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Book of First John    Listen to .mp3 propecy podcasts.

Lyn Mize

In this epistle John addresses salvation of the soul as found in the Life of Christ. Soul salvation is something that Christians must lay hold onto, and it is not the same as spirit salvation or the new birth experience.  

The First Epistle of John is addressed to Christians, and it warns against the dangers of false teaching. It also exhorts believers to lives of obedience to God and love for Christian brothers and sisters. The primary theme is fellowship with God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ (1:3).  

The first four verses of this epistle constitute the prologue, and affirm the reality of the incarnation of Christ. The goals of the epistle are fellowship and joy, and have nothing to do with testing to see if a person is really a born again Christian. It appears certain that the author of this epistle was John the Apostle—the disciple whom Jesus loved.  

I. Prologue (1:1-4)  

(1 John 1:1 KJV)  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;  

John declares his subject to be that which was from the beginning and he then describes the Lord Jesus Christ. Consequently, the beginning referred to in this verse would be the beginning of the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the First Coming of Jesus Christ.  

John places himself among the group of people who heard, saw, looked upon, and touched the Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek word for “seen” means that they experienced Him, and the word for looked upon means that they examined Him closely. The essence of this verse is the reality of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. They heard Him teach and speak and they fellowshipped with Him. They even touched Him. The reason for this verse is to counter the heretical teachings that Jesus Christ was a spirit being only and that He did not really come in the flesh.  

This verse also describes Jesus as the Word of Life. We know that the Bible is the Written Word, but Jesus Christ is the Living Word, and this reference is to the Living Word. As the Living Word of Life, Jesus Christ is the source of eternal life. It must be emphasized here that eternal life pertains to soul salvation and not spirit salvation. Eternal life pertains to appropriating the Life of Jesus Christ and the reward for doing this. Eternal life is something the Christian attains to by allowing Christ to live His live in the Christian. The Christian must lay hold on eternal life. The following verses are just a few that confirm this:  

(1 Tim 6:12 KJV)  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

(1 Tim 6:17 KJV)  Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

(1 Tim 6:18 KJV)  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

(1 Tim 6:19 KJV)  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.  

(1 John 1:2 KJV)  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)  

This verse confirms that eternal life is in the life of Christ, and it has been manifested or shown to Christians. We can lay hold on to eternal life by allowing Christ to live His life through us. Eternal life is a result of good works as stated in the verses in 1st Timothy above. The following passage of Scripture provides the Biblical definition of eternal life:  

(Rom 2:6 KJV)  Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

(Rom 2:7 KJV)  To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

(Rom 2:8 KJV)  But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

(Rom 2:9 KJV)  Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

(Rom 2:10 KJV)  But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

(Rom 2:11 KJV)  For there is no respect of persons with God.  

Please note that eternal life pertains to the good works that we perform. The Biblical definition of eternal life is the glory, honor and immortality that a Christian attains to by patient continuance in well doing. Every verse in this passage confirms that works are required for eternal life.  

(1 John 1:3 KJV)  That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.  

John continues the affirmation that eternal life is in the life of Jesus Christ, and it pertains to our fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. Eternal life pertains to soul salvation and not spirit salvation. Our spirits were saved by the death of Jesus Christ, but our souls are saved by the life of Jesus Christ. Not every Christian will attain to glory, honor and immortality at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The lives or souls of many Christians will perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ. They will still be in heaven, and they will still be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, but their lives will have been a total waste. Their lives will perish or be lost, but they will still be in heaven. Eternal life pertains to rewards, and specifically the crown of life. This crown can be taken away from the Christian in accordance with the following Scripture:  

(James 1:12 KJV)  Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.  

(Rev 2:10 KJV)  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  

(Rev 3:11 KJV)  Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.  

The Christian can lose the crown of life if he is not faithful, since it pertains to the works of a Christian. Heaven can not be lost as it pertains to the work of Jesus Christ.  

(1 John 1:4 KJV)  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.  

John ends the prologue of this epistle by affirming that eternal life through Jesus Christ pertains to the fullness of joy and not entrance into heaven. It is possible for the Christian to receive the fullness of joy, but it is not a certainty.  

II. Introduction:  Basic Principles (1:5-2:11)  

It was announced that fellowship was the objective of this epistle, so it is natural for John to begin with a discussion of this subject. In 1:5-2:11 John enunciates some basic principles of genuine fellowship with God. These principles have great practical value in the daily lives of Christians. Based on these principles the believer can test the reality of his communion with God. These principles are not a test for spiritual rebirth, as a person can be born again and not walk in the light and in fellowship with God.  

            A. Basic Principles of Fellowship (1:5-2:2)  

(1 John 1:5 KJV)  This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  

In the prologue John stated that he heard Christ, so it is natural for him to speak of something that he heard from Christ. The content of the message is that God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all. John no doubt had in mind God as the Revealer of His Holiness. As light God exposes man’s sin and condemns it. This is clearly in reference to the sins of Christians. If a Christian walks in darkness, he is hiding from the truth that is revealed by the Light.  

(1 John 1:6 KJV)  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:  

Since “God is Light,” it is impossible for a Christian to have communion with God while walking in darkness. The walk of a Christian refers to the life that he lives. The Christian who walks in the light of God’s revelation is very much aware of his own depravity. The Christian who has true fellowship with God is humbled by the realization of his own depravity. This Christian sees his own arrogance, selfishness, and sinfulness.  

The following is a brief discourse by Jesus Christ on walking in the light versus walking in darkness:

(John 3:11 KJV)  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

(John 3:12 KJV)  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

(John 3:13 KJV)  And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

(John 3:14 KJV)  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

(John 3:15 KJV)  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

(John 3:16 KJV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(John 3:17 KJV)  For God sent not his Son into (i.e., to or among) the world (i.e., the elect—believers) to condemn the world (i.e., the elect—believers); but that the world (i.e., the elect—believers) through him might be saved (i.e., soul salvation).

(John 3:18 KJV)  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

(John 3:19 KJV)  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil

(John 3:20 KJV)  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

(John 3:21 KJV)  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.  

The above passage of Scripture is probably the most misunderstood passage in all of Scripture. The passage is in reference to walking in the light of God’s revelation and is not addressing spiritual rebirth. The salvation addressed in verse 17 is soul salvation and not spirit salvation. Also, the believing in Jesus Christ addressed in verse 16 is referring to the believer entrusting his spiritual well-being unto Jesus Christ. The Christian who entrusts his spiritual well-being unto Christ the Living Word will spend time studying and abiding by the Bible, the Written Word. Verse 21 above confirms that John is addressing the works (i.e., the deeds) of believers and not simply spiritual rebirth.  

The word for “world” in verse 17 is the Greek word kosmos and is in reference to a collection or harmonious arrangement of a group of particulars of any sort. In the context it is in reference to believers. Thayer’s lexicon of the Greek language confirms that the word kosmos in this verse is in reference to believers.  

It is very important to note that in verse 20 above it is the deeds or works that will be reproved or called into account. This is the judgment that all believers will go through for their works to be judged.  

(1 John 1:7 KJV)  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  

This verse confirms that if the believer walks in the light, he will have fellowship “one with another.” This verse is not talking about fellowship with other believers, but fellowship with Jesus Christ. The verse also confirms that if we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse us from all sin. 

It is a fact that many Christians feign spirituality while committing acts of disobedience.   Spurious claims to fellowship have been a reality throughout the Church Age.  

(1 John 1:8 KJV)  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  

The Christian who states that he has no sin is deceiving himself, and he is not speaking the truth. The following verse even confirms that it is incumbent upon us to acknowledge our sin in order for it to be forgiven.  

(1 John 1:9 KJV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  

This verse confirms that when we confess our known sins to God, He is faithful and just to not only forgive those sins confessed, but to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This confession of sins to God is critical for fellowship and communion with God.  

(1 John 1:10 KJV)  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  

This verse emphasizes the seriousness of saying that we do not sin. It states that if we say we do not sin, then we are calling God a liar, and His Word is not in us. We could debate as to whether this Word is the Living Word or the Written Word, but it seems certain that both are intended as they go together hand and hand. If Christ the Living Word is in us, then the Written Word is having an effect on our lives as we abide by its precepts.  

If we allow the engrafted Word of God to save our souls (James 1:21), then the Living Word of God will be manifested in our lives as Christ lives His life through us.  

(1 John 2:1 KJV)  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  

This verse confirms that the engrafted Word of God and the Living Word of God means more than just confessing our sins to God. It means that we sin less and less as we spiritually mature. Our goal is to live a life without sin, but the reality of the situation is that we must still exercise 1 John 1:9 until we are finally conformed to the image of Christ and sin no more. This will take place at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

Currently, Jesus Christ is functioning as our High Priest and Intercessor with God the Father. We receive forgiveness for our sins based upon His shed blood. Every Christian will eventually receive forgiveness and cleansing from all sin, regardless of what happens now upon this earth, but our lives on the earth will determine our position in the kingdom. This is why it is so important for us to receive the engrafted Word of God and allow the Living Word to live His life through us at present. 

(1 John 2:2 KJV)  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.  

John saying that Jesus Christ is the propitiation (i.e., atonement) for the sins of John and the people being addressed by him sums up the section. John also states that Jesus is also the propitiation for the sins of the whole kosmos. We encounter this word again that has reference to all of the elect of God. Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the sins of all of the elect—not the whole world. This word would definitely include the Church, but it would also include all Jews and Gentiles throughout history that were chosen by God for spirit salvation. This would include elect Jews and elect Gentiles who fall outside of the Church Age. The word kosmos does not include every individual who ever lived. It includes the elect of God.  

