1 John 3:1
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know him.
(a) See. There are things you need to see that, when you see them, will change the way you see everything else. When you see the love of your heavenly Father, it changes everything.
(b) The Father. The most important question you will ever ask is, “Who is my father?” Get the father question wrong and you will miss it on every other issue. Your identity will be muddled, and you will have no lasting security. In your legitimate desire to define yourself, you will settle for inferior choices such as career or ministry. But you are more than what you do. You are your father’s child. Who is your father? “God is your Father,” says John, and he heard it from Jesus (Matt. 6:9).
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus identifies God as your Father and our Father no less than sixteen times. Before Jesus, almost no one called God “Father.” It just wasn’t done. But after Jesus, every New Testament writer spoke this way.
Old Testament folk had many names for God, but Jesus gave us the best name of all: “Abba, Father” (Mark 14:36). Abba is not the name of a distant and mysterious God. Abba is your heavenly Father who cares for you and longs for you to know him. Jesus came to reveal God the Father to you. He came so that you might know who you truly are. He came that you might experience the abundant life of living as the apple of your Father’s eye.
(c) How great a love. The original word for love means to be well pleased or fond of or contented with. It describes the unconditional love God the Father has for his Son (John 3:35, 15:9, 17:26), for the whole world (John 3:16), and for his children (Eph. 2:4). God loves you with exactly the same sort of love he has for Jesus (see entry for John 17:23).
(d) How great a love the Father has bestowed on us. The love of God is the kind that seeks the lost, raises the dead, and welcomes outcasts into his family. It is a divine kind of love such as the world does not know.
Life is full of cares and worries, but Jesus said, “Do not worry, for your heavenly Father knows your needs” (Matt. 6:31–32). And Jesus wasn’t talking about great spiritual needs, but ordinary, everyday needs like food and clothing. The bad news of the orphaned life says, “You are on your own and nobody cares.” But the good news Jesus proclaimed says, “Your Father cares for you. If it matters to you, it matters to him.”
(e) That we would be called children of God. Those who know the love of their heavenly Father are known as God’s children.
Although God is the Father of all (Acts 17:29, Eph. 3:15), the phrase “children of God” usually refers to those who know their heavenly Father (1 John 2:13) and carry his spiritual DNA or seed (1 John 3:9). Believers, in other words (1 John 5:2). The children of God can be distinguished from the children of the devil (see entry for 1 John 3:10).
(f) And such we are. It’s a fact—we are God’s children! Believe it. We are not servants but sons (Gal. 3:26).
Whoever you are, you need to know that your heavenly Father loves you like crazy. He reaches down with love in his eyes and healing in his hands and says, “I’m your Daddy, you’re my child, and I love you.” This is the good news an orphaned world most needs to hear. Further reading: Who’s your Daddy?
(g) For this reason the world does not know us. Christians, even great apostles like John, go unrecognized by those who measure influence in terms of worldly wealth and power. God’s way are so alien to this fallen world, that even those who are highly regarded in heaven are unknown on earth.
(h) Because it did not know him meaning Jesus, the manifestation of God in human form (John 1:10). If you are believer with no reputation in the eyes of the world, you are in good company indeed.
1 John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
(a) Beloved; see entry for 1 John 2:7.
(b) Now we are children of God. For the believer, adoption is not some future event but a present reality. You will never be a more dearly-loved child of God than you are right now in Christ. As a child of God, your future is secure and blessed (Rom. 8:17, Gal. 4:7).
(c) It has not appeared as yet what we will be. Although the believer has been made 100% brand new in her spirit, our physical bodies have not yet changed. The inward change is complete, but the outward change will not be finished until Jesus returns.
(d) We know that when He appears, we will be like Him. When Jesus returns in glory, we will be instantly transformed. Our aging and worn out earth suits will be replaced with imperishable resurrection bodies (1 Cor. 15:51–52), and “what is mortal will be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor. 5:4).
(e) Because we will see Him just as He is. We are changed by beholding Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18).
