I John 5 – Part 1

4For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — your faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” I John 5:4-5

In the book of I John, the apostle John has made it clear that love is more than mere sentiment or words; it is an act of obedience (I John 2:3-11; 3:10b-23; 4:7-16). Love (agapē) is doing what is best for another person. Christ did what was best for us when He came to earth and died in our place on a cross to pay the full penalty for our sins so whoever believes in Him may have everlasting life (3:16; 4:9-10; 5:13).Hence, if a believer claims to love God Whom he has not seen and hates his Christian brother whom he has seen, he is a liar and is deceiving himself (4:20). God’s commandment to love has interwoven loving Him and loving His children (4:21). We cannot disconnect them.

John anticipated his readers asking, “Who then is my Christian brother or sister?” John identified one’s Christian brother or sister as, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…” (5:1a). There is no mention of one’s good works, lifestyle, or obedience. Only believing that “Jesus is the Christ,” the promised Messiah-God (2:22-23; 4:2-3; 5:20; cf. John 11:25-27; 20:31; Isaiah 9:6-7), results in being “born of God.” John then explains that our love for God’s children is not based on their lifestyle or performance, but on our love for the Father of these children (5:1b). If we love God the Father, then we must love His children.

Someone may then ask, “How do I know when I am loving God’s children?” John replies, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.” (I John 5:2). Christians can know they are loving God’s children when they “love God and keep His commandments.” Keeping God’s “commandments” is the way to show that a believer loves his brother, since loving a fellow believer is one of those commandments. 1

A Christian is not an only child in the family of God. To ignore a brother in Christ is to cut ourselves off from intimacy with God. 2 God created us for relationships. He never intended for His children to live the Christian life all alone. He meant for us to live life in close fellowship with Him and other believers in Jesus.

In 5:2, it is important to observe that John has moved from keeping God’s single “commandment” (3:23; 4:21), a reference to loving our Christian brothers and sisters, to keeping His “commandments” (plural). 3

“Even if we think of the ten commandments, the last six deal with loving other people. You’ve heard it said to fathers, ‘The best way to love a child is to love his/her mother.’ It is loving other believers when we model the Christian life for them. This is even more important than meeting their physical needs; it points them toward the kind of life that can meet their spiritual needs.” 4

A Christian’s love for other believers can be measured by the degree to which he or she keeps the commandments of God. This may sound like John is putting us under performance, legalism, and relativism (our obedience compared to other Christians around me). But this is not the case. 5

John explains what it means to love God when he writes, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (I John 5:3). The phrase “the love of God” (hē agapē tou Theou) refers to our love for God (objective genitive), not God’s love for us (subjective genitive). 6 Our love for God is measured by the degree to which we “keep His commandments.”

According to the Pharisees, there were at least 613 commandments the Jews were responsible to obey. And in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus raised the bar even more when He said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20). Christ’s audience were taught it was wrong to murder someone (5:21), but Jesus went further when He stated it was sinful to be, angry with his brother without a cause” (Matt. 5:22). Jesus’ listeners had been taught it was wrong to commit adultery (5:27), but Jesus took it further when He said, “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28). Christ’s audience had heard they were to love their neighbor and hate their enemies (5:43), but now Jesus says, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). Christ took the interpretation the Pharisees had given of the Law and took it to a whole other level. 7

All of this may sound overwhelming to us. You may be saying to yourself, “How can I keep God’s commandments? It seems too difficult. It is beyond my reach. It is impossible!”

John responds by saying that God’s “commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:3b). What does he mean by this? The word translated “burdensome” (barus) means to be “heavy, oppressive, unbearable, or weighty.” 8 If we try to live up to the standards of God’s Law in our own strength, we will experience an overwhelming weight of oppression and defeat. There will be no joy or peace in our lives.

The issue here is the source for keeping God’s commandments, not the standard of God’s commandments themselves. John explains why God’s commandments are not burdensome when he writes, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—your faith.” (I John 5:4). The word translated “For” (hoti) means “because.” 9 Hence, I John 5:3b-5:4a would read, “And His commandments are not burdensome because whatever is born of God overcomes the world.”

