I John Chapter Five

 

            At the close of chapter 4, John was enjoining the duty of brotherly love.  One who loves God must, as a necessary consequence, love his brother.  WHO IS ONE'S BROTHER?  Answer:

 

v1.  "WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST IS BORN [begotten] OF GOD: AND EVERY ONE THAT LOVETH HIM THAT BEGAT LOVETH HIM ALSO THAT IS BEGOTTEN OF HIM."

 

            The thought, developed here, is this:  He who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God; one begotten of God is a son of God; those who love him who begets--God--must necessarily love him who is begotten--one's brother.  How do we know that we love those who have been thus begotten?  Answer: (1) because we love God; and (2) because we do God's commandments.

            Literally, "Whosoever continues to believe," i.e.; those whose faith is firmly fixed and abiding in the proposition that Jesus is the Christ.  It is, obviously, not a speculative belief; it is not simply or solely intellectual agreement to the truthfulness of this proposition; but rather finds it so real as the truth of the matter that the one who practices it is influenced to, and actually does act upon, the principle involved, and becomes obedient to him who is the object of that faith.  It is faith that includes obedience, since such is the only kind of faith that avails.  READ James 2:20-26

 

John 1:12-13  "BUT AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, TO THEM GAVE HE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, even TO THEM THAT BELIEVE ON HIS NAME:  WHICH WERE BORN, NOT OF BLOOD, NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, BUT OF GOD."

 

            This is a test by which one might determine whether one is a child of God.  One claims to be a child of God.  Is he really?  The test is: Does he believe (with all that such belief involves) that Jesus is the Christ?

 

v2.  "BY THIS (HEREBY) WE KNOW THAT WE LOVE THE CHILDREN OF GOD, WHEN WE LOVE GOD, AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS."

 

            "HEREBY", by this test, the test to be supplied, we are able to know that we love the children of God.  What is the test?  When, (1) we love God and (2) keep his commandments!  So intimately associated is love for God and man that as I John 4:20 teaches that love for brethren is a token and necessary condition of our love for God, so here the relationship is reversed and this passage teaches that our love for God, exhibited in the keeping of his commandments, is proof of our love for his children.  We thus learn that love of God and love of the brethren are inseparable duties, and each becomes the test of the other.  One may entertain affection for others from many considerations not related to religion, such as kinship, friendship, business relations, etc.; but such do not afford the motives for the love under consideration here.  This love is such an emotion which springs from a heart filled with good wishes for others, genuine regard based on a common parentage, common interests, common responsibilities and a common reward.  How may we know that we possess such?  When (1) we love God, and (2) do his commandments, one of which is to love one another!  John 13:34.

 

v3.  "FOR THIS IS THE LOVE OF GOD, THAT WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS: AND HIS COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT GRIEVOUS."

 

            In what way is it possible for us to exhibit and demonstrate our love for God?  By keeping his commandments.  The verb "keep" in this text is present active subjunctive: it is the love of God that we keep on keeping his commandments!  Here is the acid test of love for him.  Do we persist in keeping his commandments and in doing his will to the extent of our ability?  If such be characteristic of us, we have the evidence of our love for him.  If such be lacking whatever may be our pretensions thereto, they are weighed in the balance and found wanting.

 

Micah 6:8  "HE HATH SHEWED THEE, O MAN, WHAT is GOOD; AND WHAT DOTH THE LORD REQUIRE OF THEE, BUT TO DO JUSTLY, AND TO LOVE MERCY, AND TO WALK HUMBLY WITH THY GOD."

 

Matthew 12:30  "HE THAT IS NOT WITH ME IS AGAINST ME; AND HE THAT GATHERETH NOT WITH ME SCATTERETH ABROAD."

 

John 14:15  "IF YE LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS"

 

John 14:21  "HE THAT HATH MY COMMANDMENTS, AND KEEPETH THEM, HE IT IS THAT LOVETH ME:..."

 

John 14:23  "JESUS ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO HIM, IF A MAN LOVE ME, HE WILL KEEP MY WORDS..."

