Main point summary
Jesus came into this world to take away the guilt and power of sin and to bring the dominion of God over this world; therefore it is impossible for those who are united to Him to persistently and habitually sin. Therefore, the marks of someone born of God are thoughts, emotions, and actions consistent with the character of God by depending on Him for their righteousness and obedience.
1 John 3:4-10
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness;
Everyone who persistently and habitually sins also habitually commits lawlessness;
and a sin is lawlessness.
and persistent sin is rebellion against God's rule and reign [Other places in scripture, sin is doing anything that displeases God, is not aligned with His character, substitutes anything for His glory, and any action done not fully trusting and knowing that it pleases God.]
You know that He a appeared
However you know that Jesus has come to earth and lived a perfect life and died as the atoning sacrifice for the elect
in order to b take away sins ;
for the purpose of taking away the guilt and power of sin in God's people;
and c in Him there is no sin.
and Jesus is perfectly pure, always pleasing God, always aligned with His character, always worshiping the Father as He deserves, always knowing that what He is doing is pleasing to the Father.
No one who abides in Him a sins ;
Therefore, no one who is united to Jesus and daily walks with Him by the Spirit in fellowship and obedience will practice sin;
no one who sins has seen Him or 1 b knows Him .
no one who practices sin has their spiritual eyes opened to the glory of Jesus nor do they truly know (love and fellowship with) Jesus.
a Little children, make sure no one b deceives you;
Beloved body of TRUE believers, make sure that no one deceives you in teaching you that holiness and obedience do not matter. If you've been baptized or have made a decision to follow Jesus at some point, then you're good and obedience doesn't matter. Don't believe them!
c the one who practices righteousness
That is, the person who persistently and habitually (though not perfectly) thinks, feels, and acts consistent with the character and law of God in dependent faith in Him
is just before God, they are saved, they prove their faith,
just as He is righteous;
just like Jesus is just before God;
the one who practices sin
BUT the one who persistently and habitually displeases God in their thoughts, emotions, and actions
is a of the devil ;
is not born again by God but is still under the influence and power of the god of this world, Satan;
for the devil 1 has sinned from the beginning.
BECAUSE the devil by nature has always rebelled against God and displeased Him.
b The Son of God c appeared for this purpose,
Jesus came into this world for this goal,
d to destroy the works of the devil .
to destroy, eliminate, roll back the effects and the power of the influence of Satan.
No one who is 1 a born of God b practices sin ,
No one who has been truly born again, born by the Holy Spirit will persistently, willfully, and habitually sin,
because His seed abides in him ;
BECAUSE the Spirit of Christ dwells in him and has sway over his thoughts, emotions, and actions;
and he cannot sin,
and he cannot persist in sinning,
because he is 1 born of God .
BECAUSE he has been born again, baptized into Jesus, made a new creation in Christ. The CAUSE of holiness is being born of God, not the other way around.
By this the a children of God and the b children of the devil are obvious:
THEREFORE, with all that I've said in view, this is how you can discern the children of God from the children of the devil, in fact it's not even hard to tell; it's OBVIOUS:
1 anyone who does not practice righteousness
anyone who does not persistently and habitually (though not perfectly) think, feel, and act consistent with the character and law of God in dependent faith in Him
is not of God ,
is not born again and is not united to Christ!
Present active verb
Departure from human or divine standards. Missing the mark... "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."
Willful rebellion against God's moral law (NOT MOSAIC LAW, although there is overlap). Flagrant defiance of God.
It says "Sin is lawlessness". Does this mean that the definition of sin is "breaking the Mosaic law"? Because it says right here "sin is lawlessness". What are other "Laws" that we know of? Quote the scriptures. Moral law written on all men's hearts (Romans 1,2) The law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:19-23) What are other verses that could also be quoted as the "definition" of sin? Quote the scriptures. Romans 14:23 - Whatever is not from faith is sin. James 4:17 - Knowing the right and good thing to do and not doing it. Romans 1:18-25 Romans 3:22-23 - Exchanging the glory of God for anything else..this is the fountainhead of all sin. 1 John 5:17 - All unrighteousness is sin. So what is John's point with verse 4? Habitually practiced sin (vs. unintentional or occasional sin like we see specified for the sacrificial system in Leviticus) implies willfulness. Because of the frequency, it implies disregard for what pleases God. It implies rebellion against God's authority. Practicing sin without hating it and fighting it demonstrates lack of concern for obeying God and flippancy and arrogance toward His commands. How would you argue (from this passage) with someone who claims that verse 6 clearly shows that it is possible to achieve sinlessness (as a mark of a true believer), and in fact it is required to get to heaven, prior to being fully glorified when Jesus returns? All of these verbs are present and active...perpetual/habitual "practices sin". John has already said earlier that if we claim to have no sin we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. What John is saying is that if your life looks like the world, if you sin like your pagan neighbors, if you don't HATE your sin and fight it, if you aren't putting to death the deeds of the flesh, if there is not real progression toward holiness, THIS IS INCONGRUOUS with being united to Jesus. If this is us we should have no assurance that we are in Christ! We should FEAR! We should repent! Cry out to Jesus! Beg God to do a work in our hearts. What deception is being taught in verses 7 & 8? Are we being taught this same deception in subtle ways today? It is possible to be "saved" or right with God without fruit, without actual holiness of life, without righteous actions and good deeds. YES, we are being taught this every day! We are being fed the lie that if you make a decision for Christ and accept Him or, even from the reformed fallacy, "I can't do it perfectly, but Jesus did, so these commands are only meant to make me thankful for Jesus' perfection"...these are false teaching and dangerous. This is what John is combating in this book... What is the main point of this passage? Holiness really does matter!!! We must be putting to death the deeds of the flesh. When we see them we cannot keep them and guard them like precious secret pets. We have to shoot them in the head. We have to kill them. A holy life, not a perfect life, grants us assurance of our union with Jesus and new birth as we see His Spirit's work in us manifested in righteous, loving lives. That assurance gives us JOY and uninhibited fellowship with God and the church. Persistent sin is incongruous with union with Jesus, but is consistent with union to Adam and Satan. Persistent obedience, righteousness, and love is consistent with union with Christ. How does this change: How we think? How we feel? How we should act? It should lead us to be very serious about holiness and obedience BY FAITH and DEPENDENCE on the Spirit! We cannot be cavalier or nonchalant about sin or holiness. We teach this way and disciple other people this way. We live and breath on the free grace of God by faith ALONE, but we understand and know that sin and holiness as a pattern and posture of life REVEAL the children of God or the children of the devil.