I) [1 Jn 2:28-29]:

(v. 28) "And now, dear children, abide in Him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming.

(v. 29) If you know that He [Jesus Christ] is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of Him."



"And now, dear children" = born again eternally secure believers are in view.

a) [1 Jn 2:1]:

"My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."

b) [1 Jn 2:12]:

"I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name."

c) [Eph 1:13-14]:

(v. 13) "And you also were included in Christ [baptism of the HS] when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him [in Christ] with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

(v. 14) Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance [of eternal life] until the redeption of those who are God's possession [His children, (cp Jn 1:12-13)] - to the praise of His glory."


abide in Him" = "abide", Gk: "mEnEtE". 'Believers are commanded to stay in fellowship with Jesus Christ', i.e., obey His commands.

a) [Compare Jn 15:10-11]:

(v. 10) "If you obey My commands, you will remain [= abide] in my love, just as I have obeyed My Father's commands and remain in His love.

(v. 11) I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

"If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love" = "remain" = Gk: "mEnEitE", same root word as "abide" in 1 Jn 2:28.

"Just as I have obeyed My Father's commands and remain in His love" =

This verse confirms that salvation is not the subject - and especially not losing it - when our Lord speaks of abiding in His Father's love. For Jesus is telling the disciples to abide, i.e., remain in His love by keeping faithful to what He has commanded them to do 'just as I have been faithful to the Father and has abided in the Father's love.' Our Lord cannot be describing the maintaining of His own salvation here for He is God. On the other hand, He is speaking of maintaining His continued fellowship with God the Father. So in turn believers are to follow our Lord's example.

b) [Cp 1 Jn 1:3-4]:

"We proclaim to you [through this letter] Whom we have seen and heard, [Christ = "The Word of Life (v. 1)], so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.

(v. 4) We write this to make your joy complete."

Notice "so that your joy may be complete" is as a result of abiding in Christ, i.e., maintaining fellowship with God, (same phrase used in Jn 15:10-11). This is done via obedience to our Lord's commands. And the same joyous result occurs by reading and obeying what John has written in his first epistle relative to abiding in Christ, i.e., maintaining fellowship with God as it says in 1 Jn 1:3-4 quoted above.

I) [1 Jn 2:28-29 cont.]:

(v. 28) "And now, dear children, abide in Him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming.

(v. 29) If you know that He [Jesus Christ] is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of Him."


"that when He appears" = that when He appears at the Rapture which would be the next appearing of our Lord to believers when they will be judged - some to being shamed, (ref. 1 Thes 4:13-18 )

"We may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming" =

Author John exhorts fellow believers to abide in Christ, i.e., obey His commandments so as to be in fellowship with Him so that they "may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming". Unfaithful, i.e., disobedient believers, cannot be confident that our Lord will reward them for their Christian service, (cp. 1 Cor 3:11-15; 2 Cor 5:10 ).


Verse 2:29 has believers in view who know that Jesus Christ is righteous and thereby know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of God. The next 3 verses which follow, expand upon this context of believers being exhorted to abide in Christ because of Who God is and who they are as children of God:

a) [1 Jn 3:1-3]:

(v. 1) "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.

(v. 2) Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

(v. 3) Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness."

I cont.) [1 Jn 2:28-29 cont.]:

(v. 28) "And now, dear children, abide in Him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming.

(v. 29) If you know that He [Jesus Christ] is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of Him."


[Zane C. Hodges states, "The Bible Knowledge Commentary, N.T., Walvoord & Zuck Ed., Victor Books, USA, 1988, p. 893]:

"At this point John began to develop a line of thought which culminates in the acquisition of the boldness of which he had just spoken (2:28; cf. 4:17-19). The fellowship with the apostolic circle and with God which he had in mind (cf. 1:3) requires discerning the way the lives of God's children are manifested in their actions. John was moving toward the thought that when one's life is properly manifested, God Himself is manifested in it (4:12-16).

2:29. This verse introduces for the first time in 1 John the explicit thought of new birth. Since the readers know that He (God the Father or God the Son) is righteous, they would also know that everyone who does what is right has been born of Him....

The statement has nothing to do with the readers' individual assurance of salvation. It is rather an assertion that when they see real righteousness... exhibited, they can be sure that the person who exhibits it is a child of God. This righteousness, of course, for John can only mean the kind that Christ had enjoined [i.e., the absolutely perfect righteousness which is from God, (ref. Phil 3:8-9)]. It has nothing to do with mere humanistic kindness and morality. The converse of John's statement does not follow, namely, that everyone who is born of God does righteousness. John knew that Christians can walk in the darkness and are susceptible to sin (1:6, 8; 2:1). He was writing here of the way one can see the new birth in the actions of others."

So on the one hand the believer, i.e., who by definition is one who is born of God, (cf. Jn 1:12-13), who at the moment is not practicing godly righteousness, would not produce evidence via his lifestyle that he is a born again child of God. So those who know that Jesus Christ is righteous would not have any outward signs of righteous acts provided to them from such unfaithful believers. The latter are nevertheless born of God, in spite of their ungodly lifestyles.

And on the other hand, every individual who is practicing godly righteousness must be a believer; and by such practice he is known to be born of God by those who know that Jesus Christ is righteous and thus have the ability to discern between human and divine good. For no unbeliever can practice godly righteousness:

1) [Compare Ro 8:7-8]:

(v. 7) "Because the mind [of unbelievers & carnal believers which is] set on the flesh [sin nature] is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.

(v. 8) and those who are in the flesh [unbelievers and carnal believers] cannot please God [with acts of godly righteousness]."


Although all believers are born of God, only believers when they are faithful will show evidence to others of such a born again relationship with our Lord, (Ref. Mt 7:18 ).

Recall that there are moments in every born again believer's life when he does not practice righteousness:

1) [1 Jn 1:8, 10]:

(v. 8) "If we [believers, (v. 2:2)] say that we have no sin [sin singular = sin nature] we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not us.

(v. 10) "If we [believers, (v. 2:2)] say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."

2) [Cp 1 Jn 2:1]:

"My little children, I am writing these things to you that you many not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous."

"And if anyone sins [the word "anyone" being limited to believers in this verse, ("My little children")], we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." =

So the possibility of true believers sinning is herein established with the result that, when a believer does sin, Jesus Christ Himself defends the security of his salvation as Advocate before the Father because of His once for all time sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, (1 Jn 2:2).