Since we are talking about people, we would expect this to say, “Whoever is born of God.” But instead, it says, “whatever [pan] is born of God.” The phrase “is born” (gegennēmenon) translates a perfect tense participle. The Greek perfect tense refers to a completed action in the past with continuing results to the present. Our new birth was completed in the past but has a continuing impact on us to the present. This is very significant.

John is emphasizing our ultimate source of victory over the world which he identifies in the last half of verse 4: “And this is the victory that has overcome the world—your faith.“ (I John 5:4b). The word translated “faith” (pistis) is a singular neuter gender. This connects back to the singular neuter genders in this verse: “whatever” (pan), “born of” (gegennēmenon), and “this” (hautē). Our single act of “faith” in Christ alone for new birth (“born of God”) is the source of our permanent victory over the world system which was satanically opposed to us being born into God’s family (5:4b) and is satanically blinded to the gospel (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

“What the Apostle clearly wishes to affirm in 1 John is that the very act of believing in Christ is a singular—and permanent—victory over the unbelieving world around us. Moreover, this victory is the reason why obedience to God’s commands is not a burden to the believer (1 John 5:3-4; see Matt 11:28-30).” 10

Before we became Christians, Satan used the world system to oppose us from being born into God’s family. This is why John writes, “Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (I John 5:5). The moment an unsaved person believes that Jesus is the Son of God, he overcomes the world which did all it could to keep him or her from believing this truth for salvation. Since the antichrists or false teachers deny “that Jesus is the Christ” (I John 2:22), it is a great victory when a person believes this truth and is born into God’s forever family.

Satan is actively engaged in blinding people’s minds to prevent them from believing in the gospel of God’s Son (2 Cor. 4:3-6; 11:3-4; Ephes. 2:2). He uses the world system including educational systems, various religions, economical systems, political systems, entertainment, and recreational systems to name a few, that teach many false views which desensitize people to their urgent need for a Savior including such things as:

  • Humanity is basically good, so people do not need to be saved from sin.
  • Since God is love, all people will go to heaven.
  • Jesus was just a good moral teacher or prophet who provided a good example to follow.
  • God and the Bible cannot be trusted.
  • Sin has no consequences.
  • God does not exist.
  • You can decide tomorrow.  

But when God breaks through these (and other) lies and a lost sinner “believes that Jesus is the Son of God” to be “born of God” (I John 5:4-5), then Satan is directly defeated. And since the effects of new birth can never be reversed by Satan, this defeat is decisive and permanent (Luke 8:12; Col. 2:15).

However, this initial victory does not guarantee victory in living the Christian life. Rather, the victory achieved by the new birth makes obedience to God’s commands an achievable goal. The Greek constructions in I John 5:4 translated “he who overcomes” (ho nikōn) and “he who believes” (ho pisteuōn) are present participles preceded by the Greek article. 11

“This construction in Greek is essentially timeless and characterizes an individual (or individuals) by some act or acts he has (or they have) performed. Such statements have their closest analogy to many English nouns (often ending in–er) that express completed and/or ongoing action. For example, ‘He is a murderer.’ In this case the person may be described this way based on one instance of murder or because of many such acts.

“John is thus saying that ‘the overcomer of the world’ is one and the same as ‘the believer in Jesus Christ, God’s Son.’ As is made clear by the past tense of verse 4 (‘has overcome’) this is already true! But since John is discussing the fact that keeping God’s commandments is not ‘burdensome’ (5:3b), the implication is that such victory can continue and that the key to it is faith! Just as the Christian life begins at the moment of saving faith in Christ, so also that life is lived by faith in Him.” 12

“With these words, the writer affirmed that a believer is a world-conqueror by means of his faith in Christ. This suggests that such faith is the secret of his continuing victory and, for that reason, obedience to God’s commands need not be burdensome.” 13

