Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 John 5:18-21

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Does not sin - 1 John 5:18

does not sin. See note on 3:9. John reasserts his earlier point that Christians are not characterized by sin. But, this time he roots his claim in the protection God gives to his children from the evil one. The one who was born from God normally refers to believers (see notes on 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18 and cf. Jn. 1:11-13). Jesus promised to defend his sheep and prayed that God would protect them from evil as well (see notes on Jn. 17:12-15). John uses the phrase <4190>the evil one interchangeably with the devil (see notes on 3:8, 10).

The control of the evil one - 1 John 5:19

the control of the evil one. Protection from the evil one does not include protection from temptation or even testing, rather it promises divine assistance in the midst of such tests. Overcoming the evil one is an important Johannine theme in this letter (see notes on 2:13-14; 4:4) and in the messages to the seven churches in the Revelation (see notes on Rev. 2:11, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).Most importantly, the reign of the Devil is being nullified, coming to an end, because it has been challenged decisively by Jesus' sovereignty over death, disease and demons (see notes on Lk 10:18-20; James 4:7; and 1 Jn 3:8).

He is the true God - 1 John 5:20

he is the true God. See WCF 8.2; WLC 11; HC 35. That Israel's God is the only true and living God is a constant confession throughout Scripture (see notes on Gen 21:33; 1 Sam. 3:7; 17:26; Ps 42:2; 90:2; Jer. 10:10; Isa 43:11-12; Jn. 1:9; 15:1; Acts 4:12; Rev. 3:7). John ends here, defending the full divinity and humanity of Jesus, declaring the Son's intimate relationship with the Father in both his gospel and this letter.

Keep yourselves from idols - 1 John 5:21

idols. See HC 94. The word idols could refer to anything that led people away from the true worship of God (see note on 4:3). However, any congregation in Ephesus or any other city in Asia Minor would have daily experience with physical images of false gods. This would include images of the Roman emperor, who many people worshipped. In the OT, idolatry is a sin that leads to death (see notes on vv. 16-17). Because of the presence of false prophets (see notes on 4:1-6), it is possible that John's command here is quite literal (see notes on Rev. 2:14, 20; 9:20; 13:12, 15)

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