I John Chapter Three
v1. "BEHOLD, WHAT MANNER OF LOVE THE FATHER HATH BESTOWED UPON US, THAT WE SHOULD BE CALLED THE SONS OF GOD: THEREFORE THE WORLD KNOWETH US NOT, BECAUSE IT KNEW HIM NOT."
"BEHOLD" is a regal request for our undivided attention to the topic at hand. Required are a seeing, a beholding, and a wonderful willingness to be impressed with what is said as an item of intense interest and tremendous truth. John seeks to impress his readers with the nature, quality and immensity of God's love for his people. It is a love we do not deserve and yet one in which we can experience deep delight. It has not been a hidden or concealed love, quite to the contrary.
Next John wants us to see the world's non-recognition of us. The world does not love, understand, recognize or appreciate our lot as children of Deity. The world's warped attitude of disapproval toward God's children in general is triggered largely by one major factor: abject ignorance. The world is ignorant of God. The world knows him not, that is, it does not acknowledge Him as King of the universe and the rightful ruler of every heart.
John 16:3 "AND THESE THINGS WILL THEY DO UNTO YOU, BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN THE FATHER, NOR ME."
John 15:18-19 "IF THE WORLD HATE YOU, YE KNOW IT HATED ME BEFORE it hated YOU. IF YE WERE OF THE WORLD, THE WORLD WOULD LOVE HIS OWN: BUT BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF THE WORLD, BUT I HAVE CHOSEN YOU OUT OF THE WORLD, THEREFORE THE WORLD HATETH YOU."
v2. "BELOVED, NOW ARE WE THE SONS OF GOD, AND IT DOTH NOT YET APPEAR WHAT WE SHALL BE: BUT WE KNOW THAT, WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; FOR WE SHALL SEE HIM AS HE IS."
He tells us what we now are--sons of God. The world's refusal to recognize us and disapproval of us does not effect in the least God's recognition and approval of us. The former is of no real importance; the latter is really all that counts. John, by inspiration, looks to what shall be, though at best it is but a faint picture of just how great, good and glorious our Heavenly inheritance is to be ultimately. John assures us of a tremendous trio of fundamental facts:
1.) Christ is coming again. More than 300 New Testament verses make promise of his second advent -- about one of every 25 verses.
I Peter 1:4 "TO AN INHERITANCE INCORRUPTIBLE, AND UNDEFILED, AND THAT FADETH NOT AWAY, RESERVED IN HEAVEN FOR YOU."
2.) We shall then be like him. Paul's great resurrection chapter gives a delightful description of the Heavenly, spiritual, incorruptible and immortal body. I Corinthians 15:36ff.
I Corinthians "AND AS WE HAVE BORNE THE IMAGE OF THE EARTHY, WE SHALL ALSO BEAR THE IMAGE OF THE HEAVENLY."
Philippians 3:21 "WHO SHALL CHANGE OUR VILE BODY, THAT IT MAY BE FASHIONED LIKE UNTO HIS GLORIOUS BODY, ACCORDING TO THE WORKING WHEREBY HE IS ABLE EVEN TO SUBDUE ALL THINGS UNTO HIMSELF."
3.) We shall see Him as he is. "Face to Face" with Jesus will then be far more than a hymn that we sing sometimes
Romans "FOR WHOM HE DID FOREKNOW, HE ALSO DID PREDESTINATE to be CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON, THAT HE MIGHT BE THE FIRSTBORN AMONG MANY BRETHREN."
Colossians 3:4 "WHEN CHRIST, who is OUR LIFE, SHALL APPEAR, THEN SHALL YE ALSO APPEAR WITH HIM IN GLORY."
v3. "AND EVERY MAN THAT HATH THIS HOPE IN HIM PURIFIED HIMSELF, EVEN AS HE IS PURE."
Such a hope that springs up within the human heart offers a power-packed incentive to keep his life filled with purity and his heart saturated with all things that are right. In all this intense resolution to be pure, the Lord is the Christian's model, his powerful pattern of purity. The Greek tense here is present which means it is continuous action. Pictured here is the Christian who keeps on purifying himself. Not only is the salvation or pardon from God require our obedience to attain it but also we must meet God’s conditions to maintain it. That demanded conditionality requires a beginning of purity and then its continuation.
