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Sunday, June 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
1 John 3

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


The Father has loved us! Christ-on-the-cross is the declaration of God’s love for us (John 3:16)!!! “See how much the Father has loved us Jews and Gentiles who do what is right (1 John 2:29)! We are God’s children!” This is why. “The world knows the children of the pagan gods, but the world will not admit that we are God’s children, because the world does not know God! The world does not understand the nature and character of God!”

Verse 2


We are now God’s children. “The world may hate us and persecute us, but even now we are already God’s children!” But it is not yet clear. “We have not been told the details of our future glory. We could not now understand it, since it must be experienced to be understood!” But we know. “We know that when Christ comes to judge the world (1 John 2:28), we shall become like him (Philippians 3:20-21), because we shall see him as he really is, and shall live with him forever!!!” (1) To see God is to be like Him! Matthew 5:8 and note. (2) To see God transfigures, even in this life (2 Corinthians 3:18). [Compare note on 1 John 2:29.]

Verse 3


Everyone. “Everyone who has this hope of seeing God and of becoming like Him (John 17:24) and of living with Him forever, keeps himself pure.” Compare 1 John 3:8.

Verse 4


Whoever sins. Some said God did not count sin against one who believed in Him. (See Introduction to this Letter.) John is talking about a continuous action. “One who continues to sin is breaking God’s law, and will be severely punished for it (if he does not turn away from his sins), no matter what the false teachers may tell you!” Because sins is. All sin is a breaking of God’s law, whether it is one sin or a continuous action. Sin is lawlessness! (See notes on Law, Romans 3:31. )

Verse 5


You know. “The very reason that Christ appeared in human form was for the purpose of taking away men’s sins! This shows how certain punishment is if you purposely go on sinning!” There is no sin in him. “This proves he does not allow us to continue to sin! We are like him when we QUIT sinning!”

Verse 6


Does not continue to sin. Both the TEV and the NIV bring out the fact that the Greek uses the present continuous tense. All Christians sin on the spur of the moment (1 John 1:8-10). But Christians do not purposely go on sinning continuously!!! See 1 John 3:9. But whoever continues. “The one who makes a habit of sin has never really seen Him, even though he may have seen Christ as a human being, and does not know either His character or His will, as the Holy One!”

Verse 7


Let no one deceive you! “Do not let the false teachers fool you with their talk that merely believing will make you righteous even though you go on sinning!” Whoever does. “It is the one who makes a habit of doing what is right who has the same righteous character that Christ has!”

Verse 8


Whoever continues to sin. “The one who purposely makes a habit of sin shows by this that he belongs to the Devil (see 1 John 3:12).” Because the Devil has sinned. This is in the present continuous tense, which shows the Devil has been continuously sinning all during human history, as he tempts people to sin! The Son of God appeared. This is why the Logos had to come in human form: to destroy the Devil’s works (sin and punishment, 1 John 3:5). He did this through his DEATH (Hebrews 2:14).

Verse 9


Does not continue to sin. Again the present continuous. See note on 1 John 3:6. Because God’s very nature. MacKnight thinks this is true of the word that lives in us (1 Peter 1:23). It is also true of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 8:15). He cannot continue to sin. “In becoming God’s child, we have died to sin! Even though it is true that we do commit single acts of sin, we cannot continue to sin as a habit! God is our Father and we share his moral nature! His divine nature in us makes sin an impossible choice for us!” Compare 2 Peter 1:3-4; Romans 6:1-4.

Verse 10


Here is the clear difference. This is the same as the old command of 1 John 2:7-11. Actions clearly identify the loyalty of a person!!! Anyone who does not. “Failing to do right and failing to love fellow-man, identifies a person as one of the Devil’s children.” [In this John is scolding those who said God did not count sin against a Christian.]

Verse 11


From the very beginning. “The message of the Good News does not change!!! The message originally announced is still in effect (Galatians 1:6-9). New and esoteric teaching about faith and morals disqualifies itself by its very newness!” We must love one another. This is Jesus’ new commandment (John 13:34-35). It is new in kind, because it is the kind of love which Jesus has for us!

