1 John 3: 1-10 – The World of the Text

This week we are going to be looking at 1 John 3: 1-10.  This passage has some really powerful and important words for us to hear.  Today we’ll be looking at the World of the Text of this passage.

1 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God. 10 The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way: all who do not do what is right are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.

rootedchristThis passage starts off with some words that are familiar and that speak a lot to who we are.  I love that line, see what great love the Father has given us that we should be called the children of God.  What a great promise and concept to think about.  We are the children of God.  The Father has made us His very own.  We are part of His family.  We are told that this is why the world does not know us because the world does not know Him.  Remember the last chapter talking about the anointing that we have through the Spirit?  It is the Spirit that enables us to know the Father.  Without the Spirit, we cannot know the Father. Because the world is not following the Spirit, it cannot know the Father.  It is the Spirit that makes all of this possible.  It is the Spirit that also makes it possible to know that love that the Father has given to us.

We then see words that are familiar to me, but may not be to you, I know them white well, these are words that are part of the United Methodist Book of Worship graveside service for a funeral.  I have said these words so many times throughout my ministry and my life, I feel like I know them by heart. These words have provided comfort to so many people throughout the years and I know that they have for me as well.

We are told that we have this hope, and the word hope here is more of an expectation than a wish, often we think of hope more of like wishful thinking, here John is talking more like the certainty of what is to come, not just wishful thinking that it will occur. We have this certainty that Christ will appear (or return) and when He does, we will appear (or be transformed) in the same way that He is. We will be like him. So, we keep ourselves pure, or morally “clean” as He is.  We live lives that glorify God and are holy in the same way that Jesus is holy.  Just as He is “pure” we should seek to live lives that are pure, as we live in the certainty of His appearing.

Tomorrow we’ll pick up with the rest of this passage.

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