 

v4.  "FOR WHATSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD OVERCOMETH THE WORLD: AND THIS IS THE VICTORY THAT OVERCOMETH THE WORLD, even OUR FAITH."

 

As the words of the hymn say so wonderfully “Faith is the victory, we know, that overcomes the world…”

            These words were penned to indicate to us why the commandments of God are not grievous, (weighty, galling, or burdensome).  The argument of the apostle follows this pattern: The commandments of God are not burdensome for, despite the difficulties, the hardships, the privations we may suffer as Christians, all such will eventually result in victory.  Those who triumph over all such things conquer the world; and hence, none need fear failure or contemplate defeat.

            We have here, as often elsewhere in the scriptures, evidence of the conquering power of faith.  It is faith which enables men to resist temptation, to avoid the entanglements of the world, to reject false teachers and the doctrines of men.  It was faith which guarded the ancient ones who the Holy Spirit named in Hebrews chapter 11.  It was faith that enabled them to triumph over the seductions of Satan, and filled them with determination to serve the great Jehovah whatever the difficulties, obstacles, impediments that may have been in their way.

The verb "overcometh" is in the present tense and indicates a continuous struggle, continuous action, something we must work at constantly.

 

John 16:33 "THESE THINGS I HAVE SPOKEN UNTO YOU, THAT I ME YE MIGHT HAVE PEACE.  IN THE WORLD YE SHALL HAVE TRIBULATION: BUT BE OF GOOD CHEER; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD."

 

v5.  "WHO IS HE THAT OVERCOMETH THE WORLD, BUT HE THAT BELIEVETH THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD?"

 

            What is involved in the proposition which one must believe in order to overcome the world?  The answer is "JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD." Here, again, attention is fixed on both the humanity (Jesus) and the deity (the Son of God) of the Lord.  The two natures, the human and the divine, were united in one personality.  Those who accept this truth; (along with everything else that it implies), overcome the world; by escaping its guilt, its pollution, its power, and in large measure, the influence of its presence.

 

I Corinthians 15:57  "BUT THANKS be TO GOD, WHICH GIVETH US THE VICTORY THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST."

 

v6.  "THIS IS HE THAT CAME BY WATER AND BLOOD, even JESUS CHRIST; NOT BY WATER ONLY, BUT BY WATER AND BLOOD.  AND IT IS THE SPIRIT THAT BEARETH WITNESS, BECAUSE THE SPIRIT IS TRUTH."

 

An analysis of this verse reveals that (a) one came; (b) the one who came was Jesus Christ; (c) Jesus Christ came by water and blood; (d) he did not come by water only, but with the water and with the blood.  Essential to the understanding of this passage are the answers to the following questions: (1) What coming of the Lord is referred to here?  (2) What is meant by his coming "with the water," and "with the blood?"  There appears to be little doubt that the "coming" under consideration here was his advent into the world.  In coming into the world, he came with the water and with the blood.  It seems clear, therefore, that the reference to the water is an allusion to his baptism; and that of the blood to his death.  Our salvation requires both; water in baptism; that symbolic washing of our souls clean of sin and his blood, which through his sacrifice, makes that washing possible.

 

John 19:34  "BUT ONE OF THE SOLDIERS WITH A SPEAR PIERCED HIS SIDE, AND FORTHWITH CAME THERE OUT BLOOD AND WATER."

 

I Timothy 3:16  "AND WITHOUT CONTROVERSY GREAT IS THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS:  GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH, JUSTIFIED IN THE SPIRIT, SEEN OF ANGELS, PREACHED UNTO THE GENTILES, BELIEVED ON IN THE WORLD, RECEIVED UP INTO GLORY."

 

            The American Standard omits verse 7 as we find it in the Authorized Version and divides verse six into two parts.  "AND IT IS THE SPIRIT THAT BEARTETH WITNESS, BECAUSE THE SPIRIT IS TRUTH."

 

John 14:17  "even THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH; WHOM THE WORLD CANNOT RECEIVE, BECAUSE IT SEETH HIM NOT, NEITHER KNOWETH HIM: BUT YE KNOW HIM; FOR HE DWELLETH WITH YOU, AND SHALL BE IN YOU."

