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Bible Commentaries
1 John 3

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-7

18 The term "antichrist" occurs only in John's epistles. The prefix "anti" now has the meaning of "against" and antichrist signifies one who is against Christ. But "anti" originally meant "instead of", and this is its significance in "antichrist". An antichrist is one who takes Christ's place, a substitute or counterfeit christ. John speaks of them as coming out from amongst the circle of the saints. The indiscriminate use of this term for the coming prince of Daniel ( Dan_9:26 ), the lawless one of Paul ( 2Th_2:8 ), and the first wild beast of the Unveiling

( Rev_13:1 ) is to be deplored. No clear conceptions can come of confusing these titles. Antichrist, as a substitute for Christ, is probably to be identified with the second wild beast which had horns like a lambkin ( Rev_13:11 ). This one only has a likeness to Christ and deceives those dwelling on the earth. The antichrists are probably identical with the false christs which were foretold by our Lord ( Mat_24:24 ; Mar_13:22 ) who would deceive, if it were possible, the very elect. The spirit of antichrist is already in the world and may be known by certain definite characteristics. One is the denial that Jesus is the Christ. The second is the disowning of the Father as well as the Son. The third is the disavowal of the flesh of Christ, that He has come in flesh in the past ( 1Jn_4:3 ) and that He is coming in flesh in the future ( 2Jn_1:7 ). Only those who definitely deny these things are in reality possessed of the spirit of antichrist. It should not be applied to all who oppose Christ, or who teach false doctrine, but rather to those who deceive by pretending to take the place of Christ. The term is never associated with open opposition but rather with secret deception. Whoever, and whatever, displaces Christ is imbued with the spirit of antichrist. It will culminate in the future manifestation of one who will be received by Israel as their long desired Messiah.

25 The life eonian is life for the course of the eons. It will last during the millennial kingdom and the following eon, up to the consummation, when death is abolished. It would be of little import to promise "eternal" life, for this will become the portion of all when there is no death. The special portion of the saints is life up to the consummation, during the eons, for it is only during the times of the eons that death has any place in God's universe. Moreover, this eonian life is not for this eon, but for the last two eons. It does not commence now, or God's saints would never die. It is impossible to speak of being in present possession of "eternal" or "everlasting" life without claiming immunity from death. None of the saints who have died had "everlasting" life, or they would not now be dead. All had eonian life, which will be enjoyed by them in the resurrection at the presence of Christ.

1 Relationship to God is expressed by various figures of speech. The Father has children by regeneration and sons by the new creation. Entrance into the kingdom on earth for the Circumcision is aptly figured by a new begettal. They will go through a process corresponding to a birth to fit them for the millennial kingdom ( Joh_3:3 ). Such a change would not be radical enough to fit us for the heavenly realms, so Paul speaks of a secret connected with the resurrection, by which we are to be changed from terrestrial to celestial creatures ( 1Co_15:51 ). Hence we are not in the regeneration, but in anew creation in Christ ( 2Co_5:17 ). As in John three sixteen, John stresses the manner of God's love. It is not sons here, but children . It is the affection of the family circle. God is known as Father .

2 Christ in resurrection, before His ascension, is an index of what glory awaits the Circumcision in the kingdom. They shall see Him and be like Him. Christ in glory, after His ascension, as Paul beheld Him on the Damascus road, shows what surpassing glory awaits us when we are transfigured into the body of His glory ( Php_3:21 ).

Verses 8-24

8 The title ..Adversary" has far more aptness than is at first apparent. Satan is known to us only through his word He never appears otherwise than as the evil creature indicated by his titles. From his very beginning his work has been to oppose and destroy. In Eden's garden he is seen as the Adversary of God. He imputed a false motive to the commandment not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He aimed directly at the character of God and brought in the estrangement. On the other hand, he is also the Adversary of the saints ( 1Pe_5:8 ). As such, he accused Job falsely ( Job_2:5 ). Sin was introduced and is being perpetuated by his slanders. Wrong thoughts and mistaken notions concerning God are at the root of all lawlessness, and lawlessness is sin. God is misunderstood, misjudged and hated because of the Adversary's lies. Hence the Son of God has come to annul his acts by making God known. The work of the Adversary is really one of the essential factors for a true knowledge of God. Sin is a necessary prelude to salvation, and estrangement precedes reconciliation, and it is only through these that God's heart could be bared and His affections shared by mankind. But the office of sin and estrangement is not effected until they are annulled and replaced by righteousness and peace. The purpose for which the Son of God was manifested was to undo what the Adversary had done. We do not see this purpose accomplished yet. It will have a partial fulfillment in the next eon, when the Adversary will be bound. Its complete culmination will not be seen until the consummation when death, the Adversary's crowning success, is abolished, and he himself, together with all creation, will be reconciled to God ( Col_1:20 ). Thus it is that the Son of God will completely annul the acts of the Adversary.

10 Two spiritual paternities are indicated by conduct, righteousness and love on the one side and unrighteousness and hate on the other. The latter tendency reaches its goal in murder (12) and the former in self-sacrifice (16).

18 This is a warning against a danger of the so-called "social gospel". It makes mere philanthropic talk and social theory a substitute for personal deeds of compassion. True beneficence is the product of a regenerate and instructed heart, and not of ostentatious and superfluous organization that seeks to raise the masses while it neglects the heart needs of the individual.

23 This precept seems almost an anticlimax, for believing is usually put down as entirely outside the category of practical virtues. Yet believing is the most practical exercise in the world. All action is dependent on belief; all effort is qualified by it. Eve believed the serpent and opened the sluice gates of sin. Christ believed God and secured salvation. The fall resulted from lack of faith in God and every phase of the return to Him is founded on faith. Take the practical precepts of the preceding paragraphs. One who heartily believes God has the most powerful incentive possible to please Him by relieving the distress of his needy brother, for his faith would find an impelling motive in the love which belief has engendered. True faith is not idle: it acts. But the important point is the fact that the quality of its acts meets the approval of God. Furthermore, as is implied in the second part of the precept, true faith is the most fertile field of love. It is only as the love of God is realized that it is possible to display it to others. It is intensely practical to recognize this, for every effort to cultivate love apart from faith will be fruitless. If, then, more and greater love is needed, it is to be found in the fuller appreciation of

God's love, not in the contemplation of our own.

1 The only true standard for testing spirits is the written revelation of God and its testimony to the living revelation, which became flesh and remains flesh. In this passage the reference is to His coming in the past. In John's second epistle he warns against the deceivers who are not avowing Jesus Christ coming in flesh-that is, in the future. In both cases those who make Him a spirit are associated with the spirit of antichrist ( 2Jn_1:7 ).

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 John 3". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/1-john-3.html. 1968.
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