NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY
by Dr. Robert R Seyda
FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN
INTRODUCTION to CHAPTER THREE
In this exciting third chapter, the Apostle John has a treasure chest full of beautiful jewels of spiritual insight to show wondrous love God the Father extended to us! Believe it or not, it involves our relationship with the Creator of the universe! But, sadly, the people of this world don’t know what it is because they have no idea who He is or what He is.
But this is only the beginning, says John, but there’s more coming. For one thing, we will finally see things the way they are, not what we imagined them to be. And we are told that we will immediately recognize it because of what happens in the twinkling of an eye. So, says John, keep living in anticipation of that glorious moment, and do all we can to use Jesus as our model for living here on earth.
It makes no sense to indulge in sinful living, which is next to lawlessness. It would help if you did not forget, says John, the Anointed One came to earth for a reason. None of those who don’t do this have got everything backward. We all should want to be one of God’s in-laws, not one of His outlaws.
The Apostle John takes all of this personally. As a result, we can hold on to something that will keep us from wandering away from the path of holy living. Of course, it involves acting right in God’s eyes. But it has a prequalification. We were given a great model to follow; He will never let us down. But what about those who don’t want to live this way? Where did these people come from who makes a practice of sinning? And, what is God’s answer?
Now, people who are recreated and brought to spiritual life by God don’t make it a practice of sinning. How could they? There is something deep inside them that makes them who they are. A person with a Godly nature will never want to practice and parade their sins. We must learn to tell the difference between God’s children and the Devil’s demons. It is all based upon an original message from our Lord. It will keep us right in God’s sight.
To better understand this, says John, take a look at what happened back in Adam’s day. Not only did Satan fool Eve, but he wanted to deceive her children as well. Sadly, it all ends up in murder. John draws an impressive conclusion from this incident and wants to pass it on to every believer. However, while it certainly brings much good to our lives, it also ushers in things we are not comfortable with. But don’t be surprised, it has been going on for a long, long time.
So, how can we know we’ve been transferred from spiritual death to life? It’s nothing complicated, but for some, it seems so hard to do. If we do what John tells us God wants us to do, it will enhance our lives. If we don’t, then there are dire consequences. So, it’s a case of either do this, or something unfortunate and unwanted will happen. Like oil and water, some things in life just don’t mix.
The Apostle John has no interest in making it complex. Just look at what the Anointed One did to make this happen. Without what He did for us, there is no hope for an everlasting future with God in heaven. But, at the same time, it does offer us an example to follow. Everything is for our benefit and the good of our fellow believers. It is like waiting for the “Walk Light’ to come on before you cross the street, taking away of fear of being injured and even suffering death. It begins with what God transferred to us; that we are to pass on to our Christian brothers or sisters in need. If you don’t share of everything you’ve received, then of everything you have, you will be relieved.
We just can’t talk about doing what God and our Lord Jesus want us to do. If we don’t follow through, then it raises a big question about our relationship with God. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God has something more significant than what we have to handle the stress we sometimes feel in being a holy living Christian in this world, especially when things aren’t going the way we want them to.
John concludes that we need to take care of something if we plan to enjoy the more abundant life our Lord promised us. We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what He said, doing what pleases Him. Again, this is God’s command, not some rule of the Church or a bishop’s demand. It involves something we all enjoy. It keeps us spiritually healthy and grants us a long life. Here’s nothing new; it has been around since the beginning. And doing what our heavenly Father commands, we live sure and secure in Him and He in us. And we experience His deep and abiding presence daily. One day, all of this will become crystal clear because we will have not only heard it, but will see it.