 

John 16:13 "HOWBEIT WHEN HE, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, IS COME, HE WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH: FOR HE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF; BUT WHATSOEVER HE SHALL HEAR, that SHALL HE SPEAK: AND HE WILL SHEW YOU THINGS TO COME."

 

The Greek text, from which present-day translations are made, is determined by ancient manuscripts, versions and early writings of the so-called "Church Fathers", some of which extend almost back to the time of the apostles.  (Most present-day translations that is; the NIV is a major exception as a lesson on a recent Sunday evening pointed out.)  With reference to the major portion of the sacred writings--perhaps ninety-nine percent or more--there never has been the slightest doubt as to their apostolic origin; the readings thereof are supported by overwhelming evidence from all of the original and reliable sources.  In a few instances, however, there are man made revisions that have crept in; words included which lack such universal support of true scholars of the Bible itself that there is doubt as to their genuineness and reliability.  Depending then upon the amount of evidence found that indicates that words, phrases or sentences are missing from ancient documents on which the text is founded, doubt arises as to its authenticity; and when it is discovered by these scholars to be wanting from a respectable number of such sources it is regarded as spurious--that is, an inserted passage, without inspiration or divine authority.

What we have as verse seven in our Authorized or King James Versions is just such a verse.  In 1611 the translators accepted and included it.  Almost 300 years later and as the foundation of original manuscripts grew through discovery of additional evidence the translators of the ASV didn’t include it.

 

v8.  "AND THERE ARE THREE THAT BEAR WITNESS IN EARTH [ASV omits in earth] THE SPIRIT, AND THE WATER, AND THE BLOOD: AND THESE THREE AGREE IN ONE."

 

            The Spirit (the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Godhead), the water (of baptism) and the blood (which flowed from the Lord's side on the cross), are here declared to bear witness, i.e. to testify.  That to which they bear witness is the deity of Jesus, the lordship of him who was baptized in Jordan and from whose side the blood flowed.  These three---the Spirit, the water and the blood---agree in one, i.e., their testimony harmonizes, and points to the same end.

 

v9.  "IF WE RECEIVE THE WITNESS OF MEN, THE WITNESS OF GOD IS GREATER; FOR THIS IS THE WITNESS OF GOD WHICH HE HATH TESTIFIED OF HIS SON."

 

John here provides an argument or statement of logic that follows the pattern of reasoning from the less to the greater truth, a conclusion which, when compared with some other, is even more necessary.  We do accept the testimony of men; thus we should the more readily accept the testimony of God which is greater.  What John is referring to in this particular reference is the witness which God has borne concerning his Son.  The meaning is, We ordinarily believe the testimony of men; inasmuch as God is infinitely greater and better than the best of men, we are logically bound to accept his testimony; and since he has testified that Jesus is the Son of God, we ought to believe this.  And believe it quicker that any testimony that any man could give.  We have God’s testimony recorded for us as follows:

 

Matthew 3:16-17  "AND JESUS, WHEN HE WAS BAPTIZED, WENT UP STRAIGHTWAY OUT OF THE WATER: AND, LO, THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED UNTO HIM, AND HE SAW THE SPIRIT OF GOD DESCENDING LIKE A DOVE, AND LIGHTING UPON HIM: AND LO A VOICE FROM HEAVEN, SAYING, THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED."

 

on the mount of transfiguration  Matthew 17:5  "WHILE HE YET SPAKE, BEHOLD, A BRIGHT CLOUD OVERSHADOWED THEM: AND BEHOLD A VOICE OUT OF THE CLOUD, WHICH SAID, THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED; HEAR YE HIM."

 

John 8:17-18 "IT IS ALSO WRITTEN IN YOU LAW, THAT THE TESTIMONY OF TWO MEN IS TRUE.  I AM ONE THAT BEAR WITNESS OF MYSELF, AND THE FATHER THAT SENT ME BEARETH WITNESS OF ME."

