Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 John 3:21-4:6

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Confidence before God - 1 John 3:21-22

confidence before God…receive whatever we ask. See WLC 104. Confidence before God in prayer arises from aligning our requests with God's will and our practice with his commands (see notes on 5:14-15; Jn. 14:13-14; 16:23-24). By attending Christ's words and will, John's readers will find their prayers transformed and their experience of the Spirit's presence deepened.

Commandment - 1 John 3:23

commandment.John weaves together all three marks of Christian identity that he has articulated in his sermonic letter: 1) faith in the name, person and full identity of Jesus Christ, God's Son; 2) obedience to his commands; and 3) love for one another (see notes on Matt. 7:21; Lk. 6:46; Jn. 8:31).

Remain in him - 1 John 3:24

remain in himthe Spirit. See WCF 18.1; WLC 80; HC 76; CD 5.V. These characteristics of Christian life and fellowship, obedience to Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, provide assurance of an authentic knowledge of God. The Spirit's job is to bear witness to the truth about Jesus (4:1-6), which includes the truth about those who abide in his words, that is to say, those who keep his commands

God's Children Overcome the Spirit of Antichrist.- 1 John 4:1-6

Verses 1-6 are a self-contained unit about the importance of evaluating prophecies, because not all spirits who give utterance are holy. The verses use the word "spirit" seven times, and the subject reverts back to the theme of loving one another in v. 7. John warns his readers that they must exercise discernment.

Test the spirits - 1 John 4:1

test the spirits. See WLC 105; BC 7. Though John emphasized the anointing of God's Spirit on the community (see notes on 2:20, 27; 3:24; 4:1-3, 13), those who had gone out also claimed to be inspired by God's Spirit. Thus, John stresses evaluation and discernment. They must test the spirits. This is similar to Paul's guidance for the Corinthian and Thessalonian churches to value, but test prophecies (see notes on 1 Cor. 12:1-3; 14:29; 1 Thess 5:19-21)

In the flesh - 1 John 4:2-3

in the flesh… antichrist. See BC 29. See the Introduction and notes on 2:19 for more on the events that motivated John's letter. Both here and in 4:6, John describes the role of the Spirit as attesting the truth of about Jesus' identity, life and mission. To test the spirit behind a prophetic claim, John gives his readers a template: they must acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah, and that he came from God into the world by taking on human flesh. On the other hand, spirits of antichrist (see note on 2:18) are active in the world, denying these truths, though the Antichrist himself has yet to be revealed (see notes on 2:15-17).

The one who is in the world- 1 John 4:4

the one who is in the world. John's readers were not necessarily stronger or smarter than those who were deceived and departed from their fellowship. But, they have overcome the deceiver and his lying spirits, because they have held fast to the truth of the gospel. This is the work of the Spirit, who dwells in and among them, and who attests to Jesus truthfully (see note on 2:20).

From the world - 1 John 4:5-6

from the world… from God… listens. In 2:15-17 (see notes), John wrote about the source, objects and results of the world's understanding, the world's viewpoint. Though God loves the world and sent his Son to save it (2:2, 15, 17; 4:9, 14; 5:4-5), the world is hostile to God (3:1, 13; 4:1). Therefore, it makes sense that the world accepts false testimony about the Father and the Son. But, those who have God's Spirit recognize the voice of their shepherd (see note on Jn. 10:4), and the prophetic, apostolic messengers he sends to testify about him. The New Testament, that is, apostolic testimony is another test of true prophecy and teaching about Jesus.

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