B. Basic Principles of Knowing God (2:3-11)  

(1 John 2:3 KJV)  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 

This verse confirms that we know we have come into an intimate knowledge of God when we keep his commandments. The word know in this passage is not synonymous with spiritual rebirth or spirit salvation, but it does confirm that we have gotten to know God through a study of His Word, and a strong desire to follow His precepts.  

Jesus promised His disciples a special self-disclosure dependent upon the obeying of His commands:  

(John 14:20 KJV)  At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

(John 14:21 KJV)  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

(John 14:22 KJV)  Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

(John 14:23 KJV)  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  

(1 John 2:4 KJV)  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 

The Christian who says that he has intimate fellowship with God, but does not keep the commandments and precepts of God is a liar. A liar in this verse is the Christian who speaks a falsehood and pretends to be more spiritual than he really is. The truth in the context is that which is true in the Christian faith. It is that candor of mind that is free from affection, pretense, simulation, falsehood or deceit. It is the mature Christian who has the truth in him. The immature Christian does not have the truth in him, since he has not received the engrafted Word of God, which is the truth as taught in the Bible, and which has been applied in the life of the Christian. In such a person, the truth is not a dynamic, controlling influence, and this person is out of touch with spiritual reality. He is still a born again Christian who will go to heaven, but he will not necessarily enter the Kingdom of heaven, which is to reign and rule with Jesus Christ in the millennial kingdom.  

(1 John 2:5 KJV)  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.  

This statement clarifies the above by stating that the person who keeps or abides by the Word of God has the love of God completed or matured in him. The Greek word for love is agape, and it is the unconditional love that comes from God. It is the love that flows through the Christian when he has crucified the old flesh nature, and the Holy Spirit reigns in his life. It is the spirit-filled Christian who reflects the life of Christ.  

This verse also establishes unequivocally that God and Christ are the same, for it makes the transition from the love of God to being in Him, and “Him” is in reference to the Christ as is confirmed in this same context later in this chapter. The following verse establishes that the Christian who is “in Him” is the Christian who walks even as Christ walked. This Christian will reflect the life of Christ in his life.  

Note: John frequently used the word “Him” to refer to God or to Christ, for John so closely linked Jesus Christ with the Father that a precise distinction between these Persons of the Godhead seemed irrelevant.  

It would be a mistake to equate the Pauline concept of being “in Christ” with John’s concept of being “in Him”. Paul’s use of the words “in Christ” describes a Christian’s permanent position in God’s Son with all of the privileges linked to that position. The kind of relationship pictured by John in the vine-branch relationship describes an experience that can be broken with the consequences being the loss of fellowship and fruitfulness. In this passage, the proof of an intimate relationship with God is to be found in the life of a believer modeled after that of Jesus in obedience to the Written Word. This is confirmed in the following verse:  

(1 John 2:6 KJV)  He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.  

Some would argue that it is impossible for any Christian to walk in the sinless perfection that Christ walked, but this is not true. The Christian who abides in Christ is walking as Christ walked. Where he fails in the commission or omission of acts that constitute sin, he receives the daily cleansing that is provided by the blood of Christ for those who confess their sins and are cleansed of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). This is confirmed in verse 12 below.  

(1 John 2:7 KJV)  Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.  

This verse confirms that those being addressed are Christian brethren, and the commandment is for them. John states that there is a commandment that is really not new, but an old one. We learn in this verse that they heard this commandment from the beginning of their Christian experience, and we learn below that the commandment is to love the brother in Christ. John does add a new aspect to this old commandment in the following verse, and the new aspect pertains to being able to love the brethren by walking in the light. The Light is in reference to Jesus Christ, and to abiding in Christ who is the Light of the kosmos or the Light of the Church.  

(1 John 2:8 KJV)  Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.  

The commandment to love the brethren was with them from the beginning, but they now have the ability to abide by this commandment by abiding in Christ, who is the Light of the Church.  

(1 John 2:9 KJV)  He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 

This verse equates hating the brethren with walking in darkness, even if the brother states the lie that he is walking in the light. It is important to note that this is a Christian brother who states, and maybe even believes that he is walking in the light.  

(1 John 2:10 KJV)  He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.  

John summarizes the statement by stating the exact reverse that a Christian who loves his Christian brothers is abiding in the light (i.e., Jesus Christ), and there is nothing that would cause this Christian to stumble as long as he abideth in the light.  

(1 John 2:11 KJV)  But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.  

John completes the thought by stating that the Christian who hates his brother is in darkness, walks in darkness, and has no idea of the direction in which he is going, since his spiritual eyes have been blinded. This verse is clear that this brother (i.e., Christian) may not even realize that he is walking in darkness.  

III. The Purpose of the Epistle (2:12-27)  

In the prologue John addressed the goal and aim of his letter, and now he addresses the specific concerns that motivated the letter.  

            A. In light of the readers’ spiritual conditions (2:12-14)  

John addresses the specific concerns in light of the readers’ spiritual conditions at the time. He first addresses all of the believers as “little children” or the Greek word teknia. He then breaks the believers down into three categories of maturity. These levels of maturity are fathers, young men, and little children (i.e., paidia).  

John first addresses his writing of the epistle in the present tense referring to the time of the writing of the epistle. He then addresses his writing in the past (i.e., aorist) tense referring to the time of the reading of the epistle.  

(1 John 2:12 KJV)  I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.  

John first addresses all believers as little children or teknia. Teknia is a term for all believers who have the new birth relationship to the Father, whereas paidia in the following verse has reference to teknia who have matured or advanced a little in the faith. All believers have their sins forgiven regardless of their spiritual maturity, and this verse emphasizes this fact.  

(1 John 2:13 KJV)  I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.  

John addresses the most mature believers as “fathers” and they are characterized by their knowledge of “him that is from the beginning” (i.e., Christ). The maturest believers have an intimate knowledge of Christ from study of the Written Word. They have come to know the Living Word from a study of the Written Word. The maturer believers are characterized as “young men” who “have overcome the wicked one.” Appropriate to their spiritual maturity, they are involved in activity of conflict with Satan.  

John then addresses the little padia, or those spiritual babes in Christ who have simply come to know that God is their Father. They have not yet matured enough to engage in spiritual conflict with Satan, as the young men have, much less acquired an intimate knowledge of Christ as the fathers have. The first thing that a new Christian realizes is that God is his Father. The second level of maturity is spiritual conflict with Satan to become an overcomer, and the third level is an intimate knowledge of Christ.  

(1 John 2:14 KJV)  I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.  

As stated above, John then repeats in the past (i.e., aorist) tense the intimate knowledge of Christ that the maturest Christians possess, and he inserts the method whereby the young men overcame the wicked one. The young men overcame Satan by allowing the Word of God to abide or dwell in them. We could argue over whether this means the Living Word or the Written Word, but I feel certain it has reference to both. Christ abides in us when we allow the Written Word to become engrafted into our lives.  

            B. In light of the world’s allurements (2:15-17)  

John now addresses his specific concerns in light of the world’s allurements. The mature Christian is not to get caught up in the love and cares of this world.  

(1 John 2:15 KJV)  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  

The world here means the world system that is ruled over by Satan. John cautions the recipients of his letter against loving the world system, but he carries it a step further and cautions against loving the things of the world system. Things would include tangible and intangible things of the world such as sinful pleasures, money, possessions, politics, world systems, etc. The Christian has to live in the world until he dies or the Lord returns, but he is to live here as if he were a foreigner in another country. We are not to settle down and become comfortable in this world. Indeed, if Christ abides in us, we will never become comfortable in this world system. The world system is the domain of Satan so the faithful Christian will not become comfortable here.  

In type, the world system is the wilderness and not our home. We are simply on a journey to our homeland, which is Beulahland, heaven, or the heavenly city known as the New Jerusalem.  

John states that if a Christian loves the world system, the love of the Father is not in him. This does not mean that this person is not saved but simply that the agape love of God the Father is not abiding in this believer. Many Christians do not have the love of the Father abiding in them.  

(1 John 2:16 KJV)  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  

John proceeds to identify the three levels of temptations that are common to man for the things of the world. The first is the temptation to the body and refers to illicit bodily appetites or those desires that originate in the base nature of man. Examples of these lusts are desires for illicit sex, gluttony, drugs and drunkenness. The man who is seduced by this temptation is always seeking to satisfy his base desires for sensual pleasure. This person may spend his last dollar to achieve that ultimate high and that ultimate bodily lust.  

The lust of the eyes points to man’s soul and pertains to man’s covetous and acquisitive nature. It addresses man’s desire for the ownership and possession of worldly goods. The man who is seduced by this temptation becomes rich with worldly goods and possessions. He is never satisfied with his wealth and his possessions. He always desires more. He may even deny himself with necessary food and drink to acquire more wealth.

The pride of life pertains to the spirit nature of man, and it is reflected in the boasting of what a man has and what he does. “Pride of life” literally means the pretension of human life. It signifies a proud and ostentatious way of life. This sin is observed in vainglorious displays such as the behavior that states “Look at me!” Look how rich, or smart, or beautiful that that I am.  

Eve succumbed to all three forms of temptation in the Garden of Eden. She saw the tree was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and one that could make her wise. All three things in themselves would not have been sinful, except for the fact that she placed them above her obedience to God and her belief in the truthfulness of what God had stated. It is okay to be tempted, but sin enters in when we yield to the temptation.  

