This month's Series looks at I John verse by verse. (Here is the link to the beginning of the Series: I John Introduction.)
Yesterday's post summarized I John 2. Here is the summary of I John 2...
I John 2 begins with John speaking to "little children" (new believers) and stating the reason he is writing is to explain HOW it is possible for us NOT to sin. In yesterday's post, we saw the conclusion of this point. HOW is possible NOT to sin? Here is the summary from yesterday's post:
I John 2 ends with two conclusions that will be built upon in I John 3:
1. John is saying the Cause is to abide in Him (through the Holy Spirit) and the Effect is we will be bold before Jesus when He returns.
2. John can state FOR SURE that someone who does Righteousness that leads to Salvation is abiding in God...and is begotten of God...which is "born from above"...or as our tradition states, "born again".
The way it is possible for us NOT to sin is to abide in God and let the Holy Spirit direct all our actions BECAUSE the ONLY thing the Holy Spirit can do is Righteousness...BECAUSE God is light and in Him there is no darkness AT ALL. It would NOT be possible for us to sin if God directed ALL our actions BECAUSE God has NO DARKNESS in Him AT ALL.
John can state this conclusion FOR SURE.
John has connected the "If we have Fellowship with God" portion of the model with the other two sections of the model, each of which deals with sin. John did this through his preliminary explanation of "a new commandment." So, John has added the following to his model:
"We are unable to sin when we have Fellowship with God because of a new commandment."
"This new commandment consists of allowing God to direct our actions through the Holy Spirit...which is the anointing of God inside of us."
John hasn't SPECIFICALLY called the new commandment "the Holy Spirit"...yet. John hasn't SPECIFICALLY called this "charis"...which we know as GRACE.
Today, we begin I John 3
I JOHN 3:1-3
"1 Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this cause the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."
Remember, John didn't write this letter in terms of chapters, so this verse comes immediately after the last verse in I John 2 and is a continuation of John's thought. However, this verse truly does begin a new Feedback Loop that John will use to add to his model. He does a masterful job of drawing from the foundation of AND adding to his model with these two sentences.
First, John brings up the concept of love...and still does not define it. However, love is SOMETHING that God can BESTOW on us. Again, it is becoming more and more obvious that understanding John's concept of love is critical to understanding this model.
(John won't deal with love SPECIFICALLY until the next chapter. However, if you need to understand John's definition of "love" NOW, click the following link: LOVE.)
This first sentence then concludes with John making the Statement that we are called sons of God AND we are. The reason that we are called sons of God comes from his conclusion in I John 2...we are begotten of God because we have the Holy Spirit in us...which is the "love" that God has bestowed on us!...John referred to it as the "anointing of God".
The second sentence is HUGE and begins the ADDITION to John's model...
John BLATANTLY uses causality by beginning the second sentence with "For this cause..."
Take a moment and appreciate this verse and the way these two sentences work together...
The first sentence is the Cause. The first sentence was a restatement of the conclusion from the previous chapter (that also referred to "love"): We are called sons of God because God loved us enough to put His anointing in us to direct our actions so that Righteousness could come out of us if we choose to let God direct our actions.
So, WHAT is the Effect of this AWESOME Cause?
The world does NOT know us!
Then John further supports this conclusion with a REASON WHY...
BECAUSE the world did NOT know Jesus...who was begotten of God the Father.
This verse "compares" us to Jesus...BOTH "good" and "bad".
At its most basic level, John is saying that we are "like" Jesus in that it is possible to have all our actions carried out by God through the Holy Spirit...AND we are "like" Jesus in that the world does NOT know us BECAUSE we allow the Holy Spirit to direct our actions!
There is A LOT of DOCTRINE in this verse that runs contrary to our current man-made tradition, but rather than expound on it now, I'm going to continue with the next two verses because John will do a much better job at bringing his own point home than I ever could.
(I'm a modeler, however, reading this book humbles me. John is so skillful at making his philosophical presentation AND building a model that it convinces me this book was Divinely inspired. This verse also convinces me why most people don't truly appreciate the magnitude of this book...it is presented in TOO LOGICAL of a manner for today's emotionally focused preachers and teachers.)
For now, if you are following along in your Bible, circle this verse...and read it once in awhile to keep this DOCTRINE available for God to access...
"2 Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is."
This verse is similar to the previous verse: two sentences with the first being a Statement and the second building on the model.
Statement: we are NOW children of God AND it is NOT "manifest" what we shall be.
John again draws from the foundation of the model with the word "manifest". Even though we are children of God because we have the Holy Spirit in us, we do NOT know SPECIFICALLY what we shall be when we are "manifest"...shine, lighten, physically appear.
When will we be "manifest"? John addresses this question with the second sentence and it is presented with an IF/THEN statement.
IF: Jesus shall be manifested
THEN: we shall be LIKE Him
John also gives a REASON WHY he made his THEN statement: FOR we shall see Him even as He is.
We will be manifested WHEN we see Jesus...when Jesus returns...which was part of the conclusion John made at the end of I John 2 (We shall be bold before Jesus at His return.)
Again, A LOT of DOCTRINE in this one verse.
Again, I will briefly summarize for now: We will become COMPLETELY who God made us to be when we see Jesus face to face BECAUSE we are LIKE Jesus and Jesus will be manifested when we are before Him. Since we will be who God made us to be when we are before Jesus, we will be bold...in fact, John continues with THAT thought.
"3 And every one that hath this hope set on him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
The HOPE John speaks of is seeing Jesus manifested.
John is stating that EVERYONE who has this hope of seeing Jesus manifested could ONLY be looking forward to this event (hopeful) if they have the Holy Spirit directing their actions with Righteousness being the result...and our actions being directed by the Holy Spirit would PURIFY us...even as JESUS is pure...because (AGAIN) we are LIKE Jesus.
purifieth is Strong's #48 hagnizo - "to make clean, i.e. (fig.) sanctify (cer. or mor.):-purify (self)."
John is speaking of a process...as much as we do this process, that is how much we are LIKE Jesus. This is a continual process. This is known as "sanctification".
Once again, this is an important topic we will cover in detail as John covers it. For now, let's summarize these three powerful verses...
John has begun his next Feedback Loop by immediately building on the two conclusions from I John 2 and the foundation he presented from the beginning of his letter.
At its most basic level, I John 3:1 is saying that we are "like" Jesus in that it is possible to have all our actions carried out by God through the Holy Spirit...AND we are "like" Jesus in that the world does NOT know us BECAUSE we allow the Holy Spirit to direct our actions!
I John 3:2 is saying we will become COMPLETELY who God made us to be when we see Jesus face to face BECAUSE we are LIKE Jesus and Jesus will be manifested when we are before Him. Since we will be who God made us to be when we are before Jesus, we will be bold...in fact, John continues with THAT thought.
I John 3:3 is saying that EVERYONE who has this hope of seeing Jesus manifested could ONLY be looking forward to this event (hopeful) if they have the Holy Spirit directing their actions with Righteousness being the result...and our actions being directed by the Holy Spirit would PURIFY us...even as JESUS is pure...because (AGAIN) we are LIKE Jesus. This process of becoming pure is known as sanctification.
John has begun this next Feedback Loop with A LOT of DOCTRINE. Next week, we will look at the most misunderstood AND rationalized section of I John.
On Monday, we will begin with a simple and powerful statement...