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The Letters of John

BC Weekly Digest
Monday, June 15 1998

In this issue:

	1 John 3:4
	1 John 3:3,4
	1 John 3:5
	1 John 3:5,6
	1 John 3:6
	1 John 3:7-10
	1 John 3:11,12

1 John 3:4

1 John 3:4 (OPV)
4 Everyone practicing sin, is also practicing lawlessness. 
Sin is lawlessness.
3:4 "Everyone practicing sin"
  A sin is an offense against God, a transgression of the 
law of God.
  This is not a popular word. A crime is a transgression 
of the laws of the land, laws made by man, laws under his 
own control. But sin has the will of God as its reference 
point, and this makes people who reject God, or claim one 
cannot know His will, uncomfortable. One 'modern' 
electronic dictionary even tries to 'redefine' sin as: "an 
act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of 
God's will"! Theologians may indeed disagree as to whether 
something is sin, but their opinion is not definitive!
  "All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God" 
(Rom 3:23 ASV). John has already affirmed: "If we say that 
we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth 
is not in us. ... If we say that we have not sinned, we 
are making Him a liar, and His word is not in us" 
(1 John 1:8,10 OPV).
  But here John is speaking of those who are "practicing 
sin." These are not people who are sincerely striving to 
obey God in all things, but who come short of their goal. 
These are people who practice sin as a way of life. John 
is refuting false teachers who claim that one can live in 
such a way and still be acceptable to God.
3:4 "Is also practicing lawlessness"
  Even someone who sincerely strives to do the will of God 
comes short many times and sins. This does not mean that 
he has a rebellious attitude to God. But someone who 
practices sin as a way of life is living in rebellion to 
God. He has a lawless attitude. He is 'practicing' 
  When our family went through Carlsbad Caverns in New 
Mexico, signs were posted saying not to touch the cave 
formations. If even a few of the hundreds of people who go 
through the cave each day put their hands on the 
formations, they would soon be discolored and damaged. As 
soon as the young woman in front of us saw the sign, she 
started rubbing her hands on every formation she could 
reach and continued to do so for the rest of the tour! 
Someone else might unintentionally touch a formation. 
Someone who had not seen the sign might do so in 
ignorance. A small child who had been told not to touch 
them might be tempted to stick out one finger and touch 
one out of curiosity. But that young woman demonstrated 
arrogant, bald-faced rebellion and lawlessness.
3:4 "Sin is lawlessness"
  By definition, sin is a transgression of the law of God. 
This is why we should strive so hard to follow Job's 
example. He acknowledged his sin before God. Yet he lived 
in such a way that God Himself testified of him: "There is 
none like him in the earth, a blameless and upright man, 
one who fears God, and turns away from evil" (Job 1:8).
Roy Davison


1 John 3:3,4

1 John 3:3,4 (OPV)
3 And everyone who has this hope [based] on Him purifies 
himself as He is pure. 
4 Everyone practicing sin, is also practicing  
lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness. 
3:3 "Purifies himself as He is pure"
  This is a very little verse to contain such a profound 
statement. Just to think of ourselves as being as pure as 
Christ is beyond our wildest imaginations. Yet, God has 
promised us through the beloved apostle's teaching that 
"if we walk in the light, as he is in the light ... the 
blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin" 
(1 John 1:7 ASV).
  It is overwhelming to just think that we can be as 
sinless as Christ when we pray in faith to have all our 
sins forgiven. But that is just what it means.
  In 1 John 1:9, he further states that when we pray for 
forgiveness and "confess" our sins, "He is faithful and 
righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from 
all unrighteousness"(ASV). God knows our hearts and He is 
aware of our sins. That is why we must confess unto Him 
because only He has the power to forgive us. 
3:4 "Everyone practicing sin, is also practicing 
  Everyone who wanders from the Law of God commits sin. 
Why? Because sin is nothing more than not doing the law.
  This is not talking about the Law of Moses, but is 
referring to any law of God that is in existence at the 
time of the transgression.
  In Matthew 7:21 Jesus told His disciples, "Not every one 
that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the 
kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father 
who is in heaven."
  He emphatically tells them that not all people who say 
they serve God will be admitted into Heaven. He tells them 
that only those who actually DO the will of His Father 
shall be allowed to go there.
  In the next few verses, He says that many will try to 
justify their actions as being of good intention. Yet, He 
says that they are misguided and further states, "And then 
will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from 
me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:23 ASV).
  The word "iniquity" used here is the same word in Greek 
[anomia] translated as "lawlessness" in 1 John 3:4. It is 
a compound word with two parts. They are "a" and "nomia". 
The "a" means "away from or without" and "nomia" means 
  Because of their lawlessness, He is telling them "I 
never KNEW you! Get away from me, you that are away from 
or without the law."
  This means that it is possible for one to believe that 
he has become a child of God when he hasn't. He may think 
that he is safe in what he is trying to do to please God, 
yet be lost because he has not been doing that which is 
according to God's Law. It shows us that we must be very 
careful that whatever we believe and do, especially in our 
service to Him, is according to His word and by His 
Howard Justice