 

v10.  "HE THAT BELIEVETH ON THE SON OF GOD HATH THE WITNESS IN HIMSELF: HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT GOD HATH MADE HIM A LIAR; BECAUSE HE BELIEVETH NOT THE RECORD [witness] THAT GOD GAVE OF HIS SON."

 

            Literally, "He that keeps on believing in the Son, continues to have the witness in him, i.e., in himself, that is God.  The word, the instrument of the Spirit, is the basis for our faith; this faith supplies us with confidence that the witness is true; and this confidence is ever with us.  We thus have a continual witness to the fact that this Christ to which we have committed our lives is real and is the Son of God.  Conversely, if we do not believe the witness of Christ and his apostles; then we call God a liar.

 

Romans 8:16  "THE SPIRIT ITSELF BEARETH WITNESS WITH OUR SPIRIT, THAT WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD."

 

Galatians 4:6 "AND BECAUSE YE ARE SONS, GOD HATH SENT FORTH THE SPIRIT OF HIS SON INTO YOUR HEARTS, CRYING, ABBA, FATHER."

 

            To reject the deity of Jesus--the Sonship of the Lord--is to make God a liar; for, he has testified to this fact in his word.  Inasmuch as the Christian religion is founded on the truth of the proposition that Jesus is the Christ, to reject this is to repudiate all that God has said.  Such a one has rejected prophesy, miracles, the character and life of the Lord, the resurrection, the marvelous spread of Christianity, and every other proof that may be adduced in support of the cause for which Jesus died.

 

John 3:33 "HE THAT HATH RECEIVED HIS TESTIMONY HATH SET TO HIS SEAL THAT GOD IS TRUE."

 

v11.  "AND THIS IS THE RECORD; THAT GOD HATH GIVEN TO US ETERNAL LIFE, AND THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON."

 

To this end Paul also testified:  "FOR YE DIED, AND YOUR LIFE IS HID WITH CHRIST IN GOD.  WHEN CHRIST, WHO IS OUR LIFE, SHALL BE MANIFESTED, THEN SHALL YE ALSO WITH HIM BE MANIFESTED IN GLORY." (Colossians 3:3-4 ASV)

 

v12.  "HE THAT HATH THE SON HATH LIFE; and HE THAT HATH NOT THE SON OF GOD HATH NOT LIFE."

 

            Only those who have the Son have the life; and since having the Son is conditional on our faithfulness and devotion to him, it follows then that this spiritual life is also conditional.  It is in this sense; that we are in Christ, only because we are in Christ that we have eternal life here.  Eternal life is not a present possession of the Christian today: it is a promise of that which is to come:  "…THERE IS NO MAN THAT HATH LEFT HOUSE, OR BRETHREN, OR SISTERS, OR MOTHER, OR FATHER, OR CHILDREN, OR LANDS, FOR MY SAKE AND FOR THE GOSPEL'S SAKE, BUT HE SHALL RECEIVE A HUNDREDFOLD NOW IN THIS TIME, HOUSES, AND BRETHREN, AND SISTERS, AND MOTHERS, AND CHILDREN AND LANDS, WITH PRESECUTIONS: AND IN THE WORLD TO COME ETERNAL LIFE."  (Mark 10:29-30)  "IN HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE, WHICH GOD, WHO CANNOT LIE, PROMISED BEFORE TIMES ETERNAL." (Titus 1:2 ASV) One does not hope for that which he already has as we read in Romans 8:24.  "AND THIS IS THE PROMISE WHICH HE PROMISED US; even THE LIFE ETERNAL." (I John 2:25, ASV)  The believer has eternal life in prospect and promise but not in realization, yet.  He possesses life, as he possesses the Christ, who is the life, i.e., the source, the origin, the preserver of life.  The believer however, may cease to believe; he may forsake him who has the life.  "HAVING DAMNATION BECAUSE THEY HAVE CAST OFF THEIR FIRST FAITH."  (I Timothy 5:12) 

 

