1 John ~ Chapter 4
1 John 4:1-6, False Teachers
In light of what was noted in Chapter 3, as headlined in the following verses, ….
Verse 1, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.”
Verse 4, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”
Verse 11, “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
Verse 22, “and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”
And Verse 24, “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”
… Chapter 4 begins with a warning to recognize and avoid false teachings.
This continues on the theme of 1 John 3:7, “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”
As we previously noted in our study of 1 John, Gnosticism was an “up and coming” religion that denied the deity of Christ, taught that there was no such thing as an Old Sin Nature, that you did not have to confess your sins after salvation, and they also held that knowledge (GNOSIS) was the “stairway to heaven”, not Jesus Christ.
This came primarily from those who had adopted or were attracted to Hellenistic (Greek – Jewish) systems of philosophy. It was an attempt to reconcile philosophy with Bible doctrine. Gnosticism is the major thrust of the cosmic revolution of Satan, which combines Greek philosophy and legalistic Judaism with oriental dualism to form an apostate syncretism, (combining things into one system), covered with a veneer of Christian vocabulary. It picked up and utilized the vocabulary of Bible doctrine.
Gnostics claimed that there are two ways to salvation either by maximum asceticism or maximum lasciviousness. They had to consider Christ in the picture and they said He was the highest aeon, level of spirituality. He is not the Savior and He is not God, and they claimed that the cross was an optical illusion. The leaders of Gnosticism included Cerinthus, Valentinus, Basilides, Marcion, and others.
As a result of this negative influence, God inspired John to write this epistle including the warning found here in Chapter 4, Verse 1.
The apostle Paul warned the pastors at Ephesus that among them there would be men who taught false doctrine to the flock of God.
Acts 20:28-31, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. And from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”
Peter also warned his readers concerning false prophets that would deny the Person of Christ.
2 Peter 2:1-3, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
Now an important aspect of this verse is the volitional issue of man. Why? Because man is an inferior and fallible creature. We are inferior to God and angels and are inherently weak to sin, human good, and evil. Therefore, because of our inherent weakness, we gravitate to a power system that is greater than we are. It may be a false system or it may be a true system. The true system is God’s Power System (GPS) and the false system is Satan’s Cosmic System.
Therefore, man has a choice to gravitate towards power related to the cosmic system of Satan, the ruler of this world, or GPS, God’s plan and power system for the Church Age.
This passage discusses God’s Power System for the Church Age believer or Royal Family of God in terms of thought testing and the dynamics of impersonal love, plus the inevitable blessings of residence and function inside GPS.
There are three paragraphs that outline 1 John 4:
- The challenge of thought testing, in Verses 1-6;
- The dynamics of impersonal love, the ultimate virtue of Christianity, in Verses 7-12;
- The dynamics of GPS, in Verses 13-21.
1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Verse 1 begins with the plural vocative of address AGAPETOS meaning, “beloved ones.” “Beloved ones” is used to designate the Royal Family of God, emphasizing the fact that Jesus Christ is the beloved, and you and I are accepted in the beloved (Eph 1:6). We are Royal Family, and with that privilege goes responsibility, the responsibility to advance to maturity through discernment between true and false teaching.
Next, we are told to stop doing something we are currently doing through the negative ME and the Present, Active, Imperative verb for “believe” PISTEUO. The imperative is one of prohibition, because it is linked with ME, and it demands the cessation of action in progress. “Stop believing” is the translation.
Then we have PAS meaning, “all or every”, and PNEUMA, typically meaning, “spirit.” PNEUMA not only means spirit, but it also means human personality. It means life, breath, influential principle, pervading influence, or wind. Therefore, we can translate this PNEUMA as an “influential speaker”, meaning that the Gnostic speakers were very eloquent.
So the command is to stop believing every eloquent speaker with the implication that eloquence isn’t always true, eloquence is not a sign of truthfulness, it’s just a personality trait or learned behavior.
This was specifically referencing the eloquence of Docetic and Cerinthian Gnosticism. They were eloquent speakers, Greeks who had all of the persuasiveness of Demosthenes the Greek. With the Gnostics their persuasive speaking was false teaching, which constitutes thought testing on behalf of the believer, which is one of the great momentum tests along the way of advancing to maturity.
Unfortunately, eloquence is often mistaken for spiritual dynamics, it may be or it may not be as was the case with Moses and Aaron. Aaron was eloquent, Moses was not. The issue is not eloquence but the content of message. Eloquence and persuasive preaching can be true or false. Only the believer with maximum Bible doctrine resident in his soul and listening while inside GPS can determine or discern the difference.
The Present Imperative PISTEUO, plus the negative ME, indicates that the believers to whom John writes in this chapter have already flunked the thought test; they have been distracted by the eloquence and talent of the Gnostic speakers. This negative command constitutes a warning to every believer to discern between the talent of speaking, which is not the issue, and the content of the doctrinal message, which is the issue. It is not the man but the message. The man may be eloquent and dynamic as a speaker but false and apostate with regard to his content. Eloquent error is still error. Talent in teaching does not change false to true, or error to doctrine. Eloquence cannot convert what is false into what is true.
Perception of Bible doctrine provides discernment and common sense, which eliminates simple stupidity or the naïve appreciation of talent. Naiveness dulls the senses, while doctrine of discernment from the second stage of the Faith-Rest Drill sharpens both the intellect and the ability to distinguish truth and to determine what is false.
And finally, KOSMOS, “the world” in this passage, speaks of the cosmic system of Satan. In these passages, we will see that the cosmic system of Satan will embrace the teaching of the false teachers but will reject the teaching of the apostles.
The Lord warned the apostles, and by extension us today, that the cosmic system would reject them and their teaching, which was in fact received from Christ himself.
John 15:18-20, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”
1 John 4:2-3, “By this you know the spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”
A modified translation for Verse 2 is; “By this learn to recognize that person who is from God: Every (honorable) minister who teaches that Jesus has come in the flesh is from God.”
“By this you know,” is EN HOUTOS GINOSKO, where the verb GINOSKO is in the Present Tense, Active Voice, and Imperative mood. This sets up the verse as a command for the believer to have discernment regarding true and false teaching. This is a progressive present tense for an action that is in a state of progress, or state of persistence. In other words, the new believer will not have this type of discernment but needs to learn how to discern between the truth and falsehoods. He needs to learn the Word of God and grow spiritually. What follows is a first step in discernment, the issue of the incarnation of the person of Jesus Christ as the God/Man in hypostatic union. So we translate this “keep on learning” or “learn to recognize” truth from falsehoods.
Then we have the phrase, “Spirit of God,” which is PNEUMA THEOS in the Accusative, Singular, direct object of PNEUMA and the Genitive of source in the singular of HO THEOS meaning, “from God.”
Translating PNEUMA as Spirit with a capital “S” is incorrect. This is not speaking about God the Holy Spirit, which is the sense when spirit is capitalized. Furthermore, translating it spirit does not follow the context. Remember we have been speaking about eloquent teachers with the word PNEUMA in Verse 1. This too is speaking about teachers or speakers. In this case, it is referring to those who are teaching the truth about Christ. In addition with the Accusative Neuter definite article TO it is translated as a pronoun, so “the speaker,” “the personality,” or “the person” is a better translation with the understanding that this speaker is led by the Holy Spirit in teaching the truth of God’s Word.
Then we have, “every spirit,” here PAS PNEUMA (every spirit) is correctly translated in the lower case but again “spirit” does not hit the mark and should be “persons” in referencing the teacher or minister of God’s Word. So minister hits the mark referring to those honorable men who are teaching the truth of God’s Word versus the dishonorable men who are teaching falsehoods and lies.
“That confesses” is HOS HOMOLEGEO in the Present, Active, Indicative, which means, “to speak the same, agree, confess, or acknowledge.”
This is a customary present denoting what habitually occurs or may be reasonably expected to occur when the doctrinal teacher residing inside God’s Power System (GPS) fulfills the purpose of the ministry in isagogical, categorical, and exegetical teaching of the Word of God. So this is referencing the minister whose teachings are in agreement with God’s Word regarding Jesus Christ.
“Jesus Christ” is IESOUS (Jesus-savior; emphasizing His humanity) CHRISTOS (Christ-messiah, emphasizing His Deity). When “Jesus” proceeds “Christ,” it is emphasizing His humanity more than His Deity, yet because combined, His Hypostatic Union is in view. When “Christ” precedes “Jesus,” His Deity is emphasized in Hypostatic Union.
Next, we have a slight reversal between the Greek and English. In the Greek “in the flesh” is the prepositional phrase, EN plus the locative of SARX meaning, “flesh, physical body, or human nature.” Therefore, the humanity, in hypostatic union, of our Lord the God/Man is in view.
This is where John hits the Gnostics and makes the distinction between true and false teaching. The Gnostics said that Jesus Christ, as God, did not come in the flesh. Gnosticism rejected the hypostatic union. They said that Christ could not be flesh and spirit at the same time; it was an optical illusion and/or that God really never came in the flesh. The people who said this were very eloquent and they were leading astray many of John’s congregation.
This is followed by the Perfect, Active, Participle of ERCHOMAI meaning, “come” or “has come”.
The Perfect Tense is the tense of completed action; action having been completed, existing and with finished results. This is the intensive perfect which emphasizes the results of the completed action.
The Active Voice: Jesus Christ produces the action of existing results from the virgin birth, the incarnation, the Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension.
The Participle is a complimentary participle, which completes the idea of the action expressed in the main verb. The main verb is the Present, Active, Indicative of EIMI = “is” in the phrase to follow “is from God.”
“From God” is EK with the Genitive of THEOS.
Then we have the main verb, the Present, Active, Indicative of EIMI. “is.”
The Descriptive Present stands for what is now going on.
The Active Voice: The humble minister teaching the truth. He is honorable, because he teaches the truth. In this case, the truth is the hypostatic union which had been rejected and was being falsified throughout the Roman province of Asia by the Gnostics.
The Declarative Indicative tells us of the reality of the situation, and indicates the main verb.
So we translate this as, “is from God”.
Definition of the Hypostatic Union
In the person of the incarnate Christ are two natures, divine and human, inseparably united without mixture or loss of separate identity, without loss or transfer of properties or attributes, the union being personal and eternal.
This unique union began at the moment of the virgin birth, also classified as the first Advent of Christ. From the time of the virgin birth and forever, our Lord Jesus Christ has been and always will be undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever.
The doctrine of the hypostatic union was confirmed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D.
- The two natures of Christ maintain their complete identity though being joined in personal union forever. The attributes of His human and divine nature belong to their corresponding natures, though the attributes of either nature belong to the one person of Christ. Each nature has its own attributes that adhere to that nature.
- There is no mixture of the two natures to form a third substance or hypostasis. The human nature always remains the human nature and the divine nature always remains the divine nature.
- It is orthodox to refer to Christ as a theanthropic (the God-man) person. The two natures are united without transfer of attributes. It is impossible to transfer an attribute of one nature to the other nature without destroying that nature.
- The essence is composed of the sum total of its attributes. A change of attributes involves a change of essence. Therefore, there is no change in the essence of deity or the essence of humanity.
The focus of the doctrine concerns the union of two natures, divine and human in one hypostatic union, one person.
The word “nature” comes from the Greek word OUSIA, the present participle of EIMI, which means, “that which is one’s own.” It means essence, and it means being. It is the persona of the unique person of the universe. OUSIA means, “being,” “existing,” but comes to mean, “nature.”
- Beginning with the incarnation of Jesus Christ, a human nature was inseparably united forever with the divine nature of Jesus Christ. Yet the two natures remain distinct, whole, unchanged, without mixture or confusion, so that Jesus Christ is true humanity and undiminished deity in one person forever.
Since the incarnation, Jesus Christ is true humanity and undiminished deity in one unique person forever. Since the first advent, it is no longer the divine nature alone, which is expressed in His person, but the human nature as well.
- The Lord Jesus Christ is unique in the universe. He is God with all the attributes of God. All the attributes of deity adhere to His deity and never cross over and become humanity. All the attributes of humanity adhere to the humanity of Christ and never become deity.
The attributes of the divine nature could not be transferred to the human nature of Jesus Christ to help Him to resist temptation or to meet the great problems of life. The human nature of Christ in hypostatic union had to depend entirely upon the Plan of God the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus Christ had to become perfect humanity to be our Savior, to be our High Priest, to be the Mediator between God and man, and to fulfill the promise of the Davidic covenant that David’s son would rule forever.
Documentation of the Hypostatic Union: John 1:1-2; 14; Rom 1:3-5; 9:5; Phil 2:5-11; 3:10; 1 Tim 3:16; Heb 1:3; 2:14; 12:2-3; 1 John 1:1-3.
John 1:1-2, “In a beginning which was not a beginning there always existed the Word [deity of Christ], and the Word was face-to-face with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God.”
John 1:14, “And the Word [the deity of Christ] became flesh [true humanity in hypostatic union] and tabernacled among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the uniquely born person from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Heb 12:2-3, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Rom 1:3-5, “Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake.”
Rom 9:5, “And from whom is the Christ in so far as the flesh is concerned, who is God sovereign over all.”
1 Tim 3:16, “And by common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up into glory.”
Heb 1:3, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Heb 2:14, “Therefore, since children share blood and flesh, He also partook of the same [became true humanity], in order that through [substitutionary spiritual] death, He might render powerless Satan who had the power of death.”
Phil 3:10, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
This is one of three declarations by John in his epistles of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- 1 John 4:2 is in the Perfect Tense, stating the completion of the past event with results that continue, “HE HAS COME.”
- In 1 John 5:6, “is (the one) who came.”
“Is” is the Greek verb EIMI the verb “to be”.
It is in the Historical Present Tense that views the past incarnation and First Advent with the vividness of a present occurrence.
The Active Voice, our Lord Jesus Christ produced the action of the verb.
The Indicative Mood is declarative for the historical reality of the First Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then we have “who came” which is the Greek verb ERCHOMAI in the Aorist Tense and Active Voice.
The Constative Aorist contemplates the First Advent in its entirety but emphasizes the person and the work of Christ on the Cross.
The Active Voice, Jesus Christ produces the action. So this is stating the overall fact of occurrence, “HE CAME.”
“By water and by blood” are literal phrases of symbolism. They refer in Verse 6 to the fact of the First Advent of Christ (water) with emphasis on the Cross (blood). John emphasizes the fact that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, possessed a true human body during the incarnation.
This is compared with John 19:34, where the issue is somatic death. This was the absolute proof that our Lord had died physically.
John was pointing out that our Lord had a human body, that He was true humanity. He is refuting the great attack on Christianity, which was Gnosticism rejecting the humanity of Christ.
- In 2 John 7 – “coming” is a Participle, in the Historical Present, stating the fact of occurrence as if the person where presently there. In other words, John was in the physical presence of our Lord and is emphasizing that fact. He is stating the fact of Christ’s physical presence in the past that is now being denied by the deceivers, “IS COME.”
Deceiving spirits deny the facts concerning the person and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Heb 13:8-9, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace.”