1 John 3:5

1 John 3:5 (OPV)
5 And you know that He was revealed so He might take away 
sins, and there is no sin in Him.
3:5 "So He might take away sins"
  When John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching, he said: 
"Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the 
world!" (John 1:29 ASV).
  In verse 8 John will repeat this truth: "The one 
practicing sin is of the devil, for the devil has been 
sinning from the beginning. This is why the Son of God was 
revealed, that He might destroy the works of the devil" 
(1 John 3:8 OPV).
3:5 "There is no sin in Him"
  Only one without sin is qualified to redeem others by 
paying the penalty for their sins. They who sin must die 
for their own sins, so cannot die in the place of others. 
"Him who knew no sin he made [to be] sin on our behalf; 
that we might become the righteousness of God in him" 
(2 Cor 5:21 ASV).
  The Passover lamb and the other sacrifices under the 
Old Covenant were to be "without blemish" (Exodus 12:5; 
Lev 4:23,28,32). This prefigured the true Lamb of God. 
"For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a 
heifer sprinkling them that have been defiled, sanctify 
unto the cleanness of the flesh: how much more shall the 
blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered 
himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience 
from dead works to serve the living God?" 
(Heb 9:13,14 ASV).
  "For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched 
with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath 
been in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without 
sin" (Heb 4:15 ASV).
  "For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also 
suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should 
follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found 
in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; 
when he suffered threatened not; but committed [himself] 
to him that judgeth righteously: who his own self bare our 
sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto 
sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye 
were healed" (1 Pet 2:21-24 ASV).
Roy Davison


1 John 3:5,6

1 John 3:5,6 (OPV)
5 And you know that He was revealed so He might take away 
sins, and there is no sin in Him.
6 Everyone who remains in Him does not keep on sinning. 
Everyone who keeps on sinning, has neither seen Him nor 
known Him.
3:5 "He was revealed so He might take away sins, and there 
is no sin in Him"
  It was necessary for God to send His Son to die for the 
sins of all mankind because only a sacrifice that had no 
spot or blemish [sin] would suffice.
 "And their sins and their iniquities will I remember no 
more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more 
offering for sin "(Hebrews 10:17,18 ASV).
  Christ became the propitiation or the appeasement unto 
God for the sins of man. When that took place (Heb 10:18) 
there would be no more necessity for such a sacrifice. 
What would then be required was the sacrifice of our lives 
unto His service. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by 
the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living 
sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your 
spiritual service." (Romans 12:1 ASV). Jesus was the 
perfect sacrifice because He was without sin. We too, must 
devote our lives as a daily sacrifice and, because we are 
unable to live above sin, we must continually ask God to 
forgive us while we serve Him. Our confession must be 
3:6 "Everyone who remains in Him does not keep on sinning. 
Everyone who keeps on sinning, has neither seen Him nor 
known Him"
  This verse does not say that Christians don't sin. It 
says that Christians must try to live within the Law of 
God and not be "given over again" or be reprobate in their 
service. Those reprobate ones who have been redeemed by 
the blood of Christ and then return to a life of sin are 
without redemption in their latter state. 
  It is the same thing that Peter addressed in 2 Peter 
2:21-22 where he stated, "For it were better for them not 
to have known the way of righteousness, than, after 
knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment 
delivered unto them. It has happened unto them according 
to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit 
again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the 
mire" (ASV).
  Christians aren't perfect, they're simply forgiven. No 
mortal being, save Jesus Christ, has ever been able to 
live above sin. "For all have sinned, and fall short of 
the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23 ASV). It requires a 
sincere and soundly based effort for man to serve God 
according to His will.
Howard Justice


1 John 3:6

1 John 3:6 (OPV)
6 Everyone who remains in Him does not keep on sinning. 
Everyone who keeps on sinning, has neither seen Him nor 
known Him. 
3:6 "Has neither seen Him nor known Him"
  The word "see" is used with different meanings. In one 
sense, no one has seen God, in another sense there are 
ways that we can "see" the invisible God.
  "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten 
Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared 
[him]" (John 1:18 ASV). Of Christ, Paul says: "He is the 
image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation" 
(Col 1:15 OPV). 
  God is invisible in the material sense. Yet there are 
ways that He can be "seen".
  At times, God has appeared to man in the form of an 
  After Jacob had wrestled with God's angel, he said: 
"I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved" 
(Gen 32:30 ASV). 
  Samson was born to Manoah and his wife in answer to 
their prayer for a child. After "the angel of Jehovah" 
(Judges 13:3), also called "the angel of God" (Judges 
13:9), had appeared to them (whom they had first taken to 
be a "man of God" - Judges 13:8), "Manoah said unto his 
wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. But 
his wife said unto him, If Jehovah were pleased to kill 
us, he would not have received a burnt-offering and a 
meal-offering at our hand, neither would he have showed us 
all these things, nor would at this time have told such 
things as these (Judges 13:22,23 ASV). 
  Certain characteristics of God can be "seen" in His 
works: "For the invisible things of him since the creation 
of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the 
things that are made, [even] his everlasting power and 
divinity" (Rom 1:20 ASV). 
  But it is through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, 
"the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his 
substance" (Heb 1:3 ASV), that we can most fully "see" and 
"know" God. 
  When Philip said: "Lord, show us the Father, and it 
sufficeth us" (John 14:8 ASV), Jesus replied: "Have I been 
so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? 
he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest 
thou, Show us the Father?" (John 14:9 ASV). 
  Job in his great faith declared: "But as for me I know 
that my Redeemer liveth, And at last he will stand up upon 
the earth: And after my skin, [even] this [body], is 
destroyed, Then without my flesh shall I see God" (Job  
19:25,26 ASV). And this Redeemer in whom Job placed his 
trust, came and stood upon the earth. He also promised: 
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" 
(Matt 5:8 ASV).
Roy Davison

