11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
The following are a sampling of the best resources we made available over the last week on Monergism.com. May the Lord richly use the for His own glory and your edification.
Spirit Empowered Mission (14-Part MP3 Series)
by Dr. Arturo Azurdia III
Preaching the Gospel from the Old Testament - Part 1 & Part 2 (MP3s)
by Dr Raymond C Ortlund Jr.
A Body of Divinity (Free eBook)
by Thomas Watson
No Hope Outside of Christ
by Paul David Tripp
Exposition of Revelation 5:9 - Particular Redemption
by Dr. Arturo Azurdia III
An Alien Righteousness
by B B Warfield
Persecuted for Righteousness' Sake: The Christian and Persecution
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
There are two misconceptions about sin in the life of the believer that John is dealing with here.
The first is that, if we are born of God, we are so transformed that we will be incapable of sin. But this contradicts what John has already said in chapter one. We all sin, and if we say otherwise we are liars (1:8), and even make God a liar (1:10). If we are honest, this also matches our experience.
28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
In the previous passage, John says, “Children, it is the last hour,” referring to the immanent return of Christ. He cites the appearance of those opposed to Christ has proof.
But surely the most amazing thing John says here is the fact that God loves us and calls us His children (3:1-2)! The Maker and Sustainer and Sovereign Lord of the universe loves us and has made us His own. Though we were estranged through Adam’s sin and our own, Christ Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, died in our place, turning aside God’s righteous anger and reconciling us to Him. And now He does not just tolerate us, he loves us.
This is the basis of our relationship as John talks of Christ’s return and our meeting Him. He speaks first of what we do with ourselves while we wait. Until that day, we simply abide. We remain in Him. As in John’s discussion of the antichrists, we don’t reject Christ or go looking elsewhere for salvation. We remain in Him (2:28). There might be trials and persecutions and disappointments and disillusionments. Hold on. Don’t give up. He is coming. And remember, God loves us.
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
At first, to not love the world may seem a strict command. There are people in the world, aren’t there? And good things God has made? In a sense it is a relative command, that our love for God the Father should be of such a quality that any attention we pay the world is hate by comparison.
There is another way to read this, though, and John gives us a clue. He summarizes “all that is in the world,” in verse 16 as, “the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and pride of life.” This has a significant similarity to the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.
‘When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6).
Good for food, gratifying the flesh; delight to the eyes, desires of the eyes, and; to be desired to make one wise, the pride of life. The fruit was a simple piece of fruit. Had God offered it to Adam and Eve, it would have been delicious nourishment. When He commanded them not to eat it and they did anyway, it became the ruination of the race. Anything with the potential to thus alienate us from God and bring us to death is not worthy of our love.
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
There are a number of ideas here that deserve our attention, such as the continuity of Old and New Testaments, or the newness that comes with the Advent of Christ. Also familiar are the contrasts that John uses through his letters, and his gospel, too. What stands out here, though, is the complete incompatibility of the contrasts he presents.
Light and hate are incompatible. If someone claims to have the light of insight or understanding, but has hate in his heart, he is wrong. Love and darkness are likewise incompatible. If a person has love in their heart, they have light in their life.
Visitor: If regeneration precedes faith, how can we explain Ephesians 1:13? This verse lists hearing, believing and sealing with the Holy Spirit in that order. If being sealed with the Holy Spirit is the same thing as being indwelled by the Holy Spirit, or if this happens when the heart is changed (ie., with regeneration, as per Ezekiel 36:26-27), doesn't that mean that regeneration follows belief rather than precedes it?
Response: Hi and thank you for your question. Are you suggesting that because the Spirit comes to indwell the believer AFTER he believes and is justified, that the Spirit does no work whatsoever in people prior to and during his conversion? That the Spirit is dormant and is waiting for a natural, graceless person to take the first step to believe, before He will do anything? Consider that If we as regenerate believers need the Spirit daily to believe, obey and persevere in the faith, how much more does the unbeliever need Him to understand and believe the things of the Spirit (1 Cor 2:12,14). The Biblical evidence is so overwhelming that the Spirit also works prior to belief (1 Thess 1:4,5) that this should not even be a debate in the church. The sinner hears and comes to Christ only because the Holy Spirit opens his ears, eyes and understanding to the gospel (Deut 29:4, 30:6; John 6:63-65). As in creation, the Spirit broods over us, so to speak, before He gives the birth to us. It is important that we do not limit the Spirit's work but understand that He has a full array of ministries:
In fact, there are seven major distinct ministries of the Holy Spirit:
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. - 1 John 2:1-6
What does it mean to have an advocate? It means we have someone on our side. But more than that, an advocate is an ally, but one who has more knowledge or authority than we do. They plead our case when we cannot. We don’t know the rules of the system. We don’t know the language or the protocols. We might not even know what is wrong with us that we need assistance.
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
We live in a generation that suffers from alienation, guilt, and confusion. Through electronic communication and social media, we are in constant contact, but feel all alone. We are told there is no right or wrong, but doing anything and everything we please does not feel right and we either experience guilt or, worse, a deadness in our hearts. And while we are completely free and can choose any course or direction for our lives, we are often overwhelmed with options.
John presents here in his letter several contrasts: light and darkness, lies and truth. But there are also the contrasts of fellowship with alienation, forgiveness with guilt, and guidance with confusion.
The blood of Christ is what makes the difference. His blood cleanses us from sin. We could say we don’t have sin, or that there’s not even any such thing as sin. But we would be fooling ourselves (v. 8). But if we confess that sin, we are forgiven through Christ, cleansed, free from guilt (v. 9).