I John 3:1-11 SINLESS CONSISTENCY|
to Study on Sinless Consistency)
V. 1 A FOCUS ON SALVATION REALITY
1. Behold: the aorist active imperative of horao (idou) means to focus your
attention on something.
The previous verse makes reference to the new birth and the righteous way of
life which should characterize the new birth.
Now in order to motivate us John wants us to focus on the source and nature of
the new birth.
2. What kind of love:
The adjective, potapos, refers to the quality or natural character of
something. It is used 7 times in the New Testament
Mt. 8.27; Mk. 13.1 (2 times); Lk. 1.29; 7.39; 2 Pet. 3.11
These uses indicate that a better translation is, the quality of love.
Thus, “behold the quality of love.”
The word love, is agapA and refers to the character of God which places value
on and seeks the benefit of His creation. God always wants what is BEST for
every aspect of His creation, but because of free will and sin, God is unable
to carry out that desire.
But His love has provided the means of salvation, and it was done through a
great sacrifice within the Godhead.
Thus the QUALITY of God’s love is highlighted and is used as motivation for us
to maintain sinless consistency.
This LOVE the Father has expressed by giving us the basis for relationship.
The word for GIVE (bestowed) is a perfect active indicative of didomi, and
refers to the provision of eternal life through Christ’s sin sacrifice as an
expression of Divine love. John 3:16; Romans 5:10
The provision of sonship, “that we should be called,” is stated by using the
preposition, hina. God’s love is SO great that it has made provision for every
person to become a born-again member of His family.
The verb is an aorist passive subjunctive of kaleO, which means in this case,
DESIGNATED. IT indicates an assignment or appointment from God.
But of course, we must also recognize the potential factor based on the
formula of John 1:12 and 12:36.
God’s part is the PROVISION.
Man’s part is ACCEPTANCE by faith.
The title, Children of God, refers to Paragraph One of eternal life blessings.
Paragraph One is the believer’s STATUS of family relationship with God; in the
family of God via a new birth.
Paragraph Two is the experience of eternal life blessings in TIME, that is,
here on earth. This is FELLOWSHIP, which is the subject of the book of 1 John,
and is experienced only through sinless consistency.
Paragraph Three is eternal life blessings via resurrection.
Paragraph Four is our eternal inheritance as joint-heirs with Jesus, and
embraces our life in heaven for all eternity.
Those who receive Jesus by putting their trust in Him are born again into
God’s family and become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children
of God; that is, to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12
“And if children, heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.”
The next sentence, “and we are,” is a present indicative of eimi, and is a
statement that establishes the fulfillment of the formula for sonship. Ga1.
“We are all sons of God through believing-trust in Christ.”
Paul is also impressed by and writes about the quality of God’s love at 2
Corinthians 5:14. “For the love of God presses strongly upon us, having
concluded this, that One died for all.”
Verse lb - Orientation to our spiritual conflict
Because of our new family relationship, we now exist in a spiritually
The environment of this earthly sphere has always been antagonistic to its
inhabitants because of the curse on the earth and the presence of the sin
nature in all people. But all unbelievers are members of Satan’s kingdom of
darkness and reside under his authority that he usurped from Adam in the
garden of Eden. Because of this, the world, unbelieving humanity, exists under
the viewpoint and philosophy of darkness. They are in a different family (Jn.
6:44; 1 Jn. 3:12).
Because of this difference, the world does not know us. The present active
indicative of ginOskO indicates an experiential understanding. With the
negative it indicates the absence of such understanding. Those of the darkness
cannot understand the things or the ones of the light. The darkness is
incapable of relating to the nature of LIGHT, and the way of life of the
divine value system (1 Cor. 2:14-16). The value system of the darkness is
SELF-centered as was stated at 1 John 2:16, and is NOT of the Father but of
And of course, the world’s ignorance, attitude, and action is because it did
not know God. The aorist active indicative of ginOskO, indicates a PAST
expression that is the cause of the present status of ignorance. The rejection
of light begins a process of bringing darkness into the soul that results in
an alienation to LIGHT (God’s life) and the practice of the philosophy of
sensuality. This process is explained at Ephesians 4:17-19 and Romans 1:20-23.
The phrase, “did not know Him” indicates a rejection of Light as it was
demonstrated in the person and work of Jesus. 1 Cor. 1.21; Jn. 1.10; 5.37-47;
8.12-19, 42-55; 15.10-25 with 16.3
There is no antagonism between the unbeliever and the world system because of
the natural affinity that exists between them. However, because darkness is
alienated to LIGHT, once the unbeliever trusts in Christ and changes family
status, being delivered out from darkness into light, a natural disparity then
exists that elicits hatred (John 17:14) and persecution (John 16:2).
The promise of future imitation via resurrection.
