3:1 Behold, 1 a what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be b called the sons of God: 2 therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
(1) He begins to declare this agreement of the
Father and the Son, at the highest cause, that is, at that free love of God
towards us, with which he so loves us, that also he adopts us to be his
(a) What a gift of how great love.
(b) That we should be the sons of God, and so,
that all the world may see that we are so. (2)
Before he declares this adoption, he says two things: the one, that this so
great a dignity, is not to be esteemed according to the judgment of the flesh,
because it is unknown to the world, for the world knows not God the Father
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall
be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be c
like him; for we shall see him d as he
(3) The other: This dignity is not fully revealed
to us ourselves, much less to strangers, but we are sure of the accomplishment
of it, in as much as we shall be like the Son of God himself and shall enjoy
his sight indeed, such as he is now, but yet this is deferred until his next
(c) Like, but not equal.
(d) For now we see as in a glass (1 Corinthians
3:3 4 And
every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even e
as he is pure.
(4) Now he describes this adoption (the glory
which as yet consists in hope) by the effect that is, because whoever is made
the Son of God, endeavours to resemble the Father in purity.
(e) This word signifies a likeness, but not an
Whosoever f committeth sin transgresseth
also the law: for g sin is the
transgression of the law.
(5) The rule of this purity can from no where
else be taken but from the law of God, the transgression of which is called
(f) Does not give himself to pureness.
(g) A short definition of sin.
And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
(6) An argument taken from the material cause of
our salvation: Christ in himself is most pure, and he came to take away our
sins, by sanctifying us with the Holy Spirit, therefore whoever is truly a
partaker of Christ, does not give himself to sin, and on the contrary, he that
gives himself to sin does not know Christ.
3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not:
whosoever h sinneth hath not seen him,
neither known him.
(h) He is said to sin, that does not give himself
to purity, and in him sin reigns: but sin is said to dwell in the faithful,
and not to reign in them.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is
righteous, even as he is righteous.
(7) Another argument of things joined together:
He that lives justly, is just, and resembles Christ that is just, and by that
is known to be the Son of God.
3:8 8 He
that committeth sin is of the i devil;
for the devil k sinneth from the l
beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy
the works of the devil.
(8) An argument taken by contrast: the devil is
the author of sin, and therefore he is that serves sin is of the devil, or is
ruled by the inspiration of the devil: and if he is the devil's son, then is
he not God's son: for the devil and God are so contrary to one another that
the Son of God was sent to destroy the works of the devil. Therefore on the
other side, whoever resists sin, is the son of God, being born again of his
Spirit as of new seed, in so much, that by necessity he is now delivered from
the slavery of sin.
(i) Resembles the devil, as the child does the
father, and is governed by his Spirit.
(k) He says not "sinned" but
"sins" for he does nothing else but sin.
(l) From the very beginning of the world.
3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit
sin; for his m seed remaineth in him:
and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
(m) The Holy Spirit is so called by the effect he
works, because by his power and mighty working, as it were by seed, we are
made new men.
In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil:
whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, 10
neither he that loveth not his brother.
(9) The conclusion: by a wicked life they are
known who are governed by the Sprit of the devil: and by a pure life who are
(10) He begins to commend charity towards the
brethren as another mark of the sons of God.
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love
(11) The first reason taken from the authority of
God who gives the commandment.
Not as Cain, [who] was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. 13
And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's
(12) An amplification taken from the contrary
example of Cain who slew his brother.
(13) A short digression: Let us not marvel that
we are hated by the world for doing our duty, for such was the condition of
Abel who was a just person: and who would not rather be like him than Cain?
We o know that we have passed from death
unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother
abideth in death.
(14) The second reason: Because charity is a
testimony that we are translated from death to life: and therefore hatred
towards the brethren is a testimony of death, and whoever nourishes it fosters
death in his bosom.
(o) Love is a token that we are translated from
death to life, for by the effects the cause is known.
Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath
eternal life abiding in him.
(15) A confirmation: Whoever is a murderer, is in
eternal death: he who hates his brother is a murderer, therefore he is in
death. Thereupon follows the other side: He that loves his brother has passed
to life, for indeed we are born dead.
Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and
we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.
(16) Now he shows how far Christian charity
extends, even so far, that according to the example of Christ every man
forgets himself, to provide for and help his brethren.
But whoso hath this p world's good,
and seeth his brother have need, and q
shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in
(17) He reasons by comparisons: for if we are
bound even to give our life for our neighbours, how much more are we bound to
help our brothers' needs with our goods and substance?
(p) Wherewith this life is sustained.
(q) Opens not his heart to him, nor helps him
willingly and cheerfully.
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and
(18) Christian charity stands not in word but in
deed, and proceeds from a sincere affection.
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, 20
and shall assure our hearts before him.
(19) He commends charity, by three effects: for
first of all, by it we know that we are indeed the sons of God, as he showed
(20) Therefore it comes that we have a quiet
conscience, as on the opposite side he that thinks that he has God for a
judge, because he is guilty to himself either he is never or else very rarely
quiet, for God has a far sharper sight then we, and judges more severely.
3:20 For 4
if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
(r) If an evil conscience convicts us, much more
ought the judgment of God condemn us, who knows our hearts better than we
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God.
(21) A third effect also rises from the former,
that in these miseries we are sure to be heard, because we are the sons of
God: as we understand by the grace of sanctification which is only for the
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and
do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
(22) The conclusion, that faith in Christ and
love one towards another are things joined together, and therefore the outward
testimonies of sanctification must and do answer that inward testimony of the
Spirit given to us.
3:24 And he that
keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that
he abideth in us, by the f Spirit which
he hath given us.
(f) He means the Spirit of sanctification,
whereby we are born again and live to God.