The Epistles of John Bible Study 1 John Chapter 3 Part 1

We kick off this week with a very short section: 1 John 3:1-3

When we look at the two greatest commandments, the two that characterize all of the law (Matt 22:36-40), love stands out. The law cannot make us righteous, but it defines what righteousness and unrighteousness is. The two chief characteristics of the law are love and righteousness.

v1: Behold/See: To perceive or understand in order to come to a proper conclusion, based upon evidence.

  • Behold… what love: The love that we have been given by the Father is a unique love. 
  • Father: G-d. John speaks here of G-d as our Father – a father gives, a father provides, a father is responsible for. What is emphasized here is that G-d is the source of our provision.
  • Bestowed/Given to us: The grammatical construction of this phrase in the Greek (the perfect tense) informs us that this love of G-d was a work that was done in the past, but the implications are still true today and will continue into the future. Once we have received G-d’s love (and we can only receive this love through Messiah Yeshua) it will not depart from us. 
  • Called children of G-d: Receiving G-d’s love causes us to become His children. 
  • Children: This word for ‘children’ implies a relationship. It also provides the reader with a context of endearment. Not only does G-d love us but He also has great affection for us.
  • The world does not know us, because it did not know Him: The world failed to perceive who Messiah was and so they rejected Him. In the same way they fail to understand who we are (as believers). There is a disconnect between believers and the world. The world does not understand us, they do not value us and nor do they value what G-d is doing in our lives. This disconnect is going to lead to the world feeling a great anger and hatred toward believers. It will cause them to come against us – and even more so as we approach the end of this age. 

v2: Beloved: Because we are the recipients of the love of G-d we are beloved.

  • Now we are children of G-d: This is a declarative statement, and it underscores or emphasizes our identity – who we are. We are children of G-d!
  • Not yet been revealed: We cannot yet comprehend or appreciate what this love of G-d is ultimately providing for us. 
  • We shall be like Him: This does NOT mean that we are going to be divine or that we are going to be on the same level as Yeshua. We are, however, going to reflect His glory. We do not emit glory (like He does), but we will reflect it (Like in a mirror: He is the true image, we are the reflection). When Yeshua was transfigured on the mountain (Matt 17:1-8) He emitted the glory of the Father from within Himself – He did not reflect the glory of G-d, but He emitted it. 
  • See Him as He is: We are going to have knowledge of who He is – what He is like, what the implications for Him being the Son of G-d are etc. This knowledge changes us.

v3: Everyone: Having this hope is not unique. It should be normal for every believer. 

  • This hope: The hope of what we are going to be, as well as the hope of where we are going to be for eternity (our future eternal home and our future eternal state of being like Him).
  • In Him: This hope is founded upon Yeshua.
  • Just as He is pure: This passage of Scripture emphasizes that what Yeshua is we are called to be. We are to become like Yeshua – His is the identity we need to be manifesting (1 Cor 11:1). 

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