So, our Lord is telling us in 1 John 4 that our spiritual life must include discernment through analysis which constitutes thought testing. If you cannot properly analyze, you cannot make proper application. You can only apply correctly what you understand correctly.
The purpose of discernment or analysis is to qualify the eloquent and persuasive teacher as to whether they are teaching the truth or not. The testing agent is the human mind, your volition, in concentration inside God’s Power System.
The believer who does not have Bible doctrine in their soul, or is outside GPS, or who is not concentrating on the teaching being taught, cannot test the content of an eloquent message as to being true or false.
To fulfill the mandate, “test the spirits,” the believer must possess Bible doctrine in his soul, have established correct norms and standards, and have priorities that reflect your daily relationship with God.
False teaching is only one system of thought testing and distraction from the Plan of God, but is an effective one.
Other systems of thought testing include; man centered academic speculation, (pseudo-intellectual arrogance), conspiracy arrogance, crusader arrogance, political arrogance, anti-establishment arrogance, world utopia arrogance and religion, Rom 1:21-23; Eph 4:17-19, 25.
In discernment (thought testing) for true versus false doctrine, the simple litmus test is what they say about the Christ.
Up to this point in John’s epistle, He has stressed applying impersonal and unconditional love towards mankind as a Problem Solving Device. Yet love is not the answer for testing false doctrine. It would be impossible to discern false teaching based on love alone.
In fact, the “L” word is highly used by false teachers in their false doctrine. They teach a form of human love from human emotion that is not based on the Word of God in your soul. It is based on human good works that ultimately originates from the Sin Nature.
That’s why John emphasizes discernment here, testing the “spirits.” We need to have a basis of knowledge from the Word of God in order to make good and right decisions, and in 1 John 4:1-6, we are given a base line of knowledge, “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.”
If Christ is not said to be God incarnate (in the flesh), run quickly for the door and don’t be further duped. Likewise, as noted in Verses 9-10, if there is any teaching that even hints that His work on the Cross is not solely and entirely sufficient for obtaining and / or maintaining your salvation, run.
If there is any hint of your works or actions being necessary for salvation, in addition to what Christ has done on the Cross, it is a tell-tale sign of false teaching. This is spelled out in Verse 3.
Verse 3 – Testing of the Doctrines of those who are against Christ (antichrist).
How do we test the spirits, (i.e. persuasive speakers)?
- In 1 Cor 14:40, test them with order.
- In Gal 1:4-24, test them with Bible doctrine.
- In 1 John 4:1-6, test them based on their teaching/doctrine concerning the person and First Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- In Mat 7:15-20, test them by their fruits.
1 John 4:3, “and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”
A modified translation: “Furthermore every persuasive speaker who does not teach this Jesus [of orthodox Christianity] is not from God: furthermore this [false teaching] is the [spirit / persuasive influence] of antichrist, about whom you have heard that he is coming [in the Tribulation]; and now [Church Age] he is already in the world.”
“And every spirit” is KAI PAS PNUEMA meaning, “every eloquent speaker,” i.e. the persuasive mind of Gnosticism.
“That does not confess” is the Present, Active, Indicative of the verb HOMOLOEO, which means to acknowledge, to teach, to communicate, and to cite. With it is the negative ME meaning not, so combined it is “does not teach (acknowledge, or admit)”.
The Progressive Present plus the negative is for persistent action that does not agree with the true teaching of Christianity.
The Active Voice: false teachers produce the action of the verb. Most of these teachers at the time of writing were born again believers but they were teaching false doctrine.
The Declarative Indicative mood is for the reality of false teachers who reject the doctrine of the hypostatic union, the incarnation, impeccability, the work of Christ on the cross.
Instead they have added psychology, philosophy, speculative academic subjects, which are man centered, in order to confuse people.
To them Jesus Christ was not the God/Man, but He is either just a man or an optical illusion. Likewise, the cross either never really happened, or it was a hallucination. This was the blasphemy that came from the eloquence of Gnosticism.
“Is not from God” is the Present, Active, Indicative of EIMI, the verb to be, plus the negative OUK with EK (from) THEOS (God) in the Genitive case.
The Progressive Present: for action in progress or state of persistence.
The Active Voice: false teachers, like the Gnostics, produce the action.
The Indicative Mood is declarative of the reality of the situation.
Those teaching that Jesus Christ is not God incarnate are not true teachers sent by God. They are false teachers sent by Satan. God certainly does not inspire their message, and the Holy Spirit is not working in them to prepare them for His people. Instead, Satan and his demonic organization with cosmic thinking and viewpoint have prepared, supported, and sent them.
“And this is the spirit of the antichrist.” Note that the word “spirit” is in italics, or it should be, because it is not in the original languages. Nevertheless, it is appropriate as we continue to translate “spirit” as “eloquent speaker or teacher”. So we should say, “this is the teaching of the antichrist.”
In regards to the teachers, they are persuading believers through their eloquent speech to reject Christ and follow their teaching. They are fighting against the truth.
In regards to the Gnostic philosophy,, it is used to usurp what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, especially being the God / Man.
Therefore, an antichrist includes someone who is against the Lord, and the teaching that is replacing the truth of the gospel message.
It is anyone who is against or acts in place of Christ, who resides in Satan’s Cosmic System or any teaching that is counter to the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember Jesus Christ is the Word of God, John 1:1, and therefore any teaching or philosophy that is counter to the Bible is “Anti-Christ.”
“Antichrist” is the Possessive Genitive singular of ANTICHRISTOS. So the reference is “the persuasive influence of the antichrist.”
John pauses here in Verses 1-6 to remind his students (all Christians) not to be so naïve as to think there is only one “spirit” at work in their lives.
The fact is, all believers are indwelled by God the Holy Spirit from the moment of their salvation (1 Cor 6:19-20, 3:16) and are also filled with the Spirit. Upon entering into sin post salvation, the believer loses the filling of the Spirit (Eph 5:18), but continues in the indwelling of the Spirit, that is called positional sanctification; which you cannot lose. That’s why, in grace, God has given us the opportunity to wash our feet, (John 13:5-12), through the confession of our sins to God the Father, (1 John 1:9). As a result, we are experientially sanctified or clean once again and walk in the Light with the filling of God the Holy Spirit.
So we understand the influence of God the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believer, but John wants to also remind us of the other influences that are in the world. This is the spirit or influence of the antichrist, i.e. doctrines counter to the truth found in the Word of God.
As we will see later on, Satan has many “spirits” in the world who serve him to negatively influence both believers and unbelievers, i.e. “many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
1 John 4:3 starts by referencing the future Antichrist with the Relative Pronominal Adjective HOS in the direct object Accusative, Neuter, Singular, which should be translated, “about whom.” This is a reference to the aforementioned “antichrist”.
Then we have “you have heard,” which is the Perfect, Active, Indicative, verb AKOUO which means, “hearing, to hear, or listen, receive news of, give heed to, understand, etc.”
The Intensive Perfect is used here for a completed action of eschatological teaching in the past that continues to exist as a completed doctrine. This is the doctrine pertaining to the Antichrist of the Tribulation or the dictator of the revived Roman Empire.
The Active Voice, believers under John’s ministry have heard and retained this doctrine in the past, and perhaps believers now under the influence of the false teachers have heard about the Antichrist of the Tribulation.
The Indicative Mood is declarative for the reality of John’s teaching of prophetical subjects, (don’t forget that John will later pen the book of Revelation). In addition, this tells us of the reality of the over-emphasis of eschatology on the part of false teachers.
Next, we have “that it is coming,” which begins with HOTI the conjunction for “that” plus the Present, Passive Deponent, Indicative, Third Person, Singular verb of ERCHOMAI, meaning to come, to appear, make an appearance, etc.
This is speaking of the coming of the future dictator in the Tribulation. He is coming but he is coming at a future time. John mentions the Antichrist coming in the Tribulation because even those under false teaching admit that he is evil.
The Futuristic Present tense denotes an event which has not yet occurred, but it is regarded as so certain that it has already come to pass in thinking.
The Passive Deponent Voice, which acts like the active voice, states the Antichrist of the Tribulation produces the action of the verb of which he receives. He will come in the future of his own accord.
The Indicative Mood is declarative for the reality of the rise of a future dictator, which was a well-known doctrine at that time to all the people to whom John writes.
So, these satanic counterfeits and their future and present doctrines of Antichrist persuasion were well know and also previously predicted by our Lord in Mat 7:15-20.
Mat 7:15-20, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20So then, you will know them by their fruits.”
This is another test to add to our list. Test them by their fruits.
Our Lord continues to narrow down the definition as He identifies the “sheep in wolves clothing.” He tells us their fruit is not necessarily their “works,” but in fact is their “words” in Mat 12:33-37.
Mat 12:33-37, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. 36But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The fruit of the false prophet are the deceptive words he uses to lead people away from the truth of the gospel and the Word of God. It is not his behavior but his message. Therefore, we must have discernment.
Notice that John does not say, “deny” here, but says, “does not confess”. This tells us that the spirit of the antichrist is one who won’t publicly state their denial of Jesus as the Christ, but instead does not clearly, simply, and loudly speak the fundamentals of Christology and soteriology that Jesus is the Christ. To deny Jesus as Christ makes a bold statement that can ruffle the feathers of the hearer, but to simply not teach it or to not clearly state it is much more palatable to the hearer and Christians in which they are trying to capture.
As John describes “the spirit (influence) of the antichrist,” he notes the future Antichrist “that it is coming”. John also used this practice in 1 John 2:18, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
This individual is also described, as we will see, in Dan 11:32, “By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.”
So, let us note who this individual is from scripture.
The Future Antichrist of the Tribulation.
The Time Frame of the Coming of the Antichrist.
God’s plan for the history of the human race includes various time frames called dispensations, they are also called God’s administration or stewardship. Eph 1:10; 3:2, 9; Col 1:25; 1 Cor 9:17; 1 Tim 1:4.
In His Plan, there is a time for the Church called the Church Age or Age of Grace; this began on the day of Pentecost after our Lord’s resurrection and continues today. Once the Church is complete, this Age will end and a new time period will begin called the Tribulation. The Tribulation is the last 7 years of the Age of Israel. The Age of Israel was interrupted on the day of Pentecost, as a result of God’s divine discipline on Israel with the insertion of the Church. It is the last 7 years of the Age of Israel that the Antichrist will come upon the scene.
Who is the Antichrist?
The Antichrist in the Tribulation is one person, an unbeliever functioning under the cosmic system. He sells himself out to the devil more than any other person does. Eventually, Satan himself possesses him. (The believer in the Church Age living in the cosmic systems is not much better than the Antichrist of the Tribulation.)
- He is called by over 30 titles, including.
- “The man of sin, the son of perdition,” (KJV) or “The man of lawlessness, the son of destruction” (NASB), 2 Thes 2:3.
- “The beast from the sea,” Rev 13:1 10 (his political title); “the beast,” Rev 17:8 13 (his religious title); and “the beast on whom the scarlet woman rides,” Rev 17:1-7.
- “The little horn,” Dan 7:8 9, 19 26.
- “The abomination of desolation,” Mat 24:15. A statue of him is put up in the temple at Jerusalem, a sign for all believers to flee to the mountains.
- “The prince that shall come,” Dan 9:26 7.
- “The prince of Tyre,” Ezek 28:1 10. He is given this title because of the Phoenician Satan worship.
- “The feet of the image,” Dan 2:31 45.
- “The willful king”, Dan 11:36 40.
- The Antichrist is one of two great dictators who emerge in the Tribulation, the other is the False Prophet.
The Antichrist is the beast out of the sea (the sea of nations), the gentile ruler of the revived Roman Empire. He is also the leader of ecumenical religion in the Tribulation.
The Jewish Dictator of the Tribulation.
This second dictator might also be called an antichrist, because he promotes the Antichrist as the Christ (using “anti” to mean “instead of Christ”), Rev 13:12. He also has several titles, “Dan the serpent”, Gen 49:16 17; “The false prophet”, Rev 16:13; 19:20; 20:10. “The second beast”, Rev 13:11-17.
The Program of the Future Antichrist.
As the head of the federated empire, he makes a seven-year covenant with Israel, which is broken after three and one-half years, Dan 9:27.
He introduces an idolatrous worship, Dan 9:27, in which he sets himself up as God, Dan 11:36-37; 2 Thes 2:4; Rev 13:5.
Therefore, he bears the characterization of a blasphemer because of the assumption of deity, Ezek 28:2; Dan 7:25; Rev 13:1, 5-6.
He is empowered by personal possession of Satan, Ezek 28:9-12; Rev 13:4, receives his authority from him, and is controlled by the pride of the devil, Ezek 28:2; Dan 8:24-25.
The Influence of the Future Antichrist.
In relation to our study of false teaching, he personally is marked by his intelligence and persuasiveness, Dan 7:8, 20; 8:23, and by his subtlety and craftiness, Ezek 28:6.
He is received as God and as ruler because of the blindness of the people, 2 Thes 2:11.
His position over the nations is by their own consent, Rev 17:13.
The Destruction of the Antichrist.
His rule will be terminated by a direct judgment from God, Ezek 28:6; Dan 7:22, 26; 8:25; 9:27; 11:45; Rev 19:19-20.
This judgment will take place as he is engaged in a military campaign in Palestine, Ezek 28:8-9; Rev 19:19.
This judgment will take place at the Second Advent of Christ at the end of the Tribulation time period, 2 Thes 2:8; Dan 7:22.
He will be cast into the Lake of Fire, Rev 19:20; Ezek 28:10.
The kingdom over which he ruled will pass to the authority of the Messiah and will become the kingdom of the saints, Dan 7:27.
“Without doubt the antichrist philosophy of Satan, referred to by John in chapter 4, will culminate in the Beasts performing in their corporate ministries, where the first Beast will be in direct opposition to Christ, as one who falsely fulfills the covenant to give Israel their land. The second Beast will assume the place of leadership in the religious realm, which rightly belongs to Christ.
But John is not trying to identify either of these Beasts as antichrist, but to warn any who would deny the person of Christ that they are walking in that (false) system which eventually would culminate in the manifestation of the lawless system in the activities of both Beasts. They, in their corporate unity, culminate lawlessness. “ (Dwight J. Pentecost, Things to Come)
That is why John references him here, as the students knew well the doctrine of the Antichrist who is to come.
Next in Verse 4 John speaks about the contemporary antichrists: “and now it is already in the world.”
As we have noted the word antichrist appears only in the Epistles of John. It is used in 1 John 2:18-22; 4:3; and 2 John 7. A study of these references reveals that John is principally concerned with the immediate doctrinal error, the denial of the person of Christ.
The emphasis is not on a future revelation of an individual, but rather on the present manifestation of false doctrine. To John, antichrist was already present with the idea of opposition to Christ. This idea of direct opposition to Christ seems to be the particular characterization of the first Beast, for he sets his kingdom against the kingdom of the Son of God. John also has in mind the lawless system that will characterize the antichrist of the Tribulation, 2 Thes 2:7. So he uses the character of antichrist as an example.
