1 John 3:4-10

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

February 25, 1998


John, the aging apostle has written a letter to the church at large.

Some of the themes weíve seen so far are:

The importance of loving others.

The importance of our actions, the importance of not living continuous lives of sin.

:4-10 No continuous sin

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

This is one definition of sin, that of being "lawlessness", breaking the Law of God.

At the same time, one of reasons for the law is to show us just how sinful we are Ė

(Rom 7:7 KJV) What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

The Law was designed to show us our need for Jesus Ė

(Gal 3:24 KJV) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins

manifested Ė as when He was born, taking on human flesh, referring to His first coming.

take away Ė airo Ė to raise up, elevate, lift up; to bear away what has been raised, carry off

Itís not the idea of Jesus having paid for our sins on the cross thatís in mind, but the idea of removing our sins away from us.

Jesus didnít just come to pay for our sins, but leave us sitting in them, but to take them away.


Part of the ritual known as the "Day of Atonement" involved the high priest confessing the sins of the people over the head of a goat, and then the goat was to be taken and released into the wilderness, where it would run far away, taking the peoplesí sins with it. (Lev. 16:21-22)

(Psa 103:12 KJV) As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.


Itís as if weíre driving along, and get our car stuck in the mud. We have a problem. Weíre stuck. We canít get out. Jesus comes not to just make us feel better, promising to give us a bath when we get out, but He comes along with a tow-truck to pull us out of the mud, to get us away from the mud.

:5 and in him is no sin

He "knew no sin", and so was a perfect sacrifice.

He still has "no sin", and so you can trust Him. In Him is no darkness.

:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not

abideth Ö sinneth Ė present tenses, continuous action.

It seems that the two are connected.

:6 whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

A life of continuous sin proves that you have not at anytime in the past ever seen Him (in a spiritual sense) or come to know Him.

known Ė ginosko Ė to learn to know, knowledge by experience (as opposed to eido, knowing by understanding)


Do I really know Him?

If youíre like most people, you will read these verses and become slightly confused, because you know that honestly, you still sin.

We have to be careful to understand this in the light of what John has already said Ė

(1 John 1:8-10 KJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. {9} If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. {10} If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

(1 John 2:1 KJV) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Paul wrote about himself Ė

Ro 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Even after we become a Christian, we still have a sin nature. Even after becoming a Christian, we will from time to time give in to our sin nature and sin. But if Jesus has come into our lives, then we will find that the overall course of our lives will change from living continually in sin, to walking more and more like Him.

Do you still feel guilty?

Some of you might need to.

I think that itís not that bad that from time to time we examine ourselves to make sure weíre not fooling ourselves and just trying to justify a life thatís full of continual sin. Sometimes a little conviction is just the kind of kick in the pants we need to get up and follow after the Lord. Sometimes a night of anguish is just what we need to finally take care of a lingering sin.

Paul wrote Ė

(2 Cor 13:5 NIV) Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?

Some of you need to stop it.

I believe that conviction of sin is a kind of proof that God is working in your life. If you werenít convicted, but you led a life of continual sin, thatís the person Iíd really be worried about.

Some of you are on an eternal guilt trip, and there needs to come a time that you get off.

(Rom 8:1 NASB) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Jesus Christ paid for your sins once and for all.

(Heb 10:10-14 NLT) And what God wants is for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time. {11} Under the old covenant, the priest stands before the altar day after day, offering sacrifices that can never take away sins. {12} But our High Priest offered himself to God as one sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down at the place of highest honor at God's right hand. {13} There he waits until his enemies are humbled as a footstool under his feet. {14} For by that one offering he perfected forever all those whom he is making holy.

We need to learn to confess our sins and receive Godís cleansing and forgiveness.

(1 John 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

:7 Little children, let no man deceive you

There were some of the Gnostics that were teaching that since the body is material, and hence evil, that thereís nothing you can do about sin, so why try? If a person is a Christian, there should be a difference in their life.

:7 he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

deceive Ė planao Ė to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way

doeth Ė present tense, "keeps on doing righteousness"

We need to keep in mind that John isnít talking about earning our salvation here. Donít get the cart before the horse.

We arenít saved by our actions, weíre saved by our faith in what God has done for us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

(Eph 2:8-9 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: {9} Not of works, lest any man should boast.

(Rom 3:20-22 NLT) For no one can ever be made right in God's sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know God's law, the clearer it becomes that we aren't obeying it. {21} But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight--not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. {22} We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.

And once weíve received salvation by trusting in Jesus, then God gives us the righteousness of Jesus Christ Ė

(2 Cor 5:18-21 NASB) Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, {19} namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. {20} Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. {21} He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Now in our passage, Johnís not saying that to attain "righteousness", you have to work real hard at doing righteous things.

Heís saying that if youíve already received the righteousness that comes from Jesus, then youíll produce righteousness.