Matthew 5:8 "BLESSED are THE PURE IN HEART: FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD"
II Corinthians 7:1 "HAVING THEREFORE THESE PROMISES, DEARLY BELOVED, LET US CLEANSE OUTSELVES FROM ALL FILTHINESS OF THE FLESH AND SPIRIT, PERFECTING HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD."
I Peter 1:15-16 "BUT AS HE WHICH HATH CALLED YOU IS HOLY, SO BE YE HOLY IN ALL MANNER OF CONVERSATION; BECAUSE IT IS WRITTEN, BE YE HOLY; FOR I AM HOLY."
v4. "WHOSOEVER COMMITTETH SIN TRANSGRESSETH ALSO THE LAW: FOR SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW."
The Bible does not claim to be a dictionary per se, but when it defines a term, that term stands defined in absolute, comprehensive fashion. Here are five accurate definitions as given by Inspiration numbered and noted: (1) "THE THOUGHT OF FOOLISHNESS is SIN: AND THE SCORNER is AN ABOMINATION TO MEN...." (Proverbs. 24:9) (2) "AND HE THAT DOUBTETH IS DAMNED IF HE EAT, BECAUSE he eateth NOT OF FAITH: FOR WHATSOEVER is NOT OF FAITH IS SIN..." (Romans 14:23) (3) "THEREFORE TO HIM THAT KNOWETH TO DO GOOD, AND DOETH it NOT, TO HIM IT IS SIN..." (James 4:17) (4) "WHOSOEVER COMMITTETH SIN TRANSGRESSETH ALSO THE LAW: FOR SIN IS THE TRANGRESSION OF THE LAW..." (I John 3:4); (5) "ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS IS SIN: AND THERE IS A SIN NOT UNTO DEATH" (I John .)
In short summary these five definitions cover sins of commission and omission, sins of the flesh and of the disposition, sins of ignorance and of presumption (committed defiantly and with a high hand ), sins of the mind, sins of speech, and sins of habit, actions and deeds. "Sin" in I John 3:4 is derived from harmartia in the Greek text and means to miss the mark or to veer away from that which is right. The beloved KJV has sin as transgression of the law--any law--all law. The reliable ASV translates the term as lawlessness. Sin therefore, is transgression; transgression is sin. Sin is lawlessness; lawlessness is sin. The sinner lives as though God had no law.
The person is not a whit better who says that for the Christian there are no rules, no regulations, no law--only "pure grace." The situation ethics believers were doing this a few years ago and still are. Amazingly amazing is the disclosure that we now have preachers among us who are saying that "we are saved by grace plus nothing. You are saved by faith period. There is nothing you can do to be saved. There are no rules; there are no regulations in serving Jesus Christ." (Glen Owen, Midtown church of Christ, Ft. Worth 11/1982)
v5. "AND YE KNOW THAT HE WAS MANIFESTED TO TAKE AWAY OUR SINS; AND IN HIM IS NO SIN."
Here are two crystal clear and cogently convincing reasons why Christians should get out of the sinning business inasmuch as is humanly possible. (1) Jesus came to take away sins. John the Baptist told his disciples of this very Messianic mission in the true and terse words, "…BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD, WHICH TAKETH AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD" (John 1:29) Near the end of his personal ministry Jesus said just subsequent to His Jericho visit in the home of Zacchaeus, "FOR THE SON OF MAN IS COME TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST" (Luke 19:10) Surely the consecrated Christian does not wish ever to engage habitually (as a way of life or desired lifestyle) in that very thing that Jesus came to destroy and from which to save us.
(2) In Him is no sin. This is a powerful, positive denial that sin--any sin--ever laid claim upon the Immaculate Christ. He challenged any of His contemparies to convict Him of sin (John ). He affirmed that no unrighteousness was in Him (John ). So did Peter in these words of weight and wisdom "WHO DID NO SIN, NEITHER WAS GUILE FOUND IN HIS MOUTH" (I Peter 2:22) The Hebrew scribe wrote "FOR SUCH AN HIGH PRIEST BECAME US, who is HOLY, HARMLESS, UNDEFILED, SEPARATE FROM SINNERS, AND MADE HIGHER THAN THE HEAVENS" (Hebrews 7:26)
v6. "WHOSOEVER ABIDETH IN HIM SINNETH NOT: WHOSOEVER SINNETH HATH NOT SEEN HIM, NEITHER KNOWN HIM."
