1 Behold, how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! For this cause the world doesn't know us, because it didn't know him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it is not yet revealed what we will be. But we know that, when he is revealed, we will be like him; for we will see him just as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope set on him purifies himself, even as he is pure. 4 Everyone who sins also commits lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he was revealed to take away our sins, and in him is no sin. 6 Whoever remains in him doesn't sin. Whoever sins hasn't seen him, neither knows him. 7 Little children, let no one lead you astray. He who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. To this end the Son of God was revealed, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever is born of God doesn't commit sin, because his seed remains in him; and he can't sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the devil. Whoever doesn't do righteousness is not of God, neither is he who doesn't love his brother. 11 For this is the message which you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 unlike Cain, who was of the evil one, and killed his brother. Why did he kill him? Because his works were evil, and his brother's righteous. 13 Don't be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. He who doesn't love his brother remains in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him. 16 By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and closes his heart of compassion against him, how does the love of God remain in him? 18 My little children, let's not love in word only, neither with the tongue only, but in deed and truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and persuade our hearts before him, 20 because if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our hearts don't condemn us, we have boldness toward God; 22 and whatever we ask, we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he commanded. 24 He who keeps his commandments remains in him, and he in him. By this we know that he remains in us, by the Spirit which he gave us.
This chapter embraces the following subjects:
I. The fact that Christians are now the sons of God, 1-John 3:1-3.
(1) we are the sons of God, and this will explain the reason why the world does not appreciate our character, or understand the reasons of our conduct, 1-John 3:1.
(2) the consequences of sustaining that relation to God, or of being regarded as His sons.
(a) We shall be like him when he appears, 1-John 3:2.
(b) We shall purify ourselves under the influence of this hope, 1-John 3:3.
II. The fact that he who is an adopted child of God does not commit sin, 1-John 3:4-10.
(1) all sin is the transgression of the law, 1-John 3:4;
(2) Christ was manifested to take away our sins, 1-John 3:5;
(3) he that commits sin is of the devil, 1-John 3:8; and,
(4) as a matter of fact, he who is of God does not commit sin, 1-John 3:7, 1-John 3:9-10.
III. True religion will be manifested by love to the Christian brotherhood, 1-John 3:10-18.
(1) as a man who is not righteous cannot be a true Christian, neither can he who does not love his brother, 1-John 3:10.
(2) it is the solemn command of the Saviour that his followers should love one another, 1-John 3:11.
(3) the importance of this is seen by the opposite conduct of Cain, 1-John 3:12.
(4) love to the brethren furnishes the most certain evidence that we have passed from death unto life, 1-John 3:14.
(5) a man who hates another is in fact a murderer, and, of course, cannot be a true child of God, 1-John 3:15.
(6) we should be stimulated to the love of the brethren by the example of the Saviour, who laid down his life for us, 1-John 3:16.
(7) if we see a brother in want, and have the means of aiding him, and do not do it, we cannot have the love of God dwelling in us, 1-John 3:17-18.
IV. We may have evidence that we love God by the consciousness of our feelings toward him, as well as by outward acts toward his friends, 1-John 3:19-21.
V. If we keep His commandments our prayers will be answered, 1-John 3:22-23.
(1) there is an assurance that we shall receive what we need if we ask it, and keep his commandments, 1-John 3:22.
(2) the particular commandments on which the efficacy of prayer so much depends, are:
(a) that we believe on the name of the Saviour, and,
(b) that we love the Christian brotherhood, 1-John 3:23.
VI. We may know that we abide in God by the spirit which he has given us, as well as by keeping his commandments, 1-John 3:24.
This chapter, therefore, is occupied mainly with stating what are the evidences of true piety; and, in order to determine this question, there is perhaps no part of the Bible that may be studied with more profit than this portion of the writings of John.
