WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER THREE (Lesson XXX) 08/24/21

3:6 So if we stay close to Him, obedient to Him, we won’t be sinning either; but as for those who keep on sinning, they should realize this: They sin because they have never really met Him or become His.

Some Christians believe that if they sin, they are not truly saved. Everyone discovers after they receive the Anointed One that they are not perfect. Some attempt to become Christians again and again only to find out they still sin. Some give up on the Christian life. But the Bible does not teach that a Christian can reach a state of sinless perfection on earth. Christians are not sinless but have less sin. Their spiritual nature goes to war against their human nature. The new creation is free of sin, while the old creature is nothing but sinful. The key to victory in the Christian life is to establish momentum where the reborn spirit through the Anointed One rises by ascending the spiritual ladder. The sinner’s stillborn spirit still lies motionless under the devil’s spell. Take note, those who see and know the Lord in fellowship do not produce sin.  Sinning is not part of abiding in union with Him.  Therefore, whenever we sin, we do not reflect fellowship with the Lord. It does not mean that the Christian must be sinless, [1] but that sin is abnormal to the Christian life[2] and brings grief to the believer.[3]

Notice, we should not say about others, “they sinned because have never met Him, nor gotten to know Him.” No one can detect faith in someone else’s heart. None of us can sit in judgment on someone else. Remember, living in union with the Spirit does not represent what a believer does on their own. That’s because living for God and living in sin are mutually exclusive. Spirituality is dependent upon the Holy Spirit being in control. Christians live according to the will of God and the character of God.  If there is one sin in the conduct of a believer, the Holy Spirit is no longer totally in charge; they control their behavior. Being under the control of the Holy Spirit is at odds with the life of the believer is out of control.[4]

Remember, Jesus is entirely free from sin. And since the Anointed One is perfectly pure and came to take away sins, anyone who genuinely believes in Him does not give themselves to sin. A child of God should never break fellowship with God when they sin. It causes them to stay out of harmony with Him until they confess that sin and allows the Holy Spirit to retake control of their life. During their broken fellowship, their Lawyer, Jesus the Anointed One, the righteous one, defends their case before the Father.[5]  Jesus represents all their cases before the Father. The Father may have to discipline them to put them back into communion with Himself. Just because they are a true believer, they are not protected from the consequences of sin.[6]

COMMENTARY

An early church theologian, Didymus the Blind (313-398 AD), talks about sinners who have no personal relationship with God by pointing out that those who dwell in virtue and true doctrine do not sin out of ignorance. They are not unaware; they know that the one who remains in the Anointed One is righteous and sanctified and does not sin. For how can someone act unrighteous when they are in the company of those living right, and how can they be content to place corruption alongside holiness? Therefore, anyone who sins is outside the Anointed One and has no part or fellowship with Him.[7]

John Gill (1697-1771) says that as the branch in the vine, deriving all light, life, grace, holiness, wisdom, strength, joy, peace, and comfort from the Anointed One; or dwells in fellowship with Him by faith to enjoy communion with Him as a fruit of enjoying union with Him; and stands fast in Him, being rooted and grounded in Him, and lives by His truths and ordinances, take up His rest, and places their security in Him, and perseveres through Him: does not sin; not that they have no sin in them, or lives without sin, but they do not live in sin, nor surrenders to a spiteful attitude in life; for this would be inconsistent with their staying in union with the Anointed One, and to enjoy communion with Him.

Those who sin habitually, says Gill, have never met Jesus, neither gotten to know Him. It’s because they’ve never looked at Him through eyes of faith. That’s why they have never spiritually seen the glory, beauty, fullness, and suitableness of the Anointed One for their needs. Because of this, they do not know how much it cost to pay the price for their salvation. No wonder they have never experienced the joy they have in communion with Him in His presence. So, that leaves the question: What do the people of God have in common with the people of sin? No more than light has with darkness.[8] Consequently, since they’ve never met Him and gotten to know Him as their Savior or experienced His presence in their lives, for though they may profess to know Him in words, they deny Him in the way they live.[9]

In Jonathan Edwards’ (1703-1758) sermon concerning the perseverance of the saints, he talks about those who might continue in sin after professing to be born again. Those who once truly believed in the Anointed One never fall away and perish. It is because they are now unbelievers and are in a state of condemnation. They are spoken of as those that never believed.[10] Indeed, they did not believe in the name of God’s only begotten Son. It supposes that none of those that believed are now unbelievers or in a state of condemnation.

