you'd be ashamed? And what have you been neglecting to do?


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Jul 29,2015