John is emphasizing the danger of a present doctrinal defection. He is reminding them that such teaching is the teaching of the antichrist philosophy of Satan that both he and Paul held as already working.
Eph 2:1-2, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”
Without doubt this antichrist philosophy of Satan will culminate in the Beasts in their corporate ministries. The first Beast will be in direct opposition to Christ as one who falsely fulfills the covenant to give Israel their land, and the second Beast will assume the place of leadership in the religious realm, which rightly belongs to Christ. As we have noted, John is not trying to identify either of these Beasts as antichrist, but to warn any who would deny the person of Christ that they are walking in that system which eventually would culminate in the manifestation of the lawless system in the activities of both Beasts. They, in their corporate unity, culminate lawlessness.
So when John mentions this piece of eschatology, it is to set up a parallel of analogy. The evil, dishonorable, treacherous lack of virtue in the future antichrist is now being reproduced by born again believers in the Cosmic System.
“Is” is the verb EIMI in the Present, Active, Indicative. It is an Extending-from-Past Present Tense for what is begun in the past but is emphasized as a present reality.
The Declarative Indicative is for the reality of the fact that in every generation there are so many believers who completely miss the boat, the reality of many antichrists in the Church Age, including all believers who reside and function in the cosmic system.
“Already” is the temporal adverb EDE. It also can mean, “as soon as, now, and at this time.”
“In the world” is EN KOSMOS meaning, “the world as a reference to planet earth rather than the usual organized system of Satan.” Nevertheless, the influence of Satan is the context via the “eloquent” false teachers. Therefore, Satan’s Cosmic System is in view, but specifically, this is referencing planet earth.
The Cosmic System of Satan is a vast system and arrangement of human affairs, earthly goods, godless governments, conflicts, riches, pleasures, culture, education, world religions, the cults and the occult dominated and negatively affected by Satan who is god of this satanic cosmos.
It is a system conformed to Satan’s ideals, aims, methods, and character, and stands perpetually in opposition to God and the cause of Christ. To run his system not only does he negatively influence mankind, but he also has an army of fellow fallen angels in support of his ideals as noted in Eph 6:11-12; 3:10.
Now getting back to the earthly influence, our scripture is a continuation of John’s reference to the Gnostics of his generation, as well as all false, persuasive, and eloquent teachers of the Church Age, who reside not in God’s Power System but in Satan’s Cosmic System. Therefore, antichrist includes all believers of the Church Age who, through prolonged residence and function inside Satan’s Cosmic System, have reached the point of reversionism known as backsliding, blackout of the soul, scar tissue of the soul, and reverse process reversionism.
So this is anyone who is teaching, preaching, or witnessing falsehoods about salvation and our Lord Jesus Christ and those who believe it and follow it. Sometimes an antichrist is someone who does a right thing in a wrong way.
Acts 16:16-18, “It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” 18She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.”
So, an antichrist “in the world” is anyone who is against Christ residing in Satan’s Cosmic System or any teaching that is counter to the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, Jesus Christ is the Word of God, John 1:1, and therefore any teaching or philosophy that is counter to the Bible is “Anti-Christ”.
Therefore, the believer who perpetually resides inside of Satan’s Cosmic System is living counter to the Word of God and is called carnal and can be termed antichrist. This is because the Old Sin Nature resides in the human body and is the source of all temptation for sin, known or unknown and for good or evil. It has no influence over your soul unless you allow it to.
That is why your volition is the guardian of the soul, and the Word of God coupled with the filling of God the Holy Spirit (GPS) is the guardian of your volition.
The believer is called carnal because of the use of his own volition in passing temptation into the soul and making it a sin. When you consistently or perpetually reside in sin, you are carnal and operate against Christ. This is also called grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit, Eph 4:30; 1 Thes 5:19. So antichrist can be a believer living in carnality or the unbeliever who is antagonistic towards the Word of God.
That is the picture we have in 1 John 4. Remember that the Gnostic teaching was infiltrating the early church. Infiltrating the souls of those who once believed in Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God as their Lord and Savior. The Gnostic message was anti-christ and was being accepted by both unbelievers and believers.
1 John 2:18-19 uses the term antichrist alluding to unbelievers but remember that their persuasive speech was easily leading the immature believers into cosmic thinking which was anti, against, or in place of Christ.
Other terms for antichrist include:
- Enemy, believers in the cosmic system are the enemies of the cross and God, Phil 3:18-19; James 4:4.
- The hater of Christ and the hater of God the Father, John 15:23-24.
- Liars (in their lifestyle), 1 John 1:6; 2:4.
- The agent of the devil, 1 John 3:8, 10.
- Deceivers, 2 John 7.
So, the term antichrist is multifaceted and is used for both believers in reversionism and unbelievers. The context here is that the persuasive and influential eloquent antichrist teaching of the Gnostics was leading many believers astray.
The fact is, Satan has evangelists and teachers for His cosmic system false teachings, 2 Cor 11:13-15, who teach another or false gospel, 2 Cor 11:3-4; Gal 1:6-9.
Gal 1:6-9, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”
He has a system of false doctrine which they communicate, 1 Tim 4:1.
1 Tim 4:1-3, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.”
And, he has a demonic organizational machine that is highly organized designed to back up those false teachers, Eph 6:12.
As part of this false doctrine, the devil has his own communion table, 1 Cor 10:17-23, which is ultimately an appeal to emotion.
And his system is a smoke screen and thought distracter (veil) for the gospel, 2 Cor 4:3-4.
2 Cor 4:3-4, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
We now turn to Verse 4, and a discussion of the:
1 John 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
We begin with the prepositional phrase EK plus the Genitive noun THEOS translated “from God.” The generic use of the definite article TOU is not translated here.
Then we have the Vocative of Address, Neuter, Plural, Noun of TEKNION meaning, “little children.” It is an address to both males and females, where it has two connotations, as we have seen throughout John’s epistle. It technically stands for the student of a teacher and is used as an endearing term by the teacher for his students showing the close felt relationship.
So TEKNION represents the teach-ability of the loved student. As a result, these children who are teachable are on the path towards spiritual maturity. When any believer presents himself to his teacher as a “sponge” that desires to absorb as much of the Word of God as possible, that student will eventually reach maturity.
Next we have the phrase “and have overcome them,” which is KAI NIKAO AUTOS.
KAI is the conjunction “and.”
NIKAO is a verb in the Perfect, Active, Indicative, Second Person, Plural. It means. “to conquer, prevail, overpower, or overcome.” Its root word is NIKE meaning, “victory.”
The Perfect – Indicative describes the action as having been completed in the past and continues to have results in the present time in relationship to the writer. It presents the state of affairs resulting from the past action.
AUTOS is a pronoun in the Accusative, Third Person, Plural meaning, “them,” which in fact, refers back to the “false prophets” or eloquent false teachers who are trying to negatively influence your soul with their false doctrine.
In the further understanding of the Perfect Tense of NIKAO, it is an Extensive Prefect Tense emphasizing the past results of the action from which a present state emerges, (i.e., victory over the negative influence of false teaching, leading to further spiritual maturity). The emphasis is on the completed action in past time, rather than on the present results, but it does not eliminate present reality, it just emphasizes the past action more.
In other words, because they have been faithful in the intake and application of the Word of God in the past, through the filling of God the Holy Spirit, they have not been led astray by the false teachers of their day. They are “overcomes” because of the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit inside of the believer that gives them protection.
So what does it mean to be an “overcomer”?
The following quote is taken from “The Man in the Arena” and “The Strenuous Life” both by Theodore Roosevelt; “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
A simple study of the word NIKAO reveals that there are two kinds of Overcomers:
- Every believer because of the saving work of Jesus Christ on their behalf – this is also called Positional Sanctification.
- Those believers who grow to spiritual maturity and are winners of rewards in the eternal state – this is also called Experiential Sanctification.
Rev 5:5, “And one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome (Aorist, Active, Indicative) so as to open the book and its seven seals.”
John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome (Perfect, Active, Indicative) the world.”
1 John 5:4-5, “For whatever is born (GENNAO – Perfect, Passive) of God overcomes (NIKAO – Present, Active, Indicative) the world; and this is the victory (NIKE) that has overcome (NIKAO – Aorist, Active) the world—our faith. 5Who is the one who overcomes (Present, Active, Participle) the world, but he who believes (Pisteuo – Present, Active, Participle) that Jesus is the Son of God?”
The second category of Overcomers are believers who live inside God’s Power System (GPS), learn Bible doctrine, pass momentum tests, advance to Spiritual Maturity, fulfill the Plan of God, and glorify Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 5:9-11.
1 Peter 5:9-11, “But resist him (Satan’s influential deceptions), firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Rom 12:21, “Do not be overcome (Pres, Pass, Imperative) by evil, but overcome (Pres, Act, Imperative) evil with good.”
In addition, another mandate to the Overcomer is given in Rev 3:11, “I will be coming quickly; hold fast (seize, master, attain, grasp) what you have (doctrine resident within your soul), so that no one may take your crown, (STEPHANOS – military decorations or victors wreath).”
The Overcomer is ordered to hold on to, master, grasp, and attain Bible doctrine in his soul. This is a command to learn the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age and apply it.
We previously noted this in 1 John 2:13-14, “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome (Perf, Act, Indic) the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. 14I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome (Perf, Act, Indic) the evil one.”
- PATERES – Fathers. These are spiritually mature believers who have a great knowledge base of the Word of God and apply it.
- NEANISKOS – Young Men. These are spiritual adolescents who are in the process of growing in the knowledge of the Lord and are highly motivated through personal love for God the Father to continue to work and grow.
- PAIDION – Children, young children, infants. These are spiritual infants, new believers in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
John is calling out three groups of believers who represent different aspects of Spiritual Growth. He calls the Young Men “Overcomers”. He begins with a new encouragement, Verse 13, stating what they have accomplished. They have not given in to the temptations of Satan’s Cosmic System (the evil one). They have remained in the Light of Jesus Christ. The old encouragement, Verse 14, is that their strength is not of themselves but is from the Word of God, which has led them to victory over the Cosmic System, (“Abides in you” = MENO – stays or remains). This strength is not the natural physical vigor of young men, but the power of God’s Word in them through the Grace Apparatus for Perception (G.A.P.), (Holy Spirit), Isa 40:30-31.
Isa 40:30-31, “Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, 31Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”
This group can enjoy the power of God and the victory over Satan. John goes on to affirm that only by freeing themselves from the grasp of the evil things of the world can this victory be achieved. Since Satan is in control of the world, (1 John 5:19, “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”), believers must constantly guard against his assaults by becoming saturated with God’s Word, John 17:15-21. So the Adolescent is reminded of their victory through the power of the filling of God the Holy Spirit and the Word of God resident within their soul. Through the application of the Word in their soul, they have victory over Satan’s Cosmic System. This is also called Experiential Sanctification. Therefore, if we remain in fellowship and advance in the spiritual life, we too will be called “Overcomers” and gain tremendous blessings and rewards for both time and eternity.
Rewards for Overcomers are described in Rev 2-3 in the Present, Active, Participle of NIKAO, specifically in Rev 2:7, 10-11, 17, 26-28; 3:4-5, 12, 21; and 21:7. In each case, the participle is translated like a noun meaning, “the victor”, “winner” or “overcomer”.
The fact is, all believers will stand before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor 5:10.
2 Cor 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
This seat of judgment is called the BEMA. This judgment will be regarding our deeds or works performed here on earth and not our sins, because they were already judged at the Cross. Deeds done through the filling of the Spirit and the Word resident in your soul will be rewarded. Deeds performed from the flesh or Old Sin Nature will be discarded, 1 Cor 3:10-16.
1 Cor 3:12, “Now if any man builds upon this foundation.”
Between laying the foundation and rewardable deeds, there must be knowledge of Bible Doctrine for the believer to be a category 2 Overcomer. “If” is a first-class condition that recognizes the reality of some kind of production in the life of the believer, good or bad.
The word “builds” is in the Iterative Present Tense that means, we keep on building as long as we live. We either express works of the flesh, which is human good from the Old Sin Nature, or we express divine good production through the filling of the Spirit and the Word.
There are 2 general categories noted here.
Category #1 – “Gold, Silver, Precious Stones”. These are permanent type things out of which to build something and indicate everlasting rewards. These are classified as Divine Good Production Rewards.
a) Gold generally in Scripture is used to represent Deity. So gold would represent anything that glorifies God, and God is glorified by the Spirit-filled life, John 16:12-14.
b) Silver speaks of redemption wherever found in Scripture. Therefore, it is connected with witnessing in the power of the Spirit.
c) Precious stones are identification with the family of God via the High Priest, and therefore represent production through the Word and Spirit, (i.e. the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, etc.).
Category # 2 – “Wood, Hay, Stubble”. These are temporary things and indicate loss as each is burned up and nothing remains. These are classified as Human Good Production Loss of Rewards.
a) Wood speaks of man and of good deeds performed from the flesh, (i.e. motivation lust).
b) Hay is a great energy source for horses, mules, etc. There are a lot of believers who are only full of human energy, (i.e. deeds they constantly do to glorify self from the area of strength of the Sin Nature).
c) Stubble refers to the leftovers, and therefore to good things that people do out of spite, out of envy, or out of hostility.
These all add up to production from the Old Sin Nature.
So, the first category generally describes eternal rewards for the Overcomer, and as we noted, Revelation 2 & 3 tells us more specifically about the rewards for both categories of Overcomers.
As much as rewards are associated with brightness and shining in many passages of Scripture, Dan 12:3, Mat 13:43; 1 Cor 15:40-41, 49, it also appears that the reward given to the believer is a capacity to manifest the glory of Christ throughout eternity.
Dan 12:3, “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
1 Cor 15:41 & 49, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory…. 49Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”
- Rev 2:7 – The Overcomer is a member of the Paradise club forever. This includes:
a) Access to the Paradise of God, (the heavenly eternal “Garden of Eden” in the New Jerusalem)
b) Eating from the Tree of Life (eternal spiritual sustenance from the Word of God, Rev 22:1-2),
c) Access to the gazebo in the Garden (the fantastic gathering place).
- Rev 2:10 – The Crown of Life. This is one of two major awards.
- The other being; The Order of the Morning Star, Rev 2:28.
a) The Crown of Life is given for living the spiritual life inside GPS, bringing maximum glorification to God. It is awarded to invisible heroes for maximum production of divine good through the execution of the Plan of God with emphasis on invisible impact while persevering under trial. Also in James 1:12.
James 1:12, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
This is one of four Crowns the believer can be awarded at the BEMA of Jesus Christ. Each is an indestructible crown that will last forever, is fire tested, as we have noted, and linked with living for the gospel of Christ, 1 Cor 9:23-26.
1 Cor 9:23-26, “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. 24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim…”
The other crowns include:
b) The Crown of Rejoicing for the soul winners, 1 Thes 2:19.
c) The Crown of Righteousness is given to the one who has loved His appearing, which means it is a decoration for the attainment, perpetuation, and activity of spiritual maturity. This crown is presented to those believers who advance through the three stages of spiritual adulthood, 2 Tim 4:8.
