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

1 John 3:10-15

v10: The children … are manifested: What is being manifested/revealed is the ability to discern who belongs to G-d and who belongs to the devil (All of humanity are NOT children of G-d, as some are teaching today). We are not saved by our deeds – by how we behave. We are saved by faith through grace (through what Yeshua did for us on the cross). However, our actions show if we are truly G-d’s servants (children) or if we are the devils…. whether we have faith or whether we do not. 

  • Does not practise righteousness: If we are not consistently concerned about and behaving for righteousness then we are not from G-d. Those who are from G-d are going to be committed workers of righteousness and not workers of lawlessness. 
  • Does not love his brother: Loving others is foundational to our faith (Matt 22:34-40)

v11: Love one another: Not everyone practices this commandment – but a child of G-d does.

v12: Not as Cain: We are not like Cain, and we do not behave like Cain. 

  • Cain who was of the wicked one: Cain was motivated by evil and did things based upon evil. 
  • His works were evil: We can know who Cain belonged to based upon his works. His deeds did not manifest love, but they manifested hatred toward his brother. 
  • Brother: Abel (Gen 4:1-10)
  • His works were evil but his brother’s works were righteous: This shows a dichotomy -we either belong to G-d or to the devil. We are either walking in love or we are walking in hate. If we are not walking in righteousness then we are walking in unrighteousness. There is nothing in the middle. True believers can examine their lives to see what the consistent message and activity of it is: Is it motivated by love or by hate? Does it produce righteousness or not?

Note: When G-d’s standard (His law) is held up to the life of an unbelieving person it shows up their unrighteousness. When we hold up that same standard to the life of a believer it can manifest our faithfulness – that we have been declared righteous and that the Spirit of G-d is working righteousness in and through us. As we grow in our faith we are going to be conformed to the image of Yeshua – this means that we are going to begin to reflect His character, we are going to walk in His ways etc

v13: Do not marvel: Do not be amazed.

  • Brethren: John was writing this to believers.
  • The world hates you: As believers we ought to have an expectation that the world is going to hate us.

v14: Know: Know it intellectually but also experientially. 

  • To (the) life: The definite article ‘the’ appears in the Greek text. It speaks about a specific type and quality of life. This life has a very precise character to it, and that is the same character that the law of G-d reflects – righteousness, holiness and that which reflects the purposes of G-d, the mind of G-d, the truth of G-d.
  • Passed from death into the life: It shows a transition and a transformation. Death is related to sin. When the Bible says we have passed out of death it is talking about us no longer being motivated by or gravitating toward sin, but rather toward the new life found in Messiah. 
  • Brother: In that day the term brother was inclusive. It can mean male or female, brother or sister. A primary behaviour that testifies of us being a new creation is that we love others (Just like Yeshua loved us – “while we were still sinners” – Roms 5:8). In the same way that Yeshua loved us while we were still sinners we ought to love others and behave in such a way that they are confronted in love with the truth of G-d.
  • Abides in death: Remains in sin.

v15: Hates … is a murderer: What the Bible is doing here is equating a feeling (hatred) with murder. This is a new covenant understanding of the Law of Moses (Matt 5:21-22). In the New covenant we are not dealing with the legal application of the law but the spiritual one – what is seen from a heavenly standpoint.

  • Eternal life: Kingdom life – When we believe (by faith through grace) the Holy Spirit enables us to live a life that resembles Kingdom life and has a Kingdom character. 
  • Abiding/Remaining: Again, we are speaking about a behaviour that is the norm, a behaviour that characterises that person on a daily basis. If a person hates consistently then that person is a murderer from G-d’s perspective.

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