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1 John 3






As this chapter opens, John makes a couple of huge statements.  One of those is “See what kind of love the Father has given to us”.  The English language really does a disservice to this statement.  If we look at this more closely, we will discover that John is actually talking about the peculiar, out-of-this world, scandalous kind of love that the Father has for us.

Let’s break that down a bit.  First, God’s love is peculiar.  This simply means that it is very different from any other kind of love that anybody might have for us.  It is different from a parent’s love, from a friend’s love, or even the love of a spouse.  God’s love really is unparalleled.

Second, God’s love is out-of-this world.  Any love that is “of this world” is tainted by our sin.  Love that is “of this world” is corrupted by the imperfections of the human heart.  So, God’s love is “out of this world”.  It is unlike anything that we experience anywhere else.  It is not affected by sin.  In fact, it is expressed and freely given in spite of sin.  God’s love is perfectly divine.

Third, God’s love is scandalous.  Think about this.  God is perfect, sinless, and holy in every way.  We are imperfect, sinful, and anything but holy.  And yet God chooses to love us anyway.  God chooses to love us who are so very different from Him.  God chooses to love us who have turned away from Him.  God chooses to love us before we would ever consider loving Him.  His love for us really is the scandal of all eternity.

As you look at verse 1, you will see that God’s love is directly responsible for who we are.  Specifically, this verse says we are the children of God.  Before our salvation, we were dead in our sins, depraved, and, as Ephesians 2 says, were sons of disobedience and children of wrath.  But because of God’s great love for us, we can be saved and when we are saved we are made the children of God.  

Verse 2 takes this a step further and speaks of what we shall be.  This verse is actually speaking of what we will be when we get to heaven.  Now, when we arrive in heaven, we will still be human.  But we will exist in different kinds of bodies that the Bible calls glorified bodies.  We don’t know exactly what that will look like or be like.  But we do know that we will be like Jesus.

Verse 4 then fills in the gap between verse 1 and verse 2.  In other words, verse 4 speaks of our lives after we are saved and before we arrive in heaven.  Actually, the next several verses (through verse 10) speak of this.  Let me give you a short version of what is being said.

From the time we are saved until we arrive in heaven, we should be becoming progressively more Christ like.  We should, through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in us, be becoming victorious over our sins and struggles.  In other words, we should be becoming more like Jesus.

That doesn’t mean we will be perfect.  I don’t think we will be on this earth. But we should be getting closer to that all of the time.  The Bible actually calls this sanctification which could be defined as becoming more holy.  Now this will not make us self-righteous because that is sin.  It will help us be more righteous which is Christ-like.

As Christ followers, we really should be on a journey of becoming more like our Jesus.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

1 John 2





Again I find myself with a chapter that has so much in it.  There are so many different and important things in this chapter that we could spend days in it and not get everything.  So, I am going to limit myself to two things.

First, I want you to look at the first couple of verses.  John is encouraging us to put away our sin.  Life without sin would be infinitely better than life with even one sin.  So, he says is writing to help us win that battle. 

But we do sin.  We sin more than we want to admit.  We may even sin more than we actually realize.  So, what do we do then?  Verse 1 says we have an advocate with the Father.  The word advocate refers to someone that is called alongside of.  Specifically, it was used in this way.  When someone was called into court, he would take an advocate or lawyer with him to stand at his side and plead his case

Imagine, if you will, being called before God because as a Christ follower you have sinned.  As we make that long walk to God’s court room, we suddenly find Jesus walking with us.  As the trial began, Jesus says to the Father, “This one is mine.  I paid for His sin when I died on Calvary.  Therefore, this sin has been wiped away.”

The reason Jesus can do that is, according to verse 2, He is our propitiation.  Now there’s a Bible word for you.  What in the world is a propitiation? Propitiation refers to the satisfying of God’s Holy Law.  The Law says that the wages of sin is death and that the shedding of blood is necessary for the sin debt to be forgiven.  

So, Jesus went to the cross.  He shed His blood and died there not only for our sins but the sins of the whole world.  Think about this.  Jesus died once and for all for every sin that had ever been committed or would be committed by everybody who had ever lived and those who would live.  His sacrifice was total and complete.

When we are saved, that death, that shed blood is applied to us.  Therefore we never have to face judgment for our sin.  Jesus as our Advocate, stands next to us and declares the sin paid for and us free from it all.

I have said all of that to get me to the second thing I want to talk about in this book.  This whole notion of Jesus dying once for all sin of all time is a difficult concept to get a grip on.  But it is the basis for the incredible principle of once we are saved, we are always saved.  Once the blood of Jesus is applied, it covers all of our sin.

But therein lies a problem.  Sometimes we struggle with whether or not we were actually saved.  Sometimes that struggle can be devastating.  Are we actually saved?  Can we actually know if we are actually saved?

The answer is an emphatic “yes”.  We can know that we are actually saved.  In fact, much of 1 John is written to help us know that we are saved.  For example, verse 3 says one of the tests of salvation is obedience to God’s Word.  Are we doing what we should be doing?  Verse 10 says one of the tests of salvation is whether or not we love other Christians.  In a kind of upside down way, verse 15 gives us the test of loving the world.  Love of the world (see verse 16) is evidence that you have not been saved.

My time and space is gone.  Just know that as we work our way through the rest of this amazing book, we are going to find a variety of ways that we can actually know if we have actually been saved.  So, hang in there…

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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