So at those moments when a believer sins he is at those moments not demonstrating in his life that he is actually born again, although positionally he is declared by God to be saved, even seated in heaven:

3) Eph 2:4-6]:

(v. 4) "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

(v. 5) even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

(v. 6) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,"

[Dr. J. Vernon McGee states, "Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee; Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tn; 1983, Vol. V, p. 786]:

"...It is one thing to testify that we know Christ and are in Him; it is quite another to have a life that reveals that He is our righteousness. It is wonderful to know positionally that we are in Christ and that we are accepted in the Beloved, but it is altogether different to have a life down here that is commensurate with that. John is telling us that the way we recognize other believers is by their lives and not by their lips. Righteousness is a family characteristic of the Father and His children. God's children [when they abide in Christ] take after their Father - they have His characteristics."

Hence we have stated here by Dr. McGee, the major theme of chapter 3 and all of First John for that matter: Jesus Christ is absolute righteousness. And we believers are commanded to look to Him - first of all through faith alone in Him alone as Savior, (Ro 3:21-24; Eph 2:4-6), (Jn 3:16, Eph 2:8-9); confession of known sins, (1 Jn 1:7-10); earnest study of His Word, the Bible, (2 Tim 2:15: Eph 5:26); and then obedience to and through Him unto divine good works, (1 Jn 2:3-4; Jn 15:10; Eph 2:10). And just as we were accounted as righteous in our position in heaven as a result of our faith in Christ as Savior, so we believers are also accounted as righteous in our experience when we perform divinely originated good works, (1 Jn 3:3).

II) [1 Jn 3:1]:

"And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming."

"And now, little children" = "little children" = i.e., born again, completely forgiven unto eternal life, (cf Ac 10:43), eternally secure believers, (cf. 1 Jn 2:1, 12).

"abide in Him = Jesus Christ, ref. in this verse: "when He His coming]

"abide" = remain in fellowship by obeying Christ's commands, (See previous comments on Jn 2:28)

A) [Compare Jn 15:10]:

"If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father's commands and remain in His love."

"that when He appears" = i.e., the Rapture which would be the next appearing of our Lord, (ref. 1 Thes 4:13-18 {short description of image})

III) [1 Jn 3:2]:

"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet that [which] we shall be. We know that, if He should appear [at the Rapture, (1 Thes 4:13-18)], we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is."

"It has not appeared [to the world] as yet that [which] we [believers] shall be" =

Believers in this world are still in their mortal bodies and are not yet perfected in this life, i.e., their bodies and minds are not yet perfect and they do sin and fall short of the glory of God, (1 Jn 1:8, 10). They are to look forward to the time when they will be "like Him," absolutely righteous - without sin, (1 Cor 15:51-54).

"Because we shall see Him just as He is." =

The born again believer still cannot see Jesus Christ as He is at this time because he still has the sin nature which contaminates his mind and which constantly clouds over Who our Lord is - His absolutely holy and righteous character, (see Ro 7:21-23 below).

"If He should appear we shall be like Him" =

This will occur as the final event of the Church Age: The "Blessed Hope", (Titus 2:13), the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ when He comes to take His own home with Him to heaven in their resurrected bodies, (1 Thes 4:13-18).

A) [Compare Ro 7:21-23] which speaks of the warring factions of "evil" and the "inner man", [the born again spirit, (2 Cor 4:16)] within the believer:

(v. 21) "I [Paul, speaking as a born again believer] find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good.

(v. 22) For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, [born again spirit, (cp. Eph 3:16)]],

(v. 23) but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members."

IV) [1 Jn 3:3]:

"And every one who has this hope fixed on Him [= the sure hope of His appearing, i.e., the Rapture, (Titus 2:13 & I Thes 4:13-18), and of being transformed into His likeness, (I Cor 15:49-54)] purifies himself, just has He is pure."

At those moments when a believer fixes his eyes on Jesus Christ - fixes on the sure hope of our Lord's appearing at the Rapture and enacting our transformation into perfect human beings - fixes his hope the righteousness of Christ overcoming his own unrighteousness then by that admission of his own shortcomings he is purified by the grace of God.

A) [Compare 1 Jn 1:5-10]:

(v. 5) "And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

(v. 6) If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;

(v. 7) but if we [believers] walk in [NOT according to] the light as He [God, v. 5] Himself is in the light, [thus exposing our own true natures and sinful behavior as compared with God's absolute holiness, then through that admission, that confession] we have fellowship One with another, [God and we believers] and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

(v. 8) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

(v. 9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

(v. 10) If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives."

Let's examine key points in this passage:


a) [1 Jn 1:7]:

"But if we [believers] walk in the light as He [God] Himself is in the light, we [God and we believers] have fellowship One with another [God with believers], and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."

"we have fellowship One with another" =

God and we believers have fellowship One with another. The previous verse 6 says, "If we [believers] claim to have fellowship with Him [God] yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.". The subject in verses 6 & 7 is believers having fellowship with God as it is in this entire passage in I John. Verse 7 therefore continues with the subject of how God and the believer can "have fellowship One with another":

"One with another" =

"allelon" - the Greek pronoun "allelon" is a reciprocal pronoun meaning 'One with another' or each other. It refers back to the two subjects in verse 6: God and "we" believers]

"but if we [believers] walk in the light as He [God] Himself is in the light" =

but if we believers walk in, (not according to), the light. It has already been determined in this study that even a faithful believer cannot consistently walk according to the light because he still possesses a sin nature that is active and alive, (cp. Ro 7:21-23). To walk according to the light, which this verse does not say, would be to walk in sinless perfection. This would be impossible for the believer to do considering his inherent sin nature; so the message of the book of 1 John would be an academic and futile one if it demanded that the believer walk in sinless perfection.

[Zane Hodges states, op. cit., p. 885]:

"It is significant that John talked of walking "in" the light, rather than according to the light. To walk according to the light would require sinless perfection and would make fellowship with God impossible for sinful humans. To walk in it, however, suggests instead openness and responsiveness to the light. John did not think of Christians as sinless, even though they are walking in the light, as is made clear in the last part of this verse. For John added that "the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from every sin." This statement is grammatically coordinate with the preceding one, "We have fellowship with one another." The statement of verse 7, in its entirety, affirms that two things are true of believers who walk in the light: (a) they are in fellowship with God and (b) they are being cleansed from every sin."

[Dr. McGee states, op. cit., p. 761]:

"The important thing is where we [believers] walk, not how we walk. Have we come into the presence of God and allowed the Word of God to shine upon [your] sinful hearts?....

Now, suppose you are a child of God, and you are living in sin - but you see it now in the light of the Word of God. Have you lost your salvation?....John says, 'And the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.' That word "cleanseth is in the present tense - Christ's blood just keeps on cleansing us from all sin. You haven't lost your salvation, but you have lost your fellowship, and you cannot regain your fellowship with God until you are cleansed [through confession, (1 Jn 1:9)]."

So what does it really mean in a practical sense to a believer when God says through the Apostle John, "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light?"

