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1 John 3:3  (King James Version)
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<< 1 John 3:2   1 John 3:4 >>


1 John 3:3

In several places, such as I John 2:29; 3:3; 3:9-14; and 5:1-4, John expressly states what the responsibilities of a converted person are. In these verses, the work of keeping the commandments is plainly shown.

The application of Paul's statement in Ephesians 2:10 is becoming ever clearer. He writes that we are indeed saved by grace through faith. However, he adds, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Sanctification is a process involving a period of intense work: walking in love, keeping the commandments, and overcoming sin and the world, as John's first epistle clearly stipulates. This process within a relationship with the Father and Son brings us to completion.

Sanctification does not consist only of a lot of talk about religion. Nor does it consist only of spending large amounts of time studying the Bible and commentaries. As helpful as these might be, God also calls for a great deal of action. The apostle John again supplies helpful exhortation: "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth" (I John 3:18). It could not be stated more clearly that the love of God is an action. Further, Jesus exhorts all His disciples, "If you love Me keep My commandments" (John 14:15). "Keeping" indicates consistent effort to obey as a means of expressing our love, loyalty, and submission to Him.

Paul writes in Romans 5:5, "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which was given to us." The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is essential to salvation, and God gives it to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32). As we saw earlier, Paul says in Romans 8:9, "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." God gives His Holy Spirit for the very purpose of making one His child. It also allows one to witness on His behalf, to produce the fruit of the spirit in preparation for His Kingdom, and to glorify Him.

Jesus says in John 15:8, "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." Sanctification is the period of our converted lives when God expects us to provide evidence that we are indeed His converted children. In fact, the fruit produced by our works, themselves enabled by God, are the evidence of our conversion. Some things in life are absolute certainties: Where the fruit of the labors of conversion are, there the Spirit of God will be found. Where those fruits are absent, the people are spiritually dead before God—they lack the life of the Spirit. Put another way, where there is no holy living, there is no Holy Spirit.

The works of sanctification are the only sure sign that one has been called of God and impregnated by His Spirit. Notice something Peter writes on this: "[Christians are] elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:2). Paul adds in II Thessalonians 2:13, "But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth."

He also writes in Ephesians 1:4, ". . . just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." When Paul saw the Ephesians' attitudes, their manner of life, and the evidence of their conversion, he knew they were part of the elect of God. He could thus honestly write to them with glowing praise. Many more similar verses could be added to these.

Out of ignorance, weakness, or lack of understanding, a person may break some of God's commands. However, anyone who boasts of being one of God's elect while willfully living in sin is only deceiving himself—and his claim may very well be wicked blasphemy.

Thus, because of the works that are performed during sanctification, it will always be a visible condition. As Jesus says in Matthew 7:18-20: "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Is the Christian Required To Do Works? (Part Four)

Related Topics:



1 John 3:3

Our hope is to be like Christ and to see Him as He is. Our hope is to enter the Kingdom of God. What does having such hope do? It motivates a person to purify himself. He does this by living life as Christ lived it. The whole issue of sanctification revolves around the receiving of God's Holy Spirit and then the study, belief, and putting into practice of God's Word. If we do those things, Christ is in us, and we then cannot help but to produce fruit, just as He did.

If we receive God's Holy Spirit, and it joins with our spirit, converting us, then sanctification—spiritual growth toward perfection—begins. It cannot be stopped unless we choose to stop it. Paul says, "Do not quench the Spirit" (I Thessalonians 5:19). We have the power to do that, but if we will just yield to it, fruit will be produced. How much and of what quality is up to the individual, but it will be growth taking place. The process will begin.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 8)



1 John 3:1-3

There is nothing ambiguous, cloudy, or vague about this. Our bodies will be conformed to be like His. It does not say they will be conformed to be like an angel's. It does not say they will be conformed to be like a better human being. They are going to be conformed to be like His body. Paul is referring to the Lord, who is God! Our bodies will be like God's body.