Itís like what Jesus said in telling false prophets from true prophets.

(Mat 7:15-23 KJV) Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. {16} Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? {17} Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. {18} A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. {19} Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. {20} Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. {21} Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? {23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

A good tree produces good fruit. It proves what kind of tree it comes from by what kind of fruit there is.

If Jesus has produced His righteousness in your life, then there will be righteous deeds coming out of it.

Itís not enough just to say "Lord, Lord", but the real proof is whether or not the actions of a personís life is consistent with what he says. Itís not just enough to say you know Jesus, but your lifeís actions should prove that you do.

The life of a person who "works iniquity" is proof that they have never known Jesus.


God desires righteousness in our lives.

Sometimes we can kind of approach the sin in our lives as if God kind of winks at us and says, "there, there, itís not that big of a deal".

I think that sometimes when you get a big hug from me, and Iím aware of some serious sin in your life, that you might think itís not that big of a deal to me either.

Godís love for us never changes. And He loves us so much, that He doesnít want us wallowing in a mud pit.

:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil

committeth Ė present tense, "he that keeps on doing sin"

The one who continually sins is following after the pattern set by the devil.

:8 for the devil sinneth from the beginning

Satan was the first one to sin.

(Ezek 28:12-17 KJV) 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. {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. {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. {15} Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. {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. {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.

Satan is not some kind of ugly, deformed character, like the Emperor on Star Wars. He is beautiful, perfect, stunning.

It was Satanís pride that brought his fall into sin.

(Isa 14:12-14 KJV) 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! {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: {14} I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.


Watch out for the pride.

It kind of seems as if all sin has stemmed from this one sin, that of pride.

:8 For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

destroy Ė luo Ėto loose one bound, i.e. to unbind, release from bonds, set free.

Jesus healed a woman on the Sabbath who had been bent over with her sickness. The Pharisees had a problem with the fact that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day, thinking He had done "work".

(Luke 13:15-16 KJV) The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? {16} And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

The word used both places does not mean "annihilate", but carries more the idea of "to render inoperative, to rob of power".

In other words, for now, you will still have times when you taste the power of Satan, but you also have the means to render His attacks inoperative.

Jesus has provided for victory over 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;

Jesus took on flesh, being made like us, so that He could be a proper sacrifice, substituting Himself for us. Itís through His blood that our sins are paid for, itís through His blood that the power of sin is broken.


Making it real to me.

Itís one thing to talk about the victory that Jesus has made available to us, but sometimes itís kind of hard to get it down into my life. Hereís what I see as important in victory.

1) Confession

To God (1Jo 1:9)

But sometimes our sins involve other people, and we need to confess to them as well Ė being honest with each other.

(James 5:16 KJV) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

2) Crucifixion

To let the flesh die.

(Rom 6:11 KJV) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Gal 2:20 KJV) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Thatís not always easy. Death is not pleasant, especially crucifixion. Sometimes we start crying because it hurts, but thatís when you have an idea that the nails are doing their work.

(Mat 16:24 KJV) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

3) Yielding to the Holy Spirit.

Making a conscious decision to have Him fill you and empower you.

(Gal 5:16 KJV) This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

4) The Word

This was how Jesus fought temptation, by quoting the Word of God with each temptation (Mat. 4).

Itís the Word of God that keeps our mind on the things we need to:

(Rom 12:1-2 KJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

5) Prayer

I wonder how much of this "loosing" is done through prayer.

Mt 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Jesus said to His disciples Ė

(Mat 26:41 KJV) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

6) Fellowship

Sometimes we can fool ourselves into thinking that itís not that big of a deal. We need to keep rubbing shoulders with those walking in the light.

(Heb 3:12-13 KJV) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. {13} But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Itís not just one of these things that keeps us walking in victory, itís all of them. Itís learning to be disciplined to incorporate a balance of all of this in my life.

:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin

doth not commit sin Ė present tense, "does not continue to do sin"

:9 for his seed remaineth in him

The seed might be referring to the Word of God, which is often referred to as a "seed"

1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

I think it could also simply refer to the matter of reproduction, the idea that a son has his fatherís "seed" in him, heís got some of the same genetic stuff.

Weíve got a part of Godís nature in us when weíre born again, and thatís why we no longer continue in sin.

:9 and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

he cannot sin Ė ou dunatai amartanein Ė "he is not able to sin"

Paul says much of the same thing, from a different angle Ė

(Rom 6:1-2 KJV) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? {2} God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Again, the idea is that of continuing to live a life of sin.

:10 In this the children of God are manifest

You can tell a tree by its fruit.

An example of this is Jesus talking with the Jews who were wanting to kill Him (Joh 8:31-44)

:10 neither he that loveth not his brother

Why does John stick this on the end of the verse?

Because this is a concrete example of what it means to be not "doing righteousness".

Loving your brother is an example of doing righteousness.