Test the Spirits

1John 4:1-3 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 

‘Beloved’ the Greek word agapetos meaning dearly beloved: worthy of love. ‘Spirit’ the Greek word pneuma, the equivalent to the Hebrew: ruwach. The primary meaning of both words is an invisible force. The spirit of man is the intellect, will, mind, conscience, and other invisible faculties that make him a free moral agent and a rational being. “Pneuma” is used of God as Spirit (John 4:24; 2Cor. 3:17); Christ (1Cor. 6:17; 15:45); the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18, 20; 3:11, 16 – altogether of Him over 240 times); Christ’s personal spirit (Mark 2:8; 8:12; Luke 2:40; John 11:33; 19:30); angels (Heb. 1:7, 14; Ps. 104:4); spirits of men (Matt. 5:3; 1Cor. 2:11; 6:20; 1Thess. 5:23; Heb. 4:12; 12:23); evil spirits (Matt. 8:16; 10:1; 12:43; Acts 8:7; 16:16; Rev. 16:13; 18:2); the resurrection body (1Cor. 15:44).

‘Try’ the Greek word dokimazo meaning test. The reason here given is because of many false teachers going abroad. These are Biblical ways to test false prophets: By their confession of Jesus life in the flesh (4:2-3); their relationship with the world (2:15-17; 4:5; Jas. 4:4); how they receive Christianity (4:6); their attitude toward the commandments of God (3:20-24; 4:6; John 14:15); love of the brethren (3:11-16; 4:7-21; John 13:34-35; 15:12-15); the indwelling Holy Spirit (4:4-6); the Word of God (4:6; 5:10; 2Tim. 3:16; 2Cor. 4:4).

‘False prophets are gone out into the world’ seven ways false prophets are known: By outward general conduct (Matt. 5:20; 6:1-24; 7:15; 23:1-33; 2Tim. 3:5); by inward state (Matt. 5:22, 28; 7:15; 23:25-28; Mark 7:21-23); by the kind of fruit in works produced (Matt. 7:16-20; 23:1-24; 2Cor. 11:13-15; Php. 1:15-17; 3:3, 17-19); by the kind of fruit in doctrine taught (Matt. 7:16-20; 12:33-37; 15:1-9; 16:12; 23:1-33; 1Tim. 4:1-6; 6:3-5; 2Tim. 3:1-8; 4:1-4; 2Pet. 2:1-22); by professing to do, not doing the will of God (Matt. 5:20; 7:21; 23:1-33); by satanic backing (Matt. 7:22; 24:24; Acts 8:9-13; 13:6-13; 16:16-24; 2Cor. 11:13-15; 2Thess. 2:8-12; Rev. 13:1-18; 16:13-16; 19:20); by their destiny (Matt. 7:23; 25:41, 25:46; 2Cor. 11:13-15; Rev. 19:20; 20:10-15).

‘Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God’ every spirit inspiring any teacher to deny the incarnation, His passion, death, physical resurrection, and physical ascension to heaven is not of God and is antichrist (4:2-3). Anyone against Christ is anti-Christ.

‘And even now already is it in the world’ satan who will produce the future Antichrist is now in the world (2Thess. 2:1-12). He already is producing many antichrists (2:18-22).

 

Confidence toward God

1John 3:19-24 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keeps his commandments dwells in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. 

‘And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him’ five blessings come of genuine love: Confirmation that we are of the truth; assurance of a clean heart before God; freedom from condemnation (3:20-21); faith and confidence in God (3:21) and answers to our prayers (3:22).