It is okay for man to satisfy his base desires for food, drink, sex and pleasure, as long as the means of satisfying these desires are within the will and commandments of God, and we do not place these desires above our desire to please God.  

The same is true for satisfying our desire for aesthetics or things of beauty, or having possessions that fulfill our needs for food, clothing, shelter, and sense of belonging. It is the excessive desire that becomes covetous in nature that becomes sinful. It is when we place things and desires above God that it becomes wrong and sinful.  

(1 John 2:17 KJV)  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.  

John concludes this concern by stating that the world system will pass away, and the desires and lusts for this world system will also cease. He then states that the Christian who performs the will of God will continue on forever. This is the immortality of the soul or life that defines soul salvation and eternal life. Soul salvation and eternal life pertain to the soul of man, and do not pertain to the spirit of man and the salvation of the spirit. 

            C. In the light of the deceptions of the last hour  (2:18-23)  

(1 John 2:18 KJV)  Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.  

John states that it is the last time, hour or period of time, and he reminds the readers that they have heard about the coming of Antichrist. He also states that they know that it is the last hour because many antichrists had already come. The Greek word hora for time does not appear to mean an age or era, but it seems to mean a much briefer period of time such as a season or year. Scholars think that 1 John was written just before the Diaspora of the Jews in 70 AD, so this is very likely what John was talking about. It was the last hour in relation to the kingdom of heaven being permanently taken away from the Jews. The year 70 AD was a major transitional date in Bible prophesy. By this time many heresies and false teachings had arisen in the Church. Many faithful Christians had fallen away from the truth and gotten caught up in the world. It was approaching the end of the Ephesian church age, and the beginning of the church age of Smyrna was upon them. The age of Smyrna was characterized by tremendous persecution. Nero beheaded Paul, and John himself was exiled to the Island of Patmos for his faithfulness to Christ. John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ and wrote the book of Revelation just before 70 AD, so it was a time when numerous antichrists were at work opposing the work of Christ. Satan had aroused numerous opponents to Christianity, and the age of the greatest persecution of the Church was about to begin. It was the last hour of the Ephesian church age.  

Antichrists represent those who are against and in opposition to Christ. There have been many antichrists since the inception of the Church, but there is The Antichrist, and he will do the most in persecuting both the Church in the first half of the tribulation period, and the Jews in the last half of the tribulation period.  

Just as John was writing to the Church telling them it was the end at that time, there are numerous Christians saying the same thing now. It is definitely the “last hour” and there will shortly be tremendous persecution of the Church under Antichrist. Our exegesis of the Book of Habakkuk confirms this to be true. Those Christians who are left behind after the Separation takes place will be persecuted unmercifully by Antichrist.  

(1 John 2:19 KJV)  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 

John states that these antichrists were not from the Apostolic Brotherhood, and he provides the evidence as being that they left the doctrines of the Apostles. The Apostles were the ones who saw, heard, were taught by, and were sent out by Jesus Christ. It included the 12 disciples, except for Judas Iscariot, and the true twelfth Apostle was Paul himself. Paul actually saw, was sent by and was taught by Jesus Christ in Arabia.  

If these antichrists had been in unison with the Apostles, then they would have remained true to apostolic teaching. We do not know if John was referring to the heresies of Gnosticism or Docetism, but he could have been referring to both, and perhaps to others that had arisen at the time.  

(1 John 2:20 KJV)  But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.  

John consoles the recipients of the letter by stating that they have a special anointing of the Holy Spirit, and he confirms that what they know is a result of the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Man may have taught them, but their true knowledge of doctrinal truths came from the Holy Spirit.  

(1 John 2:21 KJV)  I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.  

John reiterates that they know doctrinal truth, and no lie—as being taught by the heretics—is grounded in the truth of the Word of God.  

(1 John 2:22 KJV)  Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.  

John proceeds to define the liar as the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Christ is the Greek for Messiah, and means the Anointed One. John also states that if a person denies that Jesus is the Christ, he is also denying God the Father. This verse clearly enunciates that anyone who denies that Jesus is THE CHRIST is also denying GOD THE FATHER.  

This denial that Jesus is THE CHRIST can be very tricky in Satan’s churches, for there are many cults who will say that Jesus is A CHRIST, but not THE CHRIST. Even the New Age Movement acknowledges that Jesus was A CHRIST, but it also states that Mohammed was A CHRIST, Buddha was A CHRIST, and Hercules was A CHRIST.

However, the New Age Movement also teaches that THE CHRIST is about to appear as Maitreya, and it is unknown what body Maitreya will use for his appearance. Maitreya is another name for Antichrist.  

In essence, the New Age Movement acknowledges that Jesus was A CHRIST, but he was a Christ in the sense that he attained Christhood by the way in which he lived. This is heretical and is the spirit of antichrist that has been with the Church since the first century. The individual who comes out as the Antichrist will be the epitome of the spirit of antichrist, as he will deny both Jesus the Christ and God the Father.  

Many churches today confuse the fact that there is a spirit of antichrist with the truth that there will be one individual who will embody the ultimate antichrist attitude. These Christians say that there will not be one individual who will be the Antichrist, but they say that there is a prevailing antichrist attitude that will be present in the world. In actuality, both are true. There is already the antichrist attitude that has been with us for two millennia, and THE ANTICHRIST will most certainly reappear and fulfill the remaining prophecies about him.  

(1 John 2:23 KJV)  Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.  

John sums up the previous verses by stating that the individual who denies the Son does not have the Father. This means that an individual who denies that Jesus is the Christ does not have the approval of the Father. This could be a Christian who was spiritually saved at one time but turned his back on Christ, or one of the tares in the Church who has always denied that Jesus is the Christ. The cults represent the primary position of those who deny the Christ, but there are Christians who have been led astray and gotten caught up in the cults. They are still saved, but they will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ for their disobedience.  

It might also be stated that the individual who acknowledges the Son (i.e., allows the Son to live through him), then that individual has the love of the Father abiding in him. A person cannot deny that Jesus is the Christ and have the love of God abiding in him. This statement applies to Christians and non-Christians alike.  

            D. In the light of the reader’s responsibilities to abide (2:24-27)  

(1 John 2:24 KJV)  Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.  

This verse confirms that Christians are being alluded to who can fall away from the faith and no longer have the Son or the Father abiding in them. John is warning the recipients of the epistle that it is possible for them to fall away from the truth of the Word of God. If they fall away from the truth that they heard and believed at the beginning of their conversion to Christianity, then they will not continue in the truths of both the Son and the Father. They will still be spiritually saved, but they will suffer the loss of their souls at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and they will fail to attain unto eternal life.  

(1 John 2:25 KJV)  And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.  

This Scripture confirms that eternal life is the result of continuing to abide in the Son and the Father. As we have stated on numerous occasions, eternal life pertains to the salvation of the soul and not the spirit. If it is impossible for a Christian to fall away from the truth and cease to abide in the Father and the son, then this warning to Christians by the Apostle John would be ludicrous in its intent to keep these Christians from falling away from the truth.  

(1 John 2:26 KJV)  These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.  

This verse confirms that Christians can be seduced by false teachings, if they are listening to the teachings of man instead of the Holy Spirit. This has happened in the Church today as few pastors have the basic understanding of the difference between spirit and soul salvation, and they do not understand the definition of eternal life, as provided in the Scriptures.  

(1 John 2:27 KJV)  But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 

This verse confirms that it is the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who is our real teacher and teaches us the truths of the Word of God. If this anointing abides in us, then we will know the truth and not be deceived by lies. We will also abide in Christ, and this means that the life of Christ will be manifested in our lives. The Scriptures are clear that the whole Church will be completely leavened at the end. Leaven is false doctrines, sin and anything that corrupts the Church. The Church has been completely corrupted by false doctrines.  

IV. The Body of the Epistle (2:28-4:19)  

In the previous section, John had written to the contingent of Christians in order to assure them of the validity of their spiritual experiences of Christ, and to warn them against the antichrists that came to them denying the validity of their experience.  

In the main portion or body of this epistle, John delves into the true character of what it means to live the Christian life, and the consequences of failing to allow Christ to live in the Christian. This entire epistle is concerned with the salvation of the soul and how a Christian can know if he is progressing in the Christian faith. This epistle has nothing to do with testing to verify that one has been spiritually regenerated. We know we have been spiritually regenerated if we have believed that the death of Jesus atoned for our sins. This is a past experience that cannot be changed or remanded in spite of our current beliefs or actions. There are many outspoken atheists who are born again Christians running away from God. The unsaved, unregenerate person has no need to go around proclaiming that God does not exist. If one questions typical atheists, he will find that most were saved spiritually as children, but they have departed from the Living God to pursue their own desires and life’s ambitions. It is an enigma that atheists will curse the very God whose existence they deny. There will be many so-called atheists at the Judgment Seat of Christ weeping and wailing because their lives have been wasted living in the power of the flesh instead of the power of the spirit.  

            A. The theme stated (2:28)  

(1 John 2:28 KJV)  And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.  

John here states the primary theme or the reason for living the abiding life. The abiding life is dying to the old nature and allowing Christ to live His life through us. If we do this, when Christ appears and we stand before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will be boldly confident instead of being ashamed.  

Please note that the reason for living the abiding life has nothing to do with proving that we are spiritually saved, but it has everything to do with what takes place at the Judgment Seat of Christ. No unsaved person will be ashamed at the Second Coming of Christ for they will not stand before Him until the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the millennial kingdom.  

