Overcome the World

1John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is born of God overcome the world: and this is the victory that overcome the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 

‘Born of God’ many Scriptures say that when one is born again and in Christ, he “receives power to become a son of God” (1:12); he has “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24); “his sins are blotted out” (Acts 3:19); “he is washed, sanctified, and justified” (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Rev. 1:5); “he has turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to the power of God” (Acts 26:18); “he has salvation” (Rom. 1:16; 2 Thess. 2:13); “he is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24); “he is God’s elect” (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:2-4; Col. 3:12); and “he departs from all iniquity” (2 Tim. 2:4, 19-22).

‘Overcome the world’ eight blessings of the new birth in 1 John: Power to do righteousness (2:29); actual sonship (3:1-3; 1 John 8:10); freedom from sin (2:9; 5:18); love for the brethren (3:14-18; 4:7-8; 5:1); love for God (4:19; 5:1-3); power to keep the New Testament commandments (John 1:12; 14:15; 15:14); power to overcome the world (5:4-5); freedom from satan (5:18).

‘Our faith’ blessings of faith are given as follow: Physical healing (Matt. 8:10; Acts 3:16); protection (Matt. 8:26; 14:31); daily food (Matt. 16:8-10); forgiveness (Luke 7:50; Rom. 3:25); miracles (Acts 6:8; Gal. 3:5); heart purity (Acts 15:9); sanctification (Acts 26:18); righteousness (Rom. 3:22; 9:30); justification (Rom. 3:28-31; 4:1-25; 5:1; Gal. 2:16; 3:8, 24); sonship (Gal. 3:26); salvation (Acts 4:12; Eph. 2:8-9); renewal of youth (Rom. 4:17-20); stability (1Cor. 16:13; 2Cor. 1:24); Christian living (2Cor. 5:7; Heb. 10:1-39); Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:2, 14); works of power (1Thess. 1:3; 2Thess. 1:11); Christ indwelling (Eph. 3:17); baptism into Christ (Col. 2:12); Godly edifying (1Tim. 1:4); boldness (1Tim. 3:13); assurance (Heb. 10:22); good profession (Heb. 10:23); patience (Jas. 1:3; 1Pet. 1:7); inheritance (Jas. 2:5); power to resist satan (1Pet. 5:9); victory over the world (1Jn. 5:4); edification (Jude 1:20); many faith exploits (Heb. 11).

Ten faith promises are for those who choose to live by faith: Nothing impossible (Matt. 17:20); all things (Matt. 21:21); whatever we say (Mark 11:22-24); salvation (Acts 4:12; 1Pet. 1:5-13); daily necessities (Matt. 6:1-34; Luke 12:28); victory in Christian living (Rom. 1:17); access to God (Rom. 5:2); Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:14); promises fulfilled (Heb. 6:12) and physical healing (Jas. 5:14-16).

‘He that believes that Jesus is the Son of God’ let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity and contend for the fullness of power and faith that is promised those who believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.

Keep His Commandments

1John 5:1-3 Whosoever believe that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loves him that begat loves him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 

‘Believe that Jesus is the Christ is born of God’ everyone who believes from the heart that Jesus is the Messiah and exercises faith in the atoning blood is born of God; and everyone so begotten loves both God and man. This emphasizes the utter simplicity of salvation (John 3:16; Rom. 10:9-10; 1Jn. 1:9; Rev. 22:17). Many say that they have faith but the works they produce from their faith are not necessary for Christian living. It does not say they have a real and active faith, but they say they have. Faith alone cannot save (Jas. 2:17-18, 20-26) but Christianity demands of its followers’ good works in all obedience (Matt. 5:16; 16:27; Eph. 2:10; 1Tim. 6:18; 2Tim. 3:17; Tit. 1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:8). One is not justified by works (Rom. 3:25-31; 4:1-6; 9:11; 11:6; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5), but justified ones must do them to prove their Christian consecration (Jas. 2:14-18, 2:20-26) and by doing so represent Christ on earth (1Pet. 2:21-23). One cannot claim to be a Christian [Christ = the anointed one] without living according to the standards of this anointment. Then you are only a believer of some form of Christianity which in itself is just another form of idolatry – taking some of God’s Word and creating one’s own form of serving God (Acts 13:10; Gal. 1:6-7; 2Pet. 3:15-16).

‘And every one that loves him that begat loves him also that is begotten of 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).

