The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 John

1 2 3 4 5

1 John 3

1Jo 3:1

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (KJV). "Sometimes we fail to 'behold' this. Many things help cloud it from our view -- the natural weakness of the flesh, personal shortcomings, preoccupations with the things of this life, physical and mental weariness, trials of various kinds. When we thus fail, we deny ourselves the strength, comfort and help that true worship will provide. We try to fight the battle of life in our own strength, and we wonder why we fail. Therefore, the invitation of the Psalmist provides a means of real help in the fight of faith: 'O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before Yahweh our Maker!' (Psa 95:6)" (HPM).

1Jo 3:2

WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, FOR WE SHALL SEE HIM AS HE IS: "There is one to whom all hearts are 'naked and laid open' (Heb 4:13). Darkness is as light to Him, the thought unspoken is heard by His ears, because He is beyond 'things seen' -- beyond the visible phenomena of the universe which He has created: and therefore because the Father is in secret, He seeth in secret; and to the invisible One the invisible things are known. Along with awe at that penetrating knowledge, and grief at the frailty which it reveals, there is joy for disciples in the fact that they are truly known. In private prayer they need not fear men's malice or misunderstanding, and they cannot seek men's praise -- unless (God forbid) it be their own. Here if anywhere in the world, they will be true, because they are alone with the God of Truth. And from such communion a fellowship may grow to reach its fullness in the day when they shall 'know even as they are known', being like the Son in whom the Father is made manifest, for they shall 'see him even as he is' " (TM 161).

1Jo 3:3

The believer's hope: an anchor to the soul (Heb 6:19); a treasure in heaven (Col 1:5); a person in the heart (Col 1:27); and a power in the life (1Jo 3:3).

JUST AS HE IS PURE: "He" = Christ, who is "pure".

1Jo 3:5

See Lesson, Jesus destroys the devil... along with 1Jo 3:8; 4:2.

1Jo 3:9

HE CANNOT GO ON SINNING: Not an automatic quality, but the standard: BS 11:122.

1Jo 3:12

AND MURDERED HIS BROTHER... MURDER HIM: In each case, the word is "sphazo", sig to butcher (esp an animal for food or in sacrifice) -- suggesting that Abel was a type of Jesus Christ, who was sacrificed!

Spiritually, Cain was the firstborn of the serpent, who did the work of his "father", who was also a murderer!

1Jo 3:15

NO MURDERER HAS ETERNAL LIFE IN HIM: A murderer seeks to deprive someone else of life, but he really, and ultimately, deprives himself of life! And so it may be with every premeditated sin against another: that which the sinner seeks to take from the other party, he is actually taking from himself: the young man seeking to deprive the young woman of her virtue is actually depriving himself of the same; the false accuser seeking to deprive another of his good name is ultimately destroying his own good name. And so forth.

This verse would imply that some people, in some sense, DO have eternal life in themselves! How can that be? Of course, we know that eternal life is not -- literally -- a present possession, and many, many passages prove this (as examples, Mat 19:29; 25:46; Mar 10:30; Joh 12:25; Rom 6:22; Gal 6:8; Tit 1:2; 3:7; Jud 1:21.) But, in a figurative sense, it may be true: if one may be physically living while being spiritually "dead" -- ie, Rev 3:1; 1Ti 5:6 -- then another may be physically mortal while being spiritually -- or prospectively -- "immortal"!) How can we be spiritually "immortal"? By living a life which, even now, shows our keen and abiding awareness of and hope in the glorious life to come -- in all that we think and say and do. Thus, as much as we possibly can, we will be living in God's Kingdom right now! In other words, in a world of material, but temporal, things, we must learn to see the invisible, but eternal things (2Co 4:17,18). Or, as DG put it: "In a world which looks horizontally, we must learn to look vertically."

"From John's perspective, like the kingdom of God, eternal life is a present possession. It is a state the believer comes into rather than a physical reality. As they say in real estate, the key is 'location, location, location.' In spiritual matters, the key is 'position, position, position.' What really matters is how God sees us, not what we really are... In the eyes of God, the believer has eternal life which is why we can speak of believers as being asleep in Christ (1Co 15:18) Jesus alludes to this in Mark 12:26-27 when he states to the Sadducees concerning the resurrection, 'And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.' We know that Abraham was dead from many scriptures, yet in the eyes of Yahweh he was alive. It makes perfect sense to us when we realize that baptism into Christ lifts from us the sentence passed upon mankind in the Garden and therefore conditionally grants us life beyond the sentence of death. If we do not practice 'lawlessness' and we 'walk in the light' (1Jo), our provisional state of eternal life will be made into the physical reality of immortality at the Judgment Seat of Christ" (KT).

1Jo 3:18

NOT... BUT...: 'Not only... but also...'

1Jo 3:24

Notice that having the "Spirit" (whatever that might involve) did not necessarily make it any easier to "obey his commands"!
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