John continues to use the affectionate term, Beloved (agapAtos) to address his
He makes the statement of assurance, “now we are children of God.” The present
indicative of eimi indicates the present reality of Paragraph One of the
believer’s eternal life blessing. Paragraph ONE is the status of family
The FUTURE, however, has an unknown factor in connection with resurrection.
The phrase, “it has not appeared as yet what we shall be,” uses the aorist
passive indicative of phaneroO, to indicate that at the time of writing there
is no experiential realization of Paragraph Four blessings - our resurrection.
“As yet,” indicates that at the present time there is no realization of those
This refers to both living and dead believers. No one has received a
resurrection body except Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 15:22-23
That includes the saints mentioned at Matthew
The phrase, “what we shall be,” refers to the details and specifics of our
resurrection inheritance - paragraph four of eternal life blessings.
There is no reality of resurrection except in the case of Jesus Christ.
See topic: Resurrection proofs
And since no other person has received a resurrection body, we do not know as
of the time of writing, and RIGHT NOW, what is the ACTUAL nature of our
resurrection body, other than what is revealed to us in Scripture about
See topic: Resurrection of Christ
But we have been taught some vital details and “we know” enough to have great
confidence. The verb, know, is oida and refers to spiritual orientation from
doctrinal content in the soul. Truth revealed in Scripture, learned and
believed becomes data that provides the soul what it needs to UNDERSTAND the
character and plan of God, and USE IT to handle all the pressures of life.
In this case, the promise of resurrection is a reality in the soul because we
have learned and believed the Scriptural truth.
We know “that when he appears we shall be like him.” The IF clause is ean +
phaneroO, as an aorist passive subjunctive, It refers to the specific point in
time that Jesus will return and gather all believers to Himself. Matthew.
24:31; 1Thes. 4:13-17.
It is an appearing of which no one knows the day or hour (Mat. 24:36), and
which the Father will bring about in His own time (1 Tim. 6:15).
The transformation into conformity to Christ’s resurrection body is expressed
by “we shall be like him:.” The word, LIKE is homoios, and is explained at
Phil. 3:21 as being a body conformed to the body of his glory.
The general distinction between IT and our mortal body is made at 1 Cor.
We are told at Col. 3:4, that “when Christ who is our life
is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”
This refers to the same kind of resurrection glory which is His.
The various details revealed in Scripture are as follows.
Description of the resurrection body:
A. It has physical characteristics that it had on earth.
1 Cor. 15:5-8; John 20:26-29
1. Flesh and bones: Luke 24:39-40
2. Could be touched: Mat. 28:9; John 20:17
B. Could communicate: Luke 24:13-50; John 20:26
C. could eat and drink: Luke 24:30, 43; Mat. 26:29
D. Could pass through solid objects: John 20:19, 26; Luke 24:36
E. could move vertically or horizontally at will.
Acts 1:9-10; Mat. 28:10
F. Possessed great speed: John 20:17-19
The explanation, “for we shall see him as he is.” refers to His resurrection
glory. We shall SEE Him because we will be gathered together TO HIS SIDE to
meet Him in the clouds. John 14:3; Mat. 24:40-42; 1 Thes. 4:13-17
This of course, is the glory that the Father gives Him based on His victory on
the cross and subsequent resurrection; a glory which apparently is the glory
that THE WORD had prior to the incarnation. John 17:5 and 24.
Exhortation to utilize equipping grace
for experiential imitation of Christ.
The NORMAL Christian life should be characterized by an active pursuit of
Bible knowledge. That pursuit is encouraged by the confidence that is built
from learning various details. In this case, “everyone who has this confidence
in Him,” refers to knowledge about our future resurrection. The statement has
echO, as a present active participle plus the noun, elpis, which means
EXPECTANT CONFIDENCE. This is a much stronger idea than our English, HOPE.
Hope carries with it a bit of uncertainty, but Bible truth does not give us
hope; it gives us CONFIDENCE.
The present tense indicates a continuous or rather CONSISTENT application of
bible truth concerning the character, work and INHERITANCE of Jesus Christ.
We understand WHO He is and WHAT He did and WHAT He inherits as a result. And
because of that, and the LOVE for Him that such knowledge produces, we
continue to pursue the growth process in order to “be imitators of God as
beloved children, and to walk in love, just as He loved us,” Ephesians 5:1-2.
The pursuit of knowledge and spiritual growth is indicated by, “purifies
himself.” The verb is hagnidzO as a present active indicative plus the
reflexive pronoun, heautos (himself). This purification is a soul cleansing
process which involves replacing darkness viewpoint with Divine viewpoint; and
darkness character (the old man) with light character (the new man). Col.
3:5-14 and Ephesians 4:20-24
The purification process is, of course, the basis for sinless consistency, for
without KNOWLEDGE of God’s character and the spiritual principles that govern
this universe, the believer will have nothing to defend against the powerful
deception from the devil, the world, and the sin nature.