‘By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God’ loving God and keeping His commandments are proof that we love the brethren (2:9-11; 3:14-16); and loving the brethren is proof that we love God (3:17-18; 4:7-21).

‘Keep his commandments’ to be saved one must keep His commandments; not merely start keeping them, but continue in keeping them. If the condition is to keep them, then upon this basis only will God bless and save people (Rom. 1:5; Jas. 1:22-25; 1Pet. 1:2). Naturally, all free wills would not choose the same things and exercise their creative powers of free choice in the same way and in the same degree of wilful obedience or disobedience. If obedience to moral law consists of entire consecration to secure the best good of all according to the light [knowledge] received, sin and disobedience consist of entire consecration by free choice and life to secure self-gratification regardless of the rights of others.

Men who know God keep His commandments (1 Jn. 2:3-5). The saved are commanded to increase in the knowledge of God in order to have increased life (Php. 1:9; Col. 1:9-10; 3:10; 2Pet. 1:1-8; 3:18). No man can live in or enjoy a realm of which he has no knowledge.

No Fear in Love

1John 4:18-21 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loves God love his brother also. 

‘Fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear’ the ingredients of perfect love are given to us in 1Corinthians 13:4-7, they are: Patience – love passive: no hurry; suffers long; bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things; kindness – love in action: never acts rashly or insolently; not inconsistent, puffed up, or proud; generosity – love in competition: not envious or jealous; humility – love in hiding: no parade; no airs; works then retires; courtesy – love in society: does not behave unseemly; always polite; at home with all classes; never rude or discourteous; unselfishness – love in essence: never selfish, sour, or bitter; seek only good of others; does not retaliate or seek revenge; good temper – love in disposition: never irritated; never resentful; righteousness – love in conduct: hates sin; never glad when others go wrong; always gladdened by goodness to others; always slow to expose; always eager to believe the best; always hopeful, always enduring; sincerity – love in profession: never boastful and conceited; not a hypocrite; always honest; leaves no impression but what is strictly true; never self-assertive; does not blaze out in passionate anger, nor brood over wrongs; always just, joyful, and truthful; knows how to be silent; full of trust; always present.

‘He that fears is not made perfect in love’ all forms of fear is sin and deadly to any person (Job 3:25; 2Tim. 1:7, etc.) and the one who dreads judgment has a reason to fear. His love is not perfect. He must purify himself, as in 1John 1:7; 3:1-10; 5:1-18. One should have Godly fear (Ps. 2:11; 15:4; 19:9; 34:7-11; 85:9; 103:11; Pro. 1:7; 3:7; 8:13; 14:27; 2Cor. 7:1). The ungodly do not have this kind of fear (Ps. 36:1; 55:19; Rom. 3:18).

‘He is a liar’ six liars are mentioned in 1John: Those who say… they have fellowship with God and still walk in darkness (1:6); they have no sin (1:8); they have not sinned (1:10); they are Christians and do not keep the New Testament commandments (2:4); there is no God or Jesus Christ or denies what Christ did through His first coming (2:22); they are Christians and still hate men (4:20).

Love Made Perfect

1John 4:16-17 And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him. 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. 

‘God is love’ the phrase “God is love” does not constitute the being of God. It must be understood in the same sense that we understand God is light, God is good, God is a Spirit, God is a consuming fire, and other statements about Him. In the same sense, we understand that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, or the door (John 10:9; 14:6). These expressions don’t do away with the reality and personality of God and Christ.

‘And he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him’ without [agape] love we cannot be in union with God, nor can He be with us. We must have knowledge of Him – through His Word only – and then implement this knowledge in our day-to-day life so we can experience His judgement (consequences), only then will our love for Him grows (Php. 1:9).

‘Herein is our love made perfect’ by God dwelling in us, by our dwelling in Him, by having the fullness of love in our lives, and by the perfection of that love in daily manifestation, we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment. This is possible because we are like God – holy, pure, loving, good, and true – in this world (Tit. 2:11-12).

‘Day of judgment’ this is the 5th and last New Testament prophecy in 1 John. Christians will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ (1Cor. 3:11-15). Sinners will be judged at the great white throne over 1,000 years later (Rev. 20:11-15).

‘As he is’ what a rebuke to those who hold that men cannot live victorious over the world, the flesh, and the devil (Matt. 5:48; Rom. 6:14-23)!

Dwells in Us

1John 4:11-15 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God. 

