Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 John 3:9-24

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No one who is born of God will continue to sin - 1 John 3:9-10

continue to sin. See WCF 17.1-2; 18.4; WLC 75, 79, 81; CD 5.III. This is John's second of ten references to being born of God (2:29; 3:9; 4:8; 5:1, 4, 18). What characterizes the children of God? They practice righteousness (2:29), instead of sinfulness (3:9; 5:18). They love each other (4:7), confess that Jesus is the Messiah (5:1), and they overcome the world's rebellious, unjust system (5:18). They are enabled to live this way through God's gifts of a new birth, eternal life; the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the abiding presence of Christ in his word (see notes on Jn. 1:11-12; 3:3, 5-8; 7:38; 15:4-5).

Children revealed - 1 John 3:10

children… revealed. See WLC 24. See notes on Gen. 3:15; Jn. 8:44. John says neither God's children nor the devil's children can conceal their identity. They are known by their deeds (see notes on Mk. 4:22; Lk. 8:17; Acts 4:16; 1 Cor. 3:13; 11:19; Gal. 5:19). According to John, the practices of love and righteousness characterize God's people.

God's Children Love One Another. - 1 John 3:11-24

John has written about the need for Christians to practice righteousness. Now, he describes what this looks like. After repeating Jesus' command to love one another (v. 11; cf. Jn. 13:34-35; 15:12-14, 17), John provides extreme examples. On the one hand, Cain, who hated his brother (vv. 12-15). On the other hand, Jesus who loved his enemies (vv. 15-18). If John's readers love with their actions and not just their words, they will experience God's affirmation, which overcomes even fickle, self-condemning hearts (vv. 19-24)

From the beginning - 1 John 3:11

from the beginning. This probably refers to Jesus' ministry (see notes on 1:1; 2:7). It could also refer to the time when John's readers first learned about the gospel. Either way, John is drawing on a history of teaching about and from Christ, who demonstrated God's love definitively and who taught his people to "love one another" (see notes on Jn. 13:34-35).

Cain - 1 John 3:12

Cain.See WLC 24, 113. See notes on Gen. 4:1-25. Teaching the Scriptures, the early Christian community referenced the story of Cain and Abel as an archetypal contrast between sin and obedience, between a mercenary relationship with God and a life of true worship (see notes on Matt. 23:35; Lk. 11:51; Heb. 11:4; 12:24; Jude 11).

The world hates you - 1 John 3:13

the world hates you. The same, self-justifying passions that were behind Cain's jealousy and hatred are also behind the jealousy and hatred of those who oppose John's readers. In this verse, the world refers to those outside the church.

See WCF - 1 John 3:14-21

See WCF 8.7; 18.1-2; 26.1-2; WLC 80, 136, 141-42; HC 54, 87, 106

Passed from death to life - 1 John 3:14

passed from death to life. One mark of eternal life is mutual love among God's children. This phrase about passing from death to life has to do with eternal life in the Fourth Gospel (see notes on Jn. 5:24; 1 Jn 5:11). For John, eternal life begins with regeneration, with faith in Christ. God is both the source and the giver of an abundant life of fellowship with himself and his people. However, if a person hates their brothers and sisters, it shows they do not know God or the life he gives

Murderer - 1 John 3:15

murderer. Pointing back to the example of Cain (v. 11), John traces the dark path from hating someone in your community to its logical end of harming or murdering them. Beyond this motivation and action is death and judgment, the opposite of eternal life.

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