The STANDARD for growth is “even as he is pure.” Literally this is, in the
same way as that one is pure.
The adjective is hagnos and in a Christian context, it refers to Christ’s
viewpoint and character as the pattern.
A. 2 Cor. 3:18, transformed into the same image.
B. Eph. 5:1-2, walk in love, which is an imitation of God.
C. 1 Peter 2:21, Walk as He walked.
Here we have a contrast between the believer pursuing truth and the
unbeliever, whom the believer out of fellowship imitates.
We start by focusing on the unbeliever. “All who practice,” is the verb poieO
which means TO DO. It does NOT meant TO PRACTICE. However, as a present active
participle, it indicates a PRESENT attitude and function that refers to the
unbeliever who is in rebellion against God.
This does NOT refer to the believer who is out of fellowship. John’s intent is
to set up a contrast between the unbeliever who CONTINUALLY sins and the the
believer who CAN avoid sinning. However, whenever the believer fails to avoid
sin, he imitates the unbeliever.
What they DO is called “the sin.” The noun, hamartia, describes a person who
comes short of a goal or a standard. In this context it refers to violation of
Divine standards for human existence. This is the characteristic way of life
of the unbeliever as is described at Romans 1:18-28 and Ephesians 4:17-19.
Sin is identified as being also, LAWLESSNESS.
The Greek is, kai poieO, as a present active indicative again. This amplifies
sin and indicates that, in reality, it is rebellion against God. All sin is
rebellion against God. The word for lawlessness is anomia, which means WITHOUT
LAW, but focuses on a way of life that rejects the law of God and is therefore
lawless and in rebellion against His Creator authority, viewpoint and policy.
Salvation provision for the unbeliever
The believer is reminded of the most basic of Christian truths. The statement,
“and you know,” is oida, a perfect active indicative and is used consistently
for acquired knowledge that is retained and usable in the soul. The Believer
has learned the details of God’s salvation provision, both from the experience
of becoming a child of God, and from being taught more details about God’s
The details of the gospel information in view is stated as His appearance and
“He appeared,” is phaneroO as an aorist passive indicative, and refers to His
FIRST advent. It can also be translated as, “he was manifested.”
A. He was given to us by the Father. Jn. 3.16
B. He was sent forth by the Father. Galatians 4:4
C. I John 1:2, was with the Father and was manifested to us.
D. Hebrews 1:2, God has spoken to us in a Son.
The second gospel detail is the sacrifice for sin. The PURPOSE for the sending
of the Son, is indicated by hina + the aorist active subjunctive of airO. It
A. Romans 8:4, FOR sin.
B. Galatians 4:5, in order to REDEEM
C. John 1:29, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
D. Hebrews 10:12, offered one sacrifice for sins
The word, sins, is plural of hamartia + the definite article (THE)
It means to come short of a goal or standard. In this case, it is God’s
standard based on His very own righteousness. Every violation of Divine
standards is sin. We see at 1 John 5:17 that “all unrighteousness is sin,” and
accordingly, every expression of unrighteousness is included in the expiatory
sacrifice of Jesus.
All the sins of the world were paid for by the sacrifice of Christ. This means
then, that there is only one thing standing in the way of any person being
forgiven. That is the sin of rejecting Christ.
John 16:8-9 with 8;21-24 and 9:41.
See Topic: Atonement
The third gospel factor is the sinlessness of the Savior. John writes, “And in
him there is no sin.” Hamartia in the singular is mentioned here for two
A. To establish the impeccability of the sin bearer.
Jesus did not have a sin nature and did not commit any acts of sin.
1. Jesus is declared to be THE RIGHTEOUS ONE.
Acts 3:14; 1 John 2:1, 29; Isaiah 53:11.
2. 2 Cor. 5:21, "He who did not know sin." (not at any time) ginOskO,
aorist active participle + negative (not) + sin (hamartia)
3. 1 John 3:5, "and sin is not in Him."
4. Heb. 4:15, "without sin."
5. John 8:29, Always did what was pleasing to the Father.
6. 1 Tim. 3:16, "declared righteous by the Spirit."
See Topic: Christ: sinlessness
B. To establish the standard for fellowship and rapport.
This indicates that there is a principle of compatibility AND a standard. If
the standard is not adhered to, there is no compatibility.
And if no compatibility, then there is no fellowship.
Just as was seen at 1 John 1:7, “but if we walk in the light as HE is in the
light, we have fellowship one with the other.”
The principle of compatibility
“Everyone who abides in Him,” refers first and foremost to the BELIEVER, for
without a salvation status, FELLOWSHIP is not even an issue. The verb is menO
as a present active participle, to indicate a present CONDITION or FUNCTION.