1 John 3:7-10

1 John 3:7-10 (OPV)
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. The one 
practicing righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous.
8 The one practicing sin is of the devil, for the devil 
has been sinning from the beginning. This is why the Son 
of God was revealed, that He might destroy the works of 
the devil.
9 Anyone who has been born of God does not keep on 
practicing sin, because His seed abides in him, and he is 
not able to keep on sinning, because he has been born of 
10 By this the children of God are made known, and the 
children of the devil. Anyone who does not practice 
righteousness is not of God, also someone who does not 
love his brother.
3:7 "Let no one deceive you"
  "Be not deceived, my beloved brethren" (James 1:16 ASV). 
This warning is repeated many times (see Mat 24:4; Mark 
13:5; Luke 21:8; 1 Cor 6:9; 15:33; Gal 6:7; Eph 5:6). 
"For many deceivers have gone out into the world" 
(2 John 7 OPV).
  We are told how to recognize false teachers. Thus, if we 
are deceived it will be because we allowed ourselves to be 
3:7 "The one practicing righteousness"
3:8 "The one practicing sin"
  The first is emulating Christ. The second is emulating 
the devil.
3:8 "This is why the Son of God was revealed, that He 
might destroy the works of the devil"
  Jesus overcame the works of the devil by dying on the 
cross to pay the price for the sins of mankind: "Since 
then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also 
himself in like manner partook of the same; that through 
death he might bring to nought him that had the power of 
death, that is, the devil" (Heb 2:14 ASV). 
  "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels 
[going forth] to war with the dragon; and the dragon 
warred and his angels; And they prevailed not, neither was 
their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon 
was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the 
Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he was 
cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with 
him. And I heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is 
come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our 
God, and the authority of his Christ: for the accuser of 
our brethren is cast down, who accuseth them before our 
God day and night. And they overcame him because of the 
blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their 
testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death" 
(Rev 12:7-11 ASV). 
3:9 "Anyone who has been born of God"
  In his Gospel, John said of Jesus, "But as many as 
received him, to them gave he the right to become children 
of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: who were 
born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of 
the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12,13 ASV). 
  Jesus explained to Nicodemus, "Except one be born of 
water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of 
God! That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that 
which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:5,6 ASV).
  This refers to our regeneration by the Spirit when we 
are baptized: "For we also once were foolish, disobedient, 
deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in 
malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the 
kindness of God our Savior, and his love toward man, 
appeared, not by works [done] in righteousness, which we 
did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, 
through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the 
Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly, through 
Jesus Christ our Savior; that, being justified by his 
grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of 
eternal life" (Titus 3:3-7 ASV). 
3:9 "Does not keep on practicing sin, because His seed 
abides in him"
  Jesus said "The seed is the word of God" (Luke 8:11 ASV) 
regarding the parable of the sower. 
  In connection with our rebirth, Peter explains: "Seeing 
ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth 
unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from 
the heart fervently: having been begotten again, not of 
corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word 
of God, which liveth and abideth" (1 Peter 1:22,23 ASV).
  This word must live and abide in us: "Let the word of Christ 
dwell in you richly" (Col 3:16 OPV). We must know the 
Scriptures and we must live by the word of God from day to 
3:10 "Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of 
God, also someone who does not love his brother"
  Peter also said that our "unfeigned love of the 
brethren" results from our rebirth through the word of 
Roy Davison


1 John 3:11,12

1 John 3:11,12 (OPV)
11 For this is the message which you have heard from the 
beginning: that we should love one another. 
12 Not like Cain! He was of the evil one and murdered his 
brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were 
evil, and his brother's righteous. 
3:11,12 "We should love one another. Not like Cain!"
  From the beginning God wanted His people to live by the 
principle of love, and not as did Cain. In Deuteronomy 6:4 
we read "... you shall love  the Lord your God with all 
your heart." And this principle is seen in Leviticus 
19:17,18: "You shall not hate your brother in your heart 
... you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the 
  Jesus repeated the principle when he said that we were 
to love God and our neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). To love 
was the essence of the Law as declared by Paul "He who 
loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law"(Romans 13:8-10). 
John said that love was not a new principle, but one we 
had from the beginning (1 John 2:7;3:11).
  To love is godlike, for God is love (1 John 4:8). Cain's 
deeds showed he was from the evil one. And whoever hates 
his brother is a murderer and walks in darkness 
(1 John 2:9-11; 4:15).
  "Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you" 
(1 John 2:24).
J.Lee Roberts