A believer cannot truly walk in sinless perfection, i.e., according to the light. What John is saying in verse 7 is that "God is light; in Him there is no darkness [sin] at all" (v.6); and so the believer is to focus his mentality on the absolute perfection of God, especially as it is detailed and explained in His Word. This requires an earnest study of the Bible. Compare what Eph 5:25-27 says about how God the Holy Spirit; the "water" - washes the believer "through the word." So if the believer focuses his mind on the absolute holiness of God with the perspective that the believer truly recognizes before God that he has a depraved nature, in other words, if that believer acknowledges his sinful condition to God on a moment to moment basis then that believer is walking in the light. He is allowing the light which is the absolutely perfect righteousness of God to illuminate his sinful nature - his sins - his darkness, whatever that may be and then that believer is truly walking in the light, his true nature being freely exposed to God for God's gracious working of cleansing and God's establishment of fellowship with the believer and Himself in spite of the sinful acts of the believer. Have you ever heard someone say to you, 'Keep your eyes on Jesus.'? This expression should have great significance when viewed in the light of the book of 1 John. Verse 9 of 1 John chapter one, which we will examine soon, tells what the believer must do in order for the believer to be placed by God in a position of fellowship with God Himself - in order for that believer to walk in the light, to have his sins cleansed. This command in verse 9 places that believer in the position of walking "in the light." The reason why God can do this - place a believer in fellowship with Himself - thus cleansing that believer of sin - is that His Son has propitiated the world relative to the payment of the whole world's sin, (v. 7).


The reason why God is justified in doing this - the reason why God does not violate His own holiness and absolute justice when he places a sinful believer in fellowship with Himself, is explained in the second half of verse 7:

a) [1 Jn 1:7 first half]:

"but if we [believers] walk in the light as He [God] Himself is in the light, we [God & we believers] have fellowship with one another [believers with God]..........."

And here is the justification - the reason why God can provide cleansing and fellowship for His child, the believer:

b) [1 Jn 1:7 second half]:

"and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."

"...and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us [believers] from all sin." = Because the believer has appropriated forgiveness through what our Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross through his, the believer's, once for all time act of faith in Christ as Savior, (Acts 10:43), then that believer has available to him a cleansing - a payment of the penalty - for his sins relative to eternal life and relative to temporal life. (Temporal sins = the day to day sins of the believer which take him out of fellowship with God but not out of eternal life). A believer can have fellowship with God because of what God the Son did on the cross. God could not cleanse a believer from his temporal sins without a penalty having already been paid and thereby satisfying God's Holiness and Justice. God cannot just forgive and cleanse a man of his sin without exacting a payment for those transgressions. That would be letting the man get away with doing evil. So it is the literal blood of Jesus Christ which was shed for the believer which provides the means by which God can continually cleanse the repentant/confessing believer from his sin and continually bring that believer back into fellowship with Himself. Just as salvation is not accomplished by anything a person thinks, says or does; so fellowship is not accomplished by anything a person does either - just an acknowledgment, an acceptance of one's shortcomings, (1 Jn 1:9). It is all by the grace of God - all to His credit - to His exclusive glory. Just as God is justified in saving a believer unto eternal life because of what His Son did on the cross, so God is also justified in bringing a believer into fellowship with Himself because of the blood which was shed at Calvary. It is not the action of confessing one's sins which justifies God in bringing a child of His into fellowship with Himself but it is solely the work of His Son on the cross.


The next verse in 1 John chapter 1 eradicates the second false way which men attempt to walk with God: Men claiming to be without sin.

McGee, op. cit., p. 762:

"Another method which is often used is an attempt to bring man up to God's level. They say that man has reached sinless perfection and that he is living on that very high plateau. Well, John deals with that approach. Listen to him -"

a) [1 John 1:8]:

"If we [believers] claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."

"sin" = "hamartian" - sin, singular - sin nature, (cp Ro 7:17, 20-21).

This verse can be a startling one. If we believers thought that we were without sin for the moment, (i.e., had no sin nature which constantly seeks to express itself with sinful thoughts, words and deeds), then 1 John 1:8 refutes that thought. God says, through the words of the Apostle John, that believers who claim to be for a moment without sin are not telling the truth. "The truth is not in" them, they are actually deceiving themselves. A believer may not be conscious of sin in his life or having a sin nature which produces those acts of sin, but this does not indicate that there is a sinless condition. A believer who considers himself as not having sinned for a time is deceiving himself, his eyes are not on God's Word. He is neither walking in the light of God's holiness nor keeping his eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ through the careful examination of the Word of God.

[Zane Hodges, (op. cit., p. 885), states]:

"If Christians understand the truth that God's Word teaches about the depravity of the human heart, [cp Romans chapter 7] they know that just because they are not conscious of failure does not mean that they are free from it. If the truth is 'in' them as a controlling, motivating influence, this kind of self-deception will not take place. Whether someone claims to be 'without sin' for a brief period of time or claims it as a permanent attainment, the claim is false."

As a matter of fact, verse 10, which follows, confirms that a believer cannot claim to be sinless even for a brief period of time at the risk of calling God a liar because of what God has said in His Word:

b) [1 Jn 1:10]:

"If we [believers] claim we have not sinned, we make Him [God] out to be a liar and His Word has no place in our lives."

"If we" - If we believers - recall that this part of John's epistle was written exclusively to believers, cp verses 2:1-2

i) [1 Jn 2:1-2]:

(v. 1) "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone [any one believer] sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous;.

(v. 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only but also for those of the whole world."

The above passage states that John is writing to those who are his "dear children" for whom is provided an Advocate with the Father whenever that child sins in order to successfully defend that child against receiving eternal condemnation, i.e., John is writing to believers. Unbelievers do not have an Advocate until they become believers.


Since God cannot be reduced to the level of man nor can man be elevated to the level of God, the solution to man's having fellowship with God therefore begins with 1 Jn 1:9-10.

a) [1 Jn 1:9]:

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us these sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."


Verse 9 of 1 John chapter one brings the believer the remedy for sin in his life through confession which opens the way for God to bring His child back into fellowship with Himself and enable the believer to grow in obedience to His Word.

"If we [believers] confess [present tense, best translation: 'If we confess'] our sins...

["If" - maybe you will, maybe you won't, 3rd class condition 'if' statement - subjunctive mood]

...He is faithful and just and will forgive us these sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

[Compare Ps 32:5]:

"I [David] acknowledged my sin to Thee,

And my iniquity did not hide;

I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD'

And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin."

[Compare Pr 28:13]:

"He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,

But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion."

From 1 John verse 7 we have, "but if we walk in the light". Walking in the light in verse 7 is saying the same thing as "If we confess our sins.." in verse 9. The issue in the phrase in verse 7 of walking in the light is not a matter of walking with God through one's own effort. It is actually a matter of recognition of one's own depravity - of recognition of one's incompatibility with the Absolute Holiness and Righteousness of Christ. Walking in the light is not a matter of one's effort at all - and neither is confessing one's sins. Observe in 1 John 1:7 that the phrase is "but if we walk in the light" not 'but if we walk according to the light.'

