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3:1 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.

3:2 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.

3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

3:8 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.

3:9 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.

3:10 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.

3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

3:12 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.

3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

3:16 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.

3:17 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? 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

3:19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

3:23 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.

3:24 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.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 1 John
Book: 1 John
Chapter: 3

The Apostle admires the Love of God in making believers his
children. (1,2) The purifying influence of the Hope of seeing
Christ, and the danger of pretending to this, and living in Sin.
(3-10) Love to the brethren is the character of real Christians.
(11-15) That Love described By its actings. (16-21) The
advantage of Faith, Love, and obedience. (22-24)

1,2 Little does the world know of the happiness of the real
followers of Christ. Little does the world think that these
Poor, humble, despised ones, are favourites of God, and will
Dwell in Heaven. Let the followers of Christ be content with
hard fare here, since they are in a land of strangers, where
their Lord was So badly treated before them. The sons of God
must walk By Faith, and live By Hope. They may Well wait in
Faith, Hope, and Earnest desire, for the Revelation of the Lord
Jesus. The sons of God will be known, and be made manifest By
likeness to their Head. They shall be transformed into the same
image, By their view of him.

3-10 The sons of God know that their Lord is of purer eyes than
to allow any thing unholy and impure to Dwell with him. It is
the Hope of hypocrites, not of the sons of God, that makes
allowance for gratifying impure desires and lusts. May we be
followers of him as his dear children, thus show our sense of
his unspeakable Mercy, and express that obedient, grateful,
humble mind which becomes us. Sin is the rejecting the Divine
Law. In him, that is, in Christ, was No Sin. All the sinless
weaknesses that were consequences of the fall, he took; that is,
all those infirmities of mind or body which subject Man to
suffering, and expose him to Temptation. But our moral
infirmities, our proneness to Sin, he had not. He that abides in
Christ, continues not in the practice of Sin. Renouncing Sin is
the great proof of spiritual union with, continuance in, and
saving knowledge of the Lord Christ. Beware of self-deceit. He
that doeth Righteousness is righteous, and to be a follower of
Christ, shows an interest By Faith in his obedience and
sufferings. But a Man cannot act like the Devil, and at the same
time be a Disciple of Christ Jesus. Let us not serve or indulge
what the Son of God came to destroy. To be born of God is to be
inwardly renewed By the power of the Spirit of God. Renewing
Grace is an abiding principle. Religion is not an art, a matter
of dexterity and skill, but a new nature. And the regenerate
person cannot Sin as he did before he was born of God, and as
others do who are not born again. There is that Light in his
mind, which shows him the evil and malignity of Sin. There is
that bias upon his Heart, which disposes him to loathe and hate
Sin. There is the spiritual principle that opposes sinful acts.
And there is Repentance for Sin, if committed. It goes against
him to Sin with forethought. The children of God and the
children of the Devil have their distinct characters. The seed
of the Serpent are known By neglect of religion, and By their
hating real Christians. He only is righteous before God, as a
justified believer, who is taught and disposed to Righteousness
By the Holy Spirit. In this the children of God are manifest,
and the children of the Devil. May all professors of the Gospel
lay these truths to Heart, and try themselves By them.

11-15 We should Love the Lord Jesus, value his Love, and
therefore Love all our brethren in Christ. This Love is the
special Fruit of our Faith, and a certain sign of our being born
again. But none who rightly know the Heart of Man, can wonder at
the contempt and Enmity of ungodly people against the children
of God. We know that we are passed from Death to Life: we may
know it By the evidences of our Faith in Christ, of which Love
to our brethren is one. It is not zeal for a party in the common
religion, or Affection for those who are of the same name and
sentiments with ourselves. The Life of Grace in the Heart of a
regenerate person, is the beginning and first principle of a
Life of Glory, whereof they must be destitute who hate their
Brother in their hearts.

16-21 Here is the condescension, the Miracle, the Mystery of
Divine Love, that God would redeem the Church with his own
Blood. Surely we should Love those whom God has loved, and So
loved. The Holy Spirit, grieved at selfishness, will leave the
selfish Heart without comfort, and full of Darkness and terror.
By what can it be known that a Man has a true sense of the Love
of Christ for perishing sinners, or that the Love of God has
been planted in his Heart By the Holy Spirit, if the Love of the
world and its good overcomes the feelings of compassion to a
perishing Brother? Every instance of this selfishness must
weaken the evidences of a Man's Conversion; when habitual and
allowed, it must decide against him. If Conscience condemn us in
known Sin, or the neglect of known duty, God does So too. Let
Conscience therefore be Well-informed, be heard, and diligently
attended to.

22-24 When believers had confidence towards God, through the
Spirit of Adoption, and By Faith in the great High Priest, they
might ask what they would of their reconciled Father. They would
receive it, if good for them. And as good-will to men was
proclaimed from Heaven, So good-will to men, particularly to the
brethren, must be in the hearts of those who go to God and
Heaven. He who thus follows Christ, dwells in Him as his Ark,
Refuge, and Rest, and in the Father through him. This union
between Christ and the souls of believers, is By the Spirit he
has given them. A Man may believe that God is gracious before he
knows it; yet when Faith has laid Hold On the promises, it sets
reason to work. This Spirit of God Works a change; in all true
Christians it changes from the power of Satan to the power of
God. Consider, believer, how it changes thy Heart. Dost not thou
long for peace with God? Wouldst thou not forego all the world
for it? No profit, pleasure, or preferment shall hinder thee
from following Christ. This Salvation is built upon Divine
Testimony, even the Spirit of God.

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