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I John Chapter 3

Memory verses for this week:   Gal 2:16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.


Introduction:  Last week, in Chapter 2, we studied about how that we have an advocate with the Father in Jesus Christ.  The church was warned that many antichrists are already in the world, and that we need to know how to identify those who are against God.  This week we cover in greater detail the love of God.

I.  We Are the Sons of God

1 John 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.

1 John 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.

If it were not for the love of God for the lost souls of men, all mankind would be destined for hell.   But the love of God shines down upon us through the love of Jesus Christ.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Rom 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Not everyone is a son of God.  Only those who know Christ as Savior are ‘sons of God’.

John 8:42  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

John 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

John 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

John 1:11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

John 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 1:13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.


John 3:3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

We become the sons of God by divine birth.    Because we are the sons of God, the world does not understand us.  Those who reject Christ should not be expected to understand the followers of Jesus.   Jesus pointed out that his own people received Him not.  If they did not recognize Him in person, we should not expect the world to understand us.

John 5:43  I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

Verse 2 points out that to become a son of God is not a future hope but a present possession.  The person who receives Christ as their Savior becomes a son of God at that very moment.   When Christ comes back for us, he will give us our glorified bodies which will make us like him.  We will have greater knowledge than we have now.    We will know our loved ones who have gone to be with the Lord before us.


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

Only the saved have this hope in them.  Therefore the saved purifieth (cleanses) himself since Christ is pure.

Albert Barnes made this comment on becoming pure.

Even as he is pure—The same kind of purity here, the same degree hereafter. That is, the tendency of such a hope is to make him holy now, though he may be imperfect; the effect will be to make him “perfectly” holy in the world to come. It cannot be shown from this passage that the apostle meant to teach that anyone actually becomes as pure in the present life as the Saviour is, that is, becomes perfectly holy; for all that is fairly implied in it is, that those who have this hope in them aim at the same purity, and will ultimately obtain it. But the apostle does not say that it is attained in this world. If the passage did teach this, it would teach it respecting everyone who has this hope, and then the doctrine would be that no one can be a Christian who does not become absolutely perfect on earth; that is, not that some Christians may become perfect here, but that all actually do. But none, it is presumed, will hold this to be a true doctrine. A true Christian does not, indeed, habitually and willfully sin; but no one can pretend that all Christians attain to a state of sinless perfection on earth, or are, in fact, as pure as the Saviour was. But unless the passage proves that every Christian becomes absolutely perfect in the present life, it does not prove that in fact any do. It proves:

(1)  that the tendency, or the fair influence of this hope, is to make the Christian pure;

(2)  that all who cherish it will, in fact, aim to become as holy as the Saviour was; and,

(3)  that this object will, at some future period, be accomplished. There is a world where all who are redeemed shall be perfectly holy.


II.  What is Sin?

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

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

Verse 4 says that sin is a transgression of the law.  All unrighteousness is sin.

1 John 5:17  All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

The very first man God created, Adam, sinned and transgressed God’s law.  Verse 17 was instructions from God that Adam and Eve were to follow.

Gen 2:16  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

Gen 2:17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

They ignored the command of God and went ahead and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Gen 3:6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Jesus was manifested to take away our sins.  The bible is very clear that all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  But the Lord came to take away our sins.

Rom 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Rom 5:13  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Rom 5:14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Rom 5:15  But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Rom 5:16  And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

Rom 5:17  For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Rom 5:18  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Rom 5:19  For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Rom 5:20  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Rom 5:21  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness.


John 1:29  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.


2 Cor 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

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

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

1 John 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.

When a person lives in continual sin, it is a good sign that he is lost.  The Holy Spirit is always there to remind us that we should turn from sin and come back to God.  The lost man has nothing that draws him back to God.  The person who commits sin is of the devil.

Isa 14:12  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Isa 14:13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

Isa 14:14  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Lucifer was an angel of God but when he sinned he became the devil.  The day he sinned he had his beginning as Satan.

Ezek 28:12  Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

Ezek 28:13  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

Ezek 28:14  Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

Ezek 28:15  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Ezek 28:16  By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

Ezek 28:17  Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.

Ezek 28:18  Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.

Ezek 28:19  All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

When God placed Lucifer in the garden of Eden before the earth became void and without form, he was perfect.  But when he decided to arise above God, he fell from that lofty position.   Christ came to destroy the works of the devil.

Heb 2:14  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Heb 2:15  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

J. Vernon McGee said this about how the soul sinneth not.

“Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not”—that is, that new nature of yours will not sin; it never sins. Dr. H. A. Ironside puts it this way: “[Christ], this absolutely sinless One, who in grace became sin for us that we might be reconciled to God, dwells by the Spirit in the believer, and our new nature is really His very life imparted to us.” If you are God’s child, that new nature will not go along with the old nature and commit sin. The believer who abides in Christ does not practice sin—he doesn’t live in it. The sinner lives in it all the time, but the child of God has a new nature, and he cannot live a sinful life. This is pictured for us in the story of the Prodigal Son (see Luke 15:11–24). Only pigs live in pigpens; sons do not. Somebody will say, “But the son got into the pigpen.” He surely did, my friend, but he got out of the pigpen, too—let’s remember that. The child of God can get into it, but he will get out. Why? Because he is a son of the Father, and he takes after his Father. His Father is righteous, and the son wants to live that kind of life.

God provides the power to deliver from the habit of sinning, and that is all that John is saying here—“Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not.” Now if you go off to the pigpen, that’s the old nature, and if you stay in that pigpen, you never were God’s child. If you can be happy in sin, my friend, then you are not God’s child because God’s children have the nature of their Father  [1]



III.  The Soul that is Born of God Does Not Sin

1 John 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.

1 John 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.

The soul that is born of God in the new spiritual birth can not sin.  This is certainly not the flesh.  Our flesh did not get born again, and as long as we live we will face the battle of the flesh and the spirit.  The soul and flesh are not the same.  At the resurrection we will receive a body that will not sin any more.


IV.  Sons of God are to Live Together in Love

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

1 John 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.

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

The message from the beginning was a message of love.  Cain slew Abel “because his works were evil.”  Cain was of that wicked one, the Devil.    We know that the world will hate the person who truly lives for God.

John 16:33  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

1 John 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.

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

1 John 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

Love for the our brethren is evidence that we have been born again.  To hate our brother is spiritual murder.  We should be known as people of love, and our deeds should prove our love.   Because Christ laid down His life for us, we should be willing to lay down our lives for our brethren.   This truly takes the grace of God.

1 John 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?

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

True love will cause us to help our brother or sister in need.  Jesus said the second great commandment was to love our neighbor as our self.

Mat 22:36  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Mat 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

Mat 22:38  This is the first and great commandment.

Mat 22:39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Mat 22:40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

V.  God can Assure our Hearts

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

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

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

If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts.  He knows the things we are guilty of… even our minds and intentions of the heart.  If our hearts condemn us, we can not expect God to answer our prayers.  We need to get our lives straightened out and then our prayers will go through.  When our hearts condemn us, it tells us that we are not walking in a way pleasing unto the Lord.  The Holy Spirit will let us know when we are out of fellowship with the Lord.

1 John 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.

1 John 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.

1 John 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.

The commandment God wants us to follow is to believe in Jesus Christ.

John 6:28  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

John 6:29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.


Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge.  The lessons may not be sold without consent.   If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.


Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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