In order to walk in the light, Christians are commanded to be discerning of what is right and what is wrong. This necessitates an earnest study of doctrines taught in the Bible and a constant acknowledgment to God when one does not conform to the standard of God's Holiness. This concept is stated in verse 9:

a cont.) [1 Jn 1:9 cont.]:

"If we [believers] confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us these sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."


"confess" = "homologomen" = The confession or acknowledgment of one's sins is what the Greek word "homologomen" means. The word literally means, 'we say the same thing':

"homo" = same

"logomen" = we say = This comes from the Greek verb "lego" = to speak or to say.

Therefore "homologomen = we believers are saying the same thing that God the Holy Spirit has said to us. He has brought our sins to our attention which we admit to, i.e., we confess our sins.

Notice that the verb is in the present tense. Considering that one cannot say one is without sin at any moment in time, (v. 8), nor that one has not sinned at any moment in time, (v. 10), then one must conclude that confession of sin needs to occur moment to moment in order to maintain fellowship with God.

[Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, by W.E. Vine, Revell Co, Old Tappan, N.J., 1981, p. 224]:

" HOMOLOGEO,... lit., to speak the same thing (homos, same, lego, to speak), to assent, accord, agree with,....... to confess by way of admitting oneself guilty of what one is accused of, the result of inward conviction, [which comes from God the Holy Spirit], 1 John 1:9..."

a cont.) [1 Jn 1:9 cont.]:

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us these sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."


"If we confess our sins =

ean homologomen .....tas hamartias emon =

if ...we confess the sins ..........our

The Greek text indicates a third class if-then situation: if we believers confess, (present tense): maybe you will and maybe you won't say the same thing to God that He is saying to us about specific sins in our lives that we have committed them.

This confession is not a deed but an admission, an acceptance of guilt. And by this acceptance a believer is freed by God of all sin. All of the believer's daily sins up to the point of confession are completely cleansed. This is like salvation in that the cleansing we receive is by accepting our guilt and trusting in God to make it right. When salvation occurs, however, our sins are cleansed past, present and future for all eternity. When confession of sin occurs in a believer, that believer's sins up to that moment are cleansed relative to now being placed back into fellowship with God - the subject of 1 John, (1 Jn 1:3), - no longer under His discipline, (Hebrews 12:4-6) - no longer grieving the Holy Spirit with sin, (Eph 4:17-30).

Notice that verse 9 cannot be speaking of salvation unto eternal life since it requires an individual to confess particular sins on an ongoing basis. Recall that salvation is received on a once for all time act of faith alone in Christ alone as Savior. This results in an irreversible spiritual birth and an irrevocable promise of eternal life. There are no requirements of an individual other than a one time expression of faith in Christ and certainly no ongoing qualifiers built into God's plan of salvation, (Eph 2:8-9; 1:13-14; Ro 11:29).


"He is faithful and just" = God "is faithful" because He is Who He is: Absolute Faithfulness. Examine God's Word and you will find 100% faithfulness in the fulfillment of prophecy and promises. Examine especially the unfathomable gift of the life of the Son of God faithfully dying on the cross and rising from the dead for our sins as promised. So much the more will God be faithful in forgiving His child of temporal sins.

"He is faithful and just", (cont.) = God "is just" = His justice is not impugned by forgiving the believer of his temporal sins because God Himself has already paid the penalty for those sins even before they were committed - both for eternal life and for temporal fellowship, (1 Jn 1:7; 2:2).

"and [God] will forgive us these sins" = Let's review verse 9 from the Greek text with respect to the word "these":

a cont.) [1 Jn 1:9 cont.]:

ean homologomen ......tas .hamartias emon

if ....we confess the sins ...........our

pistos ...estin.kai. dikaios ....ina

faithful He is and righteous that

aphe ................emon tas ...hamartiao

He may forgive us ....these sins


"these" = Most translations indicate that God will forgive us 'our' sins; but the Greek indicates that it is "these" sins which are being confessed that are referred to as being forgiven - there is no possessive "our" = in this part of the verse. So the correct rendering should be:

aphe .................emon tas ...hamartiao

He may forgive us .....these sins

So what happens to all of those sins that we believers are not "homologomen" = confessing which stand out in our daily lives as transgressions against the holiness of God? This question is answered by the last part of verse 9:

a cont.) [1 Jn 1:9 cont.]:

"If we are continually confessing our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us these sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

"and purify us from all unrighteousness." = the answer is that upon a believer's confession of his known sins - those sins which are brought to his attention by God the Holy Spirit - God then forgives that believer of those sins he has confessed; and furthermore, He purifies that believer from ALL of that believer's unrighteousness including those sins which he is not even aware of. The believer is then cleansed of temporal sins on the basis of what his Savior did for him on the cross. That believer, for the moment, is in fellowship with God, i.e., abiding in Christ until he violates a principle from God's Word again.


Incidentally, feeling sorry for ones sins may or may not accompany the "homologomen" = "confessing" of ones sins to God. According to His Word, all that God requires is that one acknowledge back to Him the sins that are brought to mind. The biblical kind of repentance which is the noun form of the Greek verb "metanoeo" = to repent, (cp Mt 3:2; Mk 6:12; Lk 17:3; Acts 2:38; 17:30), means to change ones mind about acknowledging that one does have shortcomings in ones life. This is to say that when one repents it is synonymous with one who is a believer acknowledging to God that he does continually fall short of the holiness of God, (cp Ro 7:19). Therefore the word which is translated "repent" in Scripture relative to salvation and temporal forgiveness of daily sins in ones life does not refer to feeling sorry for one's sins. The word "repentance" is translated from the Greek word "metanoias" which means a turn about, a deliberate change of mind resulting in a change of direction in thought. To repent is to turn from one's sin with respect to acknowledging that it is a problem in ones life which one needs God to deal with.

Vines, (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine, Revell Publishing, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1981, pp. 279-280), states:

"METANOEO, lit., to perceive afterwards (meta, after, implying change, noeo, to perceive; [comes from the Greek noun] nous, the mind, the seat of moral reflection), in contrast to pronoeo, to perceive beforehand, hence signifies to change one's mind or purpose..." ).

b) [1 Jn 1:10]:

"If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His Word has no place in our lives."

"we have not sinned" - "ouch emartekamen" - we have not committed acts of sin. Notice that when believers claim that they have not sinned; then God says that " we [who claim to have not sinned] make Him [God] out to be a liar and His Word has no place in our lives." So believers maintain fellowship with God through constant acknowledgement of one's sins and studying/living according to His Word.

i) [Compare Psalm 119:9-11]:

(v. 9) "How can a young man keep his way pure?