‘Heart’ [Greek word kardia] there are eight uses of the word: As the physical organ, the seat of the physical life; the blood pump (2Sam. 18:14; 2Kin. 9:24; Eccl. 12:6; Pro. 14:30); the centre of anything (Matt. 12:40); the inner man consisting of soul and spirit (Psa. 51:10; Matt. 5:8; 12:34-35; 15:18-19; 22:37; Rom. 6:17; 1Pet. 3:4); the conscience (3:20-21; Mark 8:17; John 12:40; Acts 2:37; Rom. 2:5) and the will (Acts 4:32; 1Cor. 7:37). The mind, including: (1) thoughts (Gen. 6:5; John 12:40), (2) imaginations (Gen. 8:21), (3) understanding (1Kin. 3:9, 12), (4) wisdom (Ex. 35:35; Pro. 2:10), (5) blindness (Deut. 28:28; Rom. 1:21),  (6) meditation (Ps. 19:14; Luke 2:19), (7) deceit (Pro. 12:20; Jer. 17:9), (8) wickedness (Jer. 17:9), (9) doubt (Mark 9:23; Jas. 4:8), (10) purposes (Acts 11:23). The soul, including (1) grief (Gen. 6:6; Deut. 15:10), (2) joy and gladness (Deut. 28:47), (3) desires (Ps. 37:4), (4) sorrow (Pro. 14:10; 15:13; John 16:6), (5) discouragement (Deut. 1:28), (6) fear (Deut. 28:65-67), (7) comfort (Jdg. 19:8), (8) pain (Ps. 55:4). The spirit, including: (1) zeal (Ex. 35:21, 26; 36:2), (2) humility (Ps. 34:18; Matt. 11:29), (3) faithfulness (Neh. 9:8), (4) hate (Lev. 19:17), (5) pride (Deut. 8:14; 17:20), (6) foolishness (Pro. 22:15), (7) integrity (Gen. 20:5-6; 1Kin. 2:44; 9:4; 1Chron. 29:17), (8) immortality (Ps. 22:26; 69:32; 1Pet. 3:4).

‘Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him’ five points are noted for answered prayer: freedom from condemnation (Rom. 8:1); confidence in God (Acts 4:13); asking (Matt. 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13); keeping commandments (1Jn. 3:23-24) and pleasing God (Heb. 11:6; Jas. 1:5-8).

‘That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment’ two salvation commandments: Believe on the name of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:21; Acts 2:38; 3:16; 4:12) and love one another (1Jn. 4:7-14; John 13:34).

‘Abide in him’ two such commands are given in Scripture: Abide in Him (1Jn. 2:28) and abide in Me (John 15:4). Keeping the commandments is the only guarantee of constant abiding (John 15:10). Abiding is the condition of fruit-bearing (John 15:4, 7). If one does not abide he is cut off and destroyed like a branch (John 15:6).

‘By the Spirit which he has given us’ plain evidence of sonship (1Jn. 3:24; 4:13; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). Only sons [both men and women] are given the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9). This does not refer to the fullness of the Spirit, which all sons have not received (John 7:37-39).

The Love of God

1John 3:16-18 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. But whoso has this world’s good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 

‘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’ by this we know the love of God and our duty to others. This is the exact counterpart of John 3:16.

‘But whoso hath this world’s good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him’ the acid test of Christianity, by which we know whether we are following the example of God’s love to others. If we are not willing to give of material things to other believers in need, we certainly would not lay down our lives for them (3:16-18). Please note that this is not a Scripture given for tithing as so many churches uses to fill up their own coffers and guilt people out of their money to build up their worldly empires. Ephesians 4:28 explains that no one should steal from others, but rather labour, working with their own hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that is in need. No one is responsible to provide for others financially, but they can help new believers in their needs until they get under God’s provision and trust in Him alone (Matt. 6:32) and lean not on their own understanding (Prov. 3:5-10). The Word teaches that the labourer is worthy of his hire (Matt. 10:10; Luke 10:7) and that “if any would not work, neither should he eat” (1Thess. 3:10) and for those who seek the kingdom of God first, and His righteousness [to live without sin], they shall be taken care of in all their needs (Matt. 6:33).