2 Tim 4:8, “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
d) The Crown of Glory for being willing to feed the flock of God, 1 Peter 5:1-4.
- Rev 2:11 – A general reward for all believers, being spared the second death. The second death is the Eternal Lake of Fire reserved for Satan and all unbelievers, Rev 20:6, 14; 21:8.
- Rev 2:17 – Three components:
a) Hidden manna, eternal spiritual sustenance.
b) The white stone, an eternal credit card providing special accesses in heaven, and
c) The new title on the stone is a new order of knighthood with rank and privilege.
- Rev 2:26-28 – The Order of the Morning Star is the highest decoration for living the Christian life. This is awarded for the ultimate in impact through the application of Bible doctrine. The name is derived from the title of our Lord. In His strategic and tactical victory, He is called, “The Morning Star”.
Num 24:17, “A star shall come from Jacob (First Advent).”
2 Peter 1:19, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns (Second Advent) and the morning star arises in your hearts.”
Those who are granted this reward will be given authority to rule in the Millennium, Rev 2:26-27, 20:4.
- Rev 3:4-5 – The Overcomer will also receive:
a) The uniform of glory, Rev 3:4, 18.
b) Have his name appear in the honors list in the Book of Life, Rev 20:15, which is the list of all believers from all time.
c) He will be presented in the court of heaven in a resurrection body.
The uniform of glory was worn by Jesus Christ, as the Morning Star, and exhibited at the Mount of Transfiguration. This uniform of glory is the translucent robe of light that Christ wears over His resurrection body. The uniform of glory was modeled by Christ for Peter, James, and John, Mat 16:28 17:2, “His face shone like the sun and His clothes became white, like light.” This uniform is now constantly worn by the humanity of Christ and will be worn by the Overcomer too.
- Rev 3:12 – A special pillar in the temple, written in gold, which tells the Overcomer’s story. This is the historical record section of heaven. This is a record of the great divine good deeds of the Overcomer. His name remains in the temple of God, as a permanent history record of those who truly had an impact in human history. He will also receive a coat of arms, (name of My God, the new city, and My new name) which allows him to enter the New Jerusalem.
- Rev 3:21 – He will be seated with Christ on His Throne sharing in eternal authority.
- Rev 21:7 – He will inherit the New Heavens and New Earth.
None of this would be possible without the Victory of the Lamb of God. Jesus said in Rev 3:21b, “…as I also overcame (Aorist, Active, Indicative) and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
The strategic victory was at the Cross. The tactical victory will come in the Tribulation. Rev 17:14, “These (Antichrist and his empire) will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome (Future, Active, Indicative) them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”
Back in Verse 4, we now have the phrase “because greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world.”
Verse 4 is telling us that GPS (God’s Power System) guarantees us victory over the temptations of false doctrines purported by eloquent false teachers, when we use it.
Previously, we have noted both categories of Overcomer; 1) All believers, and 2) Believers advancing toward or having achieved spiritual maturity.
This chapter is all about the test of false doctrine influence over your soul and your ability to say no to that influence.
- We understand this test as being one from our Old Sin Nature (OSN), which is Satan’s inside agent for producing temptation in areas of sins of cognizance, sins of ignorance, human good, and evil.
- The OSN resides in the cell structure of the body from which base it is the author and the originator of temptation.
- All four functions of the OSN noted above cannot occur in your life without your consent.
- The volition or free will of man resides in the human soul and guards the soul from temptation, which means that no human being ever sins apart from his own free will or human consent.
- The OSN is the origin of temptation; human volition is the origin of sin. Since sin originates from volition, man is responsible for both sins of cognizance and sins of ignorance.
In this section, we now see how we overcome the temptation of the OSN; the power given to us to be Category 2 Overcomers and to pass the test of rejecting false doctrines that try to penetrate our souls.
We begin with HOTI the subordinating conjunction used here, in a causal sense, to explain what has just been stated. It means, “because” and is setting up the reason why we can be Overcomers.
MEGAS means, “great” and as a comparative nominative adjective it means, “greater.”
EIMI is the verb, “to be” or “is”. Here it is in the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular.
The Gnomic Present: represents a condition, which is assumed as perpetually existing, taken for granted as a fact. It is a fact that God the Holy Spirit is infinitely greater than any human being or angelic creature.
Active Voice: God the Holy Spirit is greater than any power the world or angelic creatures can muster up, greater than the genius of the ruler of this world, Satan, the genius who invented the cosmic system.
The Declarative Indicative mood states a dogmatic fact of the Spirits superiority.
This is linked with the predicate nominative HO as a personal pronoun meaning, “He.”
So, we have “greater is He.”
Next, we have EN SU, which literally means, “in you.” SU is a Pronoun in the Dative Case, Second Person, Plural and comes to mean, “you all”. It is referencing the believer who is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit who has that “greater power”. Because of ellipsis (no verb) and to continue the relative clause of the comparative of MEGAS, we can add “who” and the verb “is” which says, “who is in you all.”
Then we have the comparative E meaning, “than,” and the Determiner Article HO in the Nominative, Masculine, Singular used as a pronoun meaning, “he”. So we have, “than he.”
Then we have EN HO KOSMOS, all in the Dative of Sphere Case meaning, “in the world” Again, because of ellipsis and comparison, we add “who is” for “who is in the world.”
Altogether it reads, “Because greater is He (God the Holy Spirit) who is in you all (believers of the Church Age), than he who is in the world, (spirit of antichrist, false teachers, and their false doctrines in the sphere of Satan’s Cosmic System).”
We have already noted the visible and invisible influence of the future and present antichrist. That is who is in the world. So we will now understand the invisible influence that empowers the believer to become an Overcomer.
All of us are influenced by the invisible in some way.
- If words and thoughts (for example Bible doctrine) are not the invisible influence of your soul, then there is something else that is in your soul that is influencing you, (for example Satan’s propaganda sucked in through your emotions).
- People do not see what influences you, they only see the results of it.
a) You’ve probably heard the US commercial that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” Well the same question can be asked of the believer, “What’s in your soul?” Dogmatically, all believers are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit, always and forever. But is that what is influencing your soul? Are you feeding your soul with the Word so that the Spirit has something to use? (Spirit will only speak what He hears, John 16:13). When the answer is yes, the response to the question is, “God’s Power System is in my wallet!”
- Ultimately, GPS is the invisible influence that impacts our lives and the lives of others. We call it virtue. This is God’s invisible influence on invisible society that is working to counter Satanic influence on society.
So, let’s look closer at “What’s in your wallet (soul)”.
Oswald Chambers stated regarding “The Temple of the Holy Spirit,” “… only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” (Genesis 41:40).
“ I am accountable to God for the way I control my body under His authority. Paul said he did not “set aside the grace of God”—make it ineffective (Galatians 2:21). The grace of God is absolute and limitless, and the work of salvation through Jesus is complete and finished forever. I am not being saved—I am saved. Salvation is as eternal as God’s throne, but I must put to work or use what God has placed within me. To “work out [my] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12) means that I am responsible for using what He has given me. It also means that I must exhibit in my own body the life of the Lord Jesus, not mysteriously or secretly, but openly and boldly. “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection …” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Every Christian can have his body under absolute control for God. God has given us the responsibility to rule over all “the temple of the Holy Spirit,” including our thoughts and desires (1 Corinthians 6:19). We are responsible for these, and we must never give way to improper ones. But most of us are much more severe in our judgment of others than we are in judging ourselves. We make excuses for things in ourselves, while we condemn things in the lives of others simply because we are not naturally inclined to do them.
Paul said, “I beseech you … that you present your bodies a living sacrifice …” (Romans 12:1). What I must decide is whether or not I will agree with my Lord and Master that my body will indeed be His temple. Once I agree, all the rules, regulations, and requirements of the law concerning the body are summed up for me in this revealed truth—my body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit.”
Doctrine of the Church Age Believer as the Temple of God
1 Cor 3:16-17; 1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21, James 4:5
- During the Jewish Dispensation, God had instructed Moses to construct a temple (Tabernacle) in the wilderness. It was a copy of the heavenly Tabernacle, Ex 25:40; Heb 8:5. That Tabernacle was a tent like structure that was mobile, to move with the people, Exodus 25, 33, 40; Lev 9:23; Num 16:42.
- Later David designed and Solomon built a permanent Tabernacle in Jerusalem, 1 Kings 8; 2 Chron 5; Isa 37:16; Acts 7:44-47.
- The Lord Jesus Christ, as the Shekinah Glory, dwelt in both Tabernacles in the room called the Holy of Holies, Num 9:15-23.
- A Temple is simply defined as an edifice for religious exercises. Tabernacle is simply defined as a tent sanctuary used by the Israelites during the Exodus, a dwelling place or a temporary shelter, to take up temporary residence or to inhabit a physical body.
- Because the Lord Jesus Christ has already come in the flesh during the First Advent, there are no longer any Theophanies or any sacred buildings in which He dwells, Heb 9:11-12. The sacred buildings of Israel have been replaced by something more awesome and unique.
- In the Church Age, God the Holy Spirit indwells the body of every believer, James 4:5, in order to provide a temple for the indwelling of Christ.
- In the Tabernacle of the Jewish Dispensation, our Lord dwelt in the Holy of Holies. In the Church Age, the Holy Spirit indwells you; thereby, creating a holy place in which the Lord Jesus Christ dwells.
- There are no sacred man-made buildings in the Church Age, only auditoriums where Bible doctrine is taught.
- Since the Old Sin Nature resides in every cell of your body, Jesus Christ could not reside in your body unless the Holy Spirit first constructs a perfect temple for Him.
- The very fact that the Holy Spirit indwells your body and turns it into a sacred building, provides some positional restraint on the Old Sin Nature.
Rom 8:11 says, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”
- The indwelling of Jesus Christ demands that every believer give #1 priority to his relationship with God before his relationship with people.
- The indwelling of the Holy Spirit provides the base of operations for establishing as your #1 priority, the relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who all dwell in you, John 14:23-27.
- From the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we learn about the indwelling of Jesus Christ as the Shekinah glory, and this results in the transformation of our lives into the image of the Shekinah Glory, 2 Cor 3:14 18.
1 Cor 3:16-17
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”
In Cor 3:16, we first see temple used in relationship to the believer as the dwelling place of God the Holy Spirit. As we have seen all three members of the Trinity indwell the believer. But the Spirit is explicitly identified as taking up residence in our soul for a two-fold purpose, 1) Creating a dwelling for the Shekinah Glory, and 2) For the empowerment of the believer so that he can fulfill the spiritual life.
“Do you not know” is a Perfect Tense used as a Present Tense that means we should have knowledge of the doctrine of the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit stored in the heart of our souls, as a result of past teaching and be able to apply it today.
“That you (believers) are” is a statement of absolute status quo. In other words you keep on being the temple of God. The Greek says, “a” temple of God. You as a believer are absolutely a temple of God.
As we noted previously, in the Church Age, there are no sanctuaries or sacred buildings. A sanctuary today is the human body of the believer. All the sacred buildings are made of flesh and the thing that makes the building sacred is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, who is also the basis of our production.
“And the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) dwells in you.”
“Dwells” is the Present, Active Indicative of OIKEO and means, “to inhabit or to dwell.” So He keeps on dwelling, and always will dwell in you.
He may be grieved and quenched, (Eph 4:30; 1 Thes 5:19), or He may fill, (Eph 5:18), but He always indwells.
Eph 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
This is the basis of production, and you have to know how to be filled with the Spirit, before you can produce in the power of the Spirit and have something permanent which is rewardable.
Get Moving!, “Abide in Me …” (John 15:4), by Oswald Chambers
“In the matter of determination. The Spirit of Jesus is put into me by way of the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I then have to build my thinking patiently to bring it into perfect harmony with my Lord. God will not make me think like Jesus—I have to do it myself. I have to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). “Abide in Me”, means in intellectual matters, in money matters, in every one of the matters that make human life what it is. Our lives are not made up of only one neatly confined area.
Our Lord’s inner abiding was pure and unblemished. He was at home with God wherever His body was. He never chose His own circumstances, but was humble, submitting to His Father’s plans and directions for Him. Just think of how amazingly relaxed our Lord’s life was! But we tend to keep God at a fever pitch in our lives. We have none of the serenity of the life which is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
Think of the things that take you out of the position of abiding in Christ. You say, “Yes, Lord, just a minute—I still have this to do. Yes, I will abide as soon as this is finished, or as soon as this week is over. It will be all right, Lord. I will abide then.” Get moving—begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. Make the determination to abide in Jesus wherever you are now or wherever you may be placed in the future.”
Back in 1 Corinthians 3 in Verses 17-21, we see what hinders our production.
Verse 17, “If any man destroys the temple of God,” means that false teaching and false doctrine has penetrated your soul as a result of someone’s false teaching.
The word for “destroy” here has to be clearly identified. It is the Greek verb PHTHEIRO and is in the Present, Active, Indicative, 3rd Person, Singular. It generally means, “to destroy, to corrupt, spoil, to ruin, waste, or to lead astray,” and the general way it is used in the Greek means, “to corrupt someone mentally, to lead someone astray mentally, to change their viewpoint and give them a wrong view of life.”
When in the Passive Voice, it was used by Euripides to say, “to have suffered loss from shipwreck.”
So, destroy doesn’t quite identify the intent, although it has application, because it is speaking about the false teachers, false doctrine, and the effect it has on the soul.
The first reason why these Corinthians were failing is that they did not take in and maintain the accurate doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and reject the false teaching.
They did not realize the impact of the indwelling, which is that there is no reason for the Holy Spirit to indwell a believer, unless the power of the Holy Spirit is going to be used in his life.
These Corinthians were indwelt and their bodies were the temple of the Holy Spirit but they were instead controlled by their Sin Natures; therefore, the purpose of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was neutralized.
So the word “destroy” has to do with what you think, and thinking the wrong thing, because someone you admire or someone who is persuasive makes you think that. It means to corrupt the mental attitude.
In this particular passage, we have the fact that the Corinthians were living under systems of pseudo spirituality, because they had accepted the teaching of the Judaizers. In other words, to defile the temple of God means that because of some false viewpoint in your soul, you adopt a system of pseudo spirituality.
The word “if” here is a first class conditional if, which means this was actually going on. There were Judaizers in Corinth, and they were leading people astray with false systems of spirituality. All of this defiling caused their false concept of spirituality. So this refers to the false teachers, the ones who gave them false concepts.
Then when it says, “God will destroy him,” it is referring to the false teacher(s) and what God will do to them.
PHTHEIRO or “destroy” is used again, but this time it is the Future, Active, Indicative, 3rd Person, Singular.
Once again we need to understand how this word is applied. Here it is speaking of what action God will take against the false teacher in the future. We call this discipline or judgment. Discipline is towards the believer false teacher, and judgment is towards the unbelieving false teacher.