So again, those who stand condemned on judgment day are those, not only whom the Anointed One will know not, but those He never knew.[11] But is this an accurate representation of those who were once true Christians, known and owned by the Anointed One, but then went astray? Again, listen to what the Apostle Paul said, “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others, I myself might be disqualified.”[12] Paul did nothing other than what he felt needed to be done in certain circumstances, especially when he knew beforehand what might happen. That is why he sent word to the chief captain of the Jews who lay in wait to kill him, to keep from being murdered by them. God revealed to him the night before so that Paul would live to see Rome.[13] That is why he would not allow the sailors to leave the ship.[14] That would have been impossible if Paul had not seen His Light and heard His voice, gotten to know Him, to then fall away into sin.[15]

John Wesley (1703-1791) is preaching on the new birthmarks in a believer. The first, says Wesley, is faith.[16] But it is not theoretical or speculative faith. It is not a half-hearted acknowledgment that Jesus is the Anointed One, nor trust in a creed or even agreeing that the Bible is holy. And for sure, it is not inactive faith. It is a true living faith that one has been born again of God through the Spirit. Secondly, it is a belief that produces fruit, not only faith such as the fruit of the Spirit but faith that we can overcome outward sin with the indwelling Spirit. This is only possible when the branch remains in union with the vine. 

Wesley says that the Apostle John interprets his words by the tenor of his discourse. In the fifth verse of this chapter, he had said, “You know that He,” the Anointed One, “was revealed to take away our sins; since in Him is no sin.” What is the inference John draws from this? “If you are in union with Him, you don’t sin. But for those who do sin, they have never met Him, neither gotten to know Him.[17] To his enforcement of this critical doctrine, John submits a vital caution: “Dear children, don’t let anyone lead you into the wrong way. The Anointed One always did what was right. So, to be good like the Anointed One, you must do what is right!”[18] [19]

Joseph Bellamy (1719-1790) was an American Congregationalist pastor, author, and theologian in New England. He shows us where true love’s motives to God come from. The Lord’s supernatural perfections are (1) His absolute understanding, whereby He knows Himself and all things possible and is conscious of all things past, present, and future, an all-comprehensive view. So, that from everlasting to everlasting, His knowledge neither increases nor diminishes, nor His views of things experience the slightest variation, being always absolutely complete, and consequently necessarily always the same. (2) His almighty power, by which He can, with immeasurable ease, do anything that He pleases. And His moral perfections are (a) boundless wisdom, whereby He is able and apt to arrange everything orderly in the universe and for the best outcomes, and after the best manner. (b) His perfect holiness, and why He is brave enough to love right and hate wrong, to love righteousness and hate iniquity. (c) His impartial justice, whereby He is unchangeable prone to render to everyone according to their needs. (d) The bottomless goodness that allows Him to give His creatures fantastic favors if it pleases Him. And (e) His truth and faithfulness in fulfilling His will, according to His word. That way, there is an everlasting harmony between His will, His Word, and His works. And His being, supernatural and moral perfections, and glory all result from what is inherently in Himself. Therefore, His essence is authentic; He is infinite, eternal, unchangeable, independent, sovereign, and all-sufficient.[20]


[1] 1 John 1:8, 10; 2:1-2

[2] Galatians 5:16-17

[3] Romans 7:20

[4] Galatians 2:19

[5] 1 John 2:1-2

[6] Romans 6:21

[7] Didymus the Blind, Ancient Christian Commentaries, Bray, G. (Ed.), James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude, pp. 197-198

[8] 2 Corinthians 6:14

[9] John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible (Kindle Location 340826)

[10] John 3:18

[11] Matthew 7:23

[12] 2 Corinthians 9:27

[13] Acts of the Apostles 23:12-21

[14] Ibid. 27:31

[15] Works of Jonathan Edwards: Vol. 6, Remarks on Important Theological Controversies, Ch. 7, p. 480

[16] Galatians 3:26

[17] I John 3:6

[18] Ibid. 3:7

[19] Works of John Wesley: Vol. 5, Sermons on Several Occasions, Sermon 18, pp. 280-283

[20] Bellamy, Joseph, the Works of: Volume I, published by Stephen Dodge, New York, 1811, Section II, p. 69

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s