            B. Discerning the children of God living the abiding life (2:29-3:10a)  

(1 John 2:29 KJV)  If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.  

John begins this subsection by stating a simple fact that every Christian should know. John states that if the Christian knows that God is righteous, then he should also know that no one can work righteousness unless he is born of God. This verse simply states that only people who have been born of God can do anything that is righteous. The word for righteous here can mean absolutely or relatively righteous. We must determine from the context the meaning. Since we are talking about God, we know the first “righteous” means that God is absolutely holy. The second “righteousness” is speaking of works rather than a person, and it is referring to the righteous deeds that a Christian can perform in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a relative righteousness for not every deed that a Christian performs is righteous. The point is that no one can perform any righteous deed if he has not been born of God. The following verse confirms that even plowing (works) can be sin if performed outside the Spirit of God and for the wrong reason:  

(Prov 21:4 KJV)  An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.  

(1 John 3:1 KJV)  Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.  

John emphasizes that the Christian’s membership in the family of God is a manifestation of the love of God that has been bestowed upon us. The word for sons in this passage is the word teknon, and it should have been translated “children” instead of sons. The word for “sons” is huios, and the King James Version does not distinguish between the two words.  

The Scriptural term son or sons has a much deeper meaning than most Bible students understand. The Greek word is huios and the primary meaning is male offspring of a parent. It is often used metaphorically in Scripture to describe those who manifest a certain character whether evil or good. Matthew 5:9,45 use the word huios and it refers to those who reflect the character of God. The Greek word for child or children is teknon. In contrast to huios, it means the fact of birth whereas huios stresses the dignity and character of the relationship. All Christians are children (i.e., teknon) of God, but not all Christians will be sons (i.e., huios) of God. Unfortunately, the King James Version of the Bible does not discriminate between the mature huios and the immature teknon.  

The following Scripture reveals the difference between children of God (i.e., heirs of God), and sons of God (i.e., joint-heirs with Christ):  

Rom 8:14-17 (KJV)  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons (i.e., huios) of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children (i.e., teknon) of God: 17 And if children (i.e., teknon), then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  

The sons (i.e., huios) of God are those Christians who are led by the Spirit and not their soulical or flesh nature. All Christians have received the Spirit of adoption, which means we are children of God and, therefore, heirs of God. We also shall be "joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him..." This Scripture plainly states that Christians who are led by the Spirit of God and who suffer with Christ will not lose their inheritance as a child of God. Spiritual maturity is the requirement.  

The Roman noble in New Testament times would choose one of his boys thought to be the most suitable to be his son and heir. This child was adopted as distinct from the other children, and he was made head of the house under the father. His relationship to the father was the same as the other children, but his position in the family was superior to the others. Those who refuse to distinguish between simple heir-ship to God and joint heir-ship with Jesus make the former conditional upon suffering with Christ. This makes works (i.e., suffering with Christ) a condition for salvation. Believers should not fall into this trap. Salvation is by grace, but rewards are according to works.  

Heirs are those who are born of the Spirit. Joint-heirs are those who are "born of water and [of] the Spirit." Sanctification is just as critical for being a son of God as justification is for being a child of God. The receiving of the inheritance is just as dependent upon sanctification as it is upon justification. The atoning blood and the sanctifying Word and Spirit are required for Christians to receive the inheritance.  

The last sentence of 1 John 3:1 above simply states that even though we should be called the children (i.e., teknon) of God, the world does not know or recognize us as such simply because they do not recognize Jesus as the righteous one. The world may see us as being different and as having some measure of integrity, but it does not recognize us as being the children of God.  

(1 John 3:2 KJV)  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth 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.  

John continues by stating emphatically that we are the children (teknon) of God, even though the world does not recognize this fact. John also states that the life of Christ has not yet been fully manifested in us, but it will be fully manifested when Christ returns. When Christ returns and the Judgment Seat of Christ takes place, all of the children (i.e., teknon) of God will be Christlike. This is a promise and a guarantee for all Christians. However, it does not behoove the Christian to put off becoming Christlike until the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Christian can become Christlike in great measure by obedience to the Word of God now, and there will be great reward for the effort made in doing this.  

(1 John 3:3 KJV)  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.  

This verse states that every man (i.e., every Christian) who has the hope of the Second Coming of Christ will purify himself, even as Christ is pure. It is unfortunate that most Christians do not have the hope of the Second Coming of Christ, so consequently, they do not purify themselves. The purifying of oneself will result in great reward, while waiting to be purified at the Judgment Seat of Christ will result in weeping, wailing and great shame before Jesus Christ. There will be other consequences such as failure to enter the kingdom. Failure to enter the kingdom pertains to entering a position of rulership in the millennial kingdom and does not pertain to entrance into heaven. All Christians will enter heaven, but not all Christians will enter the kingdom of Heaven.  

(1 John 3:4 KJV)  Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 

In this verse, John warns Christians against sinning, and he states that sin is a transgression of the law of God. All Christians do sin to some extent after spiritual regeneration, but we are to refrain from sinning as much as is possible by abiding in Christ.  

(1 John 3:5 KJV)  And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.  

Christ was manifested to take away our sins, and this has reference to his life being lived through the Christian. Since Christ does not sin and never did sin, it is important for us to abide in Him in order for us not to sin. This verse is not speaking of the imputed righteousness of Christ that we received when we believed that Jesus died for our sins, but it speaks of the practical righteousness of Christ that comes from knowing Him through the written Word of God. This is a knowledge that comes from abiding in Christ rather than simply believing in Him.  

(1 John 3:6 KJV)  Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.  

John clarifies by stating that the Christian who abides in Christ does not sin.  This is simple in that the Christian who successfully crucifies the old nature and allows Christ to live through him does not commit sin. The verse continues by stating that the Christian who does sin has not seen nor known Christ. This verse is referring to Christians who sin, and it is not speaking of unregenerate people. The word for “seen” means to become acquainted with by experience or to experience Christ. This can only happen by studying the Word of God and getting to know Christ intimately. The word for “seen” also means to care for and to pay heed to Christ. Not all Christians do this. Consequently, they do not come to know Christ intimately. This is what the phrase “neither known him” means. The Greek word for “known” means to come to know or to become acquainted with someone. Many Christians have been spiritually regenerated, but they have never studied the Word of God to become intimately acquainted with Jesus Christ. The consequences are they do not abide in Christ, and they commit sin.  

(1 John 3:7 KJV)  Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.  

John summarizes the thought by telling these children of God to not be deceived, for the person who performs righteous deeds is righteous himself. This is the relative righteousness that the Christian attains to by abiding in Christ. This is not the imputed righteousness of Christ that we received when we were spiritually regenerated, but it is the practical righteousness (i.e., relative righteousness) that comes from abiding in Christ.  

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

This verse is difficult to understand in its context because of the way it was translated. This verse is not speaking of an unregenerate person, but the Christian’s old flesh or soulical nature. It seems even the translators did not understand the meaning of the verse. John is stating that the one that commits sin does so with its origin being from the devil. John is referring to our old flesh nature or the Old Man in us that actually commits the sin. It is not our New Man or our spirit nature that commits sin. The coordinating conjunction “for” points to the devil as the origin of sin that takes place in Christians. This could be paraphrased as “The one (i.e., our old flesh nature) that commits sin is or proceeds out of the devil. Paul makes this same distinction in the following verses:  

(Rom 7:15 KJV)  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

(Rom 7:16 KJV)  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

(Rom 7:17 KJV)  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

(Rom 7:18 KJV)  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

(Rom 7:19 KJV)  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

(Rom 7:20 KJV)  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  

In the above passage in Romans, Paul is comparing the new spirit nature in him with the old flesh nature that sins. The “I” is the new spirit nature, but “sin that dwelleth” is the old flesh nature that wars against the spirit nature.  

Continuing in verse 8 above, John states that the reason Jesus was manifested was to destroy or overthrow the works of the devil.  The definition of the word manifested is important as it refers to the character and person of Jesus Christ being shown forth so Christians can know Him and be like Him. The following is Thayer’s definition:  

5319– phaneroo-

to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way

a) to make actual and visible, realized

b) to make known by teaching

c) to become manifest, to be made known

d) used of a person; to expose to view, to make manifest, to show oneself, to appear

e) to become known, to be plainly recognized, thoroughly understood who and what one is  

Jesus Christ is manifested to the Christian through the study and application of the Word of God. Jesus Christ is manifested to the Christian so he can overcome the old flesh nature within him, as this old flesh nature is the works of the devil.  

The following verse in 1 John continues the thought by describing the new spirit nature in every Christian, which is in direct contrast to the old flesh nature referred to in verse 8 as the works of the devil.  

(1 John 3:9 KJV)  Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.  

The word “Whosoever” can also be accurately translated as whatsoever, for it is referring to the new spirit nature in every Christian who has been spiritually regenerated or born from above. This new spirit nature does not and cannot ever commit sin, for this new spirit nature is the seed of God. The Greek word translated “commit” is in the aorist tense, which means an action that began in the past and continues into the present. The new spirit nature did not sin when we received it and it does not sin today. In fact, it will never cause us to sin, but the old flesh nature in us (i.e., the works of the devil) does sin. The more Christ is manifested in our lives, the more the old flesh nature (i.e., the works of the devil) is overcome or destroyed.  