John is talking about three kinds of change; past, present, and future. First, there is the adoption of the new believer into the family of God. You were a sinner, but now you are a child of God. This change is in your past. Second, there is the exchanging of our mortal bodies for resurrection bodies that we can look forward to in our future. Finally, there is the ongoing change in our walk that takes place as we behold Jesus. It is this third type of change that John is about to discuss.
1 John 3:3
And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
(a) Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him refers to those who are looking forward to the glorious return of the Lord Jesus (1 John 3:2).
(b) Purifies himself, just as He is pure. We become what we behold. The believer who knows with confidence that they are a beloved child of God (1 John 3:1) and who fixes their gaze on Jesus-who-is-pure (1 John 3:2) will find themselves shrugging off all the filth and clutter that might otherwise burden our souls.
The wrong way to read this verse is to think, “I must purify myself to become a child of God.” No, you are a dearly-loved child of God now (1 John 3:2). You are not a son or daughter because you avoid unclean things (2 Cor. 6:17–18). You are a child of God because you have put your faith in Jesus (Rom. 8:15–16).
Nor should you think, “I must purify myself to become pure.” You are cleansed by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7). Jesus is our holiness and purity from above.
So why be pure? Because in Christ you are pure; it’s who you truly are. A Christian who acts impure or unholy or unrighteous, is acting contrary to their new nature. They are settling for an inferior life when Christ offers them his abundant one. Which makes no sense. It’s like choosing to wallow in pig manure when you could be reclining at the banquet table.
(c) He is pure. Jesus is the only person who lived untouched by sin and all its damaging effects.
The gospel is a practical message with the supernatural power to bring effortless and lasting change into your life. You may not be pure; you may be struggling with all sorts of addictions and habits. But as you abide in Christ and fix your hope on the One-who-is-pure, you will find your appetites beginning to change. With a new heart and a new mind, you’ll start thinking differently. You’ll develop new tastes. You’ll want different things. The old habits that used to harm you will lose their grip and you’ll be free. All this is to the glory of his grace that empowers us to say no to ungodliness and impurity.
1 John 3:4
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
(a) Everyone who practices sin, meaning sinners or unbelievers. John is not referring to the children of God who occasionally stumble; he’s talking about those who are sinners by nature.
(b) To practice lawlessness is to live without moral restraint.
(c) Lawlessness implies wickedness or anarchy. The original word (anomia) is sometimes translated as iniquity. John is not offering a legalist interpretation of sin. (“If you break the rules you are a sinner.”) He is say those who habitually sin can be recognized by their iniquitous fruit.
1 John 3:5
You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
(a) He appeared in order to take away sins. Jesus came to carry away the sins of the world (John 1:29) and he accomplished that on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). Your sins have not been merely covered up or hidden under the blood of Jesus; they have been taken away, removed as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12). They are all gone.
(b) In him there is no sin. Jesus is sinless and pure (1 John 3:3).
To carry our sins away, we need a High Priest untouched by sin (Heb. 4:15). “Such a high priest truly meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners” (Heb. 7:26). This is why the virgin birth is essential to our salvation.
See entry for Virgin Birth.
1 John 3:6
No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
(a) No one who abides in him sins. Dive into the ocean and you will get wet. This is not a threat but a statement of fact. Similarly, the one who dives into Jesus will be cleansed from sin and delivered from the power of sin because in him there is no sin (1 John 3:5). Those who abide or make their home in the sinless Son leave their sinful habits at the door. They lose all interest in sinning because they have found something better by far. See also the entry for 1 John 3:9.
(b) No one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Someone who remains captive to sin has not had the liberating revelation of the Jesus in whom there is no sin. They may have heard about Jesus. They may have even responded to Jesus in faith. But if they are acting like captives to sin, their revelation of Jesus is incomplete.
John is not saying that Christians never sin (1 John 2:1). He is saying that sinning is a characteristic of Adam’s nature, not Christ’s. Our old sinful nature with its sinful habits died with Christ on the cross. The person we used to be—captive to sin and the crummy lusts of the flesh—is no more. So reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to Christ and be free. The one who is born of God is a sinner no more (1 John 3:9).
Further reading: “The sinless life”
1 John 3:7
Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
(a) Little children; see entry for 1 John 2:1.
