WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER THREE (Lesson XXXVII) 09/02/21

3:8 But when people habitually sin, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.

EXPOSITION

John continues to reiterate the teaching of the Master, Jesus the Anointed One, that he heard first hand for over three years. Once, Jesus told the parable about how weeds and wheat often grow together in the field until the time of harvest. At that time, the weeds are gathered to be burned, and then the grain is harvested to be milled into flour. After Jesus finished with His parable, He went into a house. His disciples followed Him and asked Him to explain what He was talking about with the weeds and the wheat.

Jesus did not hesitate, but told them right away that the person who planted the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world. The good wheat is the people in God’s Kingdom; the weeds are the people who belong to the devil’s empire.[1] And that was not the only time our Lord distinguished between those who do what is right and those who do what is wrong, and their future. He goes on to say that God is the Father of those who do what is right, and the devil is the father of those who do wrong.[2] It undoubtedly inspired the Apostle Paul to tell the Ephesians that when they used to obey the world’s standards, they stumble in Satan’s lies, but now they live according to heaven’s standards and walk in God’s truth.[3]

And if you don’t think God is serious about this, just remember that when angels sinned, God did not let them go free without punishment. He sent them to earth and put them in caves of darkness, where they are being held for judgment.[4] The Apostle Jude adds his stamp of approval to what the Apostle Peter says.[5] It was God’s plan from the beginning to eventually destroy Satan and his fallen angels and all those who foolishly follow him.[6] Isn’t it ironic that the demon Jesus cast out of a man in the Synagogue cried out to Him, “Jesus of Nazareth! What do you want with us? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are – God’s Holy One!”[7] And once Apostle John was following Jesus, he heard the Master say, “Now is the time for the world to be judged; now the ruler of this world will be thrown down in defeat.”[8]

So, the Apostle Paul was not overstepping his authority when he declared to the believers in Rome that the God who brings peace would soon defeat Satan and give them power over him.[9] As he explained to the Colossians, Paul said that God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority and shamed them publicly when He won the victory on the cross and showed the world that they were powerless against Him.[10] After all, this was the reason why He came to earth and took on human form in the first place.[11] And the Apostle John would see this played out in his revelation when he saw the Dragon seized and bound with chains to remain imprisoned for a thousand years before he ended up in the bottomless pit.[12]

Remember, the devil is not on our side; he is against us. He is the great accuser or slanderer.[13] The Apostle John tells us in verse eight that the devil was a sinner from the beginning. From the beginning of what? From the beginning of sin. The devil was the first sinner and has never ceased to sin. If the devil committed the first sin and has sinned unceasingly ever since, then whoever sins are morally his offspring. There is the kingdom of God and the domain of the evil one, and no one can find or make a third neutral realm; if they are not in the one, they are in the other. Verse eight seems to be conclusive as to the personal existence of the devil.[14] If the one is a mere personification of a tendency, why not the other? Both should be personal or neither.[15] The Anointed One’s act in removing our sins from us destroys the devil’s works, for, by the manifestation of the Light, the darkness is dispersed and destroyed.[16] The Greek verb lyō means unbinding or dissolving, therefore destroying – used frequently by John in his Gospel.[17] Our sins are the evil one’s works: what is sin in us is his natural tendency.

On the other hand, divine righteousness originates from having the nature of God.  Therefore, it is impossible to sin using our divine nature.  But, on the other hand, we derive sin from the devil. Thus, two clans, the brood of Satan and the family of God, reflect the nature of their father. We saw that Cain was of “that wicked one” because he killed his brother.[18] That is because he was a child of the devil.[19]  He acted like the devil because his behavior reflected who his father was. Therefore, all sin has its origin in Satan. God created Lucifer, son of the morning, but he became Satan on his own.[20] Thus, the devil is the source of all sin. 