So we are talking about, 1) Time, and 2) Eternity.
Both concepts are in view here. The unbeliever who is a false teacher is obviously judged in eternity, 2 Peter 2:3, 9, and the believer, who leads astray, obviously can only be disciplined in time.
2 Peter 2:3, 9; “And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep…. 9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the Day of Judgment.”
Whether it is an unbeliever or a believer who is doing the corrupting, God handles the situation through discipline or judgment.
In addition, they both can receive judgment in time where the Lord allows a deluding spirit to corrupt their soul, Rom 11:25; 2 Thes 2:11.
1 Cor 3:17; “…for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” The reason that the temple of God is holy is because both the Spirit and Jesus Christ are Holy. “Holy” means separated unto God.
In addition, the moment we accept Christ as Savior, we enter into union with Christ, and entering into union with Christ, we share His holiness. Coupled with that is the imputation of God’s perfect righteousness. This is called positional sanctification, and we are holy, because we are in union with Christ.
The second hindrance is found in Verses 18-20, arrogant human viewpoint.
So, we see in this first passage, the believer being the temple of God, and that God holds jealously His temple. He protects His dwelling place and does not want the corruption of falsehoods entering in. If we say no to the temptations of eloquent speakers and their false doctrines, we will continue to walk in the Spirit and be overcomers, winners of rewards.
1 Cor 6:19-20
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
Hermeneutics is the science of Biblical interpretation. Hermeneutics has four main laws:
- The Law of First Mention that says that the meaning of a Biblical word or topic is determined by its first use in context.
- The Law of Progress says that God reveals His doctrine, His plans, and His eternal purpose gradually and progressively. This is illustrated by the mystery doctrines that are pertinent to the Church Age only.
- The Law of Unity says that all parts of scripture agree without any actual discrepancy. (There are occasionally apparent discrepancies, which are easily resolved, but actual discrepancies do not occur).
- The Law of Recurrence says that the Holy Spirit goes over the same ground adding detail and teaching by repetition. Repetition is one of the most important principles in the teaching of the Word of God.
In our topic of the Church Age believer being the Temple of God, we see all of these laws in view as we compare the pertinent scriptures.
The first mention is found in Matthew 26:61, were Christ is falsely accused, when He spoke the truth about His body being the Temple of God.
Previously, we noted the first mention of the Temple of God in regards to the Church Age believer in 1 Cor 3:10-21. (Notice Law 2, progression.) There the context was in relationship to gain or loss of eternal rewards based on the believer’s fortitude of soul. False teachers were dragging believers away from the truth and human viewpoint was also having a deteriorating effect on the soul. Because the Word was not resident in their souls, they were having problems.
In our next verse, we see the progression continue. The backdrop for 1 Cor 6 is a discussion about living and operating in Satan’s Cosmic System, which includes religion. Paul brings up many issues that the Corinthians were having causing them to fall away from their daily relationship with the Lord.
Operating in the Cosmic System means, you are being led by the Sin Nature and that is the issue. If we are the Temple of God, and we are, why are we polluting the Temple of God with cosmic viewpoint and production?
This verse indicates that the bodies of believers have a new purpose. They have a purpose in time and a purpose in eternity.
- The purpose in eternity is a resurrection body that brings maximum glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. The resurrection body will have maximum perception and response to Bible doctrine, to the presence of the Lord, and to the conditions of eternity. Therefore, there will be wonderful response in eternity to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Shekinah Glory.
- The body also has a purpose in time. It is the Temple of the Holy Spirit that houses the Shekinah Glory in time.
In our text, we are given an example of the believer who is taking the temple of God, the Holy Spirit, and mingling it with sin and the Cosmic System.
The last example Paul uses speaks to having a sexual relationship with some person who means nothing to you. In Verse 16, Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 and is reminding us of the beautiful picture marriage is of our intimate relationship with Christ. He uses this example because meaningless sexual relations were part of the false religions of their day. Therefore, the union of one body with another body says that he is taking the Temple of the Holy Spirit into a heathen temple. All religion, all heathen temples are part of Satan’s Cosmic system. Therefore this is maligning positional truth.
“Do you not know” is a Perfect Tense used in the Present force to indicate doctrine that should be in the right lobe of your soul. It also states that this is the doctrine they need to know.
Because they are ignorant of the fact that the body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, they are simply operating their human body in operation religion. Their responses are simply soulish activity, not spiritual, and there is then no response to spiritual phenomena, (Bible Doctrine plus the filling of the Spirit).
Since fornication is produced from the Old Sin Nature, this ultimately is an extension of the previous discussion of Human Good versus Divine Good. Human Good is produced from the Sin Nature, while Divine Good is produce from the Word and Spirit. This again is the distinction between wood, hay, and straw versus gold, silver, and precious gems, as found in 1 Cor 3.
Then the phrase “that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit”, was a shock to the Greeks, because they thought the body was essentially evil (Platoism). To them the function of the body was evil, and therefore they engaged in false religion thinking, they would get rid of the body of corruption and change into a spiritual being by their deeds.
Then we have “who is in you, whom you have from God,” God gave us His Spirit, Rom 8:11; Eph 3:6; 1 John 4:13. So God is the grantor of this wonderful gift of the Indwelling Holy Spirit.
Then it says, “and that you are not your own?” Again, we see the application of Bible Doctrine that should be understood by the Corinthians. If they had known and applied this doctrine, it would have saved them much heartache.
Here the question is ownership. Who owns your body? Do you own it, does Satan own it, or does God own it? The answer is God owns your body, because He purchased you from the slave market of sin. Without His purchase, your body had an appointment with eternal destruction. With His purchase, you have eternal life. Therefore, the purchaser owns the body. You are just a custodian of the body He owns. As custodian of someone else’s property you have the responsibility to take good care of it. Ergo, Paul’s discussion in chapter 6.
In addition, not only do you care for it, but you are to produce with it. When it says “you are not your own,” it means that you can now produce something that counts with God, because the Holy Spirit produces divine good in and through you. On the flip side, the Old Sin Nature produces sin and human good which is nothing but ashes to God.
Verse 20 says, “for you have been bought with a price.” This is the doctrine of Redemption; therefore, in view of the fact that Christ has purchased us from the slave market of sin, and in view of the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells within us, “glorify God in your body!” In other words, we are here to serve Him.
So false teaching and human viewpoint have a destructive effect on your soul (1 Cor 3:16-21), as does religion and immorality (1 Cor 6:9-20). This is not what the purchaser had in mind. He redeemed you for happiness, production, and for glory. Therefore, stop being dragged around by Satan’s Cosmic System and your sin nature, and take in and apply the Word of God so that you glorify Him to the maximum.
2 Cor 6:16
As we continue our progression of understanding the doctrine of the Church Age believer being the temple of God, we move now to 2 Cor 6:16.
Previously we noted the first mention of the believer being the temple of God in Matthew 26:61 and John 2:19-21, where the topic is Jesus Christ’s proclamation of His body being the Temple of God, in relation to His resurrection.
Then we noted 1 Cor 3:10-21. There the context was in relationship to gain or loss of eternal rewards based on the believer’s fortitude of soul. False teachers were dragging believers away from the truth and human viewpoint was also having a deteriorating effect on the soul. Because the Word was not resident in their souls, they were being led astray by false doctrine.
Then in 1 Cor 6:19-20, the issue progresses to a warning regarding religion and immorality, how both have a negative effect on the believer’s soul.
Now in 2 Cor 6:14-7:1, we see the progression continue. The progression now includes intimate relationships with others. As we would say, “close and personal.” It begins with a warning not to be bound with unbelievers, which is further emphasized by asking five comparative questions.
Interestingly many of these questions use language in regards to sexual relations, demonstrating the intimacy in question.
Ultimately, “being bound” has to do with various relationships including marriage, business, the church, and any other kind of intimate relationship.
The phrase “bound together” is the Greek word HETEROZUGEO. It is a compound word used only here in the New Testament. It comes from HETEROS meaning, “other, another, or a different kind,” and ZUGOS meaning, “yoke.” So, it comes to mean, “to be yoked up differently, (i.e. to be unequally yoked).” Some translate it as, “to be mismated.”
Another form of this word is HETEROZUGOS, which is used in the Septuagint and means, “coupled with an animal of diverse kind”. It is part of the sundry principles of Deut 22:9-11 and Lev 19:19.
Five Rationales for Separation
- The first question used in comparison, uses the word “partnership,” which is METOCHE, which is also only used in this passage. It means, “communion, participation, or sharing.”
It is asking a question, “what relationship / partnership does God’s perfect righteousness in you have with the unrighteousness or lawlessness found in Satan’s Cosmic System?”
The Greek word for lawlessness is ANOMIA, and means, “wickedness or violation of the Law,” that is God’s Word. Thayer defines ANOMIA as, “destitute of the Mosaic Law.” So, being against the Word of God is in view here. This word is used in 2 Thes 2:7-8 in regards to the Antichrist, and 1 John 3:4 in regards to sin.
You see, the Word of God is the basis for our communion. It is the basis for having divine viewpoint in life, and it should be your basis for your frame of reference that builds up your soul, the Temple of God. Therefore, the Word must not be compromised in your soul.
- Then the second question uses the word, “fellowship”, which is KOINONIA and means, “fellowship, contribution, participation, or sharing.”
Here the comparison is light and darkness, which is divine good versus evil. Compare with Eph 5:8-13; 1 John 1:5-7 and 1 Peter 2:9.
- Then in Verse 15, we have the third question, and “harmony” is used, which is SUMPHONESIS, which is also only used here in the New Testament meaning, “agreement or harmony” where the root word means, “a calling out.” This is where we get our word symphony.
It is used in the comparison between our Lord and Satan.
“Belial” is a Hebrew word for “worthlessness.” It is used for Satan’s doctrines and Satan’s concepts, which includes religion, legalism, and every anti-grace concept, 2 Cor 11:14-15 (Satan and his fallen angels disguise themselves as angels of light) w/ 1 John 4:1-6 (our text for false teaching and doctrine).
- Then in the fourth question, we see this is all tied to the relationship between believers and unbelievers (PISTOS – APISTOS).
“In common” is the Greek word MERIS, which means, “a part, a share, portion, common, or district.”
The believer and the unbeliever do not share the same destiny in eternity; they do not share the same purpose in time. They are actually enemies on opposite sides of the fence.
- That is followed by the fifth and final question found in Verse 16, “agreement”, which is SUGKATATHESIS, also only used here meaning, “putting down together, (i.e. agreement, in the form of a deposit).” Here the message is brought home to you as a believer who is the temple of God.
The deposit is the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit, followed by the Lord Jesus Christ taking up residency in the temple of God. As a result, you can now learn and apply the Word of God.
You are the temple of God and that is your base for worship and service. Therefore, what agreement does the believer have with false doctrine, false church service and worship, or false religion?
There is no basis for having Bible doctrine in your human spirit and having anything to do with the devil’s communion table or idolatry. Therefore, do not make the material things of this world your idol(s), because there is no true or lasting union with them.
So, we are reminded once again in Verse 16 that “WE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD.” This is in contrast to the dead and dumb idols of this world, 1 Cor 12:2; Psa 115:4-8.
God is reminding us of the special and unique status and privilege we have; therefore, don’t waste what you have by getting involved in relationships that will ultimately be unfruitful in the Plan of God. Don’t get involved in relationships that will pull you down and have a detrimental effect on your soul and spiritual life.
The key to all of this is the first word “yoked,” It does not exclude contact with the unbeliever or apostate believers. But this principle demands that such contact should in no way compromise your faith and beliefs or hinder the function of the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP) and the building up of your soul.
While this passage is dealing with unbelievers, there is a general doctrine of separation here.
Fourth of July Special – Declaration of Independence
This weekend our nation is celebrating our independence from the British government, established on July 4, 1776. This celebration ties in quite well with the doctrine our Lord has been teaching us for the past few Sundays.
As we are learning about being the temple of God, in our current passage of 2 Cor 6:14-7:1, it is telling us about the necessity to separate from those that will bring you down in the spiritual life. So just as England was having a negative effect on the lives and freedom of the U.S. Colonies, so too will having close, intimate, and highly personal relationships with unbelievers or apostate believers affect your physical and spiritual life; thereby, hindering your freedoms.
So, let’s take a look at the document that out of necessity was forge to establish our country’s independence, and thereby establish unprecedented freedoms for a nation and people in the likes that the world had never seen before and has not seen since.
As we review this document, do not only focus on the impact it has had on our nation, but also personalize it to yourself in the spiritual life. And think of the importance and benefits to separating from those that will drag you down.
The document is called, The Declaration of Independence.
The declaration is not divided into formal sections; but it is often discussed as consisting of five parts:
2) The Preamble,
3) The Indictment of George III,
4) The Denunciation of the British people, and
5) The Conclusion.
- The first section, Introduction, asserts as a matter of Natural Law the ability of a people to assume political independence; acknowledges that the grounds for such independence must be reasonable, and therefore explicable, and that they ought to be explained.
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
In the spiritual life you always have the right to separate from others, without guilt, and in most cases you should give a reason as to why you are separating. Don’t just leave but give an explanation. This is a good opportunity to witness, 1 Peter 3:15-17.
- The second section, Preamble, outlines a general philosophy of government that justifies emancipation when government harms natural rights.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly, all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism (tyranny and dictatorship), it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
In the spiritual life, we have been freed from the slave market of sin, and we should not place ourselves under its yoke again, Isa 61:1; Gal 5:1, 13; 1 Peter 2:16.
Gal 5:1, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
- The third section is the Indictment against the king of England. It is a bill of particulars, documenting the king’s “repeated injuries and usurpations” of the Americans’ rights and liberties.
“Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world…………”
Usurpations mean, “the wrongful seizure of something by force, especially of sovereignty or other authority, or to trespass onto another’s property without permission.”
In the spiritual life, we are not to trespass against others. We are to forgive the trespasses of others against us, Mat 6:12-13. And if someone is leading us into temptation or constantly sinning against us we should separate from them.
- The fourth section is a Denunciation. This section essentially finished the case for independence. The conditions that justified emancipation have been shown. Many Americans still felt a kinship with the people of England, and had appealed in vain to the prominent among them, as well as to Parliament, to convince the King to relax his more objectionable policies toward the colonies. This section represents the framers’ disappointment that their attempts were unsuccessful.
“Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity (blood relatives). We must; therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”
In the spiritual life:
- You have been made a new creation; you are a new spiritual species, 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15.
- You have been separated from the lost and dying, Eph 2:12; 3:20.
- As such we are now ambassadors for Christ, Prov 13:17; Eph 6:20.
- Members of the Royal family of God, 2 Peter 2:5, 9.
- We are in the world but not of the world.
Eph 2:12-13, “Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
- The fifth part is the Conclusion. The signers assert that there exist conditions under which people must change their government, that the British have produced such conditions, and by necessity the colonies must throw off political ties with the British Crown and become independent states.