Another favorite word of John's writing vocabulary is "abide" and its derivatives. He frequently observed it on the lips of Jesus as in John 15:4 and the teaching about the vine and branches. To abide is to settle down into something or someone and make such a permanent home or union. Here it is an abiding or a settling down in a person (figuratively, of course, and not personally, actually and directly) and thus making Christ our permanent home, spiritually speaking.
Those who do not are as follows:
I John 2:4 "HE THAT SAITH, I KNOW HIM, AND KEEPETH NOT HIS COMMANDMENTS, IS A LIAR, AND THE TRUTH IS NOT IN HIM."
I John 4:8 "HE THAT LOVETH NOT KNOWETH NOT GOD; FOR GOD IS LOVE."
III John 11 "BELOVED, FOLLOW NOT THAT WHICH IS EVIL, BUT THAT WHICH IS GOOD; HE THAT DOETH GOOD IS OF GOD: BUT HE THAT DOETH EVIL HATH NOT SEEN GOD."
v7. "LITTLE CHILDREN, LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU: HE THAT DOETH RIGHTEOUSNESS IS RIGHTEOUS, EVEN AS HE IS RIGHTEOUS."
Who is righteous? This is a critical and crucial question in our day. There have always been evil doers who felt they were right while doing wrong. Proverbs 30:20 portrays such with an adulterous woman. The passage says, "SUCH is THE WAY OF AN ADULTEROUS WOMAN; SHE EATETH AND WIPETH HER MOUTH, AND SAITH, I HAVE DONE NO WICKEDNESS." Modern proponents of so-called "situation ethics" or "the new morality" have been telling us in recent years that in many situations fornication and adultery can be beautiful, loving acts with no guilt or wrong attached at all."
There are others who feel they can have another's righteousness transferred to them somewhat akin to the Catholic "bank of good works" allowing people to borrow on the good works of those who abounded therein and built up more than they personally needed.
Because of his affection for them John did not want any of his precious Christian readers be lead astray in these matters. The proud, profane Gnostics were already busy in their work of contaminating the Gospel and leading the unsuspecting into deep and damnable error. The Gnostics were the intellectual snobs of that era. Due to their pompous claim to having a monopoly on superior knowledge they blatantly claimed immunity to laws of purity, morality and righteousness. Sound familiar, you can find this attitude in virtually every so-called Christian university today. As an outgrowth of this convenient position, they claimed they could sin at will and yet be approved by God all the time. The Gnostics of John’s day had worked out a clever scheme that differentiated between what the flesh does in fleshly works or indulgences and how such does not affect the spirit or soul of man at all.
This convenient cloak for fleshly indulgences did not die with the Gnostics of John's era. It has continued among those who claim a belief in the once-save-always saved dogma of Calvinism. One Calvinist said his spirit was just as perfect as the Spirit of God. Another proponent of this doctrine said that all the sins a man may commit from murder to idolatry will not harm his soul in the least.
John labels such as deception; it is a big lie. To be righteous requires that one does righteousness. Righteousness is right-doing; it is the opposite of wrong-doing; it is the keeping of God's commands, as Psalms 119:172 declares. We become righteous when we obey the Gospel and stay righteous as we live faithfully the Christian life.
I John "THESE things HAVE I WRITTEN UNTO YOU CONCERNING THEM THAT SEDUCE YOU."
Romans "(FOR NOT THE HEARERS OF THE LAW are JUST BEFORE GOD, BUT THE DOERS OF THE LAW SHALL BE JUSTIFIED."
v8. "HE THAT COMMITTETH SIN IS OF THE DEVIL; FOR THE DEVIL SINNETH FROM THE BEGINNING. FOR THIS PURPOSE THE SON OF GOD WAS MANIFESTED, THAT HE MIGHT DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL."
