1 John 3:1-10 Glorification & Righteousness: A Family Resemblance

by | Oct 3, 2023 | 1 John, New Testament

1Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! (and such we are NASB; And that is what we are! NIV)  Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 
We are called to “behold” what manner of love the father has bestowed upon us.
The love of God is unlike the love of the world.

Bestowed- lavished
Children of God- Not just saved to serve, but saved and made part of the family.

We are called remember all that took place for us to become children of God.
We are called to remember our spiritual condition when God called out to us.
We are called to remember what Christ did for us to pardon our sins, and make a way for the Spirit of God to be poured out into us.
See Romans 5:6-11
We are called to be mindful of God’s continuing and transforming love.

It is a love that supersedes the love that the natural man has.
It is a love foreign to the natural man.

A child usually takes on the resemblance of his/her parents…
A child often embraces at least some of the family traditions, values, mannerisms…
Though that is not always 100% the case…

It is 100% the case with Christians and their Savior.
We are sons and daughters of God.
Romans 8:29

2Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 

  • We are children of God
  • We shall be like Him

The Christian condition, now and eternally, centers in the fact of being children of God. In that fact lies the germ of all the possibilities of eternal life. –Vincent

it has not yet been revealed what we shall be- Lit., “it has never been told to us”.

The promise is this: we shall fully know our future condition when it comes to pass.

This speaks of the physical condition of the glorified believer.

We are presently more similar to Jesus spiritually than we are physically.
In His post resurrection appearances, He appeared in His glorified body, which was no longer subject to the laws of nature.
He would appear in locked rooms, not having entered through a door.
He would disappear suddenly.
He ate with the disciples, but came and went instantaneously. 

We are told that our physical bodies will one day be like His glorious body.
Philippians 3:20, 21  20For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

It is even suggested that our mortal eyes, such as they could not bear to look upon His glorified body, such as it is.
They we would only be able to physically endure seeing Him if we were physically changed.

Until then, we have the promise of being like what Jesus already is.

3And everyone who has this hope in (epi-set on) Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
The Gnostic heresy was prevalent during these days.
Gnostics said that all physical matter was evil, and that man only related to God in the sphere of the spirit.
Therefore, only spiritual worship was needed, and one was free to do whatever they wanted with their physical bodies, including immoral living.
John corrects that thinking.
Those who have the hope of seeing Jesus face to face, and being glorified like Him, also have the desire for purity.
It is a built in characteristic of the work of God’s Spirit of the Christian’s heart and mind.

The Holy Spirit brings forth both the desire and the power to walk in holiness.
The Christians surrenders to the work of God’s Spirit, and obeys God.

We see both aspects of this truth in Philippians 2:12, 13
Philippians 2:12b, 13  work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

It is inconsistent for a Christian to say they desire to see the Lord, and be transformed, and be in Heaven, and yet have no desire or concern for holiness on Earth, or make no efforts to walk in it.
Those are mutually exclusive statements.

That is not to say that we will never struggle with and against sin.
That is why we have 1 John 1:9

A struggling Christian is still clearly a Christian.

Galatians 5:16, 17  16I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 

They have a desire for moral purity, however imperfect or inconsistent their lifestyle might be.
They don’t defend impurity, but desire to walk in purity.
They agree with God about their sin.  
They confess, ask forgiveness, and continue in their walk with Jesus.

Others claim to be Christians, but…
Have no desire for Heaven.
Have no desire for purity.
That is inconsistent, and a sign that no true conversion has taken place, or…
That that person is in a deep state of being backslidden.
That decision is not ours to make.

What we need to be concerned with is our own lives.
Is there a desire to be with Jesus, and be like Him?
Is there a desire for moral purity in our lives?

4Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 
5And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 
Take away- to lift up and carry away.
Smith-“…atone for sins of the past and prevent sins of the future”.

Jesus came into the world to lift up and carry away our sins.
To pay for the sins of the past.
To strengthen us to avoid the sins of the present and the future.

6Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
John now speaks of Christians; those who continuously abide in Christ.

These verbs are in the present, continuous tense, which means ongoing and habitual action.
A lifestyle.  The normal pattern of behavior.

Wuest-   Character is shown by ones habitual actions, not the extraordinary ones.

A true Christian is one who does not habitually, continuously sin.
It cannot mean that the Christian never sins.
See 1John 1:8-10; 2:1

Sin is the exception in the Christian’s life, and not the rule.
We can have repeated sins, and areas of struggle, and yet have the rest of the life under the dominion of Jesus.

A Christian may have an anger problem, yet through fellowship with Jesus, they have gained victory over profanity, stealing, adultery, drunkenness, etc.

That Christian may still focus on their failure with anger, and forget the rest of his life wherein he experiences victory and great change.

The Christian is more concerned about the one area where he lacks victory, than is the non Christian whose entire life is dominated by sin, and yet feels no conviction about their sin. 

That is a marked difference.  Attitude towards sin and victory over it regarding the entire life.

Vincent- Throughout the Epistle, he deals with the ideal reality of life in God, in which the love of God and sin exclude each other as light and darkness.

Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Seen- Seen with discernment.
The (super)natural reaction of a Christian, when indwelt by the HOLY Spirit, is to desire holiness.
The outworking and growth towards holiness is a lifetime effort, but that true desire for holiness exists because the person has come to know Jesus.

The one who continually, habitually sins without conviction, and whose entire life is dominated by sin, proves that they do not know God, who is perfectly holy.

They take no delight in holiness, have no desire for it, and are unconcerned about it.
7Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 
Like follows like.
He who would say that holiness is not important to the Christian is himself deceived. 

Righteousness- The state of him who is as he ought to be (before God)
There is righteousness that is imputed to us.  (Positional)
There is righteousness that we need to seek and do.  (Practical)
Positional righteousness will and ought to lead to practical righteousness.

Positional righteousness by faith
Romans 3:21, 22  21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.

Practical righteousness because of faith
1 John 3:7

8He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 

Once again, this speaks of the one whose life is constantly given over to sin, and who makes it his habit to practice it.
Wuest- Habitual actions again are an index of character, and here, of source. 

He is of the devil in that the source of his sin comes forth from Satan, the one who first instigated sin among all of God’s creation.

It doesn’t mean he is a Satanist.
It does mean that the original source of his sin is Satan, who promotes sin all over the world.

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.
Destroy- To loosen, to dissolve.

9Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
The Christian is one who has been “born of God”.
This speaks of regeneration, the “born again” experience.

John 3:3, 5-8  You must be born again.  5Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

He cannot sin- He is not able to habitually sin.

10In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 
John says that there is a clear manifestation in lifestyle between the Christian and the unbeliever.
The Christian practices righteousness.
The unbeliever doesn’t.

John builds a bridge to the next manifestation of the Christian life: agape love.