By living according to your word.

(v. 10) I seek you with all my heart;

do not let me stray from Your commands.

(v. 11) I have hidden your word in my heart

that I might not sin against You."

So how important is studying and obeying God's Word relative to sin in a believer's life? All important. Notice that the enablement not to sin in this passage in Psalms comes from God. ("do not let me stray from Your commands.") It is all by the grace of God via the faithful study and obedience to God's Word which contains God's commands to the believer for daily Christian living. It is inexplicably both. God with His indescribably infinite power and man with his finite capacity at the same time.

ii) [Compare Eph 5:25-26]:

(v. 25) "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;

(v. 26) that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water [God the Holy Spirit, Jn 7:38-39; Ez 36:24-27] with the word."

Ephesians 5:25 verifies the principle of God's gracious working of sanctification in the believer through the Word - the study of Bible doctrine.

Therefore, 1 Jn 1:10 which we have already examined along side of verse 8 comes right after verse 9 which speaks of we believers admitting right back to God the sins that the Holy Spirit has reminded we believers of committing. Verse 10 then considers the possibility that we believers are not homologomen = admitting to, confessing those sins - that we believers are claiming not to have sinned. Thus we make God out to be a liar and we have obviously departed from obeying His Word. Those believers who resist the Holy Spirit's conviction of certain sins in their lives and will not change their mind about admitting that they do have sin in their life, those believers are in need of repenting of, (i.e., changing their mind about), their sins and acknowledging them before a Holy God in order to clear up their 'out-of-fellowship' problem. John also makes a statement about making God out to be a liar in chapter 5 relative to the salvation of a person. John stated that if a person refuses to believe that what God is saying about eternal life through His Son is true then that person is calling God a liar and that person condemns himself to hell:

iii) [1 Jn 5:10-12]:

(v. 10) Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony [of God about His Son] in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son.

(v. 11) And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

(v. 12) He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."

The point of drawing out this parallel is that fellowship for the believer and salvation for the unbeliever are both a matter of simply taking God at His Word. If God says that to the unbeliever that all he has to do is to accept what God says about His Son - that He died for his sins then that individual will be saved just like the frightened jailer in Phillippi was:

iv) [Acts 16:30-31a]:

(v. 30) "He [the jailer] then brought them out [of the jail] and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' "

(v. 31a) They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved...'"

And God says to the believer that all the believer has to do is to admit to God what God has already shown to His child what is sin in his life then He will purify his child from all unrighteousness bringing him back into fellowship with Himself.

So for the time being, while a believer remains in his sin contaminated mortal body on earth, God has provided a temporal remedy for the acts committed by the inherent sin nature within the believer. For those moments when a believer fixes his hope on Jesus Christ, i.e., keeps his eyes on Jesus Christ and confesses his shortcomings - his sins, (1 Jn 1:7, 9); studies and obeys God's Word via the filling of the Holy Spirit, (2 Tim 2:15; Eph 5:25b-26); then he "purifies himself".

v) [Compare Jn 15:10]:

"If you keep My commandments, [which are now located in the Word of God] you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love."

vi) [Compare Eph 5:25b-26]:

(v. 25) "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;

(v. 26) that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word"

V) [1 Jn 3:4]:

"Every one who practices sin also practices lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness"

Notice that 1 John chapter 3 reiterates the reality of the believer that while he still lives in his mortal body - he still does sin!

[The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, editors, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., 1992, p. 654, states]:

"In 1 Jn 3:4 sin is shown to be serious because it is anomian, i.e., revolt against God, or transgression of the commandment of love as the true law."

[Glenn W. Barker states, 'The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol 12, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1981, p. 331]:

"Here John uses two words to describe sin: hamartian and anomian (translated here 'lawlessness'). In the OT as well as the NT, these two words are used frequently as synonyms (cf. Pss 32:1; 51:3; Rom 4:7; Heb 10:17). In John's community, however, they were used apparently with different meanings. 'Sin' (hamartian) was used to describe the transgression of the law, the breaking of the commandments of God. 'Lawlessness' (anomian) defined sin as rebellion against God and was connected with Satan's rebellion against God. This latter concept had its origin early in the teaching of the church (Matt 7:22; 24:11-13; 1 Cor 6:14-16; 2 Thess 2:1-12). Apparently the false teachers and John agreed that 'lawlessness' was incompatible with being born of God. What they did not agree on was that sin, defined as transgression of the moral law, was 'lawlessness.' Indeed, as those 'born of God' they claimed themselves 'morally' to be sinless, or guiltless. Either they believed that they were by nature incapable of violating the law or that sinful deeds done in the flesh were of no concern to God, and they were therefore 'sinless' in His sight.

John decries such a dichotomy. That his opponents hate their brothers (2:11) shows that their claim to sinlessness is a lie, which along with their failure to love stems from one source, their lawlessness."

VI) [1 Jn 3:5]:

"And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin."


Author John now focuses in on the absolutely sinless perfection of our Lord Jesus Christ as contrasted with the devil who has continually sinned from the beginning.

First, the purpose of our Lord's appearance in human form: "to take away sins", i.e., to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world, (Jn 1:29; 1 Jn 2:2), and thus to enable those who trust alone in Jesus Christ alone as Savior - as the One Who has made provision for our sins to have eternal life with God in heaven, (Eph 2:8-9; Jn 3:16).

1) [Compare Jn 1:29]:

"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!"

2) [Compare 1 Jn 2:2]:

"He is the atoning sacrifice for our [believers'] sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."


Second, His qualification to take away the sins of the whole world: "In Him there is not sin", i.e., sin nature or capacity to sin:

1) [Compare 2 Cor 5:21]:

"He [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] Who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God, in Him."

So, author John goes on to say that as a result of our Lord's sinless perfection and His perfect sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, believers are given by God's grace the position of sinless perfection themselves when they go to be with the Lord in heaven and also experientially during their mortal lifetimes at those moments when they abide, i.e., are in fellowship with Jesus Christ and thereby keep His commandments, (1 Jn 1:7, 9; Jn 15:10; Eph 5:18).

[Hodges states, 'The Epistles of John', Grace Evangelical Society publisher, 1999, p. 133]:

"No one in God's eternal kingdom (after the final rebellion in the millennium: Revelation 20:7-10) will ever sin again. In this light the thought in our verse is not only that Christ died for our sins but that His ultimate goal is our total freedom from sin forever. In fact, the statements of verse 3:2 have already referred implicitly to this climax.

Our repudiation of sin, therefore, should be based not only on its iniquitous character, but also on the realization that the goal of our Savior Who redeemed us, is to completely remove it from our lives. Moreover His own personal purity, already referred to in verse 3:3, offers further incentive to reject sin in all its forms. For He is entirely without it: in Him there is no sin. Thus Christ's sacrificial work for us, plus His own personal and absolute holiness, make sin utterly unsuitable for the born again believer. No matter what rationalizations the readers might have heard for sin, whether from the Revisionists or others, they should reject them categorically."

