1 John 3:4-10
The Righteousness of God’s Children
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
The Nature of Sin (3.4)
Lawlessness is living as though your own ideas are superior to God’s.
Lawlessness is rebellion against the right of God to make laws and govern his creatures.
Lawlessness is sin.
Lawlessness is rebellion against the right of God to rule over us.
Satan works to nurture and cultivate the pride that puts its own desires above the law of God. This is lawlessness; is the essence of sin; and this is what the Son of God came to destroy in you and me.
The purpose of Christ’s life and work (3.5-8)
Here in verse 5, John points us to the cross. He points out that since Jesus came and lived a sinless life, so that we would not have too. Therefore, as we become more like Him we should becoming less and less sinful, and more and more like Christ who had no sins. Now in light of the cross we can ask the question, “Have my sins been taken away?” Verse 6 tells us that the answer lies in our present experience. Do I keep on sinning, or is my life distinctively different?
The nature of the Christian experience (3.9)
No one born of God makes a practice of sinning.
The practice of sin is the evidence and confirmation that one is not born of God. Doing confirms being. Not practicing sin is the evidence and confirmation of being born again.
In this verse, John sums up the previous verses and transitions into our next section of scripture. “By this it may be seen who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother.” The first clause of that verse sums up the previous paragraph (3:4–10) in which John argued that a lifestyle of righteousness, or of not sinning, is the essential evidence of being a child of God, indwelt by the very seed of God (v. 9), increasingly sharing the nature of him in whom there is no sin (v. 5). On the other hand, a lifestyle of habitual, persistent, unrepentant sin is clear evidence of being not a child of God but a child of the devil, sharing the nature of him who has been sinning from the beginning (v. 8).