‘Little children’ a term used nine times in this epistle (2:1, 12, 13, 18, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4, 21). It is used elsewhere only in John 13:33 and Galatians 4:19. There are four stages of Christian experience: infants; newborn (1Jn. 2:12); little children; those able to walk and talk (1Jn. 2:13); young men; those grown to the prime of life and no longer tossed about like children by fallacies (1Jn. 2:13-14); fathers; those who are matured in the Lord (1Jn. 2:13-14).

‘Let us not love in word, neither in tongue’ we are warned about two ways not to love others: In word, by doctrine and in tongue, by profession; ‘but in deed and in truth’ here there are also two ways given to love others: In deed, by definite acts and in truth, by being genuine in doctrine, profession, and in deeds.

Eternal Life

1John 3:15 Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 

The Greek word for hate is echthra meaning enmity (Luke 23:12; Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:15-16; Jas. 4:4) and hatred (Gal. 5:20). It’s a bitter dislike, abhorrence, malice and ill will against anyone; tendency to hold grudges against or be angry at someone. Hatred seeks an occasion to provoke enmity and delights in brawls and fools hide resentment, plots, and even murder in their heart by lies and pretensions of holding no ill feelings over injuries received (Prov. 10:12, 18).

‘Murderer’ meaning manslayer [the Greek word anthropoktonos] and is used here and in John 8:44 for satan. What a terrible comparison, to be the same as the father of lies in hatred towards others. The Greek word for murder is phonoi which means to kill; to spoil or mar the happiness of another.

‘Eternal life’ and Jesus Christ is the same, we find in some scriptures that the term eternal life is synonymous with Jesus Christ (1:1-2; 2:24-25; 5:11-13, 20; John 14:6; 17:2-3). This life, like Christ, is eternal whether anyone ever receives it or not. Even if one receives it and then loses it, life is still eternal. Individual possession of it either temporarily or otherwise does not make it eternal or not eternal. So the argument that, if one should lose it, it would cease to be eternal, is wrong. Any eternal thing would not cease to be eternal just because the owner lost it. So it is with eternal life. Conditions must be met to get it and to keep it. Christ cannot and will not remain in the life where sin and rebellion dwell (John 15:4-8; Gal. 1:6-8; 2:6-7; Rom. 6:14-23; 8:1-13; 2Cor. 13:5).

We get eternal life now and keep it forever if we meet the following conditions: Come to Christ (John 6:37, 44, 45, 65); know God and Christ (John 17:2-3); cause no offense (Matt. 18:8-9); forsake all (Matt. 19:27-29; Mark 10:28-30); overcome sin (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21); live free from sin (Rom. 5:21; 6:16-23; 8:1-13; Tit. 2:11-14); fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on it (1Tim. 6:12, 19); be sober and hope to the end for it (Tit. 1:2; 3:7; 1Pet. 1:5, 9, 13); endure temptations (Jas. 1:12); love everybody (1Jn. 3:14-15); keep yourself in the love of God, looking for eternal life (Jude 1:20-24); be faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10; Heb. 12:14-15); believe and obey the gospel (John 3:15-19, 36; 4:14; 5:24; 6:40, 47, 54; 2Cor. 5:17; Rom. 1:5); be born again, hear Christ, and follow Him (John 3:1-36; 10:27-29).

Eternal life does not become an unforfeitable eternal possession until we enter into it (Matt. 7:13; 18:8-9; 19:17; Rom. 6:22); receive it (Rom. 6:23; Jas. 1:12; 1Pet. 1:13; Rev. 2:10); reap it (Gal. 6:7-8); and inherit it in the world to come (Matt. 19:27-29; Mark 10:28-30; Luke 18:28-30), and at the end of this life (Rom. 6:22).

‘Abiding in him’ eternal life and Christ are separate from the individual and always will be. They abide in one’s life like any other separate and outside something which one may permit to come into his life.

Love One Another

1John 3:11-14 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 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. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loves not his brother abides in death. 