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and Independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
In the spiritual life, sometimes you have to decide it is better to get away from certain people or situation in order to go forward in life and the Plan of God. 2 Cor 6:14-7:1; 1 Cor 5:9-1; Rom 16:17-18.
Concluding Principles of Separation:
- Separation can be achieved either mentally or physically. If you are unable to separate from sin and evil mentally, then you must separate physically to get away from and remove the temptation. This involves both establishing the correct priorities of life through the intake and application of the Word of God and separation from distractions to your momentum in the spiritual life.
Prov 13:20, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but a companion of fools shall become corrupted.”
- We are commanded to separate from certain types of carnal believers, 1 Cor 5:9-13.
- We are to separate from believers who reject Bible doctrine, 2 Thes 3:6, 14-15.
- We are to separate from believers who make emotion the criteria for life, because they lean towards pseudo spirituality and false religion, Rom 16:17-18.
- We are to separate from the worldly crowd, because they comprise your norms and standards, 1 Peter 4:3-4; Pro 1:10-19.
- We are to separate from human viewpoint thinking, “worldliness”, Rom 12:1-2.
- We are to separate from unbelievers when doctrine is compromised, 2 Cor 6:14; Heb 13:13.
- We are to separate from religion and apostasy, 2 Cor 6:17; 2 Tim 3:5.
- We are to separate from anything that destroys norms and standards in your soul, Jer 2:20-25.
We now turn to the final reference in the New Testament in regards to the Church Age believer being the temple of God.
Eph 2:21-22, “In whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
As we have noted under the Hermeneutical Law of Progression, God has revealed to us in progressive fashion the meaning, intent, and importance of the Church Age believer being the temple of God. We have noted:
- The Tabernacle in the wilderness and the permanent Temple in Jerusalem as the dwelling place for the Shekinah Glory, the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Mat 26:61; John 2:19-21, Jesus Christ as the prototype temple of the Church Age believer. Resurrection is in view.
- 1 Cor 3:16, the believer as the temple of God that should not be corrupted by negative outside influences of false teaching and cosmic viewpoint. Eternal Rewards are in view.
- 1 Cor 6:19-20, the believer is to guard the temple of God against false religion and immorality. Living the unique spiritual life is in view.
- 2 Cor 6:16, the temple of God has no relationship with unbelievers. This includes avoiding intimate relationships with those who will drag you down. It’s a warning not to be bound with unbelievers. Separation or Sanctification is in view.
- In the last reference, Eph 2:21-22, we see that God is the architect and builder of the one temple, the overall church and body of Christ (Eph 2:11-22), so that we are strengthened and empowered to stand firm during the intensified stage of the angelic conflict, in service of Him, Eph 3:1-20.
The context of the verses preceding the temple reference has to do with two walls coming down. Both brought down by our Lord’s work on the Cross.
- The dividing wall between Jew and Gentile, being the racial barrier.
- The dividing wall between God and man, being the sin barrier.
- The Racial Barrier did not exclude Gentiles from salvation, but did exclude them from the spiritual heritage of Israel. God had promised through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob salvation and eternal promises. These promises were obtained through the Jew of true Israel. Israel was the client nation to God, and thus the revelation of God, and the message of salvation in Christ came through Israel. By tearing down the racial barrier, now the Gentiles would receive directly the revelation of God and be the ambassadors for Christ to the entire world.
- The Sin Barrier prohibited man from entering into relation with God and the Lord Jesus Christ. When Christ paid the penalty for the sins of the entire world, that barrier was abolished once and for all time. Now, because of the Cross, every member of the human race has access to God through Christ in faith. God reconciled (brought near) man to Himself through the work of Christ on the Cross.
As we see in Eph 2:21, the temple building is built because of Christ the corner stone, “In whom”. Without the work of Christ on the Cross, the building could not be erected.
When it says “being fitted together,” this is a Progressive Present Tense standing for action in progress, or a scene in process, where God is continually working throughout the Church Age to build the dwelling place for both the Holy Spirit and the Shekinah glory, as well as for Himself. When the temple of God is completed, the Church Age will end culminated by the Rapture of the Church.
This is also in the Passive Voice, indicating that the building of the Church is in the process of being constructed by the Baptism of the Spirit, Verse 22, “by means of the Spirit.”
“Is growing into” is a Retroactive Progressive Tenses, a.k.a., Extending-From-Past Present Tense, which means the action has begun in the past and continues through the present time. In other words, since the Day of Pentecost, the Church has been growing and growing and growing into the temple of God. It will continue to grow until the Rapture of the Church. Therefore, the temple consists of all believers throughout the entire Church Age.
- The Church continues to grow during the present dispensation in spite of all Satanic efforts to hinder it. Satan has never been able to stunt the growth of the Church.
- On earth the Church is called the Body of Christ in anticipation of phase three. When the body is completed, the holy temple will be called the Bride of Christ – phase three.
- The building of the temple is also used as an analogy in this paragraph. Each person saved during the Church Age is one more brick, one more board in the building, and each brick or board is perfect in itself, because it is said to be holy. Our holiness is based upon not only the Baptism of the Spirit, but the fact that the Holy Spirit enters us into permanent union with Christ.
- Because Christ has been glorified and we are the temple of God, a new concept emerges.
In the Old Testament dispensation, Christ was prophesized to come through Israel, was always the target of Satan. But once Christ came in the flesh, went to the cross, was glorified through resurrection, ascension, and session, He is no longer a target and can no longer be a target. He is now at the right hand of the Father.
Therefore, in the Old Testament, Christ and Israel were the targets of Satan, but with the glorification of Christ and the change of dispensation, the Church, now the body of Christ, is the target of Satan. This is the intensification of the Angelic Conflict.
- The Church; therefore, the representation of Christ on the earth, has become that target. Every believer is a Royal Priest, every believer is an Ambassador, and therefore we are His representatives; we are the targets.
- Since the Church is composed of numerous believers on earth at any given time in history, the conflict has shifted gears and intensified, making each believer on earth a target.
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit multiplies the targets of Satan and causes him to go on an all-out offensive to destroy the Church. This he has been trying for nearly 2,000 years and has not succeeded.
- Therefore, each believer in this dispensation, being the devil’s target, is fortified and strengthened. For each board in the building will remain in the building, it cannot be removed. For this reason, special and unique divine provision has been given to us as noted in chapter 3.
- The progression that began with the prototype example, followed by warnings to guard and protect, culminates in the realization of who we are and the fortification that we have been given.
We have been given fortification, of which has never occurred before the Church Age:
- Union with Christ (positional truth), relationship to God in the strategic victory of the Cross.
- The Portfolio of Invisible assets including:
1) The indwelling of Christ.
2) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
3) The completion of the Canon of Scripture.
4) The universal Royal Priesthood of the believer.
5) The universal Ambassadorship of the believer.
6) A supernatural way of life with a supernatural tactical objective – the super-grace life.
These grace provisions did not exist in the Old Testament dispensations. These things have been added to the temple of God to meet the needs and the pressures of the intensified angelic conflict.
Cosmic Viewpoint versus Divine Viewpoint
1 John 4:5, “They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.”
We begin with the Nominative, Masculine, Third Person, Plural Pronoun AUTOS meaning, “they,” which is a reference to false teachers. It refers to any type of false teaching from believer or unbeliever living in Satan’s Cosmic System.
Then comes the Present, Active, Indicative of the verb EIMI, the verb, “to be”, or “are” in this case.
It is a Gnomic Present, because it declares that all false teachers and false teaching is from the cosmic system.
The Active Voice says that the false teachers produce the action of the verb, both believers and unbelievers. They have one thing in common, whether they are believer or unbeliever, they are involved in the cosmic system.
The Indicative Mood is declarative for a simple statement of fact.
The prepositional phrase EK plus the Ablative Genitive of Source, HO KOSMOS is next. KOSMOS is used two ways. The word itself means, “order or arrangement or decoration in regards to organization.” And it is used for planet earth. But the word generally used for the earth is GE, and so very rarely does it mean, “the world,” and when it does, it always refers to the, “world of human beings.” For example, “God so loved the world,” speaking of mankind not planet earth.
Next is the preposition DIA, in the Accusative meaning, “because of, on account of, for the sake of”, plus the Accusative from the Demonstrative Pronoun HOUTOS, meaning “this or this one.” So, combined we have, “because of this”. Here it is an idiom meaning, “therefore.”
Again, we have EK HO KOSMOS in the Genitive of Source meaning, “from the source of world (i.e. Satan’s Cosmic System).” The Genitive of Source is used here instead of the Instrumental or Genitive of production or agency or means, because origin is involved.
This time it is linked with the verb LALEO meaning, “speak, talk, say; preach, proclaim; tell; be able to speak; address, converse (with); promise (of God); or sound (of thunder).” LALEO is in the Present, Active, and Indicative
The Progressive Present is for action in progress, a state of persistence and continuous action.
The Active Voice states that the false teachers produce the action.
The Indicative Mood is for the statement of reality that false teachers speak as from Satan’s Cosmic System.
Then we have the conjunction KAI plus the Nominative, Singular subject of HO KOSMOS. This time it is the generic use of the definite article and can be translated or not, it depends on the general context. This time, since we are talking about the cosmic system and there is only one cosmic system, we will say, “and the cosmic system.”
Finally, we have the verb in the Present, Active Indicative of AKOUO, which means, “to hear”, “to listen” or “to concentrate”, with the effect of “being fascinated”.
People are impressed by what is false, especially if it is given in a pleasing way, in a complimentary way.
This is linked with the Objective Genitive Plural of AUTOS, “them,” and refers to the “false teachers.”
Our complete translation is, “They [false teachers] are from [Satan’s] cosmic system: therefore they teach from the source of the cosmic system, and the cosmic person listens to [concentrates, understands, is fascinated by, or appreciates] them [false teachers].”
- Even though Jesus Christ controls history, Satan is the ruler of the world, John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2.
- The cosmic system is Satan’s strategy, as the ruler of this world, to control believers and unbelievers. It is his policy and propaganda for the rulership of this world.
- Satan’s cosmic system is composed of two separate strategies:
a) Cosmic One is Satan’s exploitation of believers and unbelievers through their own arrogance. Satan invented arrogance, for arrogance was his original sin.
b) Cosmic Two is Satan’s propaganda and indoctrination to educate and promote subtle antagonism toward anything related to God, especially the grace of God.
- Cosmic One emphasizes arrogance and abnormal preoccupation with self, while Cosmic Two emphasizes antagonism and intolerance toward the plan, purpose, and will of God, as well as toward all Christians executing it, 1 John 2:15-17.
1 Tim 4:1-2, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith (Bible Doctrine), paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons (false teaching and cosmic viewpoint), 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron.”
Eph 2:1-3, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2in which you formerly walked (spiritually dead) according to the course of this world (Satan’s Cosmic System), according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”
- Both believers and unbelievers, who are led by their sin natures, are occupied with the Cosmic System with the result that their frame of reference is from the cosmic system. Therefore, they are positive towards false teaching, which emanates from that same Cosmic System and rejects the teaching of the Word of God.
- In hearing false teaching, believers and unbelievers in the cosmic system respond to the frame of reference compatible with their souls, cosmic viewpoint. They simply respond to the power system in which they reside.
- The message of the false teacher then is compatible with the system he represents, the cosmic system of Satan. Those who live in the cosmic system have an affinity with that false teaching.
- Sadly, they are neither interested nor understand the truth of God’s Word and His Plan for their lives.
- The frame of reference for the person in the Cosmic System is prejudiced and biased against true doctrinal teaching from the Word of God.
- This then results in a generation that rejects:
a) The Laws of divine establishment,
b) The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (for the unbeliever only), and
c) Bible doctrine (for the believer only), which leads to a degenerate society.
- When the believer goes down this path, he begins to distort what he has learned from true Christianity into a system of legalism from his arrogant, self-righteousness, or on the other hand, he distorts grace into a system of false liberalism theology.
- The result is the inability to distinguish unbelievers from the believer involved in the Cosmic System.
- Believer and unbeliever, in the Cosmic System, ultimately think alike in compatibility with their trends and mutual involvement in the same world viewpoint. Therefore, you cannot distinguish the believer from the unbeliever residing in Satan’s Cosmic System.
- As far as the Pastor is concerned, he cannot force the believer to learn the truth of Bible doctrine. Your motivation to learn must be the function of your own soul and volition. The Pastor cannot and should not force his own motivation on others. Every believer must be self-motivated.
- In the interaction of social life, people are always trying to motivate others to like them, to be friendly. This concept has also been brought into the local church erroneously to motivate believers to join the church and stay in the church. But this is not a valid method of grace.
- Every believer must be self-motivated, which only comes from his or her own personal love for God the Father. This leads to a true desire to hear the communication of Bible doctrine from the faithful Pastor-Teacher.
- True teaching of Bible doctrine will do one of two things if it is done properly. It will either drive you away because you are negative, or it will provide you with self-motivation because you are positive. That leaves the decision as to whether you ever learn any doctrine or not with you and between you and the Lord.
- This takes us to the principle: leadership motivates; management regulates. Leadership must establish authority from the pulpit via accurate Bible teaching, and from the pulpit to motivate the believer under the virtue of enforced and genuine humility to concentrate on doctrine being taught, no matter what the subject and no matter what the believer’s circumstances happen to be.
- The leadership Pastor teaches Bible doctrine and some application, enough to give the idea of how application is made, but he does not coerce volition nor seek to regulate the life of the congregation, nor destroy good administration.
- On the other hand, the management Pastor motivates his congregation based on attention, flattery, recognition, and patronage, Rom 16:18; 1 Thes 2:5.
- The leadership Pastor not only creates self-motivation through faithful doctrinal teaching, but also provides the basis for the manufacture of virtue, happiness, capacity for life, plus the application of honor, integrity, and virtue to every circumstance of life, John 21:15-17; 1 Peter 5:1-11.
1 Peter 5:1-11, “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
1 John 4:6, ” We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
This verse is broken down in four statements:
- Establishing the authority of the orthodox leadership, Pastor teaching Bible Doctrine, “we are from God.”
- Establishing the positive believer who desires to hear the Word of God from the orthodox leadership Pastor, “he who knows God listens to us.”
- Establishing the cosmic person (believer or unbeliever) who rejects Bible Doctrine, “he who is not from God does not listen to us.”
- Establishing the principle of discernment between true orthodox leadership Pastors and eloquent false teachers by the type of audience they attract, “by this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
We begin with the emphatic use of the Pronoun in the subject Nominative Case, First Person, Plural of EGO meaning, “we and only we.” This is in reference to the leadership type orthodox Pastor who continually and faithfully teaches Bible doctrine.
Then we have the Verb EIMI in the Present, Active, Indicative, First Person, Plural meaning, “are.”
The Progressive Present Tense is for an action in the state of persistence, they are and keep on being from God.
The Active Voice says that the doctrinal, orthodox leadership type of Pastor produces the action of the verb.
The Declarative Indicative Mood is for the reality that the true doctrinal Pastor of the Church is characterized by both leadership and orthodoxy in contrast to false teachers.