“If your Christian life is weighing you down, you’re not living the real Christian life. How do I know? Because God’s commands are not a burden. When obedience is driven by love, it loses its burden. Ask any mother of a newborn. A mother doesn’t feed, change, clean, and comfort her baby because of a command—but because of love. Does she become tired and dirty? Of course. But the work isn’t a burden per se because it’s her baby she’s attending. When you love others based on your love for Jesus, He says in effect, ‘Hitch up to me, and I’ll do the pulling’” (Matt 11:30).” 14

Since our first victory (new birth) was by faith in Christ (5:1, 4-5), then it is by faith in Christ that we may continue to experience victory in the Christian life. Since Christ was our Substitute in death; He must also be our Substitute in life. This is what the apostle Paul was trying to say when he wrote, 15 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20; cf. Rom. 5:10).

“It has been said that the hardest thing in the world for a non-Christian to believe is in the substitutionary death of Christ, but the hardest thing in the world for a Christian to believe is in the substitutionary life of Christ. We got victory over death by His death; we shall have victory in life by His life. This is what it means when it says, ‘Christ lives in me.’ 16

Prayer: Gracious Father in heaven, thank You for saving us from eternal death the moment we believed in Jesus and His substitutionary death for all our sins. This single act of faith in Christ overcame Satan and his world system which had blinded us to the gospel and opposed us from being born into Your forever family. Since this first victory was by faith in Christ, we cannot continue to experience victory in our Christian lives apart from faith in Jesus and His substitutionary life. When our faith is in Christ, keeping His commandments is not burdensome because Jesus is our source of power. Thank You Lord Jesus for living in and through us. Please use us to share this life-changing message with those who are blinded to the gospel so they may experience permanent victory over the Devil and his world system. In the matchless name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.


1. See Zane C. Hodges; Robert Wilkin; J. Bond; Gary Derickson; Brad Doskocil; Dwight Hunt; Shawn Leach; The Grace New Testament Commentary: Revised Edition (Grace Evangelical Society, Kindle Edition, 2019), pp. 601.

2. Tony Evans, CSB Bibles by Holman, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary (B & H Publishing Group, Kindle Edition, 2019), pg. 2950.

3. Hodges, The Grace New Testament Commentary, pg. 602.

4. David R. Anderson, Maximum Joy: I John – Relationship or Fellowship? (Grace Theology Press, 2013 Kindle Edition), pp. 227-228.

5. Ibid., pg. 228.

6. Archibald Thomas Robertson, A. T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament [with Bible and Strong’s Numbers Added!], 6 Volumes (E4 Group, 2014 Kindle Edition), Kindle Location 207464; cf. Tom Constable, Dr. Constable’s Notes on 1 John, 2022 Edition, pg. 107; Hodges, The Grace New Testament Commentary, pg. 602.

7. Anderson, Maximum Joy, pg. 228.

8. Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature: Third Edition (BDAG) revised and edited by Frederick William Danker (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000 Kindle Edition), pp. 167-168.

9. Robertson, A. T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament, Kindle Location 207484; Hodges, The Grace New Testament Commentary, pg. 602.

10. Zane C. Hodges, Grace in Eclipse: A Study on Eternal Rewards (Grace Evangelical Society, Kindle Edition, 2016), pg. 152.

11. Hodges, The Grace New Testament Commentary, pg. 602.

12. Ibid.

13. Zane C. Hodges, The Bible Knowledge Commentary Epistles and Prophecy, Editors John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (David C. Cook, 2018 Kindle Edition), Kindle Location 4043 to 4048.