This verse does not state that Christians do not sin. It states that the spirit nature in us that is born of God does not sin. As Paul stated in Romans, (Rom 7:17 KJV) Now then it is no more I (i.e., the spirit nature) that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me (i.e., the flesh nature). (Rom 7:18 KJV)  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:  

(1 John 3:10 KJV)  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.  

This verse makes a distinction between those Christians who reflect the character of God from those Christians who reflect the character of the devil. The phrase “not of God” simply means that the person described does not find the source of his actions in God. Thayer provides the definitions of the idiomatic phrases “the children of God and “the children of the devil” as follows:  

5043  teknon-

offspring, children:

a) a child; a male child, a son

b) metaphorically:

1) the name transferred to that intimate and reciprocal relationship formed between men by the bonds of love, friendship, trust, just as between parents and children

2) in affectionate address, such as patrons, helpers, teachers and the like employ: my child

3) in the New Testament, pupils or disciples are called children of their teachers, because the latter by their instruction nourish the minds of their pupils and mould their characters

4) children of God: in the Old Testament of "the people of Israel" as especially dear to

God; in the New Testament, in Paul's writings, all who are led by the Spirit of God and thus closely related to God

5) children of the Devil: those who in thought and action are prompted by the Devil, and so reflect his character  

Please note that Thayer’s definitions of  “the children of God” and “the children of the devil” is not in reference to whether they are spiritually saved or not, but in reference to whether the Christian reflects the character of God or the character of Satan. If the Christian is led by the Spirit of God, then his behavior and character reflects that of God and he is referred to as a child of God. If the Christian’s thoughts and actions are the result of the old flesh nature, or prompted by the temptations of Satan, then the Christian reflects the character of Satan, and he is referred to as a child of the Devil.  

The clincher for establishing that Christians can be referred to as children of the devil is the last clause “neither he that loveth not his brother”. In other words, if the Christian does not produce righteousness, then he is a child of the Devil, and even if he does appear to do righteousness, but he does not love his Christian brothers, he is a child of the Devil.  

We in America today use a similar figurative expression when our children are not performing or behaving in a manner that is acceptable to us. A parent who sees his child behaving in an unacceptable manner will often say, “He is not my child.” The statement does not mean that the child is literally not his, but that the child is behaving in a manner that is foreign to his upbringing and the desires of the parent.  

A good proof text for the figurative expression “children of God” referring to those who reflect the character of God is as follows:  

(Mat 5:9 KJV)  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 

This verse comes from the Sermon on the Mount, and it is referring to the practical or relative righteousness necessary for entrance into the kingdom of heaven. This verse distinguishes between the literal meaning of children of God and the figurative expression children of God. All Christians are literally children of God, but those who practice righteousness to the point of being peacemakers shall be called the children of God.  The expression is used figuratively in this verse, for it states that peacemakers shall reflect the character of God in their behavior and actions. This is more than just being a literal child of God through the new birth experience. It means the person has matured in the faith to the point that others recognize him as a child of God because of his behavior. Many Christians are literal children of God, but they are not yet mature enough to be recognized and called the children of God.  

We use a similar expression today for a child who possesses certain characteristics or talents that the father of that child possesses. We say that he is “a chip off the old block.” For example, an outstanding football player may have two natural sons. One may have inherited the father’s athletic abilities while the other did not. The one with the athletic ability will reflect the father’s abilities while the other one does not. The one with the ability is recognized as “a chip off the old block,” while the other is not. Both are children of the father, but only one is recognized and called out as his child. The same is true for those who are called the children of God. There are many children of God who are not recognized and called as such.  

            C. Discerning love for the brethren (3:10b-3:23)  

It is better to see verse 10b above as the beginning of a new paragraph on brotherly love in the Christian faith. The purpose of this section is to define the practical righteousness of the Christian in terms of Christian brotherly love, and to describe how such love expresses itself. By linking the idea of righteousness with love, John formed a bridge to a new discussion. He considers love as the appropriate expression of the mature Christian. Love is practical righteousness in action.  

                        1. What love is not (3:10b-3:15)  

(1 John 3:11 KJV)  For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.  

John declares that the message that the Christian has heard from the beginning of his Christian life is that Christians “should love one another.” Please note the conditional word “should”. Christians should love one another, but this is not always the case. Christians do not have it in their own nature to love one another unconditionally. We must die to the old nature and allow the life of Christ to be manifested in us if we are to love one another.  

There is much pretense in the church about love for the brethren, but this pretense vaporizes when disagreements occur. The “love” in the church today is really “I love you as long as you do not disagree with me”. It is the frothy Laodicean love that is so prevalent in the church today. The deeper truths of the Bible cannot be taught as they offend too many Christians. Preachers who have heard and believe the doctrines of the Judgment Seat of Christ dare not preach this as Christians would get angry and stop coming to that church. It is all right to talk about sin and depravity as long as one links this to the unsaved reprobate and not the born again believer.  

(1 John 3:12 KJV)  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.  

John defines what Christian love is not by using Cain as an example. It is difficult for Christians today to understand, but both Cain and Abel were spiritual regenerates. The distinction between them was in their works. Cain’s actions had their source or origin in Satan, while the source or origin of Abel’s works was in God. Please note that it was Cain’s works that were evil, but Abel’s works were righteous.  

John used Cain and Abel to make a point because many Christians slay their Christian brethren. They do this when they hate the brethren as confirmed in verse 15 below. These are Christians who are murderers just as Cain was a murderer.  

(1 John 3:13 KJV)  Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.  

It will be difficult to see this but the Greek word for world is the word kosmos, and it is in reference to the Church. We must keep this verse in the context and realize that John is talking about brotherly love among Christians. There are many times in Scripture when the word kosmos is speaking of the elect of God, commonly called the Church. The following definition of kosmos by Thayer confirms that it can refer to believers:  

2889  kosmos-

1) an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government

2) ornament, decoration, adornment, that is, the arrangement of the stars, `the heavenly hosts', as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:3

3) the world, the universe

4) the circle of the earth, the earth

5) the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human race

6) the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ

7) world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc., which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ

8) any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort

a) the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)

a) used of believers only, John 1:29; 3:16; 3:17; 6:33; 12:47 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19  

John is telling the recipients of this epistle to not be surprised if fellow Christians (i.e., the Church) hate them. Cain and Abel are types of the Church with Abel typifying the faithful and Cain the unfaithful.  

(1 John 3:14 KJV)  We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.  

John then goes on to explain that we can know that we are realizing the salvation of our soul (i.e., “passed over from death unto life”) because we love our Christian brothers. If we do not love our Christian brothers, then we are abiding in death. This death is the death of the soul, and not the regenerated spirit that was born of God in us.  

There are many Christians who will experience the death of their soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ. They will fail to realize eternal life, which is in reference to the soul and not the spirit. This is confirmed in the following verse.  

(1 John 3:15 KJV)  Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.  

This verse confirms that Christians who hate their brothers in Christ are referred to as murderers, and they will fail to lay hold on eternal life as seen in the following verse:  

(1 Tim 6:11 KJV)  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

(1 Tim 6:12 KJV)  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.  

It should be very clear that Christians are the ones who are to “follow after righteousness ….” and to “lay hold on eternal life ….” by fighting the good fight of faith. These two verses establish conclusively that eternal life is the result of works by living the faithful Christian life.  

Hatred of another Christian is often prompted by a feeling of guilt about one’s own life as compared with that person’s life. It is the Christian caught up in earthly desires who hates the faithful Christian. The faithful Christian does not have to do anything to be hated by the unfaithful Christian. It is his life of obedience to God that causes the unfaithful Christian to hate him, because the unfaithful Christian feels guilty about the life he is living.  

It is not the unsaved, unregenerate person who hates the faithful Christian. It is the saved, regenerate, unfaithful Christian who hates the faithful Christian. This is why the main body of the Church today hates the Philadelphia church of today. It is simply guilt over the lifestyle that most Christians have today.  

                        2. What love is (3:16-18)  

(1 John 3:16 KJV)  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.  

This verse states that we can come to a knowledge of the love of God because Jesus set forth, ordained or established His life for us as the example to follow. We can come to understand agape love when we crucify the old nature and live the life of Christ. Since Christ did this for us, we should also live our lives as examples for our Christian brothers.

We are to love them when they hate us, and we are to do good to them when they do evil unto us. The life of Jesus was the example for all Christians, and our lives should be examples for our Christian brothers, even if they hate us. When we return love for hate, it instills more guilt—and even more hate—in the unfaithful Christian, until (hopefully) the unfaithful Christian is brought to a point of repentance in his life.  

This verse is not addressing the death of Jesus, but His life. Neither is it speaking of a Christian dying for another Christian, but living for other Christians. Our lives are to be a living sacrifice for other Christians.  

(1 John 3:17 KJV)  But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?  

An accurate paraphrase of this verse is as follows:  

(1 John 3:17 Paraphrase) As a supposition, whoever has the resources and wealth to sustain life and perceives his brother in need of these resources, and he withholds his tender mercies from him, how can agape love be present in this person who withholds his tender mercies and does not provide for his brother’s need.  

This verse is a supposition of something that is not true. If the brother has the necessary resources to sustain physical life and he sees his Christian brother in need of these resources, he will extend his tender mercies toward him to provide these resources. In this will the love of God is shown or demonstrated, and it will be clear that the love of God does dwell in this person. Many Christians do not have the love of God dwelling him them. They have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, but they are not filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit.  

(1 John 3:18 KJV)  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.  

