1 John 3 Bible study

Living Word Magazine

Chapter 3

 

 

Privilege and Hope 1 -3.

 

3:1  (See what sort of love the Father has given to us: that we should be called God's children — and indeed we are! For this reason the world does not know us: because it did not know him.

 

The extent and nature of the  love that God has for us is shown in the fact that through Christ we have become His children (John 1:12; Romans 8:16-17).   Because the world does not know God it does not recognize us as His children (John 1:10)

 

3:2  Dear friends, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever it is revealed we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is.

 

Although we are, here and now, God's children it is not yet clear what the magnitude of this will be.   The one thing we do know is that when He comes we shall be changed into His likeness for we shall see Him as He is.

 

3:3  And everyone who has this hope focused on him purifies himself, just as Jesus is pure).

 

Everyone who has this hope in Christ' return and to be like Him will continually seek to be purified even as He is.

 

Sin and the Child of God 5 - 9.

 

This section would seem to be a complete contradiction of chapter 1:8 to 2:1 and it is therefore difficult to understand what is meant.   In John's day even as now, there were those who preached "sinless perfection" i.e.  claiming that they do not sin and had not sinned.   (1:8 and 10 is John's answer to them).   Then there were those who thought that it did not matter if they practiced sin because Christ had died for their sins. We need to read Rom. 7:15-25 and Rom.6:1-2 before we continue in this section.

 

3:4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; indeed, sin is lawlessness.

 

So then we know from this that we are not completely free from the possibility of sinning, but it does not have dominion over us (Rom. 6: 14) therefore we should not commit sin.   Looking at it this way John is first of all stating a fact that sin is and act of wilful disobedience to God and is therefore lawlessness.

 

3:5 And you know that Jesus was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

 

Jesus Christ came into the world as God manifest in the flesh to become sin for us, to  take our sin upon Himself and pay the penalty of sin upon the cross (2 Cor. 5:21).

 

3:6 Everyone who resides in him does not sin; everyone who sins has neither seen him nor known him.

 

If we constantly remain in communion with Him and thus in obedience to Him we will not deliberately and willfully commit sin (Heb. 10:26).   Anyone who  keeps on deliberately and willfully sinning  cannot really be saved for there is not changed in there lives (2 Cor. 5:17).

 

3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Jesus is righteous.

 

Do not let anyone deceive us concerning this.   He who constantly does what is good and right according to God's righteousness is righteous even as He is.

 

3:8 The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil.

 

He who continually practices sin is of the devil for he has sinned from the beginning.   Jesus Christ, God's Son came to destroy the sinful works of the devil.

 

3:9  Everyone who has been fathered by God does not practice sin, because God's seed resides in him, and thus he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered by God.

 

The person who has been "born again" into God's family does not make a practice (a habitual way of behaving) sinning because the life of Christ is now in him so he cannot keep on sinning.   This new life in Christ controls him.

 

Characteristics of a Christian  10 - 19.    

 

3:10-11  By this the children of God and the children of the devil are revealed: Everyone who does not practice righteousness — the one who does not love his fellow Christian — is not of God. For this is the gospel message that you have heard from the beginning: that we should love one another,

 

We can tell the  differences between a child of God and a child of the devil by their lifestyle.  Whoever is living a life of sin and hates his brother does not belong to God.   For the commandment given by the Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples is that they should love one another.   It is by this that people will know that we are His disciples (John 13:34-35).

 

3:12-13  not like Cain who w s of the evil one and brutally murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his deeds were evil, but his brother's were righteous. Therefore do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.

 

The prime example that John gives is that of Cain who he says belonged to Satan and murdered his brother Abel.  Why did he kill him ?   Because Cain did not do what was right before God and became jealous of his brother who did.    Jealousy, bitterness, resentment turning to hate resulted in murder.  So do not  be surprised that the world hates you.

 

3:14-15  We know that we have crossed over from death to life because we love our fellow Christians. The one who does not love remains in death.Everyone who hates his fellow Christian is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

 

If we have love one another it is proof that we have been delivered from sin and death and have eternal life in Christ.  He who does not love his brother still remains in his sin.   Whoever hates his brother in Christ has murder in his heart and anyone who wants to murder has eternal life in him.

 

3:16  We have come to know love by this: that Jesus laid down his life for us; thus we ought to lay down our lives for our fellow Christians.

 

The supreme example of love is Christ's love for us in that He gave His life a ransom for our souls.   Because He gave we also should be prepared to lay our lives down for our brethren.

 

3:17  But whoever has the world's possessions and sees his fellow Christian in need and shuts off his compassion against him, how can the love of God reside in such a person?

 

If anyone has enough of this worlds goods to live well but hardens his heart to give to a brother in need, how can the love of God be in him ?

 

3:18-19 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth. And by this we will know that we are of the truth and will convince our conscience in his presence,

 

It is not enough to love in theory or to say that we love, it has to be shown in deed and sincerity.   It is by our actions that we wil know that we belong to Christ and are of the Truth.    Our consciences are then clear as we stand before Him knowing that we have done that which is right.

 

Confidence towards God 20 - 24.

 

3:20-21 that if our conscience condemns us, that God is greater than our conscience and knows all things. Dear friends, if our conscience does not condemn us, we have confidence in the presence of God,

 

If our hearts in self-accusation condemn us,  make us feel guilty, God in whose hand's we are is greater than our hearts , He knows and understands us, nothing His hid from Him.   If our consciences do not accuse us then we have complete assurance in God and come into His presence with boldness.

 

3:22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing to him.

 

If we keep His commandments  and follow His plan for our lives, in fact do what is pleasing to Him, then we shall receive whatever we ask of Him, for we will not ask amiss but according to His will (1 John 5:14).

 

3:23 Now this is his commandment: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he gave us the commandment.

 

This is God's commandment  firstly " believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ", and  secondly "love one another".

 

3:24 And the person who keeps his commandments resides in God, and God in him. Now by this we know that God resides in us: by the Spirit he has given us.

 

Those who do what he has commandment live and move and have their being in Him and He is in them.  We have the witness of this because the Holy Spirit bears witness with ours (Rom. 8:16).

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