VII) [1 Jn 3:6]:

"No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him."


"No one who abides in Him sins" =

1) [Compare 1 Jn 1:7, 9]:

(v. 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, purifies us from all sin."

(v. 9) "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

2) [Compare 1 Jn 2:3]:

"And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments."

Notice that John indicates here in these verses that when a believer keeps our Lord's commandments, [one especially important one being confession of known sins, (1 Jn 1:9)], then he is in a state of knowing Him in the sense of being in fellowship with Him. On the other hand when the believer does not obey God's Word, he is demonstrating that he does not know the Lord. Notice that it is not a case of losing one's salvation, but of being out of fellowship with God - of not abiding in Christ as a result of disobedience to God's Word.

[Hodges, op. cit., p. 134]:

"In view of all that John has said thus far, since urging his readers to 'abide in Him' (2:28), it clearly follows that the experience of abiding in a sinless Person means that such an experience is totally free from sin.

On the other hand, 1:8, 10 indicate that no can claim to be without sin:

3) [Compare 1 John 1:8-10]:

(v. 8) "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

(v. 9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

(v. 10) If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives."

But notice that the confession of sin brings about God's purification from all unrighteousness, hence in God's viewpoint, for the moment, the confessed child of God is purified from all unrighteousness and in fellowship with Him.

[Hodges, cont.]:

"Many efforts have been made, both here and in verse 9, to soften this apparently absolute assertion. One popular way in recent times has been to appeal to the present tense (used here in the phrase does not sin) and to make the present tense mean, 'does not continue to sin'.' But this explanation is untenable and will be discussed more fully under verse 9. Another view is that John is speaking of an ideal which is not fully realized in present experience.

All such explanations fly in the face of the context, especially the immediately preceding verse. The statement of verse 5 that 'in Him is no sin' is clearly absolute and cannot be qualified at all. But if this is so, one who abides in the Sinless One cannot be said to be only 'a little bit' sinful! If there can be 'no sin' in Christ at all, one cannot take even a little bit of sin into an experience which is specifically said to be in Him. The failure to recognize the logical connection between verses 5 and 6 is the reason that verse 6 has been so often misunderstood. As a result, this misunderstanding carries over into verse 9.

To be sure, no Christian can ever claim (in this life) to be experientially completely free from sin, as 1:8 makes emphatically clear. But at the same time we can say that the experience of 'abiding in Him' is in and of itself a sinless experience. Thus it is not 'contaminated' by the presence of sin in other aspects of our experience. As we have seen, the 'abiding life' is marked by obedience to Christ's commands (cf. 2:3-6...). The fact is that, if I obey the command to love my brother, that obedience is not tainted in God's sight by some different sort of failure in the life like unwatchfulness in prayer (cf. Ephesians 6:18).

It is also true that, when we are walking in fellowship with God and seeking to guard His commands, God is able to look past all our failures and sin and see this!"

4) [Compare 1 Jn 1:5-7]:

(v. 5) "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.

(v. 6) If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.

(v. 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, purifies us from all sin."

[Hodges, cont.]:

"In 1:7 we are informed that even while walking in the light, there is cleansing going on by virtue of the blood of Christ... Thus we walk in the light and do what He commands us, God sees us as people who are totally cleansed from whatever faults [in our experience] we may have and who live before God without any charge of unrighteousness [ in spite of the reality that there always is sin present].

Thus when we abide in Him, the positive obedience is what God takes account of and recognizes. The sin which still remains in us is not in any sense sourced in the abiding life, and that sin is cleansed away in accordance with 1:7. The experience of 'abiding' is therefore the equivalent of our experience of obedience. Obedience and sin are opposites.

Thus, sin is no part of the abiding experience at all. In fact, sin reflects both ignorance and blindness toward God and Christ.


"Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him" =

[Hodges, cont., p. 135]:

"It follows that "Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him". Once again the statements are absolute and should be taken at face value. They apply to "anyone at all" who (Whoever) commits sin.

Most commentators have not been able to accept this conclusion, but it is unavoidable. The apostle is saying that sin, whenever and by whomever it is done, lies so completely outside of the 'abiding life' that the one who does it "has neither seen nor known Him". Once again it is illegitimate to resort to the present tense of the verb sins, as though it meant 'continues to sin,'... The flow of thought requires us to see an absolute antithesis between sin and Christ, and sin and abiding. Every interpretative attempt to accommodate 'a little bit of sin' or 'an occasional sin' in John's statements completely nullifies the definitive contrasts the apostle is drawing.

It should be noted that the statement that Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him employs Greek verbs for 'see' and 'know' that are here found in the Greek perfect tense (heOraken and egnOken). More than any other Greek tense, the perfect tense is often very difficult to render precisely into English. In its normal function the tense suggests a present state or situation resulting from a past action or event. In Galatians 2:20, for example, the KJV translation, 'I am crucified with Christ,' is the best English rendering, since it clearly suggests a state resulting from a past occurrence. (By contrast, the rendering, 'I have been crucified' fails to do this!) Thus the English present perfect, when passive, will often catch the nuance of the perfect tense in Greek.

In this verse, however, neither the verb for 'see' or 'know' is passive and the translation into English is more difficult. We must probably resort to paraphrase. It is helpful to keep Louw's statement in mind, 'The perfect tense in Greek signifies a state of affairs. It is not concerned with the past occurrence of the event but with its reality, its existence.' Thus we might paraphrase as follows, Whoever sins is in a not-seeing and not-knowing condition with reference to God. That is, the commission of sins shows that the sinner has been overtaken by blindness and ignorance of God. The perfect tense here is not intended to categorize a person as either saved or unsaved, since even believers sin (1:8). Instead, the statement is intended to stigmatize all sin as the product, not only of not abiding, but also of ignorance and blindness toward God..

As translated in the NKJV, the phrases has neither seen Him nor known Him are what we call English present perfects (i.e., the present tense of the verb 'to have' combined with a past participle). Used in the negative as they are here (cf. 'neither,' 'nor'), the present perfect does not imply a 'never' unless the context requires it. So I may say, 'I have not finished my homework,' implying the homework for that particular day. There is no implication that I have never at anytime completed my homework! I may in fact have completed it regularly on other days. We should therefore not read has neither seen Him nor known Him as though these words implied a never. They do not. John simply means that when a person sins, at that point in time he has acted in blindness and ignorance of God.

As the writer of Hebrews puts it, we must beware of 'the deceitfulness of sin' (Hebrew 3:13). Every sin in some way deceives us, and flows out of a darkening of the heart toward God. Not to recognize that John's statement is true of all sin is to miss his point completely. If the Revisionists rationalized sin, or even promoted their own participation in it as somehow 'enlightened,' they were wrong. People do not sin when they fully face the truth. They sin only when in some way they are blind to, and ignorant of, the true and living God."