This verse confirms that the true test of agape love is not one’s verbal profession of that love, but one’s actions that are free from affection, pretense, simulation, falsehood and deceit. When the agape love of God is indwelling a Christian, the following passage of Scripture describes the result. The Greek word translated “charity” is the word agape, which is the unconditional love of God:  

(1 Cor 13:1 KJV)  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

(1 Cor 13:2 KJV)  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

(1 Cor 13:3 KJV)  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

(1 Cor 13:4 KJV)  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

(1 Cor 13:5 KJV)  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

(1 Cor 13:6 KJV)  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

(1 Cor 13:7 KJV)  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

(1 Cor 13:8 KJV)  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

(1 Cor 13:9 KJV)  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

(1 Cor 13:10 KJV)  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

(1 Cor 13:11 KJV)  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

(1 Cor 13:12 KJV)  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

(1 Cor 13:13 KJV)  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.  

                        3. What love does for faithful Christians (3:19-3:23)  

(1 John 3:19 KJV)  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.  

This verse apparently refers back to verses 17 and 18. By practical acts of love—and not empty words—that help our fellow Christians live the life of Christ, we know that the source of our actions and behavior come from the life of Christ, who is The Truth. It is these acts of unselfish agape love that will persuade or convince us “before him” (i.e., in the sight or presence of Jesus Christ). Since this is speaking of the present time, “before him” is figurative and not literal. Our current lives are lived in the sight and presence of Jesus Christ, as He will have total and complete knowledge about us when we stand in his literal presence at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Greek word for hearts is also figurative and means our thoughts and feelings—our minds. We can be convinced in our own minds that we have the agape love of God indwelling us when we perform unconditional acts of love toward our fellow Christians.  

(1 John 3:20 KJV)  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.  

If our own mind tells us we are being insincere and phony, then God certainly knows that we are being insincere and phony, for his mind is infinite and he has knowledge of everything, including our own thoughts.

(1 John 3:21 KJV)  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.  

If our own mind does not find any fault or blame in us, then we will have confident assurance about our lives in regard to God’s complete knowledge about us. In our inmost mind we know if we are living a life of pretense, simulation, falsehood and deceit. 

(1 John 3:22 KJV)  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.  

If the Christian is living this life of confident assurance, then he will have this inner peace that comes from God, and his prayers will be answered, since this Christian keeps the commandments of God, and his behavior and actions are pleasing to God.  

(1 John 3:23 KJV)  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.  

In this verse John sums up the commandments of God in one commandment. This commandment is for us to “believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ”. Please note that this is a commandment for us to obey, and it is not in reference to our belief that Jesus is the Christ. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a Christian, but not every Christian believes on the name of Jesus Christ. The following verse in this epistle confirms the first statement:  

(1 John 5:1 KJV)  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.  

To “believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ” means for the Christian to entrust his spiritual well-being to the power and authority of Jesus Christ. It means to allow the power and authority of Jesus Christ to pervade our lives and control us via the filling of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian believes that Jesus is the Christ—whether he admits it to others or not—but every Christian does not entrust his spiritual well-being unto the power and authority of Jesus Christ. Calling on the name of the Lord also means that the Christian must call upon the power and authority of Jesus Christ in order to realize soul salvation.

All Christians do not call upon the power and authority of Jesus Christ to live the Christian life. Many Christians stop at the point where they believe that Jesus is the Christ, but they do not believe on the name or call upon the name of Jesus Christ. It is the faithful Christian who entrusts his spiritual well-being unto the power and authority of
Jesus Christ, and calls upon the name of the Lord in order to realize soul salvation (i.e., eternal life). As stated before, eternal life pertains to soul salvation and not the regenerated spirit. All Christians are regenerated spiritually and will be in heaven, but not all Christians will realize soul salvation and attain unto eternal life. We will explain more about believing on the name of the Son of God in chapter 5.  

D.  Discerning the indwelling God (3:24-4:16)  

The thematic statement in 2:28 that we should abide in Christ so we will not be ashamed at the Judgment Seat of Christ has now gone through two stages:  (1) the one abiding in Christ does not commit sin, and he performs righteous deeds or acts (2:29-3:10a), and (2) this practical righteousness is manifested in unconditional or agape love for our fellow Christians, and this results in fervent and effective prayers (3:10b-23). This kind of life is the manifestation of the presence of God in our lives.  

                        1. Discerning the Spirit of Truth (3:24-4:6)  

(1 John 3:24 KJV)  And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.  

This verse introduces two new themes. The first refers to God or Christ abiding in each obedient Christian. Those Christians who keep the commandments abide or dwell in God or Christ, and He abides or dwells in them. The parable of the Vine and the Branches also confirms that the abiding life involves this mutuality (John 15:4-7).  

The second new idea in this epistle is that this manifestation of the abiding life comes through the operations of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. Christ lives His life in us via the Holy Spirit, but this manifestation only takes place when we keep the commandments. The abiding life does not just automatically happen to Christians. It must be sought after diligently by the Christian who desires to be faithful to God.  

We are continuing in the same context in this verse—even though two new themes are introduced—and it is important to note that believing on the name of the Son of God and keeping the commandments of God are directly related. The only way we can keep the commandments is to do it in the power and authority of Jesus Christ (i.e., call upon the name of the Son of God), and this happens when Christians are filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit.  

Since it is the actions of the Holy Spirit in our lives that determine the abiding life, we must be able to distinguish the actions of the Holy Spirit from other spirits.  

John shows in the following verses that God’s Spirit is the Spirit of both faith (4:1-6) and love. These are the two aspects of the two-part command provided in 3:23 above. The faith or belief that Jesus is the Christ pertains to spirit salvation, and the love pertains to the abiding life or soul salvation. A Christian can have the faith and not live the abiding life, but there will be consequences at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This relates back to verse 2:28 where Christians will be ashamed when they appear before Him.  

(1 John 4:1 KJV) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  

The first task of the Christian in living the abiding life is to test the spirits to see if they are of God. “Of God” means that the source or origin of their behavior is from God. “The spirits” are either of God or of Satan. There is no in between as there are no misguided spirits of God, but there are misguided Christians who heed seducing spirits and teach false doctrine.  

It is my belief based on the Scriptures that the false prophets would be tares (i.e., unsaved people) in the Church, but the false teachers would be Church members (i.e., saved people) who had gotten away from the truth and were teaching false doctrines.  The following Scripture distinguishes between false prophets and false teachers, and it confirms that false teachers can be saved individuals:  

(2 Pet 2:1 KJV)  But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  

Please note that these false teachers had been bought or paid for by the Lord. Also note that the false prophets were among “the people”, but the false teachers were among those who were being addressed (i.e., the Church). The destruction that these false teachers will experience is the destruction or perishing of the soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is the loss of reward and failure to enter the kingdom of heaven, but the false teachers do not go to hell as is commonly caught. I have written an article To Perish or not to Perish, which explains the concept of perishing in detail. There are numerous Scriptures that warn Christians about perishing at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and there will be no unsaved person appearing at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Judgment Seat of Christ is a judgment of the Christian’s works.  

(1 John 4:2 KJV) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  

The touchstone by which these spirits are to be tested is their attitude toward the incarnate Person of Christ. The refusal to acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is that which exposes the spirit of antichrist. The New Age Movement today denies that Jesus is the Christ and has come in the flesh. This heretical movement states that Jesus was “a Christ” but He was not “the Christ”. The cults can also be identified by their attitude toward the incarnate Word of God. They all deny the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ. The hypostatic union pertains to the essential Person of Christ in which His human and divine natures are united. In simple terms, Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man. All of the cults deny this hypostatic union in some form or another. The Jehovah’s Witnesses deny that Jesus Christ is Jehovah God, and the Mormons deny that He is One in essence with the Father. The Mormons will state that he is “a god”, but only in the sense that many Mormons will attain this same status in attaining godhood by how they live their lives. Both deny “that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.”  

(1 John 4:3 KJV)  And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.  

This verse continues to enunciate that every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is the spirit of antichrist. The spirit of antichrist had already begun at the time John wrote the epistles. At that time the spirit of antichrist was dominant in the heresy of Gnosticism, and it is still with us today in the cults and the New Age Movement. 

We must distinguish between the spirit of antichrist and The Antichrist. The spirit of antichrist has been with us since shortly after the time of Christ, but The Antichrist is an individual who will embody the spirit of Antichrist in its most virulent form. He will come as Satan’s substitute for Christ, but he will oppose Christ with all the power of Satan, which is quite formidable. There are also many antichrists who have come in opposition to Christ, and these antichrists have opposed Christians from the beginning. The spirits of antichrists are the demonic spirits that oppose Christ, and the antichrists are people who operate in the power of Satan.  

(1 John 4:4 KJV)  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.  

John consoles the recipients of his epistle by telling them that they have overcome these spirits of antichrist—antichrists also—and the reason they have been able to overcome these demonic spirits is that the Holy Spirit indwells these Christians. The Holy Spirit is more powerful than Satan who is in the world. The “He that is in you” would also refer to Jesus Christ who lives in these Christians via the Holy Spirit.  

(1 John 4:5 KJV)  They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.  

These spirits of antichrists proceed out of the world system, which is the system of Satan.

Satan is currently the god of this world system, since he has usurped the authority of Adam to rule over the world. Consequently, these spirits speak of the satanic world system, and the people of this satanic system listen to these spirits. Satan’s world system includes the political systems of the world, the nations and many of the religions of the world.  