‘Message’ the Greek word angelia meaning proclamation; commandment and order.

‘From the beginning’ there are ten things concerning Jesus Christ that the disciples heard from the beginning: He is from the beginning (1:1; John 1:1-2); from everlasting (Micah 5:1-2; Heb. 1:8); they [the disciples] have heard Him with their ears (1:1), so can we when we read the Word (Rom. 10:17; Php. 1:9); they [the disciples] have seen Him with their eyes (1:1); their [disciples] hands have handled Him (1:1); He is the Word of Life (1:1; John 14:6); they [disciples] bear witness of this Life (1:2); He is that eternal Life (1:2); He is not the Father, but was with Him from all eternity (1:2; John 1:1-2); He was manifested to them [disciples] (1:2); they [disciples] declare Him to us for two reasons: (1) That we may have fellowship with them, with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ (1:3); (2) That our joy may be full (1:4).

‘This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.’ Christ’s commandment to us is the same as His Father’s commandment to Him. We must love one another to the extent that He loves us. He laid down His life for us; we must lay down our lives for each other.

‘Cain’ he was of satan (Gen. 4:1-26). ‘Slew’ the Greek word sphazo meaning put to death by violence. ‘Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous’ Abel was a better man and more righteous than Cain. This is often the excuse of enmity (Gen. 4:1-26; Heb. 11:4).

‘Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you’ Expect no better treatment from the world than Abel received from Cain.

‘We know that we have passed from death unto life’ There are many things given to us in 1John that we know: That we know Him (2:3) and can then be in (union) Him (2:5) and He abides in us (3:24). We know all things of truth and are of the truth (2:20, 213:19) and that no lie is of the truth (2:21). Everyone that does righteousness is born of God (2:29). When He shall appear, we shall be like Him (3:2). He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin (3:5). We have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren (3:14; 5:2). No murderer or hater of people has eternal life (3:15). We have the Spirit of God (4:2, 13) and we know the difference between the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of error (4:6). That we dwell in Him and He in us – again in union (of the same mind – 4:13). We have eternal life (5:13) and whosoever is born of God do not sin (5:18). The Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true; and can be in Him (5:20). NOTE: if any of these points mentioned are not true in your life, seek God in all earnest, don’t just declare yourself saved as so many do today and yet have not the fruit of repentance (Matt. 3:8; Luke 3:8).

Children of …

1John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother

‘In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil’ two classes of people (Matt. 13:38) are given: The children of God and the children of the devil.

‘The children of God are manifest’ children of God are those who keep His commandments (1Jn. 2:3) and hereby can we know that we know Him: By personal fellowship (1:3-7; 2:13); in fullness of joy in the heart (1:4); in keeping His commandments (2:3; 3:22); when walking even as He walked (2:6; 1Pet. 2:21-23); in love of the brethren (2:9-11; 3:10-19, 23; 4:7-21; 5:1); overcoming the world and satan (2:13-14; 5:4, 18); in the hatred of the world (2:15-17); being one with Christians (2:19); in Holy Spirit anointing (2:20-27); knowing the truth that sets free (2:21; John 8:32-36); acknowledging God and Christ (2:22-25); doing righteousness (2:29; 3:7-10; 5:1-4, 18); by purifying ourselves (3:3); being born again (2:29; 3:9; 5:1-18); cleansing from sin (1:7-9; 3:5-10); in freedom from condemnation (3:20-24); the indwelling Spirit (3:24; 4:4, 13); in faith (2:23; 5:1, 10); by confessing Christ (4:14-15); and receiving Him (5:10-13; John 1:12); through answered prayer (3:21-22; 5:14-15).