Simon Peter never doubted the reality of the devil. "BE SOBER, BE VIGILANT; BECAUSE YOUR ADVERSARY THE DEVIL, AS A ROARING LION, WALKETH ABOUT, SEEKING WHOM HE MAY DEVOUR." (I Peter 5:8)
He had encountered the devil's influence on the night that Jesus was betrayed and arrested. Jesus told the apostle "SIMON, SIMON, BEHOLD, SATAN HATH DESIRED to have YOU, THAT HE MAY SIFT you AS WHEAT; BUT I HAVE PRAYED FOR THEE, THAT THY FAITH FAIL NOT: AND WHEN THOU ART CONVERTED, STRENGTHEN THY BRETHREN" (Luke -32)
John never doubted the devil's reality as seen in his writings. He wrote of him in this text of study and called him the wicked one to whom Cain belonged in I John 3:12.
You will find that John was not one to beat around the bush in his writing but told it straight without any particle of compromise. The habitual sinner--the one who makes sin the rule, the major, the tone and the tenor of his life--is of the devil. Such a person is not just leaning toward Satan; he is already at home in Satan!
For this very purpose God's Son came that he might destroy the devil's works. These wicked works and sinister schemes are inclusive of his well-laid and skill-fully engineered plans, purposes and intentions to destroy man.
v9. "WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD DOTH NOT COMMIT SIN; FOR HIS SEED REMAINETH IN HIM: AND HE CANNOT SIN, BECAUSE HE IS BORN OF GOD."
The ASV has "BEGOTTEN OF GOD" which is preferable. What is the significance of John's crystal clear statement that the person of God does not commit sin? Because he does not do so habitually.
Why does the person who is begotten of God not sin habitually as the rule of life? Because his seed (God's seed, which is the Word of God--Luke ) abides or remains in him and it is a great restraining power.
The powerful Word, when fully accepted and adhered to, will not allow for a life of habitual sin, or unbridled lusts and their fulfillment. David declared in Psalms 119:11 that he had hidden God's Word in his heart that he might not sin against God.
Here is how the seed works for us today when we are tempted. A man is tempted to steal and yet remembers what his Lord has taught in such places as Ephesians , Romans 13:9 and Titus 2:9-10. He heeds the voice of the Bible and leaves intact that which belongs to another.
This is true with every temptation we face. John did not mean that a son of God will never commit an occasional act of sin through weakness, ignorance, inadvertently, etc.; but even when there is a lapse into a single, isolated, sinful act the person who is a true Christian repents of it, confesses it with shame, and prays for its prompt pardon.
I John "WE KNOW THAT WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD SINNETH NOT; BUT HE THAT IS BEGOTTEN OF GOD KEEPETH HIMSELF, AND THAT WICKED ONE TOUCHETH HIM NOT."
v10. "IN THIS THE CHILDREN OF GOD ARE MANIFEST, AND THE CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL: WHOSOEVER DOETH NOT RIGHTEOUSNESS IS NOT OF GOD, NEITHER HE THAT LOVETH NOT HIS BROTHER."
A good many people today seemly
have much trouble in identifying who is a child of God and who is a child of
Satan. John had no such trouble and
neither did any other writer of New Testament Scripture. They knew what was required of people to
leave the realm presided over by Satan and to come into the realm of the
redeemed. They knew that people had
to obey the stipulations of God's glorious Gospel, namely, hearing of Christ,
acceptance of His Deity, sincere repentance of all sins, a whole hearted
confession of Christ's Deity, and immersion in water for or unto remission of
sins (Matthew 17:5, John 8:24, Luke 13:3, Romans 10:9-10, Acts 2:38). Sons of God have been born of water and
spirit (John 3:5). Sons of God have been obedient to the
faith (Acts 6:7) Sons of God have obeyed from the heart
that form of doctrine delivered them (Romans
6:17-18). Sons of God have been delivered from
darkness and have been translated into the
John drew clearly the definite line of demarcation between God's family and Satan's sons. Those who fail to do righteousness and love brethren are of Satan; those who do righteousness (right-doing) and love their brethren belong to God. They are assured of a good standing with God.
I John "IF YE KNOW THAT HE IS RIGHTEOUS, YE KNOW THAT EVERY ONE THAT DOETH RIGHTOUSNESS IS BORN OF HIM."
I John 4:8 "HE THAT LOVETH NOT KNOWETH NOT GOD; FOR GOD IS LOVE."
v11. "FOR THIS IS THE MESSAGE THAT YE HEARD FROM THE BEGINNING, THAT WE SHOULD LOVE ONE ANOTHER."