Now begins the stark contrast between the utter sinfulness of the devil and the absolute purity and sinlessness of the Son of God. This contrast is brought to bear on the conscience of the believer in order to motivate him to abide in our Lord in his daily life.

VIII) [1 Jn 3:7]:

"Little children, [i.e., born again believers] let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous"

And the absolute contrast between God's holiness and the sinfulness of the devil and his world is stated in the next verse which compares the devil who has sinned from the beginning and who is sin personified to the One Who is born of the Seed of God, the Holy Spirit, (Mt 1:20).

IX) [1 Jn 3:8-9]:

(v. 8) "The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil."

(v. 9) Each one who is born of God [referring to the subject of the previous verse: the Son of God] does not practice sin, because His Seed [the Holy Spirit, Mt 1:20] abides in Him. and He cannot sin, because He is born of God."


The Son of God's purpose therefore is to destroy sin. So He must be without sin Himself in order to qualify for this task as it states in verse 9:

"Each one who is born of God [referring to the subject of the previous verse: the Son of God] does not practice sin, because His Seed [the Holy Spirit, Mt 1:20] abides in Him. and He cannot sin, because He is born of God."

"Each one" = "pas" (no article) =

The THEOLOGICAL DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich editors, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., 1985, p. 796), defines this particular us of the word "pa " as follows:

"2. pas as NOUN....

b. Without Article. Without the article pas may have distributive significance ("each," "all")...."


"Does not practice sin" = "hamartian ou ..poiei" =

............................................"sin [does] .not .practice"

[Bob Wilken states, ('The Grace Evangelical Society News' in an article entitled 'Do Born Again People Sin?', Robert Wilkin, Editor, Wichita Falls, Tx, March 1990, p. 2]:

"This verse is often cited as teaching that 'genuine' believers will not practice sin. They will not sin habitually, 1 John 3:9 is said to teach... On the other hand, other translations suggest an absolute understanding - that the born of God person doesn't sin at all.... The habitual sin view cites for evidence the use of the present tense (poiei) [= 'practices'].

There are grave problems with this argument. For one thing, the present tense, unaided by qualifying words, does not mean what the habitual sin view suggests. In Greek when the present tense occurs it can be understood in a number of ways, one of which is the habitual present. However, the habitual present refers to events which occur over and over again repeatedly. If John was saying this about believers sinning he would be saying that believers do not sin repeatedly. If believers sin daily - as all believers do (cf. 1 John 1:8, 10) - then they sin habitually in the grammatical sense.

[I. Howard Marshall commented concerning the tense argument]:

'[It] involves translators in stressing the present continuous form of the verb in a way which they do not do elsewhere in the New Testament.'

(The Epistles of John, NICNT, p. 180)

[Similarly, C.H. Dodd writes]:

'It is legitimate to doubt whether the reader could be expected to grasp so subtle a doctrine simply upon the basis of a precise distinction of tenses without further guidance.'

(The Johannine Epistles, p. 79)

Another difficulty with this understanding is that one wonders why God would preserve believers from being dominated by sin and yet not from sinning altogether.

[I. Howard Marshall writes]:

'If believers do not sin habitually because God's seed remains in Him (3:9b), it is hard to understand why God would preserve believers from some sins, but not from all sins. We must, therefore, wonder whether an important point of interpretation can be made to rest on what has been called a grammatical subtlety.'

(The Epistles of John, p. 180)

The habitual sin is also ruled out by the context. In verse 5 John said that there is no sin in Christ. He clearly meant that there is absolutely no sin in Him. Then in the very next sentence he said that those who abide in Christ do not sin. He could hardly have meant that Christ sins not at all and those who abide in Him sin but not a lot. John's point is clearly that sin is never an expression of abiding in Christ. When we abide we do not sin at all."

[Zane Hodges states, 'The Epistles of John' Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Texas, 1999, pp. 142-143]:

"The opinion was widely popular for a number of decades that the key to understanding 1 John 3:9 is to be found in the present tense of the verb to sin. In this view the verse should be read, 'Whoever has been born of God does not continue to sin; for His seed remains in him; and he cannot continue to sin, because he has been born of God.' (Compare the similar rendering in NIV). The meaning of this is supposed to be that prolonged continuation in sin does not occur if one is born again.

But this raises more questions than it answers. Do not all Christians continue to sin until the day of their death? Furthermore, do not all Christians sin daily? Isn't daily sin a continuation in doing it? What could the proposed translation possibly mean? Or, how can anyone claim not to be continuing to sin? Does the born again person come to some point at which he ceases to sin? The proposed translation solves nothing.

There is no doubt that in an appropriate context the Greek present tense can have a present progressive force like 'he is sinning.' But the introduction of ideas like 'continue to' or 'to go on doing' require more than the Greek tense to make them intelligible. For this purpose there were Greek words available which are actually used in the New Testament. For example, diapantos occurs in Luke 24:53: '...and [they] were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.' The same word occurs in Hebrews 13:15: 'Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God.' (See also: Mark 5:5; acts 10:2; 24:16; Romans 11:10; Hebrews 9:6). The Greek phrase eis to dienekes could have the same meaning (cf. Hebrews 7:3; 10:1). The Greek present tense did not by itself convey such ideas...

As Louw has very acutely observed: '...expository discourse of which the First Letter of John is an example, employs the present predominantly for it is a zero tense of factual actuality' (italics added). That is to say, it simply states the action without any kind of elaboration or description.

It is highly probable that if John had meant something similar to the NIV-type of translation of 1 John 3:9, he would have used the available Greek words to make his point. No first century Greek reader or hearer was likely to get a meaning such as the one that the NIV imports into this text, without the necessary additional words.

In addition , this appeal to the Greek tense, if used elsewhere in the epistle, would lead to havoc. For example, as C.H. Dodd pointed out, if we translate 1 John 1:9 as 'if we say that we do not continually have sin, we deceive ourselves,' the result is a contradiction of 3:9 translated the same way. If someone who is born of God does not continually sin, why should he not say, 'I do not continually have sin'? But if he does say this, he 'deceives' himself according to 1:8. Thus the proposed translation of 3:9 will not work in 1:8. If applied there it produces a contradiction with 3:9."

Furthermore, if one could attain sinless perfection or a nearly sinless state after trusting in Christ as Savior, then there would not be a need for most of God's Word - only passages which lead up to and include salvation. Thereafter, a Christian will be perfect, so all the passages encouraging believers to grow in the Word and emulate our Lord are of no value - for that is claimed to happen automatically. And all the passages which admonish a child of God not to behave like the world, such as the one which follows in Romans chapter 6, would be misleading one to think that a true believer could practice sin. So all of these oft ignored passages must be expunged from God's Word.

