Please read: I John 3:1-24
John considers the Father’s “great love” lavished on us when we become believers in Christ. Then he further informs us that we shall be like Him, transformed, at His second coming. Our frail human bodies will become glorious and no longer subject to illness, disease, and death. When people believe this in their hearts, they will morally purify themselves in thought and action. We needed forgiveness, so God the Father sent Jesus to take away our sins. He was qualified to take away our sins because there was no sin in Him. Believers hope that we will be transformed to His image at His second coming. No longer live in this frail temple, but our sanctification will be complete. The whole image of God is restored to us.
In verse 4, the Greek word for Lawlessness is anomia. It is never used for sin or transgression in the New Testament but is used in connotation with false teachers. This is a reoccurring theme regarding false teachers in I John 2:28 and 3:10. The claim that one can be “in” Christ while committing sin is ludicrous, if not heretical. In verse 8, John tells us that the Devil has been sinning from the beginning. This is a reference back to the Garden of Eden when he tempted Eve and caused the fall of mankind. He whispers to us the same way he did to Eve. The Devil’s plan for everyone is to keep you from being obedient to God.
- Did God really say not to be an adulterer? God knows how my spouse treats me.
- Did God really say to honor my mother and Father? Not the with the way my parents have treated me.
- Did God really say not to steal? I’m sure He doesn’t mean this ink pen from the office.
The list goes on and on. Trust me, God really did say, and when He said it, He meant it for your own good. The Devil is trying to get you to commit a sin so he can use it to condemn you before God. Don’t fall for his tricks. The word seed in verse 9 is sperma in Greek. It depicts the Spirit’s work in believers. The children of God do not go on sinning because God’s Spirit indwells them, convicting them of wrong and sin in their lives. So with each conviction and turning away from sin, the Spirit of God grows stronger with each act of obedience, continuing the Holy Spirit’s transforming work.
The love of God is essential to John. As Christians, he reminds us that we should love one another; it is stressed in his writings. A believer expresses His love for others God by helping those less fortunate and in need. This is a critical character trait in being recognized as a follower of Christ and belonging to the truth.
Obeying God’s commands are also an assurance that we love God. John gives the example of Cain and Able in Genesis chapter 4. Cain murdered Abel because his offering was acceptable to God while Cain’s wasn’t. God did not accept Cain’s offering because he wasn’t doing what was right. God tells Cain, “will you not be accepted if you do what is right.” This speaks to obeying the word as well as reading it.
John assures us that if we love our fellow believers, it is a good sign that we are in Christ and have passed from death to life. John further emphasizes that if we hate others, we are murderers. This is supported by Matthew 5:21-22, which speaks to the deeper issues of the heart. Jesus said it’s not just enough to reframe from killing someone. You must never think about it or be angry with people in your mind. It is a heart issue, and God judges the heart of a man because His law is written on man’s heart.
The passage of verses 19-22 gives us two examples of believers’ assurance.
- If our conscience condemns us – God is at the root of that through the work of the Holy Spirit, and He is kinder and more forgiving than our awareness of our transgression, and God will hear our prayers. Don’t be taken in by the Devils condemnation. Conviction leads to repentance and love, Condemnation leads to unworthiness and isolation.
- If our conscience condemns us – God is more righteous than our conscious and has already paid the price for our sins. He is just and able to forgive all our sins. If we confess them, He will hear our prayer.
John wraps up this chapter by confirming God’s command: “to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us” (I John 3:23). Believing in God and keeping His commands and loving others are how we know that we are in Christ and Christ is dwelling in us.
How about you? Do you have a love in your heart for other Christians? Do you show your love for God by being obedient to His will?