(b) Make sure no one deceives you. Again, John is warning us about false prophets and deceivers (1 John 4:1; 2 John 1:7).
(c) The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. Again, the fruit reveal the tree (see entry for 1 John 2:4). We are not righteous because we do righteous deeds; we practice righteousness because we are righteous and Jesus the Righteous lives within us (1 John 2:29).
(d) He is righteous. Again John reminds us that Jesus is righteous (1 John 2:1, 29). Apart from him, you are not righteous. But he is righteous and those born of him are righteous and able to practice righteousness (1 John 2:29).
1 John 3:8
The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
(a) The devil. John more commonly refers to the devil as the evil one, something he does five times in his epistle (see entry for 1 John 2:13).
(b) The one who practices sin is of the devil. Here and two verses later, John says those who practice sin are children of the devil (1 John 3:10). He does not mean the devil has the power to make life and create a second race of humans. To be of the devil is to act in the same willful spirit of rebellion first exhibited by Satan.
(c) The devil has sinned from the beginning. When the devil appeared in the beginning of the human story, it was for the purpose of harming humanity and ruining what God had wrought. Yet even before then, he was a rebel in heaven (Luke 10:18).
(d) The Son of God. John and all the disciples recognized that Jesus was the Son of God. They understood that Christ’s identity was defined by his relationship to God the Father. In contrast, the unbelieving Jews doubted Christ’s sonship (Matt. 27:40) and the devil tried to get Jesus to question it. “If you are the Son of God” (Matt. 4:3).
In his letter, John does not shy away from calling Jesus God’s Son (1 John 2:22–24, 4:15, 5:5, 10, 12, 13, 20). He does this so that we might come to “believe in the name of the Son of God” and have eternal life (1 John 5:13).
(e) The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. There is no accommodation between light and darkness. The devil tried to end us, but Jesus came to end him.
Earlier John said that Jesus “appeared in order to take away sins” (1 John 3:5), and that job has been accomplished. Yet much of the world remains under the influence of the evil one (1 John 5:19). People get sick and children die. Brothers fight, marriages fail, and nations wage war. Since none of these things happen in heaven, we can be sure that they are not God’s will for earth.
Jesus came to put an end to the devil’s influence once and for all. He did this so that the lost sons and daughters of God might come home and be reunited with their Father.
1 John 3:9
No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
(a) Born of God, believers; see entry for 1 John 5:1.
(b) No one who is born of God practices sin or makes a habit of sin because he is a new creation with a new nature and new desires.
(c) Because His seed abides in him. Those who have been born again to new life are no longer sinners by nature because they carry the seed or DNA of Jesus, and in him there is no sin (1 John 3:5).
(d) He cannot sin, because he is born of God and dead to sin. One with the Lord, the believer is a sinner no more. John is not saying believers will never sin (1 John 2:1). He is saying it is no longer in our nature to sin, because we have been given a new nature.
This is not about your performance but your pedigree. Look at how often John refers to your parentage in this passage; born of God, God’s seed, born of God. Adam breeds sinners, but God does not.
Origin determines destination. In your old life you followed in the faithless footsteps of your father Adam. You walked after the desires of the flesh because they were the only desires you had. But you have been taken out of Adam and placed into Christ. You have become a partaker of his divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).
The evidence of this new life is the new desires and new ambitions you now have. As far as sinning goes, you are just not that interested anymore. Sure, you still have the capacity to sin. But you don’t enjoy it like you used to. Sinning makes you miserable because you know who your Father is, and when you know who your Father is (not a sinner), then you know who you are (not a sinner).
(e) Some stumble over the “he cannot sin” part of this verse. They cannot imagine a life of sinless perfection so they invent bizarre theological explanations. “My redeemed spirit cannot sin, but my soul can still sin.” Such thinking leads to double-minded Christianity. “I didn’t commit adultery—it was my unregenerate body.”
John is simply saying that the old habit of sinning is contrary to our new nature, that when we sin, we are acting at odds with who we are in Christ. “He is unable to continue sinning because he has been fathered by God himself,” is how this verse appears in the Passion Translation. A similar interpretation appears in the Message Bible: “It’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin.” Jesus cannot sin. When you abide in Christ, you won’t sin either.