Once salvation is understood as a prerequisite, we can then understand the
term “abide in Him,” as referring to fellowship and rapport as at verses 2:6,
24, 27 and 28. It means that he is walking in the light (1 John 1:7) and in
love (Eph. 5:2).
The various translations differ here, but the Greek is very clear.
The ALL goes with the participle and the negative goes with the verb for sin.
Thus, “does not sin,” or “is not sinning” is the proper translation. It is a
present active indicative of hamartanO, and should be, “is not sinning.”
A. Does not violate Divine standards for relating to the universe.
B. Abiding means that the light essence of God is controlling as per
I Jn. 1.7.
C. Accordingly, no violation of light standards can occur.
D. However, the believer can choose to stop abiding in Him, in which
case light will be shut down and the sin nature will take over.
E. This produces sin and spiritual neutralization or “functional death,”
On the other hand, “everyone who Sins,” which is the present active participle
of harmartanO without the negative should be, “everyone who is sinning.” The
NEGATIVE goes with the following verb. It refers to a believer out of
fellowship and under control of the sin nature.
He is violating the divine character standards of LOVE after first resisting
the viewpoint of God.
This indicates that he has not advanced in growth to the experience of
consistent fellowship and rapport (1 Jn. 2:3-6), and is described by two
(1) he has not come to see him: This refers to fellowship from the standpoint
of growth in CHARACTER. The perfect active indicative of horaO is used to show
this character development. This was first taught by Jesus at Matthew 5:8.
There, in a list of many HUMILITY issues, CHARACTER growth is indicated by the
phrase, “pure in heart.” It is those who have CHARACTER development that makes
them PURE, who will come to experience what it means to truly SEE God. This is
the principle of character imitation, which at Epheisans 5:1-2 is identified
as the expression of Christ’s quality of love. We have already seen this issue
in connection with verse 3, “everyone who has this confidence in Him, purifies
himself, even as He is pure.”
The phrase, “pure in heart” covers both character and viewpoint imitation.
Here, they are separated by the two verbs, “see” and “know.”
However, they are simply two perspectives of the same issue of fellowship with
God. Fellowship with God involves both CHARACTER rapport and VIEWPOINT
See details at Matthew 5:1-10.
(2) He has not come to know him: This is a reference to viewpoint rapport.
It is a perfect active indicative of ginOskO and indicates ARRIVAL at a place
of VIEWPOINT rapport.
At Phil. 3:10 with 2:5-8, Paul talks about this issue of KNOWING God by
relating it to KNOWING CHRIST.
Because of the GREAT value of the knowledge of Christ, Paul keeps his
priorities in line in order to pursue the growth process and COME TO KNOW Him.
As the believer maintains fellowship with God through sinless consistency,
which includes proper EVALUATION and MANAGEMENT of the details of life, he
makes growth progress in CHARACTER (to know Him) and in APPLICATION (the power
of His resurrection), and in TESTIMONIAL IMPACT (the fellowship of His
Then as he continues to USE the truth he has learned (let it abide in him);
truth which really revolves around the 15 virtues of
love, he maintains sinless consistency. When he stops using that truth, IT
stops abiding in him and he will succumb to the temptations from the sin
Comparison between the believer and the unbeliever
This is an imitation issue, not a salvation issue.
The believer is characterized by righteous expression of LOVE.
“Little children,” is the term of affection addressed to believers, that John
has used consistently throughout this letter.
The potential for deception is a general concern in all areas of Christian
truth, and John has already warned these believers of that danger at Verse
2:26. Paul gave a GENERAL warning at Romans 16:18, and warned the believer of
SELF-deception at 1 Cor. 3:18.
Jesus gave the warning concerning His second coming at Matthew
Matt. 24:5, 11, 24, and Paul did at 2 Thes. 2:3.
But in this specific context, the deception of gnosticism is in view. Many
will claim to be Christian without having any Christian character, and teach
that Christian character is not important. So John writes, “let no one deceive
you.” This is planaO as a present active imperative, and is an exhortational
command that serves as a WARNING.
PRINCIPLES of 1 John 2:10-29 in review:
1. Verses 22-23a
The denial of Christ presupposes unbeliever status.
This denial constitutes rejection of Christ at gospel hearing.
It is NOT referring to a believer who gets out of fellowship and succumbs to
mental or verbal denial (Denial Reversion).
2. The opposite of this is Verse 23b, confessing the Son.
This confession or ACKNOWLEDGMENT of Christ as Savior fulfills the DECISION
factor of Romans 10:9-10. Both FAITH and a conscious DECISION are required to
FAITH refers to conviction and trust that Jesus is the Savior.
CONFESSION is the conscious decision based on FAITH to REJECT one’s present
belief system. One cannot express genuine faith-trust in the gospel if he does
not reject his present belief system. The two are mutually exclusive. This is
not WORKS, but simply, the natural result of accepting God’s terms for
salvation, and constitutes a GENUINE FAITH DECISION.