"BUT SHUN PROFANE BABBLINGS: FOR THEY WILL PRECEED FURTHER IN UNGODLINESS.  AND THEIR WORD WILL EAT AS A GANGRENE: OF WHOM IS HYMENAEUS AND PHILETUS; MEN WHO CONCERNING THE TRUTH HAVE ERRED, SAYING THAT THE RESURRECTION IS PAST ALREADY, AND OVERTHROW THE FAITH OF SOME."  (II Timothy 2:16-17 ASV)

 

v13.  "THESE THINGS HAVE I WRITTEN UNTO YOU THAT BELIEVE ON THE NAME OF THE SON OF GOD; THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, AND THAY YE MAY BELIEVE ON THE NAME OF THE SON OF GOD."

 

Generally the entire Epistle was written with the design in mind that is indicated here, but it appears probable that this reference is, particularly, to that of the immediate context (I John 5:1-12).  As we know there were many things not written that Jesus did and I thing we can be assured that many things written by the apostles that were not included in the canon of scripture.

 

John 20:30-31  "AND MANY OTHER SIGNS TRULY DID JESUS IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS DISCIPLES, WHICH ARE NOT WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK: BUT THESE ARE WRITTEN, THAT YE MIGHT BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD; AND THAT BELIEVING YE MIGHT HAVE LIFE THROUGH HIS NAME."

 

v14.  "AND THIS IS THE CONFIDENCE THAT WE HAVE IN HIM, THAT, IF WE ASK ANY THING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, HE HEARETH US."

 

The context made up of this verse and the one preceding it tells us that:  We have the promise of eternal life; the realization of this assures and gives us confidence; this confidence expresses itself, for example, in the assurance we have that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  His will is set out in the sacred writings; to ask according to his will, is to ask in harmony with what he has taught regarding prayer.  Jesus knew this and prayed:

 

"…O MY FATHER, IF IT BE POSSIBLE, LET THIS CUP PASS AWAY FROM THE: NEVERTHELESS, NOT AS I WILL, BUT AS THOU wilt." (Matthew 26:39).

 

God wills for us only that which is good for us.  Therefore, if we through ignorance, greed or some other evil motive, ask for that which we should not be given, the Father, in kindness, doesn't give us what we ask.

 

"ASK, AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN YOU; SEEK, AND HE SHALL FIND; KNOCK, AND IT SHALL BE OPENED UNTO YOU: FOR EVERY ONE THAT ASKETH RECEIVETH; AND HE THAT SEEKETH FINDETH; AND TO HIM THAT KNOCKETH IT SHALL BE OPENED.  OR WHAT MAN IS THERE OF YOU, WHO, IF HIS SON SHALL ASK bread, WILL GIVe HIM A STONE; OR IF HE SHALL ASK A FISH, WILL GIVE HIM A SERPENT?  IF YE THEN, BEING EVIL, KNOW HOW TO GIVE GOOD GIFTS UNTO YOUR CHILDREN, HOW MUCH MORE SHALL YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN GIVE GOOD THINGS TO THEM THAT ASK HIM?" (Matthew 7:7-11)

 

v15.  "AND IF WE KNOW THAT HE HEAR US, WHATSOEVER WE ASK, WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE THE PETITIONS THAT WE DESIRED OF HIM."

 

This assurance, then, which we have that God does indeed answer our prayers encourages us to ask, and enables us to know that we receive the things for which we ask.  We may not get what we need in the way that we expect.  What we ask for may not be the thing that we need most.  God sometimes says, YES!, by saying NO!  That is, he answers prayer for our good by denying the thing we ask for and providing the thing that He is His wisdom sees that we really need.  Example Paul in II Corinthians 12:7-10

 

"AND LEST I SHOULD BE EXALTED ABOVE MEASURE THROUGH THE ABUNDANCE OF THE REVELATIONS, THERE WAS GIVEN TO ME A THORN IN THE FLESH, THE MESSENGER OF SATAN TO BUFFET ME, LEST I SHOULD BE EXALTED ABOVE MEASURE.  FOR THIS THING I BESOUGHT THE LORD THRICE, THAT IT MIGHT DEPART FROM ME.  AND HE SAID UNTO ME, MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THEE: FOR MY STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS.  MOST GLADLY THEREFORE WILL I RATHER GLORY IN MY INFIRMITIES, THAT THE POWER OF CHRIST MAY REST UPON ME.  THEREFORE I TAKE PLEASURE IN INFIRMITIES, IN REPROACHES, IN NECESSITIES, IN PERSECUTIONS, IN DISTRESSES FOR CHRIST'S SAKE: FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN AM I STRONG."