The word conform or, as it is in the King James, fashioned means "to make similar to or identical with." Will our bodies be "similar to" or "identical with" God's? Which one does Paul intend us to understand? John writes in I John 3:1-3:

Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God. Therefore the world does not knows us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now are we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that, when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

When he says, "it has not yet been revealed what we shall be," he means that we do not know some of the specifics about what our nature will be like, but we do know what it will be in a generality: "We shall be like Him."

What other creature that God has created has been given the Spirit of God and is being conformed to His image? Angels? Hebrews 1 says that the angels of heaven worship Jesus Christ. He is greater than angels, and we are going to be conformed to Him! We are not going to be conformed to angels. The conforming is to be to God.

Another thing that John adds here is that this hope—to be conformed to the image of God in Jesus Christ—is what motivates a person to purify himself. It is the engine that drives a person along the Way, because he knows where he is headed. He is not going to be someone slightly above angels but someone like the Son of God, one who is worshipped and is worthy of the worship of angels. This doctrine is not ambiguous in any way. We are going to be like Him, and He is worthy of worship.

Does it not say in Revelation 3:9 that people will worship the saints? Do people worship angels? No, the angels tell them, "Get off your knees, because I am a servant as you are" (see Revelation 19:10). God says we will be worthy of worship as part of the God Family.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 1)

Related Topics:



1 John 3:1-3

People spend their lives chasing after a name that will bring them a measure of honor or notoriety. They want to be associated with a "name" university, a "name" team, a "name" company; wear clothing with a certain "name" label; drive a "name" automobile; or marry into a certain family "name." Yet, the greatest name that anyone could possibly bear has come to us unbidden. Thus, John is exhorting his readers to remember their privileges in bearing that awesome name. Chrysostom, a fourth-century Catholic archbishop, counseled parents to give children scriptural names, urging them to tell the children stories about the person who bore that name so that, as they matured, they would have something to live up to.

Is there a paradox in what John writes? We know that in order to see God, we need to be like Him. Carnally, we think that to be like Him, we need to see Him. God says that seeing Him is not necessary, as He has chosen to conduct His purposes for man through faith in His Word. He has revealed what He is by His names and by the life of Jesus Christ. By faith, we can emulate Him through His Spirit. If we saw Him in the flesh, our curiosity would likely be satisfied, or we would be so overwhelmed by His perfection that we would give up. That is how human nature works. God's way of faith is better.

Malachi 3:16 provides wise counsel befitting the times in which we live: "Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name." The people described here are pictured as meditating for the purpose of praising, imitating, and passing on their thoughts to each other. They looked for God's good hand in every area of their lives.

David exclaims in Psalm 34:1-3: "I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment



1 John 3:1-3

There are many verses of similar general nature, for instance II Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:24; I Thessalonians 4:7; I Timothy 2:15; I Peter 1:15-16.

When John wrote I John 3:1-3, he did not use the word "motivation." However, he strongly implies that the motivation to purify ourselves arises from knowing who we are. We are now the sons of God, and we shall become like Him as we labor to purify our conduct and attitudes to conform to His image.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Five): Who We Are



1 John 3:1-3

The goal is salvation, a concept that needs to be rescued from the small ideas man has assigned to it. Protestant religion has degraded it by talking about it incessantly. But salvation is such a majestic idea! It denotes the comprehensive process of God's purpose by which He is justifying, sanctifying, and transforming His children. John shows us the transformation. God does this by calling us, granting us repentance, forgiving our sins, accepting us as righteous in His sight through Christ, and then progressively changing us through His awesome creative power, by His Spirit, into the image of His Son, until we become like Christ, made like God God, with new bodies in a new world, the new heaven and the new earth. It is deliverance from the degrading, mean lives in which we have been held captive in this world! It is living in the Kingdom of God, its goal!

We must never be guilty of minimizing the awesomeness of such a great salvation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Guard the Truth!




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing 1 John 3:3:

Ephesians 5:26
Philippians 3:21
2 Timothy 2:19-21
1 Peter 1:15
1 John 2:29
1 John 3:1-3
1 John :
1 John :
1 John :
1 John :
1 John :

 

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