14. Evans, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary, pg. 2950.

15. Anderson, Maximum Joy, pg. 229.

16. Ibid., pg. 230.

I John 3 – Part 2

“Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.” I John 3:6

In the body of his epistle the apostle John explains how we can have more confidence and less shame at the time of Christ’s coming (2:28-4:19). He begins by providing some practical teaching about our new identity in Christ (3:1-10). Since God is righteous by nature (2:29), we can now share in His righteousness through the new birth which has changed who we are at the core of our being. We are now God’s children (3:1a). The world does not understand this new nature because they have not experienced the new birth (3:1b). John goes on to explain that the time is coming when this new nature will be the only nature we manifest because our sinful nature will be taken away and we will receive a new glorified body like that of the Lord Jesus at the time of His return (3:2; cf. Phil. 3:20-21). The certainty that we will be completely conformed (both spiritually and physically) into the image of Christ in the future motivates us to live for the Lord now (3:3).

John wants his Christian readers (2:12-14; 5:13) to change the way they think about sin (3:4-6) because sin can rob Christians of the abundant life Jesus came to give them on earth (cf. John 10:10). Notice I did not say that sin can rob a Christian of heaven. 1 Entering heaven is based on believing in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross which finished paying our sin debt to God in full (I John 5:1, 13; cf. John 3:5-18, 36; 19:30). The book of I John is about how to have fellowship or intimacy with Christ (1:3-4), not about how to get to heaven. John’s concern is that the antichrists or false teachers (2:18-27) were trying to “deceive” John’s readers not to take sin seriously (3:7), 2 which would disrupt their fellowship with God. Hence, John begins this section by addressing the character of sin.

He writes, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” (I John 3:4). Sin is the very opposite of Christ’s purity and the hope believers have of becoming like Him (3:2-3). All “sin” (hamartia) is “lawlessness” (anomia) 3 or wickedness. 4 When a Christian (or non-Christian) sins, he or she becomes a lawbreaker. It does not matter if you sin once or a thousand times; sin is an act of rebellion against God. 5

The apostle wants to open our eyes to the wickedness of sin. It is revolting to God whether it is a little white lie or a violent murder. It sickens God to look at our sin because He is completely holy, and sin is the exact opposite of His holiness. It also sickens God to see Christians tolerate sin in their lives as though it were no big deal. We may justify our sin by telling ourselves, “No one is perfect.” “Everyone is doing it.” “No one will ever know, so it won’t hurt anyone.”

Look at the contrast between man’s rationalization of sin and God’s repulsion of sin:

Man calls it an accident; God calls it an abomination.

Man calls it a blunder; God calls it blindness.

Man calls it a defect; God calls it a disease.

Man calls it a chance; God calls it a choice.

Man calls it an error; God calls it enmity.

Man calls it a fascination; God calls it a fatality.

Man calls it infirmity; God calls it iniquity.

Man calls it luxury; God calls it leprosy.

Man calls it liberty; God calls it lawlessness.

Man calls it a trifle; God calls it a tragedy.

Man calls it a mistake; God calls it madness.

Man calls it a weakness; God calls it wickedness. 6

Instead of rationalizing our sin, God want us to confess and forsake it (Prov. 28:13). Again, this is not to get to heaven, but to have intimate fellowship with the Lord on earth. The consequences of not taking sin seriously can be deadly. Anderson illustrates this:

“There is a small tree which grows in SE Asia known as the Judas-tree. Long before its leaves appear, gorgeous blossoms grow on its branches. Looking like scarlet sunbeams caught among the boughs, the brilliant beauty of the crimson flowers attracts thousands of tiny insects. The wild bees also seek to draw honey from the exquisitely shaped cups.

“But every insect—bee or butterfly—that comes to rest upon the edge of its blossom is overcome by a fatal, curious sort of opiate, or drug, which the flower- juice contains, and drops dead upon the ground below! So, when walking around Judas-trees, a person sees the soft grass covered with dead and dying, bright-winged insects.