 

v16.  "IF ANY MAN SEE HIS BROTHER SIN A SIN which is NOT UNTO DEATH, HE SHALL ASK, AND HE SHALL GIVE HIM LIFE FOR THEM THAT SIN NOT UNTO DEATH.  THERE IS A SIN UNTO DEATH: I DO NOT SAY THAT HE SHALL PRAY FOR IT."

 

v14 - We have boldness (confidence) toward the Father.

v15 - Though we may not be able to "see" the answer to our prayers, in some instances, the confidence which we have in him enables us to know that "we have the petitions which we have asked of him."

            As an instance of this, if we see a "brother sin a sin not unto death," we are encouraged to ask in his behalf, assured that God will give us life for "them that sin not unto death."  We are not, however, from thence to infer that God will give us life for "them that sin unto death."  There is such a sin; and though we are not forbidden to pray in behalf on one thus sinning, we are not commanded to do so, and there is no assurance that God will hear and answer our prayer in their behalf.

 

An analysis of the passage:

            (1)  a child of God will sin

            (2)  there is a sin not "unto death"

            (3)  we are instructed to pray for those thus sinning, with the assurance that our prayers will be heard and answered

            (4)  there is a sin "unto death"

            (5)  for those guilty of such it is useless and futile to pray.

What is the sin thus contemplated.  What is a sin unto death for which we are not commanded to pray?

 

            (a)  It is obvious that no single sin, contemplated as an overt act, was in the apostle's mind.  Correctly rendered, the passage does not designate THE sin, or even A sin, but rather sin in general.

            (b)  The sin was such that a brother could readily see it and identify it as such.

            (c)  The death referred to was not physical death, the loss of our physical life; but spiritual death, separation from God and all that is good.

            (d)  It was such a sin as only children of God could be guilty of

 

            1.  The sin contemplated here is not such as is usually classified as capital, i.e., such sins as idolatry, murder, adultery, blasphemy, etc.

            2.  The effects of it were visible and obvious--such as could be seen.

            3.  It was possible for one who prays to distinguish between the sin unto death, and the sin not unto death.

 

            John writes much about sin:

 

            I John 1:8-10   it exists in the lives of all Christians

            I John 3:8     its origin is explained

            I John 3:9     he tells us how to avoid it

            I John 2:1     when we do sin there is "an Advocate, with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous"

            I John 1:8     "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"

            Thus our logical conclusion:

            1.  The Lord will forgive every sin, of whatever nature, that a brother confesses.  (I John 1:8)

            2.  There is, however, a sin which the Lord will not forgive.  (I John 5:16.)

            3.  Therefore, the sin which the Lord will not forgive, is simply A SIN, ANY SIN, ALL SIN THAT A BROTHER WILL NOT CONFESS OR REPENT OF COMMITING!!!!

 

Hebrews 6:4-6 "FOR it is IMPOSSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO WERE ONCE ENLIGHTENED, AND HAVE TASTED OF THE HEAVENLY GIFT, AND WERE MADE PARTAKERS OF THE HOLY GHOST.  AND HAVE TASTED THE GOOD WORD OF GOD, AND THE POWERS OF THE WORLD TO COME, IF THEY SHALL FALL AWAY, TO RENEW THEM AGAIN UNTO REPENTANCE; SEEING THEY CRUCIFY TO THEMSELVES THE SON OF GOD AFRESH, AND PUT him TO AN OPEN SHAME."

 

v17.  "ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS IS SIN: AND THERE IS A SIN NOT UNTO DEATH."