So, we will translate this “are and continue to be.”
Then we have the Genitive of source, EK TOU THEOU, “from the God.”
So, we have, “We, and only we, (orthodox leadership Pastors) are, and continue to be, from God (teach the truth of His Word by the filling of the Holy Spirit).”
The true teacher is persistent in his daily study and teaching of the word of God. He is teaching Bible Doctrine consistently, versus giving a nice warm sermon once a week that is filled with cosmic viewpoint.
The second phrase begins with the definite article HO in the Nominative, Masculine, Singular for ‘he” and the verb participle in the Nominative, Present, Active, Masculine, Singular of GINOSKO meaning, “to know”, “to come to know”, “recognize”, or “perceive”. We will translate it, “he who has come to know.”
The definite article is used as a personal pronoun to represent the positive believer who resides and functions inside God’s Power System, (GPS = the filling of the Holy Spirit plus the application of God’s Word).
The Extending from Past Progressive Present says that what has begun in the past and continues into the present time, i.e. both perception and application of Bible doctrine, resulting in personal love for God.
The Active Voice says that the positive believer living inside GPS and perpetuating momentum through the perception of Bible doctrine is producing the action.
The Participle shows simultaneous action with the main verb; in other words, “we are and continue to be from God and at the same time have come to know Him.”
Then we have the direct object Accusative, Masculine, Singular of TON THEON, meaning, “the God.”
Then we have the Verb AKOUO in the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular. AKOUO means, “hearing”, “to hear,” or “listen,” where perception is achieved through the ear gate.
The Progressive Present stands for action in progress, which results from residence inside GPS.
The Active Voice says that the positive believer residing in GPS produces the action.
The Indicative Mood indicates the reality of the situation.
So, we would say “they keep on listening to” or “keeps listening to.”
This is followed by the objective Genitive, First Person, Plural from the pronoun EGO that means, “us,” referring to leadership Pastors who faithfully communicate Bible doctrine.
So we have, “He who has come to know God, (the positive believer), will keep on listening to us, (accurate Bible-teaching Pastors).”
So far in Verse 6 we have, “We, and only we, (orthodox leadership Pastors) are, and continue to be, from God (teach the truth of His Word by the filling of the Holy Spirit). He who has come to know God, (the positive believer), will keep on listening to us, (will learn Bible doctrine from the accurate Bible-teaching Pastors).”
The positive believer desires and seeks out the true teaching of God’s Word, and when he finds it, he sticks with it.
The third phrase begins the contrast from the previous two phrases with the Relative Pronominal Adjective in the Nominative, Masculine, Singular of HOS that means, “who”, “which,” or “that”. Because it is addressing individuals, in contrast we will say “who.” This is establishing a contrast between positive and negative believers, or believers in GPS and believers in the cosmic system.
Next, we have the Greek negative OUK meaning, “not.”
Then, we have the Verb EIMI in the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular meaning, “is” or “he is.”
The Customary Present Tense denotes what habitually occurs when believers become involved in the Cosmic System, and the status of unbelievers who are always involved in the Cosmic System.
The Active Voice says that unbelievers and believers in the Cosmic System produce the action of the verb. That is, they do not learn doctrine from accurate Bible Teaching Pastors.
The Declarative Indicative Mood is for the reality of the fact that no matter how good the orthodox leadership Pastor is, there will always be a lot of people who aren’t going to listen to him.
Next, we have three words in the Genitive, Masculine, Singular, EK TOU THEOU, and once again we have “from the God,” but this time with the Greek negative it is speaking of the person who is not from God.
Again, we have the Greek negative OUK for “not” or “does not.”
Then we have the verb for “listen” again, AKOUO, in the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular. In the negative it means that those involved in the Cosmic System do not take in and learn Bible Doctrine from the orthodox leadership Pastor.
The Progressive Present stands for action in progress, which results from residence inside Satan’s Cosmic System.
The Active Voice says that the negative believer or unbeliever residing in the Cosmic System produces the action.
The Declarative Indicative Mood is declarative for the historical reality of negative volition toward Bible doctrine, on the part of believers and unbelievers who are involved in the Cosmic System.
The section is completed with the Genitive Pronoun in the First Person, Plural of EGO for “us” or “to us,” referencing the orthodox leadership Pastor.
So, we have, “He who is not from God (Cosmic believer or unbeliever) does not listen to us (will not take in Bible doctrine from the accurate Bible-teaching Pastors).”
So far in Verse 6 we have, “We, and only we, (orthodox leadership Pastors) are, and continue to be, from God (teach the truth of His Word by the filling of the Holy Spirit). He who has come to know God, (the positive believer), will keep on listening to us, (will learn Bible doctrine from the accurate Bible-teaching Pastors). He who is not from God (Cosmic believer or unbeliever) does not listen to us (will not take in Bible doctrine from the accurate Bible-teaching Pastors)”.
The person who is negative towards the word of God will not receive it. The orthodox leadership Pastor is not to lose heart, because some reject his teaching. It is not them that they reject, but it is God and the Lord Jesus Christ who is actually being rejected.
The fourth section begins with the Genitive preposition EK, “from” or “out from.”
Then, we have the Demonstrative Pronominal Adjective, Genitive, Neuter, Singular of HOUTOS meaning, “this” or “this one”. So literally we would say, “from this one”. But it comes to mean, “for this reason”, “therefore,” or “because of this”.
This is a reference to both Bible doctrine resident in the soul, and experience applying that doctrine in discernment of true teaching versus false teaching.
Then, we have the Present, Active, Indicative, First Person, Plural of GINOSKO meaning, “to know.”
The Perfective Present Tense emphasizes that the results of a past action are still continuing. In other words, the information, which has come to the believer in the past through accurate Bible teaching, now provides them with a system of discernment.
The Active Voice says that the believer inside GPS produces the action of discerning between true and false teaching.
The Declarative Indicative Mood states the reality of the verb; the positive believer will be able to discern between truth and lies.
We will translate this “we have come to know and can presently discern between.”
Then, we have the Accusative Neuter Singular of HO PNEUMA meaning, “life,” “breath,” “air,” “spirit,” etc. Many times it is used to identify God the Holy Spirit, but here it does not. Here it is linked with the Genitive, Feminine, Singular of HO ALETHEIA meaning, “the truth”, and is referencing those “orthodox leadership Bible doctrine teachers.”
Next is the coordinating conjunction KAI for “and”. This links the two categories together that are in contrast, showing us the choice.
Then again, we have the Accusative, Neuter, Singular, of HO PNEUMA for “the spirit.”
This time it is linked with the Genitive, Feminine, Singular of HO PLANE, which means, “the wandering,” “the deception,” “the deluding,” or “the error.” As we saw in Verse 1, this is referencing the deluding spirits, the “eloquent speakers of deception.”
This word is used in:
Eph 4:14-15, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.”
1 Thes 2:3-8, “For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; 4but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. 5For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness— 6nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. 7But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. 8Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.”
2 Peter 3:17, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
See also, Rom 1:27; 2 Peter 2:18-19; Jude 11.
So, we translate the last section as, “Because of this, (doctrine resident in our souls plus application experience), we have come to know and can presently discern between the spirit of truth, (orthodox leadership Bible doctrine teachers), and the spirit of error, (eloquent speakers of deception).”
Our complete translation of Verse 6 is: “We, and only we, (orthodox leadership Pastors) are, and continue to be, from God (teach the truth of His Word by the filling of the Holy Spirit). He who has come to know God, (the positive believer), will keep on listening to us, (will learn Bible doctrine from the accurate Bible teaching Pastors). He who is not from God (Cosmic believer or unbeliever) does not listen to us (will not take in Bible doctrine from the accurate Bible teaching Pastors). Because of this (doctrine resident in our souls plus application experience) we have come to know and can presently discern between the spirit of truth, (orthodox leadership Bible doctrine teachers), and the spirit of error, (eloquent speakers of deception).”
- Where the believer resides determines his attitude toward Bible doctrine, positive or negative.
- Where the believer resides determines his capacity for love, personal and impersonal.
- Everyone is influenced by some power, God’s or Satan’s, which one influences you, is determined by which one you spend your time in.
- Whatever system you choose the power of, excludes the influence of the other.
- Ultimately, your attitude toward doctrinal teaching from an orthodox leadership Pastor, is determined by the priorities of your soul, related to self-determination.
- Self-motivation to continue momentum in the Plan of God and to glorify Christ only exists inside GPS.
- Therefore, residence in the Cosmic System destroys motivation to learn Bible doctrine. (It also destroys self-determination to continue residence and function in GPS, to rebound when necessary, and the continuation of those doctrinal priorities related to the fulfillment of the Plan of God).
- This leads to the problems where all believers living in the Cosmic System cannot be distinguished from their unbeliever counterpart. Believers in the Cosmic System are not living the Christian way of life nor fulfilling the Plan of God designed for them in eternity past and supported in time by logistical grace.
- The conclusion then is obvious. Believers who live inside GPS are positive toward Bible doctrine and believers living in the Cosmic System are generally negative toward doctrine.
- Involvement in the Cosmic System means negative volition toward Bible doctrine and failure to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in time.
1 John 4:7-11, Impersonal and Unconditional Love.
We now begin the second message of chapter 4. In the first section, we are warned to stay consistent with our intake and application of the Word of God, through the power and filling of God the Holy Spirit, so that the eloquent teachers of false doctrine in Satan’s Cosmic System do not lead us astray from our relationship with Christ.
We are now given the second message, which ties in with the first. In the second message, we are commanded to impersonally and unconditionally love one another.
This too is a “testing of the spirits“. It is another way to discern between false teaching and true teaching. In the first message, the test was, “what do they say about the Christ”. Now we are given the second test, which is a “love test”.
Verse 7 says, “and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” So, the second test for true teaching versus error is the individual’s impersonal and unconditional love for others.
In regards to the false teacher, the question is, “is the organization about sharing the message of Christ with others, or is it all about them and their promotion, or some crazy mixed up combination of the two?”
Remember satanic doctrine is disguised as the light of Christ, yet its final intent is not for Christ but for self. 2 Cor 11:13-15.
2 Cor 11:13-15,” For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”
So, we are given another measuring rod, impersonal love for all of mankind.
“Love” throughout this passage is the Greek verb AGAPAO or the noun AGAPE. It is not PHILEO that means brotherly or personal love, it is AGAPE love, which is impersonal and unconditional love.
First, it is noted that God is the author and perfecter of love, “for love is from God.” Then, it is noted that whoever operates in God’s love, “is born of God.”
The word for “is born” is the verb GENNAO in the Perfect, Passive, Indicative, Third Person, Singular. It means, “descent, birth, to beget, to bring forth, be father of, bear, give birth to (perhaps conceive), and in the passive, “be born”, or as Thayer notes, “in a Jewish sense, of one who brings others over to his way of life, to convert someone,” John 3:3-16.
The Extensive Perfect Tense emphasizes completed action of a past action from which a present state emerges. In other words, by faith we have been saved and born again in the past, as a result we are able to live in God’s love in the present.
The Passive Voice tells us that the believer in Jesus Christ receives the action of being born again. They have received new spiritual life, as demonstrated by living in impersonal and unconditional love.
The Declarative Indicative Mood declares the reality of new spiritual life in Christ, being born again.
You see, when God saved us, He brought us over to His way of life, which is love. Not only is love from God, but God is love, Verse 8. It’s who He is. Therefore, the person who operates in love, in the present, demonstrates the past action of salvation, which they received from God.
John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
- Impersonal love is only possible for the born-again believer.
- Impersonal love is only possible with knowledge of God’s Word, Bible Doctrine resident in your soul.
- The more you know God, the more you will be able to operate in impersonal love.
- Personal love is optional in life, but impersonal love is a mandate for the life of the believer.
- Impersonal love emphasizes virtue, honor, and integrity of the subject (the one expressing love) and simultaneously ignores pettiness, animosity, and the hostility of the object (the ones receiving love).
- Since impersonal love is the honorable motivator of interaction in life, it becomes both motivation and execution of the Royal Family Honor Code for the Royal Family of God.
- Impersonal love solves the problems of personality conflicts, and at the same time, sustains and perpetuates personal love directed toward people.
Then in Verse 8 we have; “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
First, we have HO ME AGAPAO, which is literally, “He not love.”
Love is in the Customary Present Tense, Active Voice, Participle, in the subject Nominative, in the Masculine, Singular, which means that operating in impersonal and unconditional love should be the ongoing state for the believer. But linked with the negative ME, this is something that is not habitually or generally occurring.
So, we say, “The person who does not operate in impersonal love.”
Then, the next phrase is OUK GINOSKO HO THEOS, which literally is, “not know the God”.
In this phrase, the key word is “know,” which is in the Aorist, Active, Indicative, Third Person, and Singular.
The Constative Aorist Tense views the action as a whole in summary fashion. Because the individual does not know God, they are not able to have impersonal and unconditional love for mankind. This is due to prolonged cosmic involvement.
The Active Voice says that anyone who resides in Satan’s Cosmic System produces the action of the verb.
The Declarative Indicative Mood is for a simple statement of doctrine. That is, if you reside in the Cosmic System, you won’t know God, and therefore you won’t be able to express the love of God to mankind.
So, we have, “has not in the past and therefore does not currently know God.”
The last phrase answers the question: why people are unable to love? The answer is, they do not know God. Without knowing God, who is love, they cannot truly love.
HOTI HO THEOS AGAPE EIMI, “Because the God love is” is the literal phrase, but in corrected English it would be, “Because God is love”.
The verb here “is” is the Greek EIMI in the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular.
The Gnomic Present Tense is a general statement of a timeless fact, which perpetually exists. In other words, God is love. It is an attribute and the essence of who God is. Just as you may be tall or short, or have blonde or black hair, God is love.
In the Active Voice; God produces the action of loving and being love.
The Declarative Indicative Mood is for a dogmatic statement of Bible Doctrine and Theology.
So, our complete verse is, “The person who does not operate in impersonal love has not in the past and therefore does not currently know God, because God is love.”
- Lack of impersonal love, as a virtue directed toward man, is the manifestation of cosmic involvement.
- Cosmic involvement means failure to learn Bible doctrine, plus failure to develop virtue in life.
- Failure to learn Bible doctrine means ignorance of God.
- Ignorance of God means failure to execute His Plan in time.
- Failure to execute His Plan in time connotes non-residence in GPS.
- No-residence in GPS means residence in the Cosmic System, which inevitably means failure to manufacture virtue, honor, and integrity for the execution of the Christian way of life. Therefore, such a believer cannot and will not glorify God in time, for he has rejected the Plan of God for the Church Age.
- The believer’s ignorance of God after salvation means living out his life in the Cosmic System, where the Christian becomes anti-Christ, the agent of the devil, the enemy of God, the enemy of the cross, living a lie, walking in darkness, etc.