1) [Compare Ro 6:6, 12-13]:

(v. 6) "Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin..."

And then what follows is an admonishment to Christians to avoid behaving under the influence of the individual believer's still extant sin nature:

(v. 12) "Therefore [fellow believers, vv. 2-11] do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts,

[So Christians do retain a capacity to sin which must be resisted]:

(v. 13) and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."

And what of passages about rewards for faithful service to our Lord and passages about discipline and lack of rewards, (1 Cor 3:11-15), for unfaithfulness? Would not every believer lead a faithful life and all then be qualified for rewards in heaven?

So Jesus Christ is so far the only man Who meets the description of being born of God in such a way as to be One Who "does not practice sin" and "cannot sin".

2) Compare this with 1 Jn 5:18-21:

(v. 18) "We know that each one ["pas", no article, see 1 Jn 3:9, same word and context] who is born of God does not sin; but He Who was born of God keeps Himself and the evil one does not touch Him."

[It is true that all Christians are born of God as it says in Jn 1:12-13, but only their spirits are immediately born again, (Jn 3:6), not their physical bodies as yet, ((until they depart from this mortal life, (1 Cor 15:51-54)). Furthermore, Christians retain their sin natures, (Ro 7:17), and are not therefore without sin, (1 Jn 1:8, 10). So the evil one does touch the born of God believer at times when he is out of fellowship with God and in 'the flesh', (Ro 7:18). There is therefore only One Who qualifies as an individual Who is born of God Who does not sin and Whom the evil one does not touch: Jesus Christ Himself. And this determination then leads to the content of the next two verses]

(v. 19) "We know that we [believers] are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."

[Because of the fact that Jesus Christ is born of God and is absolutely perfect and without sin and because we believers have trusted in God's testimony about His Son relative to eternal life, (1 Jn 5:9-13), we believers are thereby assured of being in His Son - in Christ - and of God as opposed to others of the world who are of the devil. That is the stark contrast between good and evil: Jesus Christ and the devil - and the Christian and the devil's world. And believers are to make that distinction in their daily lives by maintaining constant submission to the message of the holiness of God as found in His Word and thereby abiding in Christ and leading holy lives themselves]

(v. 20) "And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him Who is true, and we are in Him Who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."

[And the main theme of the Book of First John to practice righteousness through Jesus Christ our Lord and not practice sin is repeated here in part]:

(v. 21) Little children, guard yourselves from idols."

[Believers still retain their sin natures, (such that they can sin and at times they do practice sin, (1 Jn 1:8, 10). But the result of our Lord's qualification of sinlessness and His work on the cross is such that all who believe in Him become children of God - capable of righteousness in their lives when they choose to abide in Him]:

X) [1 Jn 3:10]:

"By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious; any one who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother."

So by this contrast of the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ with the utter evil of the devil we can know who is a child of God when that child is abiding in Christ and thereby is practicing righteousness himself, (1:7, 9; 3:3, 6) and who is a child of the devil who can do nothing but sin even in the 'good' that he does, (Ro 8:7-8).

"Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God" = Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not abiding in Christ, (unbeliever or carnal believer and therefore at the moment not of God). Note that believers can choose to re-enslave themselves to the sin nature, (cp. Ro 6:12-16), and unbelievers are not capable of abiding in Christ at all, (Ro 8:5).

XI) [1 Jn 3:14]:

"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death."

Compare Eph 5:14 which speaks of a believer who is considered dead spiritually, i.e., temporally separated from God due to sin in his life .

[Bob Wilken states in 'The Grace Evangelical Society News', Nov-Dec 1994 issue, page 2]:

"The expression "passed from death to life" clearly refers to the reception of eternal salvation in its only other use in John's writings (John 5:24): "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."........

...When an author such as the apostle John uses the same expression in two different contexts, it is possible that he is using it in the same way in both contexts. However, it is also possible for an author to use the same expression in different ways in different contexts. For example, John sometimes used the Greek word "thanatos" to refer to physical death (e.g., John 11:4, 13; 12:33; 18:32; 21:19; 1 John 5:16, 17) and sometimes to refer to spiritual death (e.g., John 8:51, 52). Sometimes the same word or words can even be used in a different sense in the same context! For example, in John 11:41 John uses the Greek verb "airo" in two different senses. John reports that men took away the stone which had closed the tomb of Lazarus and that Jesus lifted up His eyes and prayed.

That assurance of salvation is not in view is evident for three reasons.

First, unlike John 5:24, the context of 1 John 3:14 is not evangelistic. This strongly suggests that assurance of salvation is not in view.

The apostle John had already asserted that he was writing to genuine Christians. He wouldn't call unbelievers "my brethren" (v. 13). Nor would he call them "children of God" (3:2). For that reason any interpretation which suggests that some unbelievers are being addressed in 3:14 - which is what the tests-of-life interpretation does - can't stand.

Second, in 5:9-13 John links assurance of salvation with accepting God's testimony concerning Jesus Christ, not with examining one's works. If it is possible to have assurance apart from works as John indicates in 5:9-13, then it is impossible to understand 3:14 as saying that good works are indispensable for assurance - which is what the tests-of-life interpretation does.

Third, assurance of salvation would be impossible if it were based on a believer's love for others. John had already said that no believer has lived or does live a sinless life (cf. 1:8, 10; 3:2). There is no way anyone could be certain that he had eternal life by examining whether he "love[s] the brethren" or not. That is a subjective judgment.

All of the factors which show that assurance of salvation is not in view in 3:14 show that assurance of fellowship is:

(1) Christians are being addressed,

(2) There is no conflict with 5:9-13, and

(3) Assurance of salvation is not undermined by this understanding.

In addition, a better understanding of the Book of 1 John is the fellowship view. John states the purpose of 1 John in the prologue: "That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1:3, emphasis added).

The expression passed from death to life can just as easily refer to one's experience as to his position. We might paraphrase 1 John 3:14 in this way: 'We know that we have moved in our experience from the realm of death to the realm of life because we love other Christians. Any Christian who doesn't love his fellow believer is still living in the realm of death.' In other words, love is an expression of the believer's new life in Christ; hatred is not (cf. Gal 5:13-26; 1 John 1:6-7).

When John says 'you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in Him,' he is again looking at experience. According to Jesus, hatred is a form of murder (cf. Matt 5:21-26). John is clearly picking up on that point here. Eternal life does not abide experientially in the unloving believer. Jesus said that in order to bear fruit (which requires loving others) His disciples had to abide in Him and He in them (John 15:4-5). He clearly held out the possibility that believers would not always abide in Him, nor He in them.

In 1 John 3:14 John challenges us to live in our experience in a manner consistent with who we are in our position."