From the beginning of the time that the Gospel of Christ was taught to men by Jesus himself they were taught the following:
John "A NEW COMMANDMENT I GIVE UNTO YOU, THAT YE LOVE ONE ANOTHER; AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, THAT YE ALSO LOVE ONE ANOTHER."
John "THIS IS MY COMMANDMENT, THAT YE LOVE ONE ANOTHER, AS I HAVE LOVED YOU."
While it is true that love has always been a characteristic of the follower of God, first love of God and secondly love of our "neighbor" the love of the Christ which disciples would share was truly new in the beginning of His ministry.
I John 4:7 "BELOVED, LET US LOVE ONE ANOTHER: FOR LOVE IS OF GOD; AND EVERY ONE THAT LOVETH IS BORN OF GOD, AND KNOWETH GOD."
v12. "NOT AS CAIN, who WAS OF THAT WICKED ONE, AND SLEW HIS BROTHER. AND WHEREFORE SLEW HE HIM? BECAUSE HIS OWN WORKS WERE EVIL, AND HIS BROTHER'S RIGHTEOUS."
Genesis 4:4 "AND ABEL, HE ALSO BROUGHT OF THE FIRSTLINGS OF HIS FLOCK AND OF THE FAT THEREOF. AND THE LORD HAD RESPECT UNTO ABEL AND TO HIS OFFERING."
Genesis 4:8 "AND CAIN TALKED WITH ABEL HIS BROTHER: AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN THEY WERE IN THE FIELD, THAT CAIN ROSE UP AGAINST ABEL HIS BROTHER, AND SLEW HIM."
Here we have the familiar example of Cain given to us again as the extreme opposite of the love that John is teaching. A study of the subject indicates that Cain not only murdered his brother Abel but the Greek word used is not the usual one used for "kill" or "murder" but the word that means sacrifice or slaughter. Those in New Testament times were not merely killed for doing the will of God but were sacrificed in the arenas for sport to satisfy the blood lust of those who did not do the will of God. This type of attitude is what John is conveying to us that exists within the heart of one who does not love his brother.
Jude 11 "WOE UNTO THEM! FOR THEY HAVE GONE IN THE WAY OF CAIN, AND RAN GREEDILY AFTER THE ERROR OF BALAAM FOR REWARD, AND PERISHED IN THE GAINSAYING OF CORE"
v13. "MARVEL NOT, MY BRETHREN, IF THE WORLD HATE YOU."
The word "marvel" here comes from the Greek that means to wonder or wonder at something that would be unbelievable. It would, without explanation from the Holy Spirit, cause deep amazement that the world would hate Christians. It does not make sense, unless the world is influenced by an adversary of Christ. Christians ought to be loved, because they do no harm, no hurt. The world should have loved Jesus as the highest, best, and noblest human of us all. Jesus had taught John well, and had carefully explained the problem. Notice:
John 15:17-21 "THESE THINGS I COMMAND YOU, THAT YE MAY LOVE ONE ANOTHER. IF THE WORLD HATE YOU, YE KNOW THAT IT HATH HATED ME BEFORE it hated YOU. IF YE WERE OF THE WORLD, THE WORLD WOULD LOVE his OWN, BUT BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF THE WORLD, BUT I HAVE CHOSEN YOU OUT OF THE WORLD, THEREFORE THE WORLD HATETH YOU. REMEMBER THE WORD THAT I SAID UNTO YOU, A SERVANT IS NOT GREATER THAN HIS LORD. IF THEY HAVE PERSECUTED ME, THEY WILL ALSO PERSECUTE YOU; IF THEY HAVE KEPT MY WORD, THEY WILL KEEP YOURS ALSO. BUT ALL THESE THINGS WILL THEY DO UNTO YOU FOR MY NAME'S SAKE, BECAUSE THEY KNOW NOT HIM THAT SENT ME."
The true church, the true Christian is the conscience of the world; and the world does not want a conscience – the world wants to do as it pleases which our adversary, the devil, would have it to do.
v14. "WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE, BECAUSE WE LOVE THE BRETHREN. HE THAT LOVETH NOT HIS BROTHER ABIDETH IN DEATH."