Further reading: “The sinless life”
1 John 3:10
By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
(a) The children of God; see entry for 1 John 5:2.
(b) The children of God and the children of the devil are two groups of people; those who walk in the light and those who prefer the darkness. It’s those who receive Jesus (John 1:12) vs those who deny him (1 John 2:22).
John is not saying the devil has sired another race of humans. He’s saying those who practice sin are like the devil who rebelled or sinned from the beginning (1 John 3:8). In context, he is talking about false teachers and hate-filled hypocrites who, like the Pharisees, belonged to their father the devil (John 8:44). He’s talking about those who follow the way of Cain who was of the evil one (1 John 3:12).
(c) Obvious or evident means this is how we can recognize the children of the devil. “This is how we know.” This is not how God knows; God examines the heart. But since we can’t see the heart, we have to examine the fruit. See also the entry for 1 John 2:4.
(d) Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. Someone who hates their brother and walks in darkness (1 John 2:9), is unacquainted with the love of God.
1 John 3:11
For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;
(a) The message that they heard originated with Jesus: “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 13:34).
(b) The beginning; see entry for 1 John 1:1.
(c) The exhortation to love one another is here expressed as “the message you heard.” In other place it is “his commandment” (1 John 3:23) or a “new commandment” (1 John 2:8, 2 John 1:5). Either way, the message or commandment comes from Jesus (John 13:34).
We don’t love one another to become the children of God; we love because we are the children of the God-who-is-love (1 John 4:8). Only when we receive our Father’s unqualified love, are we able to love others with the same abandon (1 John 4:7). As in all things, our Father takes the lead and we follow.
1 John 3:12
Not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.
(a) Cain was of the evil one because he rejected the word of the Lord (Gen. 4:7) and gave in to hatred and murder. We are slaves to whatever we obey (Rom. 6:16).
(b) Slew his brother. The religious always persecute the righteous.
(c) For what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil. Most of us would judge Cain’s murder to be an evil deed, but this violent act came about “because his deeds were evil.” What were the evil deeds that led Cain to slay his brother?
Both Cain and Abel has an understanding of God’s path of salvation, but while righteous Abel embraced the blood sacrifice that foreshadowed Jesus, Cain brought the fruit of his own labor. He rejected God’s sacrifice and trusted in his own. Cain’s sacrifice was evil because it reflected his unbelief in the grace of God.
Abel was judged righteous on account of his faith (Matt. 23:35, Heb. 11:4) but Cain was self-righteous on account of his unbelief. Unbelief asks nothing from God but says, “Lord, look at what I’ve done/built/brought for you.” Unbelief toils and accomplishes nothing, while faith understands that everything comes to us by grace alone.
(d) Righteous deeds are those that reveal faith in Jesus.
1 John 3:13
Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.
Ever since Cain killed Abel, those who trust in their own righteousness have persecuted those who trust in the righteousness that comes from God. This happens because the self-righteous feel threatened by grace. Grace undermines all they’ve worked for. Self-righteous people hated Jesus and they continue to hate those who follow him (John 15:18).
1 John 3:14
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
(a) We know or we can tell when someone has met Jesus because we see the evidence of brotherly love (John 13:35). But God knows because he sees the heart. A man may be saved for one second before he is hit by the proverbial truck, yet he is just as saved as a saint who has spent a lifetime loving others.
(b) We have passed out of death into life not because we love others, but because we believe in the One who sent Jesus (John 5:24).
(c) Life. Two kinds of life are described in the Bible; the psuche– or soul life we inherited from Adam and the zoe– or spirit life that comes from God (John 5:26). It’s the second kind of life that is described here. See entry for New Life.
(d) We love the brethren because Jesus loves people and his Spirit dwells within us.
God loves everyone, but not everyone receives his love. When you surrender to Jesus—when you lay down your arms and say “Not my will but yours be done”—God pours his love into our hearts (Rom. 5:5). He gives us more than we need and we find ourselves overflowing with love for others. We don’t love others to earn our Father’s love; rather, we love others because we have received his love.
