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Manifesting the New Me (1 John 3:7-10a)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 25 August 2013 00:00

Review: 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears [phanerothe], we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices [does] righteousness is born of Him.

3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed [ephanerothe] what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed [phanerothe], we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness [wickedness], and sin is lawlessness [wickedness]. 5 And you know that He was manifested [phanerothe] to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him = Whoever sins [at that moment] is in a not-seeing and not-knowing condition with reference to God. In other words, I can’t be abiding in Christ and sinning at the same time. If I am sinning, then I am not abiding in Him [in Whom is NO sin] at that moment in time.

7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices [does] righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.

John addresses them as Little children (teknia, 2:12-14; 3:1-2) to encourage them to take a simple, child-like view of this matter by remembering the true character of their heavenly Father, who is righteous.

The concept of doing righteousness throws us back to 2:29. Perhaps this syllogism will help us understand what John is saying in 2:29:

Major Premise: Divine righteousness comes from God’s divine nature.

Minor Premise: Grover produces divine righteousness.

Conclusion: Therefore, Grover, who produces divine righteousness, has God’s divine nature (born of God).

Simply stated, the person doing divine righteousness must be born again, that is, he must have God’s divine nature. In 3:7 we have the same concept with slightly different words:

Major Premise: Someone producing divine righteousness is righteous.

Minor Premise: God’s divine nature is righteous.

Conclusion: Therefore, someone who produces divine righteousness must have God’s divine nature (born of God).

John is simply saying that a “born of Him” (2:29) person is a person who has been given part of God’s nature. This is expressed more explicitly in 2 Peter 1:3-4 ~ 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

His divine love (agape) is produced by His Spirit (Gal 5:22) in our new, born-again-with, divine nature.

8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested [ephanerothe], that He might destroy the works of the devil.

Major Premise: The devil’s work is to sin.

Minor Premise: Someone is sinning.

Conclusion: That person sinning is doing the devil’s work.

9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

Like verse 6, this verse appears to say that a genuine, born-again Christian does not sin and cannot sin. But that contradicts 1:8, which says that Christians do sin. The best solution is to be found in the phrase His seed, which refers to God’s nature. His divine nature is passed down through His divine seed. The new birth places His seed in us. Just as my physical seed cannot produce something outside its genetic code, so God’s seed cannot produce something contrary to His nature, such as, sin. God’s nature cannot produce sin. God’s nature in us (His seed) cannot produce sin.

This passage may be best understood as a parallel to Paul’s statements in Romans 7:14-25 ~ 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Galatians 2:20 I have been [am] crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

10a In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest [phanera]. [not :]

V.10a is best taken as a conclusion to the discussion in 2:28-3:9 about “manifestation,” so ends with period.

John has been trying to motivate us to godliness by pointing out how sin in the life of a believer is incongruous with Christ’s purpose for being “manifested” (3:5, 8) at His first coming and will result in shame instead of confidence before Him when He is “manifested” at His future coming (2:28; 3:2)!

Sin in the life of a believer is also incongruous with the fact that we now partake of God’s nature. It goes against who we now really are at the core of our being as a believer.

1. When a Christian sins, he is acting contrary to who he really is and what he really desires.

“The section (2:28-3:10a) we are looking at is advancing the theme as stated where boldness in the presence of the Lord is offered to those who abide in Him (2:28). In doing this, i.e., by abiding in Him, believers can and do manifest themselves as children of God. But those who do not abide do not so manifest themselves. The reality of their regenerate inward man remains hidden.” (Hodges)

2. When a Christian sins, he is hiding God’s glory.

Leaves really don’t change color. The color is already there, but in the Spring and Summer cells of chlorophyll cover up the true color of the leaves. In the Fall, the chlorophyll cells fall away, and the true colors of the leaves are “manifested. There is no changing of the colors, it is an unveiling of colors. So also in our Christian walk, we can allow our true colors to be covered over with the chlorophyll of sin that hides the glory of God. As the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives peels away the chlorophyll of sin, there is an unveiling of Christ in us, the hope of glory

The world sees an open expression, a manifestation of God’s divine nature in us.

3. When a Christian sins, it is contrary to Christ, and he is doing the work of the devil, Christ’s adversary.

 

 

 

 

 

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