The whole idea with REPENTANCE is a change of mind. A GENUINE change of mind
toward GOD requires a FAITH acceptance of the gospel that rejects a present
belief system and adopts the new one.
At 1 Cor. 15:1-3, Paul writes about the possibility of believing in vain. This
occurs when faith is expressed in a WRONG object or with the wrong motives.
Such faith does not and cannot save.
3. Verses 24-25
The mandate for believers is to have fellowship with the Father and with the
Son, and through that ABIDING reality, have fellowship with one another.
This is expressed by Jesus at John 17:17-23 and 26.
It is the subject of John’s letter as stated at 1:2-7.
And it is COMMANDED here in verses 26-27.
But abiding in Christ is dependent upon letting Christ’s word abide in you.
A. Let the WORD abide in you. What you heard from the beginning is the
teaching about LOVE.
B. If you let the WORD abide in you, THEN you will abide in the Son and in the
Father and fulfill Christ’s desire as expressed at John 17.
John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
Sanctify means to set apart as special. It is the WORD of God in the soul that
sets the believer apart as having a special quality of character. When the
WORD OF LOVE abides in the believer, he is set apart as evidencing that
character of love, and has fellowship (abides with) The Father and the Son.
“I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me
through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me,
and I in You, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that you
“And the glory which You have given Me I have given to them; that they may be
one, just as We are one;
I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world
may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You loved Me.”
Verse 26, and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known;
that the love wherewith You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Furthermore, the one who abides in Him DOES NOT DO SIN.
Notice the chain.
If the word abides in you; you internalize it by USING IT.
You will abide in the Son and the Father
If you abide in HIM, you will be a light bearer of love and not sin.
Thus, when the believer fails to internalize God’s word, which means to USE
IT, he will be susceptible to temptation and can sin.
C. That is why God places such an emphasis on LEARNING His word.
1. Ephesians 1:18-19
2. Philippians 1:9
3. Colossians 1:9-10
4. 1 Timothy 1:5
5. 2 Timothy 2:15
6. Hebrews 4:11-12
7. James 1:19-22
8. 1 Peter 2:2
9. 2 Peter 1:2-4; 3:18
10. Jude 20
11. Romans 15:4, 13
12. And the entire book of Proverbs
4. Verse 29, Thus the believer should he characterized by an effulgence of
Christ's righteousness, demonstrated by the 15 virtues of love (1 Cor.
5. This is an indication of one’s salvation status, but salvation does not
guarantee that this SHINING FORTH will occur.
6. If doing righteousness IS not present, then the life radiates the character
of the unbeliever instead.
7. The goal of John’s teaching is to produce confidence in
a. Salvation reality: I Jn. 5.13; 2.5
b. Fellowship reality: I Jn. 3.24; 4.13; 2.3
What is necessary at this point is to establish exactly WHAT is righteousness.
The word group, dikaios, doubles for both God-like righteousness and MORAL
righteousness. Acts 10:35 shows us this.
“in every nation, the man who reverences (fears) Him and does righteousness (dikaiosunA),
is welcome to Him.”
This is not a believer, but a religious person who has recognized the
sovereign authority of God, and seeks to live a morally GOOD life.
The “fear of the Lord” prepares his mind from a humility perspective to
respond to the gospel.
The MORAL goodness minimizes the lifestyle shock to the new believer and
further shows the humility necessary to accept God’s standards for living the
Christian way of life.
John has emphasized that to walk as Christ walked is to walk IN LOVE.
Here, he will establish that God-like righteousness revolves around the
character virtues of LOVE.
And while the unbeliever might be very generous and philanthropic, it is all
done as human good without the genuine love of Christ as the motivator. This
is the difference that needs to be kept in mind as John compares the children
of God and the children of the devil.
Returning to 1 John chapter three we learn that the radiance of righteousness
in the believer’s life is an imitation of Christ, and that the radiance of
unrighteousness is an imitation of the devil.
“The one who does,” is poieO, as a present active participle and states the
principle of imitation.
The word, righteousness, refers to an expression of Christ's righteousness as
per verse 2:6 and 2:29.
The verb, “is righteous,” is the present indicative of eimi + the adjective,
dikaios and indicates a FULFILLMENT of verse 3:3.
The one who has been born from God; the believer, SHOULD be so motivated by
the reality of God’s love, that he will pursue the growth process (purify
himself) in order to reach a point of consistent imitation of Christ.
Here, John is saying that when the believer DOES righteousness, he is in fact,
accomplishing the purification and imitation goal, and IS RIGHTEOUS just as
Christ is righteous.
The phrase,”just as he is righteous,” refers back to verse 3:3, “just as He is
pure,” still further to verse 2:6, “walk in the same manner as He walked,” and
even further to verse 1:7, “walk in the light as He Himself is in the light.”