There have been numerous Christians who have been seduced by these spirits of antichrists, and they are enamored and caught up in Satan’s system. They have been captivated by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life as stated in verse 2:16 above. These Christians are attempting to reform Satan’s system through psychology, self-improvement, political activism and the increase in power via the accumulation of wealth. The end-time church of Laodicea is extremely wealthy and powerful, but the Lord describes this church as wretched, miserable, poor, naked and blind. The church of Laodicea has substituted psychology, self-improvement and political activism in place of study and obedience to the written Word of God. All of this is a result of these seducing spirits of antichrist that have led many Christians astray from our intended purpose.  

(1 John 4:6 KJV)  We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.  

John concludes this section on seducing spirits by assuring the recipients of his epistle that he and his companions have God as the source and origin of their behavior and teachings, and that those who know God intimately through experience will listen to and heed what is being taught them by John and his companions. Those who have been seduced by these spirits of antichrist will not listen nor heed what John is attempting to teach them. John concludes that knowing God intimately through experience is the reason he is able to distinguish between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Unfortunately, the majority of Christians today do not study the Word of God carefully, so they do not know God experientially, and they cannot distinguish truth from error.  

The following passage equates knowing God with having the love (i.e., agape) of God for our fellow Christians.  

                        1. Knowing the God of Love (4:7-4:16)  

(1 John 4:7 KJV)  Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  

This verse distinguishes between spiritual rebirth and knowing God. All Christians are born of God, but not all Christians know God. The Christian who has been born of God and knows God will love his fellow Christians. The difference between being born of God and knowing God is the difference between spirit salvation and soul salvation.  

(1 John 4:8 KJV)  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  

The Christian who does not love his fellow Christians is born of God, but he does not know God intimately and experientially. He has experienced spirit salvation, but he has  not yet realized eternal life or soul salvation. The absence of love is evidence that a Christian does not know God, but it does not mean the Christian is not born again. It simply means the Christian has not received with meekness the engrafted Word of God (James 1:21). It means the Christian has not yet laid hold onto eternal life in accordance with the following Scriptures:  

(1 Tim 6:12 KJV)  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.  

(1 Tim 6:19 KJV)  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.  

As stated before, eternal life pertains to soul salvation and rewards, and not spirit salvation. The Biblical definition of “eternal life” is the most misunderstood concept in Christianity today. The Biblical definition of eternal life is given in the following Scripture:

(Rom 2:5 KJV)  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

(Rom 2:6 KJV)  Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

(Rom 2:7 KJV)  To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

(Rom 2:8 KJV)  But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

(Rom 2:9 KJV)  Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

(Rom 2:10 KJV)  But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:  

This whole passage is addressed to Christians by Paul, and he is warning these Christians about the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Verse 6 confirms that this is the Judgment Seat of Christ, and the only ones who will appear at this judgment are Christians.  Verse 7 confirms that the definition of “eternal life” is to receive glory, honor and immortality. The immortality pertains to the soul of the Christian.  Everyone’s spirit is immortal, but the soul of the Christian can perish and fail to receive glory, honor and immortality. Verse 9 confirms that this passage is pertaining to the soul and not the spirit.  

(1 John 4:9 KJV)  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 love of God toward us” is speaking of God’s love being manifested towards Christians in the fact that He sent his only begotten Son that “we might live through him.” The Greek word for world is kosmos and refers directly to the church as the elect of God. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to the Church (i.e., the kosmos) so that those in the Church “might live through him.” Please note the conditional aspect of this statement. Christians may appropriate the life of Christ and live through Him, but they might not do this. Many Christians do not live through Christ. They allow the old soulical nature to take charge of their lives, and they do not manifest the life of Christ. Consequently, they do not love their fellow Christians, since they do not know God. They have been born again, but they do not know God.  

(1 John 4:10 KJV)  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  

This verse confirms the select nature to whom God sent His Son. God loved us (i.e., the Church) so he sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. The following verse continues to define the select nature of God’s love.  

(1 John 4:11 KJV)  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  

“Beloved” refers to Christians the same as “us” refers to Christians. Since God loved the Church in spite of our behavior and sin nature, we should also love each other in spite of our behavior and our actions. We should love all of our fellow Christians regardless of how they treat us. The only way we can do this is to live through Christ, and this is simply another way of stating that we should allow Christ to live through us. This is the same thing as living the abiding life as was explained earlier in this discourse.  

Nothing less than God’s love in Christ is the model for the love that Christians should have for one another. Living the abiding life is the only way that a Christian can manifest this love.  

(1 John 4:12 KJV)  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.  

No man has ever seen God in His divine nature, essence and glory. No man could survive this experience. Attempting to look directly at the sun is roughly analogous to seeing God in His divine nature, essence and glory. However, if the Christian lives the abiding life, he will have the love of God in him, and God will be made visible to other Christians. This is the perfecting or maturing of God’s love in the Christians. If we want to know what God looks like, we can look at Christ, for God is manifested in Christ. As the Christian matures in the faith, he manifests the love of God, and other Christians get a glimpse of what God is like.  

(1 John 4:13 KJV)  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.  

We can know that we dwell in God and he in us, because of the actions of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If the Christian is controlled by the Holy Spirit in his behavior and actions, then we know that he is dwelling in God and God is dwelling in him. The scriptures refer to this control by the Holy Spirit as the filling of the Spirit as confirmed in the following verse:  

(Eph 5:18 KJV)  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  

All Christians are not filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit, so all Christians do not dwell in God and He in them. The abiding life must be sought after by the Christian.  

(1 John 4:14 KJV)  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.  

This verse is speaking of God sending His Son Jesus Christ as the Savior of the Church.

The Greek word for world is kosmos and again refers to the Church. Jesus is the Savior of the Church, and whosoever in the Church confesses that Jesus is the Son of God provides evidence that God is dwelling in him, and he is dwelling in God. Verse 14 above and 15 below would have been clearer if combined into one sentence. A paraphrase of verse 14 and 15 is given after verse 15.  

(1 John 4:15 KJV)  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.  

(1 John 4:14-15 Paraphrase) And we have witnessed with our eyes and provide testimony with our lips that God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ as the Savior of the Church, and whosoever in the Church confesses that Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God provides evidence that he is living the abiding life.  

It is important to note that whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (5:1), but whoever confesses openly that Jesus is the Christ (i.e., the Son of God) is living the abiding life (4:15). There is a difference in believing it and proclaiming it. The born again Christian believes it. The Christian living the abiding life proclaims it.  

(1 John 4:16 KJV)  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  

John completes this section on knowing the love of God by stating that he and the recipients of this epistle have known by experience, and believed the love that God had for them. He then sums up the section by stating that the Christian who dwells in love also dwells in God and God in him. The Christian who dwells in love is living the abiding life.  

E.            The Theme Realized (4:17-4:19)  

John now returns to the theme of boldness at the Second Advent that he introduced earlier in 2:28. In the middle of his argument, John spoke of boldness in prayer (3:21-22), but here John goes a step further. The Christian who has the love of God in him can even have boldness at the Judgment Seat of Christ when the Lord returns.  

(1 John 4:17 KJV)  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.  

John confirms that the test of our true love will be at the Judgment Seat of Christ. If our love has been made complete, then we will have boldness at the Judgment Seat of Christ, for we will have been conformed to His image in this life in the Church instead of waiting to be changed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, it will be a fearful thing for Christians who have not already been conformed to the image of Christ. The Christian who has had the love of God perfected or completed in him will not be fearful at the Judgment Seat of Christ. In simple terms, the Christian who fears God now will not be fearful at the Judgment Seat of Christ, but the Christian who has no fear of God now will be extremely fearful at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is the Laodicean Christian who does not fear God now, but he will be fearful when he stands before Jesus for judgment. This is confirmed in the following verse:  

(Heb 10:30 KJV)  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

(Heb 10:31 KJV)  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  

(1 John 4:18 KJV)  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  

The Christian who has realized the mature and complete love of God will be bold at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and will not experience fear (i.e., terror) at this judgment. This fear is the fear of punishment that will be meted out at this Judgment. The Christian who experiences fear (i.e., terror) at the Judgment Seat of Christ will be the one who has not been made complete in God’s love. The following verse confirms this terror that will be experienced by Christians at the Judgment Seat of Christ:  

(2 Cor 5:9 KJV)  Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

(2 Cor 5:10 KJV)  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

(2 Cor 5:11 KJV)  Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.  

It is important to see that the purpose of living the abiding life is so we can be bold and not fearful when we appear before Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ. If the love of God has been made complete, then we will not shrink back in shame and fear when we stand in His presence.  

(1 John 4:19 KJV)  We love him, because he first loved us.  

John sums up this section by stating that we can only love God because He first loved us. 

V.            Conclusion (4:20-5:17)  

The greatest intensity of this epistle was reached in 4:11-19, but the experience depicted with the amazing concept of boldness with no fear at the Judgment Seat of Christ can be reached only in a practical way. In his conclusion, John crystallized the meaning of love (agape), and how it can be attained in the Christian life. 

A.            Love clarified (4:20-5:3a)  

(1 John 4:20 KJV)  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  

The concise climatic statement of 4:19 mentions love for God for the first time in the epistle. However, the claim to love God can not be a substitute for the love for fellow Christians. As John’s point of departure, he states emphatically that the Christian who says that he loves God but he hates his fellow Christian is a liar. He has made a false claim. Love for God who is invisible can only be concretely expressed by love for our Christian brethren, who are visible.  

(1 John 4:21 KJV)  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.  

