1 John 2:29-3:24 Part 2

This Bible Study was led by Larry Reynolds in the Spring of 2008.

Denton, TX

The Children of God (1 John 2:29-3:24)

(Continued from previous session)


Distinguishing marks of the children of God – 1 John 3:4-24

      RIGHTEOUSNESS (3:4-10)

      LOVE (3:11-24)

a.       Love is the message of the Apostles  (vv.11-12)

b.      Love is the proof that we have passed out of death into life (vv.13-15)

c.       Love has its supreme revelation in the sacrificial death of Christ (vv.16-18)

d.      Love brings the assurance of our standing before God (vv.19-24) – This is the most difficult part of 1 John to translate.  We’ll look at these verses under the theme of assurance.  (Remember we saw last week that 1 John was written to give true believers assurance of their salvation…cf. 5:13, 2:3, 3:14, 3:24)

Verse 19 tells us the possibility of assurance.  Two things occur in our lives when we are characterized by genuine love.

“We shall know by this that we are of the truth…” – Being of the truth means the same thing as being of God or one of God’s people.  Our love for others gives us confidence that we belong to God.

“...we … shall assure our heart before Him…”“heart” stands for the whole inner person—emotion, intellect, will.  “assure” carries the idea of pacify, still, or soothe.  “before Him” is actually at the beginning of the clause for emphasis. 

The idea behind this verse is, “It is a small thing to assure our conscience before ourselves, but to assure our conscience before God is very significant.  Only love for others allows us to do that.”

Verse 20 can be read as a word of encouragement or a word of warning.  As a word of encouragement the verse could be paraphrased, “Even if our heart condemns us, we can appeal to God.  We condemn ourselves on limited partial knowledge.  God knows all things—our deepest motives, the circumstances of our lives, His provision for our sinfulness.”  As a word of warning the verse could be paraphrases, “If  our own ignorant and seared conscience condemns us, how much more guilty we must appear before the all-knowing God!”

Verse 21 gives us a result of assurance which is “confidence before God.”  This is the same word we saw last week in 2:28.  It means freedom of speech or boldness.  The word was used to describe the way a child would speak to his/her father as opposed to how a servant would speak to the same man.

Verse 22 gives another result of assurance which is answered prayer.  It is important not to misread this verse.  The last part of the verse explains the first part.  “An obedient life is an expression of harmony with God.  Therefore, the person whose primary concern is keeping God’s commandments and doing the things that please Him is not likely to ask for something which is contrary to the will of God.” [Vaughan]

Verse 23 amplifies the commandments we are to keep.  In John’s thinking believing in Jesus and loving others are so tied together that he spoke of them as a single command.  We can infer from that there is no true belief that is not accompanied by love.

Verse 24 is transitional.  The first part looks back on the discussion of love.  The last part

looks forward to the discussion of true and false spirits in chapter 4.