‘Whosoever does not righteousness is not of God’ plenty of evidence is given for those who are children of satan: walking in darkness (1Jn. 1:5-6; 2:11); saying that one has no sin (1Jn. 1:8, 10); failing to please God and keep His commandments (1Jn. 2:3-4; 3:22-24; 5:14-15); failing to walk as Christ did (1Jn. 2:6; 1Pet. 2:21-23); hating anyone (1Jn. 2:9; 3:10-19; 4:20); failing to overcome satan (1Jn. 2:13-14); loving the world and the things in it (1Jn. 2:15-17; 3:1, 13; 4:5); ignoring the Truth (1Jn. 2:20-27); denying God and Jesus (1Jn. 2:22-23); doing unrighteousness and committing sin (1Jn. 2:29; 3:8-10; 5:18); making no effort to purify self (1Jn. 3:3); lacking faith (1Jn. 3:20-22; 5:14-15); being destitute of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1Jn. 3:24; 4:4, 13); being of the world and having fellowship with it (1Jn. 4:5); having no personal acquaintance with God or knowledge of eternal life (1Jn. 4:7-10; 5:10-13, 20-21); making no confession of Jesus (1Jn. 4:14-18); being overcome by the world (1Jn. 5:4-5).

Born of God

1John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

‘Born of God’ when one is born of God he will have the following changes in his nature: A moral and spiritual change, not a physical one (John 3:1-8; Gal. 4:29) and a change of heart, will, motives, desires, life and conduct, and not an organism (2Cor. 5:17-18). There is a change of masters, not of constitutional makeup of body, soul, or spirit (Rom. 6:11-23; 8:1-4). Adoption takes place – one from the satanic family into the family of God (Rom. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). There is not a coming into existence of the body, soul, or spirit, as in the natural birth, but a consecration of them to serve God and holiness instead of satan and sin (Rom. 6:16-22; 8:1-13; Col. 3:5-10; Gal. 5:16-26).  Not a begetting by the Holy Spirit in the sense that Jesus became and is the only begotten Son of God (John 1:14, 18; 3:16), but a renewal in righteousness and true holiness of one who is already in existence (Eph. 4:23-24; Col. 3:10; Ps. 51:10). A change of nature takes place, but not the coming into existence of that nature (Rom. 3:24-25; 2Cor. 5:17; Tit. 3:5) and a change of favour, a new standing before God (3:8-10; Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 2:1-9; Tit. 2:11-14; 2Pet. 3:18) as well as a change of character, state and service (Rom. 3:24-31; 5:1-11; 1Cor. 13:1-13; Gal. 5:22-23; 2Tim. 2:21; Tit. 2:11-14)

The very moment one is grown enough to recognize he is a sinner and when he repents and believes the gospel a moral and spiritual change takes place (1:9; Mark 1:15; 2Cor. 5:17-18; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9;). The very moment he decides to sin again he has a moral fall, incurs the penalty of the broken law again and comes under the sentence of death again (3:8-10; John 8:34; Rom. 6:11-23; 8:1-13; 2Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:4, 19-21; Heb. 6:4-9; 10:26-29; Jas. 1:13-15; 5:19-20; 2Pet. 2:19-22;; etc.). If a person sins, he must be forgiven and restored or pay the death penalty as in Galatians 6:7-8 and in the noted scriptures.

Many fallacies are regularly based on 1John 3:9: That a born-again person cannot sin or that his sins are not real ones. That God automatically forgives his sins without confession; That God does not see his sins; instead He sees the blood of Christ which he is trusting in. That sins are not imputed [credited] to him and that he does not practice sin, but commits occasional sin. That all his sins – past, present, and future – are already forgiven.

At best, these fallacies are vain attempts to explain this verse and all of them are unscriptural. The secret of a proper understanding of this verse is in the word ‘IN’ which means in harmony with or in union with and not physical entrance into. The seed is the Word of God by which a man is born again (1Pet. 1:23; Jas. 1:18). The simple idea is that as long as one remains in union with or in harmony with the seed, or the Word of God, he cannot sin. One who is consecrated to obey the Word and refuses to sin, cannot break the commandments of God. Therefore, he cannot sin, for sin is the transgression of the law (1Jn. 3:4). The reason given here for not being able to sin is that “His” (God’s) seed (the Word of God) remains (abides) in him. That is, the one born again refuses to transgress the commandment of God and commit sin. As long as this consecration remains he will be unable to sin. If he grows cold in his love for God, ceasing to pray and maintain his spiritual life, he then may be overcome again and sin by transgressing the Word of God (1Jn. 2:1; 2Pet. 1:5-10).