The extraordinary love of God towards mankind, and the effects of it, 1-John 3:1-3. Sin is the transgression of the law, and Christ was manifested to take away our sins, 1-John 3:4-6. The children of God are known by the holiness of their lives, the children of the devil by the sinfulness of theirs, 1-John 3:7-10. We should love one another, for he that hateth his brother is a murderer; as Christ laid down his life for us, so we should lay down our lives for the brethren, 1-John 3:11-16. Charity is a fruit of brotherly love; our love should be active, not professional merely, 1-John 3:17, 1-John 3:18. How we may know that we are of the truth, 1-John 3:19-21. They whose ways please God, have an answer to all their prayers, 1-John 3:22. The necessity of keeping the commandment of Christ, that he may dwell in us and we in him by his Spirit, 1-John 3:23, 1-John 3:24.
INTRODUCTION TO 1 JOHN 3
In this chapter the apostle exhorts to a holy life and conversation in general, and to the exercise of brotherly love in particular. The former of these is urged from the consideration of the great blessing of adoption, which springs from the free love and favour of God, is unknown to the men of the world, and indeed, in the present state of things, does not appear to the saints themselves in all its fulness and advantages, as it will do in the future state, when the children of God will be like to Christ, and see him as he is; the hope of which should engage them to purity of life and conversation, 1-John 3:1, and this is further enforced from the nature of sin, which is a transgression of the law, 1-John 3:4, from the end of Christ's manifestation in the flesh, which was to take away sin, and who was without it, 1-John 3:5, from communion with Christ, expressed by abiding in him, seeing and knowing him, which such must be strangers to that live a sinful course of life, 1-John 3:6, from this, that only such that do righteousness are righteous persons, and these are righteous as Christ is, 1-John 3:7, and from a man's being of the devil, that is, of a vicious conversation, who was a sinner from the beginning, and whose works Christ was manifested in the flesh to destroy, 1-John 3:8, and from the nature of the new man, or that which is born of God, which is not to sin, nor can it, 1-John 3:9, and from the distinction there is between the children of God and the children of the devil, those not being of God who do not righteousness, nor love their brethren, 1-John 3:10, from hence the apostle passes to brotherly love, and excites and engages to that, from its being a message which had been heard from the beginning, 1-John 3:11, which is illustrated by its contrary in the instance of Cain, who by the instigation of Satan slew his brother, because his works were righteous, and his own were evil, 1-John 3:12, wherefore, it is no wonder that good men should be hated by the world, who, as Cain, are of the same wicked one, 1-John 3:13, brotherly love is further urged unto, from its being an evidence of passing from death to life, or of regeneration; whereas he that hates his brother openly continues in a state of death, is a murderer, and so has not eternal life abiding in him, 1-John 3:14, and from the great instance of Christ's love, in laying down his life for his people, the saints are incited to lay down their lives for one another; to such a pitch does the apostle carry brotherly love, 1-John 3:16, wherefore, he that is rich, and is uncompassionate to his brother in distress, cannot be thought to have the love of God dwelling in him, 1-John 3:17, hence he presses the exhortation to brotherly love, that it be not in profession only, but true, real, and cordial, 1-John 3:18, and that by observing the advantages of it, as that hereby men know they are of the truth, and can assure their hearts before God; and which is illustrated by the contrary, the condemnation of the heart, 1-John 3:19, the advantages of non-condemnation of the heart are confidence before God, and receiving whatsoever we ask of him; the reason of which is, because his commandments are kept, and things done which are pleasing to him, 1-John 3:21, the commandments are explained of faith in Christ, and love to one another, 1-John 3:23, and the happiness of them that do them is, that Christ dwells in them, and they in him, the evidence of which is, the Spirit that is given unto them, 1-John 3:24.
(1-John 3:1, 1-John 3:2) The apostle admires the love of God in making believers his children.
(1-John 3:3-10) The purifying influence of the hope of seeing Christ, and the danger of pretending to this, and living in sin.
(1-John 3:11-15) Love to the brethren is the character of real Christians.
(1-John 3:16-21) That love described by its actings.
(1-John 3:22-24) The advantage of faith, love, and obedience.
SUMMARY.--The Marvellous Love of the Father. Sons of God Should Be Sinless. Christ Manifested to Remove Sin. Love the Proof that We Abide in God. The Spirit a Proof that We Abide in God.
*More commentary available by clicking individual verses.