1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
- We become the sons and daughters (children) of God when we accept Jesus as our Savior and as the Son of God. Verse one of Chapter three tells us that the world will not know us, because we are no longer of the world, but are born of God, and because the world does not know God. We can only know God once we are saved. Verse two and three tells us that when the Lord does appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. You know, we can only hope to be as righteous as Christ is. We can only hope to have as much goodness and kindness in our hearts as Christ does. No person, no matter how hard we try can ever be as good as Christ, even though we can try, and should. Even simply having this hope of being as Christ is, we make ourselves just a little more pure, just as Christ is pure.
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
- Verse four tells us exactly what sin is: sin is the transgression of the law. When the Bible speaks of law, it talks about the over 600 laws that God sets for us in the old testament. Now, the entire point of the law in the old testament is to show us that we are sinners. There is no possible way for us to live our lives and not break at least one of those 600 laws. God knows this, which is why he gave us his son as the ultimate sacrifice for these sins, as verse five tells us. Jesus was the only one to never sin. Because Jesus became our sins when he died on the cross, and because we are reborn when we accept that Jesus did that for us, and then come to abide, or live in him, we don’t sin because our sins are taken away. Our bodies, our flesh, sins, but not our souls, because we abide in Christ. Our bodies can’t help but sin as Adam and Eve first did as the original sinners, but our souls are what go to heaven with us, not our bodies. Those people who do not accept Christ, sin not only with their flesh, but also their whole entire being, because they did not accept this free gift which Christ gave to us, to wipe away the sin of our souls.
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
-Verses 7-9 reinforce what we just learned. Good = Good and Evil = Evil. If you commit sin you are of the Devil (commiting sin being those who are not saved… even after we are saved our bodies will continue to commit sin, but our souls will not. Those people who are not saved are the ones doing the work of the devil, because their souls continue to sin). Jesus was given to destroy the works of the devil. In verse nine we again see that we cannot loose our salvation once it is given to us. God will not take his gift back: for his seed [Jesus] remaineth in him. Jesus will remain in us once we accept him, and our souls will remain clean. (We see here again that we cannot lose our salvation).
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
- Did you ever hear the story of Cain and Abel? Cain and Abel were Adam and Eve’s first children. Abel was a righteous child. Cain grew jealous of Abel and slew him (murdered him), because he could not do the same righteous works as his brother. (God later gave Adam and Eve another son which they named Seth, who was just as righteous as Abel). Here John refers to Cain as a child of the devil, and Abel a child of God (for we are born in sin, and already belong to the devil until we are reborn in Christ). Here again John stresses the importance of loving one another. We should not hate other people because they are doing better in their lives than we are. We need to be happy for them and all of the good things they are doing, and all of the good things they have going for them, and not be like Cain. John tells us again that those who do not love their brethren are not of God.
13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
- John tells us not to be surprised that the world hates us when it does. Just as Cain who killed Abel because Abel was better than he was. The world is often jealous and despises us because of what we have going for us. Christians have suffered a lot of persecution over the years because we believe in God and love him and his son, and they don’t. There’s this guy that I work with who hates me just because I believe in God. He believes that religion is a detriment (a setback or hindrance) to man and society. Just being a Christian we are going to suffer some kind of persecution in our lives, just as Jesus did. Man killed Jesus because of his beliefs and because he claimed to be the messiah. 1Peter 2:20 tells us: if when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable to God. God knows that we are going to be persecuted because we believe in him and his son, and will have rewards set up for us in heaven because we take these things in good stride. Look at what Jesus did up on the cross! He prayed for his enemies, those that nailed him up to the cross! ...this is acceptable to God.
14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
- Verse 14 talks about passing from death to life, which is what happens when we go from not believing in Christ to accepting him as the son of God and as our Saviour. When we accept Jesus’ free gift to us, we pass from death to life as we are reborn. When we hate our brethren we live in death rather than living in the life that is Christ and miss out on enjoying having that fellowship with him. It is hard to have a good relationship with God and Christ when we are walking around hating everybody all the time. Remember that verse in James about being guilty of one sin meaning that you are guilty of all sins? Verse 15 talks about this again. If you hate your brother, you are also guilty of murdering him. If you hate somebody, do you not seek to cause him harm as opposed to loving him and only wishing him good?
16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
- Before we talked about the example Jesus left for us. Jesus laid down his life for us even though he didn’t know us. We need to lay down our lives for our brethren. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to die for people that we don’t know, but when we lay down our lives of sin and take up lives of truth and love, we are helping our brethren, and abiding in Christ. Verse 17 is important. It asks us a question: If we see somebody in need, and don’t give them compassion, how can the love of God dwell in us? God showed us compassion by giving his only son to die for us! We need to show compassion to our brothers and sisters, and not only those who are Christian, or people that we know! When we show compassion and help people in need, we allow the love of God to enter into our hearts, and we have a greater fellowship with him.
18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
- I like this verse a lot also. You know, a lot of people out there say, “I love you honey,” “I love you son,” “I love you Bob,” “I love you God…” saying you love somebody is not the same as loving them. You may think you love them, but if you say you love your husband, or child, or friend, or girlfriend, or whoever, and don’t show them that you love them by your actions, you deceive even yourself! You can’t say you love somebody and mean it and then strike them! You can’t say you love somebody and mean it, and steal from them, or lie to them! And most especially, you can’t say that you love God, and not show him! We need to show people and God that we love them. Actions are most definitely louder than words. Show your love by having compassion. Show your love through kindness and generosity.
19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
- God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things. We cannot deceive God, because God knows what truly lay in our hearts. We need to have confidence in God that he will provide for us and show us mercy. When we have confidence in God, our heart’s do not condemn us to him.
22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
- Here God is telling us that we need to believe that Jesus is His Son, because this is his commandment! Believing in Jesus is important! Believe it or not, there are many, many religions out there today that do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God! Unfortunately for them, the Bible tells us time and time again, that to be saved and go to Heaven and have that eternal life that God has promised us, we must believe in Jesus as the Son of God! When we keep God’s commandments, especially this one, we live in God, and God in us because God gives us of his Spirit.