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Bible Commentaries

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

1 John 3

 

 

Verse 1

Upon us; who have received Christ through faith. John 1:12; Knew him not; did not understand his true character. In making guilty, polluted rebels and heirs of endless perdition holy-not merely servants but children, heirs of God, and partakers of endless life and glory-the grace of God surpasses all finite conception, and will be a theme of adoring praises from multitudes that no man can number, for ever and ever.


Verse 2

Not yet appear; the fulness of their future excellence and bliss could not here be known.

Appear; in glory.


Verse 3

This hope; the hope of being like Christ and seeing him as he is.

Purifeth himself, even as he is pure; he strives now to be pure as Christ is pure. The apostle here gives the distinguishing mark of a true hope, as contrasted with every false hope. Every man who has the hope of the gospel, by the habitual contemplation of Christ, and earnest, prayerful, persevering efforts to imitate his example, becomes, through the grace of God, more and more like him.


Verse 4

Transgresseth also the law; the essence of all sin is the transgression of God’s law; in other words, sin is contrariety to the revealed will of God, which must for ever be the rule of our action.


Verse 5

Was manifested to take away our sins-in him is no sin; two reasons why God’s children cannot allow themselves in sin. It is contrary to both the work of Christ, and his character. Christ takes away our sin by expiating it, and cleansing our hearts from its pollution.


Verses 6-10

In these verses the apostle is combating the error of those who sought to separate fellowship with God from a life of holiness; or who at least did not consider the inseparable connection of the two, and boasted that they had fellowship with God, while their lives were devoted to sinful lusts. Chapter 1 John 1:6; 1 John 2:4; 1 John 2:9. To sin then, or commit sin, must mean, in this connection, to lead a life of sin, to sin allowedly and habitually. This no true believer does. To be righteous as Christ is righteous is the aim of his life. His daily effort is to keep the whole law of God; and wherein he fails through the remaining corruption of his fallen nature, he confesses to God his guilt, asks His forgiveness, and addresses himself anew to the work of keeping His commandments, not in the letter only, but "in spirit and in truth." Abideth in him; is united to him by faith, and lives in fellowship with him. Men who live in the love and practice of known sin, secret or open, of omission or commission, of heart or of life, have no interest in Christ, and have never experienced his salvation.


Verse 7

Doeth righteousness; in his life.

Is righteous; in his character. The tree-a righteous character-is known by its fruit-doing righteousness.


Verse 8

Is of the devil; is a child of the devil and like him in character.

Might destroy the works of the devil; it follows that Christ’s disciples cannot do these works.


Verse 9

His seed; God’s seed; that is, the new moral nature which he has received from God, and which is maintained in his heart by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost.

He cannot sin; not for want of power, but disposition; he does not desire or consent to live in sin. The reason is, he loves those things which please God, and hates those which displease him.


Verse 10

Are manifest; by the different courses which they pursue. One class work righteousness and love Christians, the other do not. Those who live in sin take an active part against Christ and his cause, and in favor of the cause of the devil; and if they continue this course, they will be treated as the servants of Satan, and be made for ever partakers of his plagues.


Verse 12

That wicked one; the devil, the father of all murderers.


Verse 13

Marvel not-if the world hate you; because you are not of the world, and the world knows you not. Verse 1 John 3:1; John 15:17-21.


Verse 14

From death unto life; spiritually.

Because we love the brethren; for true love towards them is inseparable from love towards God, and love is the essence of the new divine life. To dwell in love, is to have in our souls the beginning of eternal life. Chap 1 John 4:7.

In death; spiritual death; in an unholy state and under condemnation.


Verse 15

Is a murderer; in heart; he cherishes the feelings from which the outward act of murder proceeds. Love to real Christians on account of their religion, is evidence of love to Christ and acceptance with him; while hatred of them is Satan-like, and tends to envy, slander, persecution, and murder.


Verse 16

Hereby perceive we the love of God; the words "of God" are not in the original. The literal rendering is, "Herein"-by the example that follows-"we know love," we see and understand its true nature.

He; Christ.

To lay down our lives; to have that love which makes us ready to die for our brethren, and actually to do so when God calls us. Such a love is constantly active in doing good, as the apostle proceeds to show. We may be called on to sacrifice life, but never to give up our salvation, for the good of others.


Verse 17

The possession of property involves high responsibilities, increases obligation, and multiplies duties. By the manner in which men use it they show their character.


Verse 19

Hereby; by loving the brethren in reality, and being disposed, as we have opportunity, to do them good.

Are of the truth; belong to the side of the truth, believe and love it.

Assure our hearts; quiet their fears by the assurance of his gracious acceptance.


Verse 20

Our heart condemn us; as wanting in love, and for this reason withholding aid from the destitute when we ought to bestow it.

God is greater; more perfectly acquainted with our sins, and will more certainly condemn us. The approbation of an enlightened, healthy conscience is needful to a well-grounded hope of the approbation of God; and the condemnation of an enlightened conscience is evidence of the condemnation of God.


Verse 22

Whatsoever we ask; in this state of filial confidence, which comes from the consciousness of keeping God’s commandments; that is, as the context shows, of being led by love to obey God.

We receive of him; we always receive of God an answer to our sincere and believing petitions, though not always in the particular form in which we present them, because God sees that another form is better for us.


Verse 24

Hereby; namely, by what follows.

By the Spirit which he hath given us; the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God, and that, as such, we dwell in God and God in us. The possession of the spirit of Christ, and its manifestation in the fruits of the Spirit, prove that one is born of God and an heir of heaven.

 


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Bibliography Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 John 3:4". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-john-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

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