(e) He who does not love abides in death. Hatred for others (1 John 2:9) or an inability to love others (1 John 3:10) is a sign that one has not received love from the One who is love (1 John 4:8).
1 John 3:15
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
(a) Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer and a follower of Cain (1 John 3:12). Like Jesus before him (Matt. 5:21–22), John hits the self-righteous with the hammer of law. You may not have murdered anyone, but if you hate your fellow man, you don’t know the love of Jesus.
(b) No murderer has eternal life abiding in him. This is not to say that murderers are lost for eternity, for God’s grace can rescue murderers like Moses and David. But those who are captive to hatred need to turn to God before it is too late.
(c) Eternal life; see entry for 1 John 1:2.
1 John 3:16
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
(a) We know love by this. God is love but what is love? Love is God the Father refusing to give up on us even when we gave up on him. And love is God the Son leaving the comforts of heaven to come and save us, knowing full well that we would nail him to a cross.
(b) He laid down his life for us. The agape-love of God is unconditional and self-sacrificing (Eph. 5: 25). God will never make you jump through hoops to earn his love. He won’t love you any more if you succeed and he won’t love you any less if you fail. There is nothing you can do to make him love you more, and nothing you can do to make him love you less.
See entry for The Love of God.
(c) We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. There is no greater love (John 15:13).
The followers of Cain hate their brothers, but the followers of Jesus love their brothers (1 John 3:11). The followers of Cain murder their brothers (1 John 3:12), but the followers of Jesus lay down their lives for others. Cain built a city established on violence (Gen. 4:17), but Jesus is building a peaceable city of love and grace.
1 John 3:17
But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
(a) Whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need. Just as Paul saw little value in giving without loving (1 Cor. 13:3), John saw little value in loving without giving. Just as faith without works is dead (Jas. 2:17), love that never gives is worthless.
(b) The love of God is a generous and giving kind of love. It’s a love that moved Jesus to give up the comforts of heaven and give himself for us. Though rich, he became poor for our sakes so that through his poverty we might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). The love of God is found in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:39, 1 Tim. 1:14, 1 John 3:17). It is both the source and fruit of our union with the Lord.
1 John 3:18
Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
(a) Little children; see entry for 1 John 5:2.
(b) Love is more than words and Facebook likes. Love is help in a time of need. Love is seeking the best for others and putting their needs before our own (Rom. 12:10). Love is giving ourselves (1 John 3:16) and our stuff (1 John 3:17).
1 John 3:19–20
We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.
(a) We will know by this that we are of the truth means this is how we can tell if we are abiding in Christ (1 John 2:24).
(b) Will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us. Sometimes we battle condemnation in the form of self-criticism or self-doubt. “I’m a failure. I’ve messed up again. God will never accept me.” When that happens, we need to remind ourselves that…
(c) God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Our heavenly Father knows everything about us. He knows every dumb thing we’ve done and every dumb thing we’re going to do, and knowing all this he still loves us and calls us “Beloved” (1 John 2:7). There is nothing we can do to make the Father love us any more, and nothing we can do to make him love us any less. Knowing this fills us with confidence (1 John 3:21) and helps us to silence the inner critic.
1 John 3:21
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
(a) Beloved; see entry for 1 John 2:7.
(b) If our heart does not condemn us. If your conscience condemns you, you will have trouble believing what God says about you. This is why we need to reassure our hearts that God’s goodness is greater than our badness (1 John 3:19).
(c) We have confidence before God. The default setting of the children of God is one of confidence and boldness. Those who have been justified by God, cannot be condemned (Rom. 8:33).
You can choose to live under condemnation or confidence. The way to be free from condemnation is to assure your heart that God justifies you, he is for you, and he loves you no matter what. Nothing can separate you from his love (Rom. 8:38–39).
1 John 3:22
and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
(a) Whatever we ask we receive from Him. The confidence that comes from knowing we are God’s dearly-loved children (1 John 3:2) gives us the boldness to live a large life characterized by complete dependence on him—and this is exactly what our Father wants (Matt. 7:11). He wants us to bring our cares and requests to him (1 John 5:15) and come boldly to his throne of grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:16). See also the entry for 1 John 5:14.