Of course, only the believer can radiate divine righteousness. Only the one
who is righteous IN POSITION, can DO righteousness in his life. But this has
already been established at verse 2:2 and 29, and will be stated again at
“The one who does,” is poieO as a present active participle and once again, it
is expressing a PRINCIPLE, and not dealing with any kind of CONSTANCY or the
idea of PRACTICING.
The word sin, is THE hamartia, and refers to total domination by the principle
and entity of sin (the concept of sin and the sin nature). The Greek verb,
hamartanO, means to come short of something, or to miss the mark you are
aiming for. In this context, it is coming short of the standard of God’s
righteousness which is evidenced by the 15 virtues of love. The noun, of
course, is that which comes short of the standard.
Such a one is OF the devil. This refers to both association with, through
acceptance of one or more doctrines of demons, AND it refers to the principle
of imitation. Imitation, because all sin is INDEPENDENCE from God, which is
rejection of His authority, viewpoint and policy.
Any believer who has any sin unconfessed in his life is out of fellowship with
God; is walking in darkness; and is supporting, directly or indirectly, the
Satanic agenda, and is functioning according to human viewpoint. This is
exactly what Jesus meant when He said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan . . .for
you are not thinking the things of God but the things of man,” (Mat. 16:23).
There is no middle ground in regard to fellowship. The believer is either in
fellowship with God or NOT; he is either spiritual (walking in and controlled
by the Holy spirit) or he is not; he is either walking in the light or in the
The explanatory hoti, introduces the basis for identifying the sinful believer
with imitation of the devil.
Because the devil has been sinning from the beginning: The verb is hamartanO
as a present active indicative. Robertson calls this a “linear progressive
present,” and with Wuest translates this as “has been sinning.”
The career of Satan began at some point prior to the creation of the garden of
Eden and the human race. His fall is the initial origin of creature arrogance
and independence from God.
Ezekiel uses prophetic FLASHBACK and associative symbolism to show us the fall
of Satan in chapter 28:11-19.
The primary focus with sin is that it is independence from God. It is this
idea of INDEPENDENCE that is the point of identification and imitation, and is
why there is a connection between, “is of the devil” and “because the devil
has been sinning from the beginning.”
Verse 8b Messiah's provision to destroy sin
The phrase, “For this reason, the Son of God appeared,” contains the verb
phaneroO as an aorist passive indicative, and refers specifically to the
occasion of the incarnation, when “the Word became flesh and dwelled among
us,” (John 1:14).
And the SPECIFIC purpose, “in order to destroy,” is indicated by hina and the
verb luO, as an aorist active subjunctive.
What needs to be destroyed, both FOREVER, in eternity, and EXPERIENTIALLY,
here on earth, are the works of the devil.
This refers to both His person and his viewpoint.
Because of Satan’s defeat of Adam in the garden of Eden, he gained a
functional authority over the earth and over mankind in general.
Accordingly, Satan is designated as the ruler of this world (Jn. 12.31; 16.11)
and the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4).
The unbeliever is referred to as being a child of Satan at John 8:44, and
under the authority of Satan at Acts 26:18.
At 2 Timothy 2:26, those who are in opposition to the gospel of God, whether
believers or unbelievers, are said to be held captive by the devil to do his
We learn at 1 John 5:19, “that the whole world resides in the sphere of the
The Bible speaks in length about Satan’s schemes to discredit and destroy the
things of God, and to promote the things of independence from God.
See Topic: The Schemes of Satan.
Christ STRATEGICALLY destroyed the works of the devil through his victory on
the cross. I use the word, strategically, because the cross accomplished a
SPIRITUAL victory but not an ACTUAL physical (tactical) victory over Satan.
Paul tells us that Christ “When he had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He
made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through it (the
cross),” (Col. 2:15).
We learn at Hebrews 2:14, that Christ partook of true humanity, “in order that
through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that
is, the devil.”
Jesus said in view of His coming victory on the cross, “Now judgment is upon
this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out,” (John 12:31).
Now even though a victory was accomplished on the cross, Satan is currently
NOT neutralized, not stopped, and not impotent. Just as Peter tells us, “the
devil as a roaring lion, prowls about seeking someone to devour,” (1 Peter
5:8), and Paul amplifies this at Ephesians 6:12.
Of course, the believer has the spiritual resources he needs to resist the
devil and defeat the INFLUENCE of the devil’s schemes in his life, for Peter
continues, “but resist him firm in THE FAITH.”
The believer has the Old Testament revelation to provide peace, joy and
confidence (Romans 15:4, 13).
He has New Testament revelation to provide everything for both moral and
spiritual living (2 Peter 1:3-4).
And he has the filling/control of the Spirit to help him in using the word of
God (Galatians 5:13-26).
In summary, he has the armor of God as Paul explains at Ephesians 6:13-17.