“The Judas-tree reminds us of sin. Sin may look bright, pleasant, and attractive to our eyes; it may appear harmless to indulge in it. But lurking behind the “pleasure of sin” is a fatal poison. And sin is a poison, a wickedness that acts as a drug to take away all our motivation for the Christian life, or worse. Wickedness: that’s the character of sin.” 7

Failure to take sin seriously conflicts with the purpose and purity of Jesus Christ Who came to completely remove sin from our lives. Sin is antichrist. John writes, “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.” (I John 3:5). Jesus not only came to save us from the full penalty of our sins when He died on the cross (John 19:30; Rom. 5:9a, 10a; 6:23a; I Cor. 15:3), but He rose from the dead to live inside us to save us from the power of sin in our daily Christian lives (Rom. 5:9b, 10b; James 1:21-25). The day is coming in eternity when Christ will deliver us from the presence of sin in our lives forever (I John 3:2; Rev. 21:4).

The reason Jesus is qualified to do all this for us is because “in Him there is no sin” (3:5b). There was absolutely no sin in the perfect Son of God because He is fully God (I John 5:20; cf. John 1:1, 34, 49; 5:16-47; 6:69; 8:57-59; 11:27; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; et al.) and fully Man (I John:1:1-2; 4:2-3; cf. John 1:14; 4:6; 11:35; 12:27; 19:28; I Tim. 2:5).It took a perfect sacrifice to satisfy God’s holy demand to punish the sins of the world. And Jesus was the only Person qualified for the job (I John 2:1-2; cf. John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; I Pet. 3:18).

Although every Christian has sin in their lives (I John 1:7-8, 10), sin is abnormal and unnatural to the Christian life (Rom. 6:1-4). In fact, it is contrary to the purity of Jesus Christ (I John 3:3, 5). Therefore, it must not be condoned or tolerated in a believer’s life.

A few years ago, my family and I visited a church in North Dakota during the summer that was part of a German community. I was so impressed with how everyone seemed to be concerned about the cleanliness of their town. All the lawns were neatly mowed, and the sidewalks were swept and free of grass trimmings. Flowers were strategically planted without a weed in sight. There were no beer cans laying around nor any garbage on the side of the roads. People seemed to take a lot of pride in keeping their community looking clean and tidy.

When we left that place, I wondered what would happen if I showed more concern for the cleanliness of my heart than those people showed for their community? Inward cleanliness leads to outward cleanliness in the eyes of the apostle John. The righteous nature of God which was given to us the moment we believed in Christ (Rom. 4:5; I John 2:29; 5:1, 13), is to be manifested outwardly in our practice – not so we can get to heaven, but so God is glorified before people on earth (cf. Matt. 5:16).

Failure to take sin seriously is contrary to abiding in Christ Who is a sinless Person. “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.” (I John 3:6). John has just said there is absolutely “no sin” in Jesus(3:5). It follows that a Christian who “abides in” Christ (a sinless Person), absolutely “does not sin” (3:6). John is saying that sin is never the product of having fellowship or intimacy with Christ (“abides in Him”).Remember “abides” (menō) is one of John’s favorite words for fellowship or intimacy with Jesus.

Unfortunately, many Bible interpreters fail to see this logical connection between the absolute present tenses in verses 5 and 6.They conclude that verse 6 means if a person who claims to be a Christian continues to sin, he or she is not truly saved. The NIV translation conveys this interpretation by inserting the words “keeps on” and “continues” in front of the present tense verbs: “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” (I John 3:6 NIV). However, continual action is not inherent in the Greek present tense. The translators have added these additional words based on their theological point of view, not a careful study of the Greek grammar. 8

“For example, Jesus refers to His single act of coming to the earth at His incarnation in the present tense in John 6:33 when He says, ‘For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ Is there anyone who would like to tell us that the present tense here means continuous action, that is, that Jesus is continually coming down from heaven? I don’t think so. The present tense can mean continuous action, but that is only one of its ten different uses, and it’s a fairly rare usage. There need to be other indicators in the context of the verb before we conclude that the meaning is continuous action.” 9

“It cannot be shown anywhere in the New Testament that the present tense can bear this kind of meaning without the assistance of other words.” 10

It is best to understand I John 3:6a in an absolute sense (“no one who abides in Him sins”) because the present tense (“no one… sins”) in the New Testament never bears the habitual meaning (“no one keeps on sinning”) without the assistance of qualifying words like diapantos (“continually”- Luke 24:53; Heb 9:6; 13:15); eis to diēnekes (“continually”- Heb 7:3; 10:1); 11or  pantote (“always”). First John 3:6a has no qualifying words.