I'm taught that a correct understanding of this passage guards against the notion that love is all that matters respecting eternal life. Love will not cause the passage to spiritual life but will give evidence of it. Jesus said:
John "IF YE LOVE ME, YE WILL KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS."
When asked what was the greatest commandment he answered: Matthew 22:36-40 "…THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART, AND WITH ALL THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL THY MIND. THIS IS THE FIRST AND GREAT COMMANDMENT. AND THE SECOND is LIKE UNTO IT, THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF. ON THESE TWO COMMANDEMNTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS."
To summarize briefly: A person may be misled regarding whether he possesses eternal life; but evidence of eternal life is found in whether he loves his brother. This love is not in mere word, but in action (I John ). Only one who loves his/her brethren loves God, and one who loves God keeps the ordinances of God whereby he may save himself (Acts 2:40, John 14:15, Philippians 2:12). In that way; love is the test of eternal life, while obedience is the point of contact with eternal life (Hebrews 5:8-9). It is too artificial to separate obedience from real love. Love is not a bare, inactive emotion; it is a force that drives us to act, to actions that display that love.
v15. "WHOSOEVER HATETH HIS BROTHER IS A MURDERER: AND YE KNOW THAT NO MURDERER HATH ETERNAL LIFE ABIDING IN HIM."
In the heart there is no difference between hate and murder. To hate is to despise, to cut off from any relationship, and murder is simply the fulfillment of that attitude; the bringing of that attitude to action. One who hates has the spirit of a murderer; he is only restrained outwardly by fear of punishment or lack of opportunity.
Murderers and/or those who hate do not have eternal life but eternal death.
Matthew 5:21-22 "YE HAVE HEARD THAT IT WAS SAID BY THEM OF OLD TIME, THOU SHALT NOT KILL; AND WHOSOEVER SHALL KILL SHALL BE IN DANGER OF THE JUDGMENT: BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, THAT WHOSOEVER IS ANGRY WITH HIS BROTHER WITHOUT A CAUSE SHALL BE IN DANGER OF THE JUDGMENT: AND WHOSOEVER SHALL SAY TO HIS BROTHER, RACA, SHALL BE IN DANGER OF THE COUNCIL: BUT WHOSOEVER SHALL SAY, THOU FOOL, SHALL BE IN DANGER OF HELL FIRE."
Galatians 5:21 "ENVYINGS, MURDERS, DRUNKENNESS, REVELLINGS, AND SUCH LIKE: OF THE WHICH I TELL YOU BEFORE, AS I HAVE ALSO TOLD you IN TIME PAST, THAT THEY WHICH DO SUCH THINGS SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD."
Revelation 21:8 "BUT THE FEARFUL,
AND UNBELIEVING, AND THE ABOMINABLE, AND MURDERERS, AND WHOREMONGERS, AND
SORCERERS, AND IDOLATERS, AND ALL LIARS,
SHALL HAVE THEIR PART IN THE
v16. "HEREBY PERCEIVE WE THE LOVE of God, BECAUSE HE LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR US: AND WE OUGHT TO LAY DOWN our LIVES FOR THE BRETHREN."
John "GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS, THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS."
The same is true with regard to love as with regard to life: neither is visible to the eye, tangible to the hand; both are known as being present only by their activity. The activity John listed; is activity that is supreme--life in exchange for life. This was the great evidence not only of Christ's, but also of God's love. Paul marveled at this in his writing:
Romans 5:6-8 "FOR WHILE WE WERE YET WITHOUT STRENGTH, IN DUE TIME CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY. FOR SCARCELY FOR A RIGHTEOUS MAN WILL ONE DIE: FOR PERADVENTURE FOR THE GOOD MAN SOME ONE WOULD EVEN DARE TO DIE. BUT GOD COMMENDETH HIS OWN LOVE TOWARD US, IN THAT, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US."
v17. "BUT WHOSO HATH THIS WORLD'S GOOD, AND SEETH HIS BROTHER HAVE NEED, AND SHUTTETH UP HIS BOWELS of compassion FROM HIM, HOW DWELLETH THE LOVE OF GOD IN HIM?"