What the cross victory of Christ accomplished was to fulfill what the Old
Testament only anticipated and looked forward to. It provided the nail in the
coffin, that not only guaranteed the provision of God’s salvation for the
human race, and guaranteed the final judgment on Satan and his works, but also
provided the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as the believer’s personal
guarantee of his salvation.
Verse 9 The power source for sinless consistency
The potential for sinless consistency, in fact, the ability to NOT sin is a
possibility for the believer ONLY. The unbeliever is continually characterized
by one or more of a large list of violations of God’s righteousness (Romans
1:29-32; 3:9-18), and he is a slave to THE sin nature (Romans 6:17-20).
The believer has been set free from the sin nature POSITIONALLY (Romans 6:2,
11), and is now able to NOT sin through the word of God and the
filling/control of the Spirit.
John writes, “Everyone who has been born of God does not do sin.
The perfect passive participle of gennaO describes one who has been born
spiritually OUT FROM (ek) God, in the past with the result that the STATUS of
birth continues into the future.
The POWER of the perfect tense can only be broken by someone who is more
powerful than the one who performs the action of the verb. Since the PERFECT
TENSE of our salvation is OF GOD, and there is no one nor nothing that is more
powerful than God, the RESULTS of that perfect tense action remains forever.
Such a one does not practice sin. The NASB translation gives an understanding
that is just not true to the Greek verb, poieO. It means to do or to make. It
does not mean to PRACTICE. Translating it as “practice” is an attempt to try
to avoid the SINLESSNESS idea that is here. By doing this some have suggested
that the believer may indeed, commit a sin, but he will not, and cannot
PRACTICE sin. This idea is quite foreign to both the Old Testament and the New
Testament teaching. Every believer has the potential to sin, not only once but
The present active indicative plus the negative indicates that there exists a
situation where the believer will NOT DO sin.
The word for sin is hamartia and refers to any violation of Divine authority,
viewpoint or policy.
The issue here is not that he never sins, but that there is a
situation in which he does not sin, ie, sinless consistency.
The reason WHY or THE HOW the believer is able not to sin is BECAUSE (hoti)
His seed remains in him.
The verb is menO as a present active indicative to express the ongoing
presence of the word of God and the application of the word of God as per 1
The seed is the Word: 1 Peter 1:23; James. 1:18
The word cultivated in the soul prevents sin. Psalms 119.11
“Your word I have stockpiled in my heart so that I might not sin against you.”
If the WORD heard from the beginning, remains in the believer, the believer
will abide in Him; have fellowship with Him and not sin. 1 John 2:24
Furthermore, the believer CANNOT sin (while the word is abiding in him)
BECAUSE he has been born of God.
The verb is dunamai as a present middle indicative plus the negative.
The verb, sin, is hamartanO as a present active infinitive. Thus, “he is not
able TO SIN.”
Some want to see in this present infinitive the idea of continuous sin. Once
again, they are forced to this by their theology that does not think that a
believer will CONTINUE in sin. However, this is just not taught in the Bible.
There are many examples of believers who CONTINUE in sin for very long periods
John is NOT writing that the believer CANNOT sin ever, nor that he CANNOT sin
CONTINUALLY. But that as long as the PREVENTATIVE FOR SIN is abiding in him,
the believer cannot sin.
As long as the believer CHOOSES to use God’s word to deal with temptation, he
will not sin. However, the moment that he chooses to NOT use God’s word, but
to lean on his own understanding, it is at that moment of time that he breaks
his fellowship with God and will yield to the temptation.
The phrase, “because he has been born out from God,” gives us the REASON that
he has this resource of “sinlessness” available to him. It is because he is in
the family of God.
This does not teach that because one is born from God that he CANNOT SIN.
It is teaching that because one is born from God, he is ABLE not to sin; able
to walk in the light and able to imitate God and Christ.
Sinless consistency is only available to the believer.
The unbeliever is always sinning Eph. 2:1-3;
The believer CAN live a quality of life in which he does not sin.
In fact, SINLESS CONSISTENCY is God's plan for his life: 1 Jn. 2:1
“I write these things to you so that you will not sin.”
All of John’s teaching in this letter is designed to FULFILL his stated
purpose at verse 2:1. Only THIS can accomplish IMITATION reality, for “the one
who says that he ABIDES in Him, ought himself to walk in the same manner as He
walked,” (1 John 2:6).
Imitation and sinless consistency demonstrate Christian integrity THROUGH
The issue of COMPARISON is introduced by BY THIS. It is comparing
righteousness with sin, but more than that, it is looking beyond the OVERT ACT
of righteousness and looking at the character of LOVE.
It is easy to DO an act of humanity, and it is easy to PERCEIVE such an act as
an expression of righteousness. Remember the Pharisees, of whom Jesus said,
that they appear OUTWARD as attractive tombstones, but inside they are filled
with hypocrisy and lawlessness (Mat. 23:27-28).