In the immediate context John affirms that “in Him (Christ) there is no sin” (3:5). Clearly this is an absolute denial of sin in God’s Son. Therefore, the present tense in 3:6a is also an absolute denial of sin in the person who abides in Christ. One cannot abide in a sinless Person (3:5) and sin at the same time.  

To say that verse 6 means a genuine Christian will not continue to sin contradicts I John 1:8 which says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Since John includes himself and the other apostles with the use of the word “we” in this verse (1:8; cf. 1:1-7), he must be referring to genuine Christians who say they have no sin and are thus self-deceived. 12 Both I John 1:8 and 3:6 refer to genuine Christians.

But what does John mean when he says, “Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him” (I John 3:6b)? To properly understand John’s meaning, we need to turn to the Greek grammar like we did in I John 2:3-4. Once again, the apostle John uses the Greek perfect tense with the verbs “seen” (heōraken) and “known” (egnōken). You may recall that with “verbs describing a state of being (to know) as opposed to verbs of action (to hit), the perfect tense expresses an intensified state. In other words, ‘to know’ in the perfect tense becomes ‘to know intensively’ or intimately. ‘To see’ in the perfect tense becomes ‘to see very closely.’” 13

John is telling us that “whoever sins” (a Christian or non-Christian) – whether it is once or a thousand times – means he or she “has neither seen” Christ closely “nor known Him” intimately. These verbs describe close fellowship with Christ. Sin is never the result of having intimate fellowship with Jesus. When a person “abides” in Christ, he or she has “seen” Him more closely and “known” Him more intimately. Sin is never the product of seeing and knowing Christ in a fellowship sense.

John is not saying that a person who sins has “never” seen or known God. For example, if you see a person with a starving look on his or her face, you can conclude they have not eaten recently, but you cannot conclude they have never eaten. A person sins in the “darkness” (1:6) where he or she is not seeing or knowing God more intimately. Sin is a result of blindness or ignorance toward God. But this does not mean he or she has never walked “in the light” (1:7) where God is seen or known more intimately.

Someone may argue that this absolute denial of sin in the person who abides in Christ also contradicts I John 1:8 which says a Christian who denies he has sin is self-deceived. Hodges comments, “First John 1:8 makes it clear that no Christian can ever claim to be experientially completely free from sin in this life. But at the same time the experience of ‘abiding in Him’ is a sinless experience. One area of obedience is not ‘contaminated’ by the presence of sin in other areas. If a person obeys the command to love his brother, that obedience is not tainted in God’s sight by some different sort of failure in the life, such as a lack of watchfulness in prayer (cf. Eph 6:18).

“When a believer is walking in fellowship with God, He is able to look past all his failures and sin and see the actual obedience that is there. In 1:7 John explained that even while walking in the light, there is cleansing going on by virtue of the blood of Christ. As a believer walks in the light and does what God commands, God sees him as one who is totally cleansed and is without any charge of unrighteousness.

“Thus, when a believer abides in Him, the positive obedience is what God takes account of and recognizes. The sin that still remains is not in any sense sourced in the abiding life, and that sin is cleansed in accord with 1:7. The experience of ‘abiding’ is therefore equivalent to obedience.” 14

Hodges also writes, “The fact remains, however, that Christians do not experience the sinless life perfectly on this earth; hence 1:8, 10 remain true. The two ideas are not really incompatible. The Christian still experiences a genuine struggle with the flesh and overcomes its impulses only by the help of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:16-26).