Here is the example of one who has ability, has opportunity, has awareness of what he should do, but due to a lack of real obedience, he stifles it all and exists without God's love.
He just does not merely see the brother in need but John uses a word here in the original language that means to "view attentively". He not only sees but understands thoroughly what the need is and refuses his compassion; the word translated shut is again a word that is used in the original language that indicates a definite action such as shutting a door. (See the door being shut to the virgins in Matthew 25:10)
Deuteronomy 15:7 "IF THERE BE AMOUNG YOU A POOR MAN OF ONE OF THY BRETHREN WITHIN ANY OF THY GATES IN THY LAND WHICH THE LORD THY GOD GIVETH THEE, THOU SHALT NOT HARDEN THINE HEART, NOR SHUT THINE HAND FROM THY POOR BROTHER:"
Luke "HE ANSWERETH AND SAITH UNTO THEM, HE THAT HATH TWO COATS, LET HIM IMPART TO HIM THAT HATH NONE; AND HE THAT HATH MEAT, LET HIM DO LIKEWISE."
v18. "MY LITTLE CHILDREN, LET US NOT LOVE IN WORD, NEITHER IN TONGUE; BUT IN DEED AND IN TRUTH."
Romans 12:9 "Let LOVE BE WITHOUT DISSIMULATION. ABHOR THAT WHICH IS EVIL; CLEAVE TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD."
James 2:15-16 "IF A BROTHER OR SISTER BE NAKED, AND DESTITUTE OF DAILY FOOD, AND ONE OF YOU SAY UNTO THEM, DEPART IN PEACE, BE ye WARMED AND FILLED; NOTWITHSTANDING YE GIVE THEM NOT THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE NEEDFUL TO THE BODY; WHAT doth it PROFIT?"
I Peter 1:22 "SEEING YE HAVE PURIFIED YOUR SOULS IN OBEYING THE TRUTH THROUGH THE SPIRIT UNTO UNFEIGNED LOVE OF THE BRETHREN, see that ye LOVE ONE ANOTHER WITH A PURE HEART FERVENTLY:"
Love in truth and in deed. How much more could we say but that we must love in deed and in truth.
v19. "AND HEREBY WE KNOW THAT WE ARE OF THE TRUTH, AND SHALL ASSURE OUR HEARTS BEFORE HIM."
Hereby, we KNOW!!!! How are we to know that we are of the Truth?
If we have the kind of love that John speaks of in verses14-18, a love that is genuine--that practices what it preaches; like genuine faith, it works and lives. It is the ultimate proof to others and to our own consciences that we are of the Truth. One key word is KNOW.
Those with a good conscience and a correct attitude want to know where they stand with God. A seared conscience or a hardened heart can make one feel very comfortable religiously despite a weak or estranged relationship with God. On the other hand, an overly sensitive conscience can rob one of the peace and stability needed to maintain a constant and positive attitude toward God and our relationship with Him.
"FOR THE WHICH CAUSE I ALSO SUFFER THESE THINGS: NEVERTHELESS I AM NOT ASHAMED FOR I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED, AND AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE TO KEEP THAT WHICH I HAVE COMMITTED UNTO HIM AGAINST THAT DAY." 2 Timothy 1:12
v20. "FOR IF OUR HEART CONDEMN US, GOD IS GREATER THAN OUR HEART, AND KNOWETH ALL THINGS."
Being made in the image of God, man is a moral being that possesses a conscience that is capable of feeling peace and innocence or guilt and shame
Paul spoke of man's capacity for moral judgments in Romans 2:14-16 where the conscience is the jurist of the heart either to accuse or excuse. He spoke of his anguish in the struggle between the flesh and the spirit (Romans 7:8-25); but of this same struggle as he described it in I Corinthians 9:24-10:12, he warned of false comfort and moral presumptuousness by writing, "LET HIM THAT THINKETH HE STANDETH TAKE HEED LEST HE FALL."
v21. "BELOVED, IF OUR HEART CONDEMN US NOT, then HAVE WE CONFIDENCE TOWARD GOD."
I John "AND NOW, LITTLE CHILDREN, ABIDE IN HIM; THAT, WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR, WE MAY HAVE CONFIDENCE, AND NOT BE ASHAMED BEFORE HIM AT HIS COMING."