What principle do we find in this truth? First, we can trace the source of all sin to Satan. The devil formulated the concept of sin.  All his children are cornered, corrupted, and controlled by him.  He is the spiritual source of those who commit sin.  The practice of sin was originated and introduced into the human race by the devil; thus, unregenerate people are his children, not merely because they imitate him, but because the principle of the sin within us points to him as the source.  Non-Christians belong to Satan and give him their allegiance. Therefore, it is natural for a son to act like his father.  A natural person is someone born but once. They may be cultured, religious, refined, a good citizen, educated, and even nice, but they are part of the devil’s horde. It means, behind all evil today is a wicked being who constantly undermines God and His will for the world.  He undermines God in every way he can. As a result, we continuously run into the super-demonic “works” of Satan. That is why both Christians and non-Christians must reckon with him as an evil force.

After all, Satan committed the first sin and continues to practice sin. So, what have we learned? The devil introduced sin into the universe. When we take part in sin, we share in satanic activity. God’s enemy is the spiritual force behind all evil. He introduced sin into the human race, and he sustains its use. He was the first sinner. Today’s sinners are his descendants.[21] The instant Lucifer rebelled against God, he introduced independence from God into the universe. He falsely slanders the righteous character of God from that point on. He is not subject to reform or improvement.

Remember, God did not create the devil; He created Lucifer, the Day-Star (or light bearer).  The devil did not always exist. Lucifer became the devil when he sinned. Before he fell, Satan had authority over all angels in the universe. He was their commander-in-chief. He was the first angel or chief angel (the archangel). Michael became the archangel when Lucifer fell.[22] We find the story of how Lucifer turned into a devil in Isaiah.[23] This Evil One declares five “I will” in this chapter. It is his declaration of independence from God, of spiritual anarchy. By becoming autonomous from God, he set in motion a revolutionary system against God. He aimed to displace God as a center of worship. He became a law unto himself. Therefore, whoever commits sin goes independent of God, just like Satan. Sin is autonomy and independence from God, “I don’t need God.  I will run my life. I do not need God for a crutch.”[24]

We all know that the devil murders, lies, and steals.[25] That is the sum of his modus operandi. These are the systems by which the devil undermines people’s faith. First, he lies to people to get them to believe that they can go independent of God – “I did it my way.” Then, he brings confusion and darkness into mankind’s way of thinking. That is why young people buy into his lies about drugs and free sex. His goal is always the same – get people to ignore God and put Christianity out on the margin of things. Get them to lie and cheat or do anything that they can get away with. It always ends in destruction.[26] Satan convinced Adam and Eve to sin[27] by enticing them to go against God’s word.[28] Their first child became a murderer. There is an army of murderers roaming the streets of the major cities of the world. Murder hides in the hearts of all unregenerate humanity.  It is the manifestation of the “children of wrath,”[29] because non-Christians tell lies easier than telling the truth. They tell white lies and pink lies. That is because their devilish father invented lying.[30]  They do his will.  It is just natural for them; it is part and parcel of their group heritage.[31]


[1] Matthew 13:13, 38

[2] John 8:44

[3] Ephesians 2:2

[4] 2 Peter 2:4

[5] Jude 1:6

[6] Genesis 3:15; See Isaiah 27:1

[7] Mark 1:24

[8] John 12:31; 16:11

[9] Romans 16:20

[10] Colossians 2:15

[11] Hebrews 2:14

[12] Revelation 20:2-3, 10, 15

[13] As in Job 1:1-22 and 2:1-13 Cf. John 13:2; Revelation 2:10; 12:9, 12; 20:2, 10

[14] See John 8:44

[15] Cf. 1 John 3:5 with the latter half of 1 John 3:8

[16] John 1:5

[17] Ibid. 1:27; 2:19; 5:18; 7:23; 10:35; 11:44

[18] Ibid. 3:12

[19] Ibid. 3:10

[20] Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 24:12-17

[21] John 8:44

[22] Jude 1:9

[23] Isaiah 14

[24] Romans 8:7-8

[25] John 10:10

[26] Ibid. 8:34

[27] Genesis 3:1ff

[28] Revelation 12:9

[29] Ephesians 2:1-3

[30] John 8:44

[31] Ibid. 13:2, 27; See Acts of the Apostles 5:3; 2 Corinthians 11:3

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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