This Purpose

1John 3:8 He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

‘He that commits sin is of the devil’ every man who sins is of the devil (3:8; John 8:44). Christ died to destroy and cancel all the works of the devil for believers in this age, and to give complete mastery over them (Mark 16:17-18; Luke 10:19; John 14:12; Col. 2:14-17; 1Pet. 2:24).

‘The Son of God was manifested’ Jesus came as a man – a lowly servant of all to set the right example of how men can be like God. He came and lived as God would live among men so that men could learn to live like God. He literally “emptied Himself” (Php. 2:9) and took the form of a servant instead of the form of a sovereign. He humbled Himself from deity to humanity and from humanity to infamy, taking on Him the sins of the world and redeeming fallen man to His original dominion.

The works of the devil – that Christ came to destroy – can be summarized as follows: Sin, especially rebellion started with him (Gen. 3:2; 2Cor. 11:3), works of darkness, including moral sedition and sexual perversion (Rom. 1:1-32; Eph. 5:11; 6:12; Acts 16:18). He causes works of wickedness (Col. 1:21) and spiritual blindness (2Cor. 4:4). He steals the Word of God from men’s minds (Matt. 13:19) through deceptions and false religions (2Cor. 11:14; 1Tim. 4:1-16; Rev. 12:9). He kills and destroys men lives (John 8;44; 10:10). He sows tares, tempts, and sifts saints (Matt. 4:3; 13:25; Luke 22:31). He promotes counterfeit worship and miracles (1Cor. 10:20; 2Thess. 2:8-12). He causes storms (Job 1:18-19; Eph. 2:2), rules nations (Matt. 4:8-9; Dan. 10:1-21), executes death (Heb. 2:14-15), accuses the brethren (Rev. 12:10), hinders prayers (Dan. 10:12-21) and he opposes the gospel (Eph. 6:1-18). He supervises demons (John 12:31), fallen angels (Rev. 12:7-12), and fallen man (3:8; John8:44; Eph. 2:2). He causes sickness and disease, infirmities, lunacy and mania (Matt. 4:23-24; 8:17; 9:32-33; 15:22; 17:14-21; Mark 5:1-18; Luke 13:16; John 10:10; Acts 10:38). He urges suicides (Matt. 17:15; John 10:10), agitates lusts (John 8:44; Eph. 2:1-3), promotes lying and false prophecy (1Kin. 22:1-53; Matt. 24:11, 24; 2Cor. 11:13-15), and propagates false doctrines (1Tim. 4:1-16; 2Tim. 4:1-22; 2Thess. 2:1-17; Rev. 13:1-18). He oppresses men (Acts 10:38), persecutes Christians and wars on saints (Eph. 6:10-18; 1Pet. 5:8-9).

Christ came to take away our sins and if we still have them, it is proof we have not truly repented of them as most men don’t really want to be done with sin. If you say you abide in Him you will not sin (3:5-7).

Take Away Our Sins

1John 3:5-7 And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abides in him sins not: whosoever sins has not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 

‘He was manifested’ Jesus came as a man – a lowly servant of all to set the right example of how men can be like God. He came and lived as God would live among men so that men could learn to live like God. He literally “emptied Himself” (Php. 2:9) and took the form of a servant instead of the form of a sovereign. He humbled Himself from deity to humanity and from humanity to infamy, taking on Him the sins of the world and redeeming fallen man to His original dominion.