Verse 12


Like Cain. Cain is an example of hate. The Greek says literally that Cain butchered his own brother! Because. “The bad in Cain caused him to hate the good in his brother!” Compare John 3:20; John 8:44; Matthew 5:21-22.

Verse 13


So do not be surprised. “The world to which Cain belonged (1 John 2:15-17) still belongs to Satan. As Cain hated his righteous brother, so this same world will hate you.” Those who made a habit of sin were making themselves part of this world.

Verse 14


We know. “The world is death! We Christians have left death and come over into life! The proof of this is the love we have for our brothers (fellowman)l Whoever does not love proves he is still in death!

Verse 15


Whoever hates. “As a plant cannot be both growing and dying at the same time, so a Christian cannot be both loving and hating. When the light came into the world, it caused a crisis! There is no NEUTRAL GROUND!!!” Compare Matthew 5:21-22. Hate (lack of love ) is a serious matter!!!

Verse 16


What love is. “Christ acted out this LOVE by giving his life for us. Rather than hating and destroying our brother, we ought to have the spirit of Christ and lay down our lives for our brothers, when called upon to do so.”

Verse 17


Yet closes his heart. “Let me show you this practical example, If we love as Christ loved us, how can we refuse to help others???” It is easy to be a martyr and die as a hero for Christ. The difficult part is the little things of day-to-day living, the trivial sacrifices and self-denials that no one sees and applauds.

Verse 18


It must be true love. Talk is cheap! See what James says in James 2:14-17. James says faith; John says love! It is good to talk, but we must back it up with action!

Verse 19


This, then. “Only by this kind of behavior, acting out our love, can we know that we belong to the truth and the fellowship of the Father and the Son.” Will be confident. No need to be ashamed! See 1 John 2:28.

Verse 20


If our heart condemns us. It is best to make this part of the same thought as 1 John 3:19. J. W. Roberts thinks this is so. “Our heart condemns us because of our acts of sin (see note on 1 John 2:1), and we ask in fear, ‘Am I loving as I ought to do???’ The fact that we are acting out our love will give us confidence. It is a paradox that only as we do see that Jesus paid it all ( Romans 8:1-4 and notes) will we be set free to make our lives a living sacrifice in praise to God!!!” (1) God knows the worst that is in us and still loves us! What the Christian learns about himself when he tries to be holy, God knew all along! (2) God knows everything, and He sometimes gives us credit for our good intentions. See 1 Kings 8:18-19.

Verse 21


If our heart does not condemn us. “If the fact that we love will quiet the fears of our hearts, even though we see our mistakes; how much more courage will we have in God’s presence if we live so that our hearts do not condemn us!!! If our love shows itself in actions, we will have more courage when we go to God in prayer.”

Verse 22


We receive from him. “Doing what is right and having a heart that does not condemn us are two sides of the same coin. Because we are his children, he hears and answers our prayers.” Compare Proverbs 15:29; Psalms 66:18-19; Job 27:8-9; Isaiah 1:11-15.

Verse 23


This is what he commands. John has been stressing actions. Here he shows us faith and love as two sides of the same coin. See note on James 2:19. Believe in the name. Name = authority. To believe in his name means to believe in everything that his name symbolizes and stands for. Just as Christ commanded us. See 1 John 4:21; Matthew 22:34-40.

Verse 24


Whoever obeys. See John 14:21-23 and notes. Because of the Spirit. Every Christian has the Spirit (Acts 5:32). John sees this as a fact of experience that can be used as a proof. Obedience identifies the Spirit within us (Galatians 5:22-23). The presence of the Spirit was a strong reason for the Jewish Christian to hold firm to Christ (see Hebrews 10:29 and note). But the experience of the Spirit is easily misused (see 1 Cor. Ch. 1214). John looks at this in the next chapter.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 John 3". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/1-john-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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