I John "HEREIN IS OUR LOVE MADE PERFECT, THAT WE MAY HAVE BOLDNESS IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT: BECAUSE AS HE IS, SO ARE WE IN THIS WORLD."
Hebrews "LET US DRAW NEAR WITH A TRUE HEART IN FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH, HAVING OUR HEARTS SPRINKLED FROM AN EVIL CONSCIENCE, AND OUR BODIES WASHED WITH PURE WATER."
The conscience has more than just the spiritual function of bringing pain when we don’t follow it. Its proper operation is tied inseparably to faith that reinforces righteous conduct, helping us to war a good warfare and to hold the faith in a pure conscience (I Timothy -19)
The christian's conscience, educated and trained to discern, or distinguish, between good and evil, is made capable of accusing us of sin and of encouraging us in those things which God has approved. In all matters, God's authority supercedes the verdicts of man's conscience; but if we submit ourselves to God’s authority then our conscience will help us avoid sin. John emphasizes the reward for this kind of faith:
v22. "AND WHATSOEVER WE ASK, WE RECEIVE OF HIM, BECAUSE WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, AND DO THOSE THINGS THAT ARE PLEASING IN HIS SIGHT."
Psalms 34:15 "THE EYES OF THE LORD are UPON THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS are open UNTO THEIR CRY."
Jeremiah 29:12 "THEN SHALL YE CALL UPON ME, AND YE SHALL GO AND PRAY UNTO ME, AND I WILL HEARKEN UNTO YOU."
Matthew 7:8 "FOR EVERY ONE THAT ASKETH RECEIVETH; AND HE THAT SEEKETH FINDETH; AND TO HIM THAT KNOCKETH IT SHALL BE OPENED."
John "NOW WE KNOW THAT GOD HEARETH NOT SINNERS: BUT IF ANY MAN BE A WORSHIPPER OF GOD, AND DOETH HIS WILL, HIM HE HEARETH."
John "AND WHATSOEVER YE SHALL ASK IN MY NAME, THAT WILL I DO, THAT THE FATHER MAY BE GLORIFIED IN THE SON."
The Christian can have "boldness" and "confidence" (Ephesians ) in his petitions because he is assured by God's Word that they will fall on the ears of a compassionate and sympathetic God (I Peter ). James urges confident prayer "without wavering" (James 1:6). The reason that a Christian can have such assurance is that he keeps God's commandments and does those things which please Him.
v23. "AND THIS IS HIS COMMANDMENT, THAT
WE SHOULD BELIEVE ON THE NAME OF THE SON JESUS CHRIST, AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER, AS
John "THIS IS MY COMMANDMENT, THAT YE LOVE ONE ANOTHER, AS I HAVE LOVED YOU."
John 17:3 "AND THIS IS LIFE ETERNAL, THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW THEE THE ONLY TRUE GOD, AND JESUS CHRIST, WHOM THOU HAST SENT."
At the end of his entreaty, John exhorted his readers to practice faith and love. These two separate commandments become one in Christ, and they are so amalgamated, alloyed and intertwined that the thing that characterizes our lives in Christ is faith working by love (Galatians 5:6)
I Peter 4:8 "AND ABOVE ALL THINGS HAVE FERVENT CHARITY AMONG YOURSELVES: FOR CHARITY SHALL COVER THE MULTITUDE OF SINS."
v24. "AND HE THAT KEEPETH HIS COMMANDMENTS DWELLETH IN HIM, AND HE IN HIM. AND HEREBY WE KNOW THAT HE ABIDETH IN US, BY THE SPIRIT WHICH HE HATH GIVEN US.
John "JESUS ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO HIM, IF A MAN LOVE ME, HE WILL KEEP MY WORDS: AND MY FATHER WILL LOVE HIM, AND WE WILL COME UNTO HIM, AND MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM."
This statement by John, so simple and yet so profound, should forever lay to rest the doctrine of salvation by faith only. Furthermore, the doctrine of the unconditional security of the believer, (once saved always saved) is flatly contradicted by John's emphasis on faithfulness. And "hereby we know that he abideth in us"
John "THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE; AS THOU, FATHER, art IN ME, AND I IN THEE, THAT THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US: THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT THOU HAST SENT ME."