‘To take away our sins’ Christ came to take away our sins; if we still have them, it is proof we have not truly repented of them.

‘Whosoever abides in him sins not: whosoever sins has not seen him, neither known him’ this is a true description of saints and sinners.

‘Little children’ a term used nine times in this epistle (2:1, 12, 13, 18, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4, 21). It is used elsewhere only in John 13:33 and Galatians 4:19. There are four stages of Christian experience: infants; newborn (1Jn. 2:12); little children; those able to walk and talk (1Jn. 2:13); young men; those grown to the prime of life and no longer tossed about like children by fallacies (1Jn. 2:13-14); fathers; those who are matured in the Lord (1Jn. 2:13-14).

‘Let no man deceive you; he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous’ seven plain gospel facts are given here: Jesus was manifested to take away our sins (3:5; Tit. 2:12) and one cannot be in Christ and continue to sin (3:5-6; 2Cor. 5:17). Man can be as righteous as Christ in this life (3:7; 4:17; Tit. 2:12). Every man who sins is of the devil (3:8; John 8:44) and therefore Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (3:8; Matt. 8:17; Acts 10:38; John 10:10). One cannot sin as long as the Word of God remains in him (3:9; Rom. 6:14-23; 8:1-13) and all people are not children of God (3:10).

Be Like Him

1John 3:1-4 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does 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. And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 

‘Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us’ look upon it and wonder at the kind and quantity of love the Father has given freely and without merit to men (Rom. 8:35-39; Eph. 3:17-19).

‘Sons of God’ sons by adoption (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5) not by begetting as in the case of Christ, who is the only begotten Son of God (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18).

‘World knows us not, because it knew him not’ the world will not acknowledge or approve of doctrines and manner of life of the adopted sons because it did not approve of Christ, the only begotten Son.

‘Now are we the sons of God’ John here addresses the adopted sons who work righteousness (2:29).

‘Does 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’ this is the 4th New Testament prophecy in 1 John that is unfulfilled. It is not yet manifest what we shall be like except that we shall have bodies like His glorified human body. This will be at the rapture (Php. 3:20-21; 1Cor. 15:51-54; Col. 3:4). Every person will have his own body, colour, features, and characteristics, as on earth (1Cor. 15:35-54).

‘Every man that has this hope in him purifies himself’ the hope of the rapture is an incentive to purify one’s self even as Christ is pure (1:7, 9; 2:6; 3:3; 5-10; 5:1-4, 18).

‘Even as he is pure’ many proofs are given in the Word that purity is now possible: He shall save … from … sins (Matt. 1:21); for the remission of sins (Matt. 26:28); dead to sin (Rom. 6:2) and reckon ourselves dead to sin (Rom. 6:11); that the body of sin might be destroyed, that we should not serve sin (Rom. 6:6); let not sin reign in your body (Rom. 6:1-23); sin shall not have dominion over you (Rom. 6:14-23); being made free from sin (Rom. 6:18; 8:1-4). They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Gal. 5:16, 24); and that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph. 1:4). We are commanded to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Tit. 2:12). Purged our sins (Heb. 1:3; 9:14); be you holy; for I am holy (1Pet. 1:16). The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin (1:7, 9). We ought to walk even as He walked (2:6). Whosoever abides in Him sins not . . . is righteous, even as He is (3:6-7). He that commits sin is of the devil (3:8-10; John 8:44). Whoever is born of God sins not (4:17; 5:4-5, 18). Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:1-29).

‘Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law’ whoever sins breaks the law and incurs the death penalty (Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 6:23; 8:12-13).

‘For sin is the transgression of the law’ the sin in man is twofold: transgression of the law (3:4) and the spirit and nature of the devil in sinners (2Cor. 5:17)

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” Therefore, in view of the fact that we do not know any man after the flesh, not even Christ, it is vain for any man to profess a relationship with Christ according to the flesh, while he is unchanged in heart and life and dead in trespasses and sins.