(b) Because we keep His commandments does not mean law-keeping in the old covenant sense. Obedience in the new covenant is a fruit of trusting Jesus (1 John 3:23).
(c) And do the things that are pleasing in His sight. Nothing pleases the Lord more than a life of total dependence on him.
You were created for relationship and to receive the love of your heavenly Father. Reveling in his love pleases the Lord. But living under doubt (does God really love me?), condemnation (God doesn’t love me!), and relying on the flesh (I have to make God love me), does not please the Lord.
1 John 3:23
This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
(a) This is His commandment, that we believe. Believing Jesus is priority number one. Everything John wrote was written so that you might believe in Jesus Christ (John 20:31) and experience the abundant or eternal life that flows from that (1 John 5:13).
In the old covenant, obedience meant following a long list of laws. But in the new covenant, obedience is the fruit of trusting Jesus. You need to believe that Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the law on your behalf. You need to believe that Jesus makes you holy, righteous, and acceptable to God. You need to believe that God looks upon you with the same pleasure he has when he sees Jesus.
(b) His Son Jesus Christ; see entry for 1 John 2:22.
(c) To believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ is to believe in the true identity of Jesus. In Jewish culture, names reveal not only who a man is but also what he is. Jesus is the Christ (anointed one), and Jesus is Lord (supreme above all), but ultimately Jesus is the Son of God (John 3:18, 1 John 5:13). We are not believing in Baby Jesus or Jesus the Teacher, but Jesus the only begotten Son of God.
The name or true identity of Jesus the Son is paramount. Our sins are forgiven on account of his name (1 John 2:12); we believe in his name (1 John 5:13); and we go out in his name (3 John 1:7) so that others might believe in his name.
The apostles preached for a verdict. They did not believe that the whole world was saved. Like Jesus who encouraged people to repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:15), they encouraged their listeners to repent, believe the good news, and be saved (Acts 4:12, 17:30, 1 Tim. 2:4).
(d) Love one another, just as He commanded us; see entry for 1 John 3:11.
1 John 3:24
The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
(a) His commandments are that we believe in Jesus and love one another (1 John 3:23).
(b) The one who keeps His commandments is the one who continues in the grace of God. Conversely, someone who tries to keep other commandments, such as those of the old law, is no longer walking in grace. They are trying to keep the old laws because they do not believe Christ fulfilled the requirements of the law on their behalf.
(c) The one who keeps his commands (i.e., believes in Jesus) abides in Him, and He in him. Conversely, the one who trusts in his own law-keeping performance, does not abide in him and has become alienated from Christ (Gal. 5:4).
(d) The Spirit. This is the first time that John mentions the Holy Spirit by name in this epistle. Previously he has alluded to the Spirit by discussing “the anointing which you received from him and which abides in you” (1 John 2:27). From now on John will refer to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of God (1 John 4:2) and the Spirit of Truth (1 John 4:6).
(e) We know by this… by the Spirit he has given us. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Grace (Heb. 10.29) who points you to Jesus and helps you to remain in the grace of God. He is not the Spirit of Law who points to your law-keeping performance. Nor does the Spirit use the law to keep you in line. Your conscience may condemn you and the accuser may condemn you, but the Spirit of Christ will always seek to convince you that you are righteous in Christ (John 16:10). When your flesh is tempted to take out a little works-insurance, the Spirit will encourage you to rest in Christ and his finished work.
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- 1 John 3:1
- 1 John 3:2
- 1 John 3:3
- 1 John 3:4
- 1 John 3:5
- 1 John 3:6
- 1 John 3:7
- 1 John 3:8
- 1 John 3:9
- 1 John 3:10
- 1 John 3:11
- 1 John 3:12
- 1 John 3:13
- 1 John 3:14
- 1 John 3:15
- 1 John 3:16
- 1 John 3:17
- 1 John 3:18
- 1 John 3:19-20
- 1 John 3:21
- 1 John 3:22
- 1 John 3:23
- 1 John 3:24