The children of God
[1Jo 3:1-24 NASB95] 1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and [such] we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope [fixed] on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Sin and the child of God
4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
The imperative of love
10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 not as Cain, [who] was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
The outworking of love
16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
The spirit of truth and the spirit of error
24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
Chapter Three John describes God’s wonderful love for us, how hope as His children should motivate us to pure lives. Righteous living should be expected when we know what sin is, that Christ came to destroy it, and that one truly born of God will not persist in sin (1-9). True righteousness includes loving one another, even as Christ loved us, which in turn gives us confidence and assurance that we are abiding in Him and are of the truth (10-24). POINTS TO PONDER * God’s love for us, and our love for one another * The definition of sin, and the meaning of "does not sin" (6,9) * The outworking of love, and the assurance it gives of our salvation REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Living as children of God - 1Jn 3:1-9 - Loving one another - 1Jn 3:10-24 2) What should motivate us to live pure lives? (2-3) - The hope that when God (Jesus?) is revealed, we shall be like Him 3) How is sin defined by John? (4) - As lawlessness ("transgression of the law", cf. KJV) 4) What is true of one who abides in Jesus? Who has been born of God? (6,9) - Does not "sin" ("keep on sinning", cf. ESV, NLT) - Does not "sin" ("make a practice of sinning", ibid.) - Cannot "sin" ("keep on sinning", ibid.) 5) What distinguishes children of God from children of the devil? (10) - The former practices righteousness and loves the brethren 6) What serves as evidence that we have passed from death to life? (14) - That we love the brethren 7) How do we know what true love is? How then should we love? (16-18) - By the example Jesus set; sacrificially, in deed and truth 8) What gives us assurance and confidence that we are of the truth? (19-23) - Loving one another and keeping His commandments, especially having faith in Jesus 9) How can we know that He abides in us and we in Him? (24) - When we keep His commandments, and by His Spirit whom He has given us
McArthur Study Bible:
3:18 in word or in tongue…in deed and in truth. Claiming to love is not enough. Love is not sentiment, but deeds.