Jesus also taught that the unbeliever can prophesy, cast out demons and
perform miracles in Christ’s name (Mat. 7:22-23), but they are still an
unbeliever, as Christ states, “I never knew you.”
What John is focusing on is the true MOTIVE behind what we do, and unless that
motive is a SELFLESS expression of Christ’s quality of love, it is NOT
However, even with this standard of evaluation it is not possible to ALWAYS
know the true nature and motives of a person.
We can only really know for sure, if there are negative character expressions,
and even then, it only tells us that the person is NOT doing righteousness. It
does not determine with certainty whether the person is a believer or an
unbeliever, but it does provide a launching point to function as an
ambassador; either evangelistically to the unbeliever, or exhortationally to
the believer (Gal. 6:1-2; Romans 15:1-2; Heb. 3:13).
John writes, “by this the children of God and the children of the devil are
The word for visible, is phaneros, and simply means that there is SOMETHING
that can be seen and be the signpost of one’s true motives.
That signpost is, “all who do not DO righteousness.” This is a negative plus
the present active participle of poieO again, and indicates the PRINCIPLE.
But the DOING of righteousness is through the expression of the 15 virtues of
LOVE. The visible factor, however, is NOT whether there IS the doing of love,
but rather, whether there is the visible ABSENCE of love. John clarifies that
LOVE is the issue in regard to righteousness, when he writes, “neither the one
who does not love his brother.”
In other words, we can not always tell if LOVE is behind the good deeds, but
if we see ANTI-love character expressions, then we know that the ACTION is not
Now what John says, is that such a person is NOT OUT FROM GOD. This is very
strong language, and it CANNOT be telling us that ANYONE who fails to express
love is an unbeliever.
What it IS DOING is to establish a point of comparison.
1. The unbeliever is characterized by unrighteousness and the absence of love.
He has no capacity to express God’s quality of love no matter how religious or
moral he appears.
2. The believer SHOULD be characterized by righteousness and the expression of
3. The unbeliever is ALWAYS under the control of the sin nature and everything
he does comes short of divine righteousness and is not acceptable to God.
4. The believer IS ABLE to resist the sin nature and IS ABLE not to sin so
that what he does conforms with divine righteousness and is acceptable to God.
This is imitation of God and of Christ as per Eph. 5:1-2; Mat. 5:48; Luke
6:36; and 1 Cor. 11:1.
5. But the believer CAN be deceived by the sin nature (Hebrews 3:13) and not
only can COMMIT sin, but can also PRACTICE sin (1 Jn 2:1; 1 Cor. 5:11).
6. This is imitation of the unbeliever, which is called at 1 Cor. 3:3,
“walking like men.”
7. Such a one is said to be “of the devil” because the arrogant independence
of Satan is what initiated the presence of sin and darkness in the universe,
and ANY sin is an imitation of that creature independence, for “sin is
lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).
Verse 11 The prime ingredient of a righteous life is LOVE
John explains the basis for the LOVE STANDARD of the previous verse by using,
hoti, which can be rendered more strongly as, “because.”
“Because THIS is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we
should love one another.”
He uses the aorist subjunctive with hina to RESTATE the COMMAND that has been
given from the beginning.
This has already been discussed in detail in chapter 2:3-11 and 24.
See topic: BENEFICENT LOVE
We have a Scriptural road map to trace the LOVE MANDATE from the beginning.
1. Mat. 5:43-48 and that takes us back to Leviticus 19:17-18.
2. Mat. 19:16-22
3. Mat. 22:34-40
4. Mark 12:28-34
5. The Pharisees: Luke 11:42; John 5:37-42
6. John 13:34ff; 15:12
7. 1 John 2:7-11; 3:23; 2 Jn. 5
8. 1 John 4:7-12, 21
9. Paul: Rom. 13:8-14,
1 Cor. 13:4-8 - the 15 virtues of love
10. James: James 2:8-13, The Royal Law
And the only way that one can learn about and apply LOVE is through learning
about the character of God and of Christ through the Bible.
1 Timothy 1:5
“The goal of the instruction is love, out from a pure heart (no sin), and a
good conscience (doctrinal content) and a genuine faith (use of the truth).”
“take my way of life upon yourselves and learn from me, for I am gentle and
humble of heart.”
The rest of this chapter deals with the quality of love and gives some
examples. And to summarize, at verse 23 he gives us the TWO most important
factors for the human race.
(1) to believe in Christ: This, of course is the only way to enter into
relationship with God; receive forgiveness of sins and be given eternal life.
(2) to love one another: And this is the only way to experience fellowship
with God after salvation. It is LOVE expressed through the 15 virtues listed
at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that establishes fellowship and perpetuates sinless