‘Seen God at any time’ the word seen [Greek: horao] means to see with the eyes and also see with the mind. That it means here to comprehend fully or understand is clear from the fact that many men have seen God with the eyes (Gen. 18:2, 33; 32:24-30; Ex. 24:10; 33:11; Jos. 5:13; Isa. 6:1-13; Ezek. 1:26-28; Dan. 7:9-14; 10:5-6; Acts 7:56-59; Rev. 4:2-5; 5:1-7).

‘Given us of his Spirit’ this is plain evidence of sonship (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).

‘And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.’ The disciples have actually heard, seen, and touched Him, not transiently, but frequently. They lived with Him daily for years. They heard His teaching and saw His divine works (1:1-3; 2Pet. 1:16; Acts 5:31; 1Cor. 15:1-8).

‘Confess that Jesus is the Son of God’ much stress was laid upon this in the early Christians because the Jews and many Gentile false teachers denied the reality of the incarnation. If one in those days accepted this, Christ’s physical death to atone for sins, and the physical resurrection of Christ, he would likely accept Jesus as personal Saviour. But in our day when Christianity is the accepted religion in our country such confession of Jesus as Son of God has become a mere form in many circles. People think that because they acknowledge this fact in public they are saved from sin and are true Christians. One can do this mentally and verbally many times a day without having a change in his life. One must believe from the heart as well as confess with the mouth (Rom. 10:9-10). If and when one does this he will be made a new creature in Jesus Christ (5:1; 2Cor. 5:17). True New Testament confession includes complete surrender of the life to God and consecration regarding future conduct that it will be according to the whole will of God as light is received (1:7-9; Rom. 12:1-2; 2Cor. 7:10).

He Loved Us

1John 4:7-10 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that love is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not knows not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

‘Let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that love is born of God, and knows God’ there are many reasons for us to love others: First, to prove that we are of God (4:7); it proves sonship (4:7; 5:1-2) and proof of knowing God (4:7-8). Because God is love and we should imitate Him as children of God (4:8, 16). He has imparted love to us (4:9; Rom. 5:5) and has sent His Son to make it possible (4:9; 1Pet. 2:21) that we might live (4:9-10, 14).  Because God first loved us (4:10, 19) and we’ve been loved and forgiven so much (4:10; John 3:16). It is our duty (4:11). God loved us when we were unlovable (4:11; Rom. 5:6-10). God dwells in [in union] us (4:12) and God’s love is perfected in us (4:12) because of the indwelling Spirit (4:13).  We believe in love (4:16) and we dwell in God (4:16) and we are like Him (4:17). It proves we love God (4:20); it is a command (4:21; 5:2); it is natural as sons of God (5:1-2).

‘God is love’ the phrase “God is love” does not constitute the being of God. It must be understood in the same sense that we understand God is light, God is good, God is a Spirit, God is a consuming fire, and other statements about Him. In the same sense, we understand that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, or the door (John 10:9; 14:6). These expressions don’t do away with the reality and personality of God and Christ.

‘In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten son into the world, that we might live through him’ the giving of God’s only begotten Son is the fullest proof of the infinite love of God and that all men can find full mercy (4:9-10; John 3:16).

‘Not that we loved God, but that he loved us’ our love to God did not induce God to give His Son to die for us. It was God’s love, not our merit, that caused Him to undertake our redemption from slavery to sin and satan, and from eternal hell (Rom. 5:5-11). ‘Propitiation for our sins’ the atoning sacrifice for sins.

The Spirit of Truth

1John 4:4-6 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.  They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world hear them. We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God hears not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 

‘You are of God, little children, and have overcome them’ we can know this by the following: 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).

‘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).

‘Greater is he that is in you’ refers to the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer (3:24; 4:4, 13). ‘He that is in the world’ this refers to satan (2:13-14; 3:8-10; 5:18; Eph. 2:2; 4:27; 6:10-18).

‘They are of the world; therefore speak they of the world, and the world hear them’ the Greek word for world is kosmos which means the order, behaviour, fashion, and government of this world system (Matt. 4:8; 13:22; Eph. 2:1-3; Jas. 4:4; 2Pet. 1:4; 2:20) and the things that make up the world system of evil and rebellion against God. So, they are of this worldly system that will pass away, but the man who does not conform to it abides forever (2:15-17; John 15:18-19; Jas. 4:4).

‘Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error’ the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13) and the spirit of error is satan (Matt. 13:19; 2Cor. 4:4; 11:14-15; 1Tim. 4:1-2).

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.