 

Here we have sin defined for us again but in the negative sense.  Sin is unrighteousness.  God's commandments are righteousness. (Psalms 119:172).  When we fail to keep God's commandments, we sin.  In I John 3:4 (ASV) he says that "sin is lawlessness" or (KJV) "transgression of the law"

 

            Sin then consists of doing

            (a) that which is wrong; and               (comission)

            (b) failing to do that which is right.     (omission)

 

John closes with 3 "we knows"

 

v18.  "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."

 

            Summarizes thoughts from I John 3:6,8 & 9

 

I John 3:9  "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."

 

because we are born "....NOT OF CORRUPTIBLE SEED, BUT OF INCORRUPTIBLE, BY THE WORD OF GOD, WHICH LIVETH AND ABIDETH FOR EVER." I Peter 1:23

 

James 1:27  "PURE RELIGION AND UNDEFILED BEFORE GOD AND THE FATHER IS THIS, TO VISIT THE FATHERLESS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR AFFLICTION, and TO KEEP HIMSELF UNSPOTTED FROM THE WORLD."  emphasis on the last phrase.

 

v19.  "and WE KNOW THAT WE ARE OF GOD, AND THE WHOLE WORLD LIETH IN WICKEDNESS." ("IN THE EVIL ONE" ASV)

 

            "Of God" is literally, "from God"; being begotten of him, we are his offspring. (I John 3:10).

            "the world" is not the earth as such but the people who live in it, this race of wicked men that we live with.

            The evil one, (ASV)--the devil--is the prince of this world, the ruler of its citizens. (Ephesians 2:2; I Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:11; Colossians 1:13)

 

Galatians 1:4  "WHO GAVE HIMSELF FOR OUR SINS, THAT HE MIGHT DELIVER US FROM THIS PRESENT EVIL WORLD, ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD AND OUR FATHER:"  we as children of God have been delivered.

 

v20.  "AND WE KNOW THAT THE SON OF GOD IS COME, AND HATH GIVEN US AN UNDERSTANDING, THAT WE MAY KNOW HIM THAT IS TRUE, AND WE ARE IN HIM THAT IS TRUE, even IN HIS SON JESUS CHRIST.  THIS IS THE TRUE GOD, AND ETERNAL LIFE."

 

            By supplying us with credible testimony, the Father has enabled us to know him, to accept him as true; and thus also to accept his Son Jesus Christ, and to be in him.  (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27)

 

            To know--to have an understanding of the true God, and to be in his Son, Jesus Christ,--is to have the assurance of eternal life. (I John 2:25)

 

John 17:3 "AND THIS IS LIFE ETERNAL, THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW THEE THE ONLY TRUE GOD, AND JESUS CHRIST, WHOM THOU HAST SENT."

 

            So, at the end of his letter the Apostle re-emphasizes that with which he began.

 

I John 1:1-3 "THAT WHICH WAS FROM THE BEGINNING, WHICH WE HAVE HEARD, WHICH WE HAVE SEEN WITH OUR EYES, WHICH WE HAVE LOOKED UPON, AND OUR HANDS HAVE HANDLED, OF THE WORD OF LIFE; (FOR THE LIFE WAS MANIFESTED, AND WE HAVE SEEN it, AND BEAR WITNESS, AND SHEW UNTO YOU THAT ETERNAL LIFE, WHICH WAS WITH THE FATHER, AND WAS MANIFESTED UNTO US;) THAT WHICH WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD DECLARE WE UNTO YOU, THAT YE ALSO MAY HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH US: AND TRULY OUR FELLOWSHIP IS WITH THE FATHER, AND WITH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST."

 

v21.  "LITTLE CHILDREN, KEEP YOURSELVES FROM IDOLS.  AMEN"

 

I Corinthians 10:14 "WHEREFORE, MY DEARLY BELOVED, FLEE FROM IDOLATRY."

 

John has the last word - keep yourselves from idols.  Do men worship idols today?  Worship of graven images was rampant during the time of John’s writing but men today have only replaced those with such things as pleasures, worldly goods, selfwill, etc.