John nails down the concept of love for the brethren being a manifestation of the love for God by stating that the two kinds of love are joined together by God’s commandment. Jesus Christ made this point in the following verses:  

(John 14:15 KJV)  If ye love me, keep my commandments.  

(John 14:23 KJV)  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.  

John anticipates the question as to who is our Christian brother by stating in the following verse that anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ qualifies as our brother. This includes all of those Christians who are not living the abiding life, and who are not lovable themselves. It includes the mean, nasty, filthy, ugly, old Christian, who persecutes and maligns the Christian who is actually living the abiding life.  

(1 John 5:1 KJV)  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.  

In addition to defining a real Christian as anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ, John reiterates that anyone who really loves God will also love God’s children. This means that we must love all born again Christians whether they are lovable or not. This is the touchstone for determining if we are living the abiding life. Do we have love for the brethren, regardless of how the brethren treat us? This is actual love and not just a statement of love.  

(1 John 5:2 KJV)  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.  

John reverses his statement to show that love for God—manifested by keeping His commandments—is evidence that we love the brethren, and these two kinds of love are inextricably intertwined. Love for the brethren is not mere sentiment or verbal expressions. Love for the brethren cannot be separated from loving God and keeping His commandments.  

(1 John 5:3 KJV)  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  

B.        Love empowered (5:3b-5:15)  

John continues by making the love of God and obedience to God synonymous, and John adds the statement that God’s commandments are not grievous or burdensome. The Christian who truly loves God delights in keeping His commandments, and is greatly disappointed in himself when he fails.  

(1 John 5:4 KJV)  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  

The reason that God’s commandments are not grievous or burdensome is because the principle of victory resides in everyone born of God, and this victory is found in our faith. Every born again believer has already overcome the world by his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. It is by this same faith that the believer has the capability of overcoming the flesh and the devil. The Christian must overcome all three to be an overcomer at the Judgment Seat of Christ. God has already given us victory over the world by the faith that he gave us, and it is by this same faith that we can overcome the old flesh nature and Satan himself.  

(1 John 5:5 KJV)  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?  

John restates the truth that only believers have overcome the world, and he repeats the one and only criterion for being classified as a believer, and that is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  

(1 John 5:6 KJV)  This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.  

John now clarifies the identity of Jesus Christ as the one who came by water and blood. This refers to Jesus Christ as the One baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan, and the One who shed His blood on Calvary. Both are critical in identifying Jesus Christ as the Anointed One, the Messiah, the One Who was approved by God the Father for all to hear this approbation, and visibly see the Holy Spirit descending on Him empowering Him for His ministry. The baptism and death of Jesus are both critical elements for the Christian to believe. The approval by God the Father uniquely qualified Jesus Christ as the only one capable of paying the ultimate price for salvation. It was the confirmation of God the Father that Jesus Christ had never committed even one sin. It attested to the fact that Jesus was sinless and perfect.  

It is the Spirit that provides the testimony about Jesus Christ, since the Spirit reveals the truth, and confirms to every believer the truth about Jesus Christ.  

(1 John 5:7 KJV)  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.  

It is the Trinity that bears witness in heaven, and this Trinity is One in Essence. There must also be a witness on earth for people to believe, and that witness is given in the following verse:  

(1 John 5:8 KJV)  And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.  

The Holy Spirit is the witness on earth, and the water baptism confirmed the approval of Jesus by the Father, and the death of Jesus on Calvary completed the testimony on earth.  

(1 John 5:9 KJV)  If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.  

If we believe what men tell us, then we certainly should believe what God tells us about His Son.  

(1 John 5:10 KJV)  He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.  

The Christian who believes on the Son of God has the witness—the Holy Spirit—in him. The person who does not believe the word of God the Father makes God a liar, since he does not believe the record (i.e., testimony) of God the Father.  

(1 John 5:11 KJV)  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  

The testimony (i.e., record) of God the Father is that He has given us eternal life, and this life is to be found in His Son. It is very important to notice a transition here from the testimony of God the Father that His Son was well-pleasing to Him, and Christians can also be well-pleasing to Him by appropriating the life of Christ.  

(1 John 5:12 KJV)  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  
This appropriation of the life of Christ is by definition, eternal life. The Christian who has appropriated the life of Christ has eternal life, but the Christian who has not appropriated this life does not have eternal life. Note: Please remember that eternal life pertains to the soul and not the spirit. The difference between spirit salvation and soul salvation is the difference between believing “on the Son of God”, and believing “on the NAME of the Son of God.”  

There is a world of difference in believing “on the Son of God” and believing “on the Name of the Son of God.” To believe on the name of a person means to entrust one’s spiritual well-being to the power and authority of that person. All Christians believe on the Son of God, but not all Christians entrust their spiritual well-being unto the power and authority of the Son of God. To do so is to appropriate the life of Christ and realize eternal life or the salvation of the soul. To appropriate the life of Christ, a Christian must first die to self.  

The Greek word for “hath” in verse 12 means “to lay hold onto”. The Christian who has laid hold onto Jesus Christ has appropriated His life and will realize eternal life. Eternal life is something the Christian must lay hold on in accordance with the following verse:  

(1 Tim 6:18 KJV)  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

(1 Tim 6:19 KJV)  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time
to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.  

(1 John 5:13 KJV)  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.  

The ASV of 1901 has the correct translation of this verse as follows:  

(1 John 5:13 ASV)  These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God.  

John states that he is writing to these Christians so they may know that they have eternal life, and he then identifies those who have eternal life as those who “believe on the name of the Son of God.” Only those Christians who lay hold onto Jesus Christ will realize eternal life. All Christians do not believe on the name of the Son of God.  

(1 John 5:14 KJV)  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:  

If we entrust our spiritual well-being to Christ, we can ask anything in his will and he will listen to us.  

(1 John 5:15 KJV)  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.  

In addition, if we know that he hears us, He will grant our petitions.  

C.        Love practiced (5:16-5:17)  

(1 John 5:16 KJV)  If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.  

The Christian can commit sin that leads toward death. This death is the death of the soul and not the spirit or the body. The sin that leads to the death of the soul is described in the following verses:  

(Heb 6:1 KJV)  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

(Heb 6:2 KJV)  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

(Heb 6:3 KJV)  And this will we do, if God permit.

(Heb 6:4 KJV)  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

(Heb 6:5 KJV)  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

(Heb 6:6 KJV)  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

(Heb 6:7 KJV)  For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

(Heb 6:8 KJV)  But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

(Heb 6:9 KJV)  But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.  

This passage of Scripture is speaking of Christians who have reached a level of maturity in the Christian life and then turned their back on God and fallen away from the faith. When this occurs in a Christian God will not allow repentance, and the person will most certainly perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This perishing is pertaining to the soul, and the person will lose his inheritance in the kingdom of God. He will still be in heaven and he will be totally cleansed, but he will not reign and rule with Jesus Christ.  

Please note in verse 9 that he is speaking of things that accompany the salvation of the spirit and not spirit salvation itself. Verse 8 confirms that the passage is speaking of works that will be judged and burned up. The passage is not speaking of unsaved people who will be consigned to hell forever. The whole book of Hebrews addresses soul salvation and the Judgment Seat of Christ, and only Christians will appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

In verse 16 above John is stating that it is futile to pray for someone who meets the criteria in the Hebrews passage above. There is nothing that can be done for them for God will not allow repentance from them, and they are destined to perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

The big question is how do we know who is committing the sin that leads to the death of the soul. The simple answer is that we do not know, but the Holy Spirit will not lead us to pray for these people. I only know of one person that might fall into this category right now, and that person was a Sunday school teacher who taught these very doctrines of soul salvation and accountability at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  
(1 John 5:17 KJV)  All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.  

All unrighteousness is sin, and we all commit sin, but this sin does not lead unto the death of the soul in most cases, and we can repent and seek forgiveness for it, and our souls can be saved when we appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

V.            Epilogue (5:18-5:21)  

(1 John 5:18 KJV)  We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.  

This verse can be paraphrased as follows:  

(1 John 5:18 Paraphrase) We know that the Christian’s spirit is born of God and does not cause the Christian to sin, but the Christian whose life is converted out of God into His likeness guards himself and keeps himself in that state, and Satan is unable to influence him.  

The Greek word for “keepeth” in verse 18 above means to attend to carefully. The Christian who has been converted into the likeness of God by allowing Christ to live His life through him guards himself carefully, so that he will not fall away from the faith and arrive in a state where God will no longer permit repentance. Satan is unable to influence this type of Christian.  

(1 John 5:19 KJV)  And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.  

A paraphrase of this verse is as follows:  

(1 John 5:19 Paraphrase) And we know that our lives have been converted into the likeness of God, but Satan holds the whole human race in subjection.  

(1 John 5:20 KJV)  And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.  

A paraphrase of this verse is as follows:  

(1 John 5:20 Paraphrase) Moreover, we know that the Son of God has come to us for an intimate relationship, and He has given us the deeper knowledge and understanding to know Him intimately, and we are abiding in Him, even God’s Son Jesus Christ. He is truly God and the source of eternal life. 

(1 John 5:21 KJV)  Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.  

John ends his epistle by addressing his disciples in a familiar term and cautions them to carefully guard themselves against idolatry. This means for them to keep separated from anything that supplants God. This includes anything that people put ahead of God and includes things such as cars, houses, television, sports, clothes, hobbies, and anything that takes the place of prominence in our lives. In the Laodicean church of today, money has become the god of numerous Christians, and we need to be very careful to guard ourselves against the love of money.