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Children of God [cont.] (v. 1-10)
We are children of God and we shall be like Jesus because Jesus is pure and we purify ourselves in him. If you sin you are with the devil, if you know Jesus you will not keep on sinning. By this is it evident who is of God and who is of the devil.
Didn't we just learn in 1 John 1 that we are all sinners? That anyone who says they are not a sinner is a liar? Now this says that if you are with God you are no longer a sinner. It follows logically that no one is with God.
Guzik tries to explain this with grammar. He argues that in 1 John the grammar indicates occasional acts of sin, whereas the grammar here indicates living a life of sin. Let's examine this, for the verse here, it says "keeps on sinning", I suppose this could go either way, but it feels to me like it is saying that there is never a point in which you stop sinning altogether. What does it mean to say no one who abides in Jesus keeps on sinning? It sounds to me like it is saying once you are with Jesus you never sin again. What about 1 John 1:8? It says "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." I suppose his argument works here, if everyone has a little sin now and then, then they can't say they have no sin. Given the source material, I think he has done the best that can be done, but it looks to me that we have contradictory messages here. I guess you just have to judge for yourself.
Jamieson, Fausset & Brown say that we are talking about the ideal of a Christian. They say "Not that 'whosoever is betrayed into sins has never seen nor known God'; but in so far as sin exists, in that degree the spiritual intuition and knowledge of God do not exist in him." So their argument is that as far as you sin, that much you don't know God. As far as I read it, this goes pretty contrary to what the actual book says. Furthermore, we have seen plenty of times in the bible where all sins are equated, if you lie you deserve hell just as much as if you murdered. With this in mind, I think this way to justify the verse falls flat.
Love One Another (v. 11-24)
You should love your brother, not hate him. Cain hated Abel because his deeds were righteous so he killed him. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer.
Whoa, let's stop right there. Hate and murder are the same thing? I know you are making a Cain and Abel analogy here, but hate and murder are quite far apart.
Here is Guzik's take on this: "To hate our brother is to murder him in our hearts. Though we may not carry out the action (through cowardice or fear of punishment), we wish that person dead. Or, by ignoring another person, we may treat them as if they were dead. Hatred can be shown passively or actively." I could not disagree with this more, and honestly, the fact that he would read this passage and then have this take-away demonstrates the negative impact reading the bible could have on someone who is so invested in it being correct. I've hated people, I've never wanted to kill anyone, to say that I have murdered someone in my heart is absolutely ludicrous. To imply that I have only not killed those people because I am a coward or that I fear punishment is also quite silly.
v13 "Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you."
Persecution complex once again.
Both Guzik and Jamieson, Fausset & Brown take this as a given.
Jesus laid his life down for us, we should be willing to do the same for our brothers. If you have worldly goods and are able to help someone out who is in need, and you refuse, how is it possible that God's love abides in your heart. Don't just talk about loving your brothers, let your deeds speak for you.
You should help people out who are in need, this I can get behind.
Sometimes your heart might condemn you, but God is greater than your heart. If you keep the commandment to believe in Jesus, then God is in you.
Had a bit of trouble summarizing that paragraph, but basically it seems to be saying that you might sometimes want things that you are not supposed to want, but with God you can overcome your impulses.
Guzik says that "our heart condemns us before God" is about us feeling like we aren't really worthy of God, and the part about God being greater than our hearts is that we shouldn't take those feelings too seriously, because God is with us even though we have those feelings.
If we keep God happy with us, he will give us whatever we ask for.
We are back to faith I guess, this is basically the thing that Jesus talked about, if you really believe then you can move a mountain with a prayer. What nonsense. But even if we assume that moving a mountain is hyperbolic talk from Jesus, here we are still saying that we can get whatever we want if we really believe. I would argue there are plenty of believers who have cancer and really believe that prayer will heal them, and yet God doesn't cure their cancer.
For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)
1 John 3:17 Love each other and help those in need
"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?"
1 John 3:18 Talk is cheap, show love with your actions
"Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."
1 John 3:6 If you sin you can't be with God
"No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him."
1 John 3:13 Persecution complex
"Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you."
1 John 3:15 Murder and hate are the same
"Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."
1 John 3:22 God will give us whatever we ask for
"and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him"