“Paul’s thinking also conforms with this view. In his struggle with sin, he was able to conclude, ‘Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it’ (Rom. 7:20). In this way Paul could perceive sin as not a real part of what he was at the most inward level of his being (cf. Rom. 7:25). When he wrote, ‘I no longer live, but Christ lives in me’ (Gal. 2:20), he implied the same thing. If Christ alone really lives, sin can be no part of that experience. Insofar as God is experienced by a believer, that experience is sinless.” 15

In summary, God wants us to take sin more seriously because…

  • The character of sin is repulsive to God (3:4).
  • Sin conflicts with the purpose and purity of Christ (3:5).
  • Sin is contrary to abiding in Christ (3:6).

To knowingly and willfully sin makes us a stranger to Jesus Christ because Christ is sinless. One cannot abide in a sinless Person and sin. Sin is never the product of abiding in Christ. That is, one cannot deliberately sin and be close to Christ at the same time. A believer in close fellowship with Christ wants sin out of his life. But a Christian who takes sin lightly in his life does not know Christ intimately. If he did, he would take sin more seriously.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for wanting us to take sin more seriously because it can rob us of the joy of seeing You more closely and knowing You more intimately. Too often we can take sin lightly because we are not in fellowship with You. If we were close to You, we would be sickened by our sin as You are. Please help us to see You more closely and to know You more intimately so we will want sin out of our lives. Our sin is a big deal because it caused Jesus to suffer and die in our place on a cross so we could be forgiven when we believe in Him. By Your grace, may each of us abide in Christ and have close fellowship with Him so we can live a life that is honoring to You. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.


1. David R. Anderson, Maximum Joy: I John – Relationship or Fellowship? (Grace Theology Press, 2013 Kindle Edition), pg. 145.

2. Zane C. Hodges, The Bible Knowledge Commentary Epistles and Prophecy, Editors John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (David C. Cook, 2018 Kindle Edition), Kindle Location 3795.

3. Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature: Third Edition (BDAG) revised and edited by Frederick William Danker (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000 Kindle Edition), pg. 85.

4. Anderson notes, “This Greek word is used to translate twenty-four different Hebrew words in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT). Most frequently it is used to translate the Hebrew word ‘awon, which means “wickedness” or “iniquity” (Anderson, Maximum Joy, pg. 147).

5. Tony Evans, CSB Bibles by Holman, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary (B & H Publishing Group, Kindle Edition, 2019), pg. 2942.

6. Anderson, Maximum John, pp. 147-148.

7. Ibid., pg. 148.

8. Ibid., pg. 151.

9. Ibid., pp. 146-147.

10. Hodges, The Bible Knowledge Commentary Epistles and Prophecy, Kindle Location 3805 to 3809.

11. Anderson, pg. 151.

12. Ibid., pg. 145.

13. Ibid., pg. 150; cf. K. L. McKay, “On the Perfect and Other Aspects in the New Testament Greek,” Novum Testamentum, Vol. 23, Fasc. 4 (Brill: 1981), pp. 289-329.

14. Zane C. Hodges; Robert Wilkin; J. Bond; Gary Derickson; Brad Doskocil; Dwight Hunt; Shawn Leach; The Grace New Testament Commentary: Revised Edition (Grace Evangelical Society, Kindle Edition, 2019), pg. 595.

15. Hodges, The Bible Knowledge Commentary Epistles and Prophecy, Kindle Location 3818 to 3822.

Lesson 1 Part 2 – Sharing the Gospel (Video)

This video provides practical instruction on how to share the good news or gospel of Jesus Christ with those who do not have Christ in their lives. If you are eager to introduce people to the Savior of the world, this video will equip you to do just that! This video is also great for those who do not know for sure they will go to heaven when they die. The contents of this video will clearly show them from the Bible what they must know and believe to go to heaven.

Connecting in a Disconnected World of Covid (Video)

Although this video was prepared for a church anniversary in the Philippines, its biblical principles can apply to any culture. We will not only look at the challenges of connecting with other people during this age of COVID-19, we will also turn to the Bible to discover how we can connect with one another in more effective ways. If you are feeling all alone and without hope, this video is for you.