I Jn. 3:1-24
As the apostle continued discussing the relationship between Christians and God, he reminded his readers of the extent of God’s love. He declared that they are His children and as such have fellowship with Him that the world does not know.
Even God’s children do not fully understand their future state. That state however will be one of Christ-like eternal glory and immortality. In order to maintain their relationship as children, Christians must strive to keep themselves pure just as Christ is pure.
John reminded his readers that a life of sin is a life of lawless works of the devil either in doing wrong or failing to do right. Jesus came to take those sins away.
The Gnostic false teachers taught that one could live any kind of life and still be saved. Christians cannot sin—not that it is impossible for them to sin, but that it is inconsistent for one born of God with His word in them to continue in sin. As he had pointed out earlier, even believers stumble and sin, but they do not make it a part of their lives.
Children of God and children of the devil are recognized by their differences. The devil’s children make themselves known by the unrighteousness and lack of brotherly love in their lives. It was God’s plan in the beginning that His children would love each other. Adam and Eve’s son Cain became a son of the devil and murdered his brother Abel because of the evil, envy and hatred in his life.
John repeated a principle that Christ had taught to His disciples in the sermon on the mount many years earlier—that if a man hates his brother, he is guilty of murder in that he has exhibited the spirit of a murderer. He does not have eternal life with this spirit.
As Jesus laid His life down for us, we must lay down our lives for our brothers. This love can also be shown by helping those in need. It was noted that actions speak louder than words. Merely stating one’s love is meaningless unless that love is shown by good deeds.
The apostle reassured his readers that they may know that God abides in them if they keep His commandments. All commandments may be summed up as faith in Christ and love for one another.