- On the other hand, if you know God by learning His Word, you will operate in Impersonal and Unconditional Love towards all of mankind bringing rewardable eternal glory to God and the Lord Jesus
Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Now in, 1 John 4:9, “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”
We are again given the greatest example of love this world, this universe, and all of creation has ever seen.
We are given the Lord Jesus Christ.
“By this,” EN HOUTOS in the Dative Neuter Singular, tells us that through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, God’s love was manifested,
PHANEROO in the Aorist, Passive, Indicative, Third Person, Singular, which means, “make visible, make clear, make known, reveal, show, made evident or plain”. In the Passive Voice, as it is here, it means, “to be revealed or made known, be evident or plain, appear, and to reveal.”
In this passage, we are talking about the AGAPE “Love” of God, His impersonal and unconditional love for all of mankind.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ coming in the First Advent to go to the Cross, the AGAPE of God is made known and is evident to all of mankind.
John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
Because Jesus Christ suffered and died for all of mankind, all of mankind has the potential for eternal life through Him.
“We might live” is the Greek conjunction HINA meaning, “in order that” or “so that” and the verb ZAO in the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive, First Person, Plural, meaning, “live,” but in the subjunctive mood, we have a conditional clause, maybe we will and maybe we won’t.
This conditional clause establishes the potential for eternal life for all of mankind. It is not saying that salvation is in doubt once you believe in Christ, thereby falsely establishing works for salvation.
No! The potential is for all of mankind. Some will believe in Christ and some will not. But the offer, ergo potential for salvation, is available to all.
As we know, Jesus Christ is the unique being of the universe, He is the God / Man in hypostatic Union. His Deity is confirmed in this verse with the phrase “MONOGENES [mon-og-en-‘ace] HUIOS,” which means, “only begotten Son.”
So, not only do we have the message of salvation through Christ alone, but we have more proof of His deity as the God/Man to refute the claims of the false eloquent teachers of Verses 1-6.
John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
And finally, this verse also tells us that salvation is found only through the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Greek phrase DIA AUTOS meaning, “through, on account of, or because of Him.”
Then in Verse 10 this is reiterated, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
We begin with the phrase, “In this is Love,” EN HOUTOS EIMI AGAPE, where the verb EIMI is in the Present, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular.
This is the Perfective Present Tense, referring to the fact of existence of God’s impersonal love, which has come to be in the past and continues right through to today. In other words, God’s love from eternity past was culminated at the Cross and is made known to us presently and is poured out onto us currently.
Next, we note that, “not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins,” This tells us that God is the perfect gentleman and husband, in that He initiated the action of love towards us, by sending and His Son as a peace offering for all of mankind.
The word “propitiation” is the Greek Noun HILASMOS.
- Propitiation is the God-ward side of the work of Christ in salvation, where the integrity of God the Father is satisfied with the sacrificial ministry of our Lord on the Cross.
- The integrity of God the Father is composed of His righteousness and justice, and the justice of God demanded payment for our sins.
- To satisfy the integrity of God the Father, the impeccable person of Jesus Christ on the Cross satisfied His righteousness, while the judgment for our sins in the person of Christ satisfied His justice.
- Propitiation means that our Lord satisfied the Father. Therefore, in propitiation the justice of God judged our sins and the integrity of God was satisfied with that judgment.
- The manifestation of Divine Impersonal Love (AGAPE) is the propitiation of the integrity of God. The integrity and love of God are connected because impersonal love is the function of the integrity of the subject (the one who is expressing love).
- The integrity of God is the issue in God’s love for us, just as the integrity of the believer inside God’s Power System (GPS) is the issue in Christian love directed toward the entire human race.
- Propitiation frees the justice of God to immediately express His love towards mankind by giving anyone who believes in Christ eternal life. As a down payment, we were given one half of divine integrity, the righteousness of God.
1 John 2:2, “And He Himself (Jesus Christ the righteous) is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”
Rom 3:20-28, “Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. 21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
This is greatest manifestation of love the world has ever, and will ever see.
- Likewise, the believer who regularly confesses their sins can receive the expression of God’s love in cleansing and blessings, because the integrity of God is satisfied, 1 John 1:9.
In Verse 11, we have, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
The key words in this passage are “if,” which is a first class conditional if meaning, “if and it is true” or “since.” So we could say “Loved ones, since God.”
Then we have the word for “so,” which is the adverb HOUTO that can mean more than just “so.” It also can mean, “in this way, thus, in the same way, like this,” etc. Therefore, we see greater emphasis to the meaning here than just say “so”. We would say, “Loved ones (Church Age believers), since God in this way (referring back to Verse 10) loved us.”
This part of the passage is the protasis (if clause) that results in an apodasis (then clause). It’s the condition by which something should follow in return. This protasis is a statement of true fact, signifying the importance of responding positively in return, as exhorted to do so in this apodasis.
So, the apodasis is next, which says, “we also ought to.” The key word here is “ought to,” which is the Greek verb OPHEILO, in the Present, Active, Indicative, First Person, Plural. OPHEILO is the verb of obligation defined as to, “owe, ought, must, be bound, or obliged.” Therefore, we are obligated to do something because of what God has done for us.
The Extended from Past Present Tense, with the verb of obligation, tells us that we have been in the past and continue to be in the present time obligated to love God by loving each other. It is translated in English with the Present Perfect. Therefore, we add, “are” to obligated, or we could say “have been and continue to be”.
The Active Voice says that the believer of the Church Age produces the action of the verb, we are obligated to love others as God has loved us.
The Indicative Mood is declarative for the reality of the believer’s obligation to love others as God has loved them.
So with the conjunction KAI and personal pronoun in the plural of EGO, it would read, “we (Church Age believers) also have been and continue to be obligated to.”
Then, we have the reciprocal pronoun ALLELON, which means, “one another or each other,” with the Present, Active, Infinitive of AGAPAO.
The Progressive Present Tense is for action in the state of persistence. We are to continually AGAPE the Royal Family of God.
The Active Voice says, the Church Age believer inside GPS produces the action of AGAPE.
The Infinitive of Intended Result means this is fulfilling a deliberate objective; therefore, a blending of purpose and result. So we would say, “keep on loving each other (the Royal Family of God).”
This is the apodasis of the protasis. In other words, “(If) Since God loved us, (then) we also are obligated to keep on loving each other.”
God’s demonstration of His impersonal and unconditional love for all of mankind by the means of His Son paying the penalty for our sins, …
Rom 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
… is the challenge to all believers of the Church Age to likewise impersonally and unconditionally love the Royal Family of God by means of GPS.
The full translation then is, “Loved ones, since God in this way (referring back to Verse 10) loved us, we (Church Age believers) also have been and continue to be obligated to keep on loving each other (the Royal Family of God).”
Turning around and telling the person behind you that you love them does not signify this type of love. That is not fulfilling God’s mandate to love everyone!
To perform a simple meaningless action is not the love of God. The love of God has intent and purpose to it. So that type of meaningless action is nothing more than human good which is evil in God’s eyes.
AGAPAO is a specialized soul love, which requires the filling of God the Holy Spirit and the application of God’s Word.
In addition, to love everyone personally is impossible, and therefore God would never command that nor should we try too.
Only impersonal love by means of the Filling of the Holy Spirit, and the virtue in your soul built up through the intake and application of God’s Word, can fulfill this mandate.
AGAPAO is the professional love of the Christian, resulting from living in your temple, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and learning, metabolizing, and applying Bible doctrine.
It is impossible to fulfill this command in spiritual childhood, because we do not yet have the doctrine and ability to comprehend the kind of love that requires us to love all of mankind without becoming hypocritical and ridiculous.
This love is called impersonal, because it means the subject has the ability to accept all people as they are.
In personal love, the emphasis is on the object (person) that you love.
In impersonal love, the emphasis is on the subject (you, or better stated, the Doctrine in your soul).
In this passage we are commanded to love all the brethren.
In Leviticus 19:18 and throughout the New Testament, we are also commanded to love our neighbors (those in your periphery), and all members of the human race, Mat 5:4;19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:21; Rom 13:19; Gal 5:14; James 2:8.
You will never have this type of love until you first love God personally. Personal Love for God; therefore, becomes your motivational virtue, for you must be motivated to love everyone. You have no natural motive in your sinful self to love everyone. Actually, the wiser you become, the more selective you will be in personal love for others. But once you have personal love for God, your love for all of mankind will not be based on background, race, color of skin, I.Q., culture, or personality, they are not the issue. Sooner or later, you will have to shed your prejudices if you are going to grow spiritually in grace.
How others regard you is not an issue; you regard yourself as a person in God’s plan. With this viewpoint you advance to spiritual adulthood and then you can love others Impersonally and Unconditionally (I.U.).
The application is – you are simply a person for whom Christ died. Therefore, you should make that same application to others.
So we see that I.U. Love is the professional love of the Royal Family of God. I.U. Love is a functional virtue of spiritual adulthood. Therefore the object of impersonal love can be anyone: someone who is antagonistic, an enemy, someone that despises you, someone who is trying to destroy you.
This is one of the greatest concepts of Christianity and is rarely understood.
The love we are commanded in the Bible is based entirely upon our spiritual integrity, upon the Royal Family Honor Code, upon the execution of the Plan of God, upon consistent perception and metabolization of Bible doctrine resulting in integrity.
It is impossible to love everyone personally, so stop spinning your wheels so hard. Relax in God and enjoy being around other people.
John 12:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 15:12-14, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14You are My friends if you do what I command you.”
1 John 4:12-21, Perfected in Love:
In Verse 12 we begin with the phrase, “No one has beheld God at any time”.
Here we have the pronoun OUDEIS meaning, “no one” plus the adverb POPOTE meaning, “ever or at any time”. So together it read “no one ever.”
Then, we have the Perfect, Middle Deponent (Active sense), Indicative of THEAOMAI, which means, “to see, to behold, or to look at.” This verb was used in the time of Homer for, “being astonished.” It also comes to mean, “to learn by looking, to see with the eyes, or to perceive.”
The Dramatic Perfect emphasizing an existing state. In other words, it will always be that none of us will ever literally see God while here on earth.
The Middle Deponent Voice is active in meaning, and says that mankind produces the action of the verb. While residing on planet earth, there is no way that we can see God empirically.
The Declarative Indicative Mood is for the reality of the fact that mankind on earth, during this dispensation, cannot see God.
The phrase is rounded out with THEOS meaning, “God.” With the absence of the definite article, and being placed in the emphatic position, it shows the high quality of the noun rather than the identity. Therefore, even though we are talking about God the Father, it more specifically is referencing to the Deity of all three members of the Trinity.
So we say, “No one has ever seen God, (with reference to His deity).”
Now this is an interesting statement of truth. No one can see the deity of God in human flesh. In fact, in Ex 33:18-20, Moses was given a glimpse at the deity of God but could not look directly upon His deity. Ultimately, what Moses witnessed was God’s glory.
Ex 33:18-20, “Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” 19And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” 20But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!””
In addition, there are three categories of Preincarnate Theophanies of Jesus Christ. The three categories of Theophanies include:
- As a man (Gen 18; 32:24-32; Ex 24:9-11)
- As a phenomenon of nature (Ex 3:2; 25:22; 33:9-23; Lev 16:2, 13)
- As the angel of the Lord (Gen 16:7-13; 22:11-18)
In addition, we have the incarnation of our Lord plus His Christophanies (manifestations post resurrection), Mark 16:9-13; John 20:11-16, etc.
As we know, there have been many theophanies (visible manifestations) of the preincarnate Christ and Christophanies prior to the Day of Pentecost. But the deity of God has not and cannot be seen by man in his human flesh.
In fact, the transfiguration of our Lord before Peter, James and John, (Mat 16:27-17:13; Mark 9:1-13; Luke 9:27-36), was another revelation of the glory of God but not a revelation of His full deity.
2 Peter 1:16-18, “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— 18and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”
In fact, a thing transfigured is the outshining of a light or vitality which is resident within. Therefore, Christ’s essential glory was veiled while here upon the earth, but in the moment of transfiguration, His intrinsic Shekinah glory was allowed to be seen. He was not merely assuming a glory or standing in the radiance of an outward glory that fell upon Him. The glory was His own, and originated in Him and emanated from Him.
That is a key factor in our discussion, “the light from within that shines without.”
John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God (Jesus Christ) who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”
The believer is said to be subject to transfiguration and not a mere transformation. This is made possible by the divine presence within us, His Word and Spirit (GPS), as the light of God.
Therefore, when we have the light of Christ within us, it will have its normal outshining and will work great changes within our heart where that Nature or Light dwells, Rom 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18.
Rom 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transfigured by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
2 Cor 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transfigured into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
In both passages, we have the same Greek word METAMORPHOO as in Mark 9:2.
Therefore, the statement in 1 John 4:12, “No one has ever seen God” is made in order to introduce a remark, to show us in what way we may know that we have any true knowledge of God.
Remember, this was written in the Church Age and that God was seen by anthropomorphisms, and anthropopathisms, through visions and dreams, and in the form of angels, and man etc. But all of that is Old Testament. We are dealing now with the Age of the Royal Family of God, and in this dispensation, no one has seen God.
John 6:46, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.”
1 Tim 6:16, “Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”
We are also told that the divine essence of each member of the Trinity is invisible to the human eye, 1 Cor 2:9-13; 2 Cor 4:18; Heb 11:1.
2 Cor 4:18, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Heb 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
So why is this seemingly out of place comment placed here?
- Because of the False Teachers. They were claiming to have had mystical visions of God, misrepresenting 1 John 3:2-3. So, John includes a corrective statement here as God was unseen, Ex 33:20.
- For the believer’s understanding. The way in which believers can envision God is purely by His character of love, as demonstrated and made manifest in the Cross, Verse 9.
- For the believer’s service. In Christians’ sacrificial love as explained in our verse plus the following ones.
The idea is, “He has never indeed been seen by mortal eyes.” We are not, then, to expect to become acquainted with what He is in that way. But there is a method by which we may be assured that we have a true knowledge of Him, and that is, by evidence that we love another, and by the presence of His Spirit in our hearts. We cannot become acquainted with Him by sight, but we may by the application of love.
Reviewing the following verses, we see in:
Verse 13, “By this we know,” (Resultative Present, Active, Indicative), and in …
Verse 14, “Beheld or seen,” (Aoristic Prefect, Passive Deponent, Indicative), and in …
Verse 16, “we have come to know,” (Consummative Perfect, Active, Indicative), and that is followed by the statement in …
Verse 17, “By this love is fulfilled.”
Therefore, through the consistent intake and application of the Word of God, and through the power of God the Holy Spirit today, we will understand past revelation and be absolutely assured of who God is now, which manifests itself through us in the application of I.U. AGAPE Love.
That’s why in Verse 12, we have the 3rd class conditional “if,” EAN with the subjunctive mood of AGAPAO. It is a probability, maybe it will happen, and maybe it will not.
That signifies the free will choice we need to make. If we are positive towards the intake of the Word of God, are filled with the Holy Spirit through 1 John 1:9, and apply that Word in our lives through I.U. Love, we and others will see the manifestation of God in us.
So, the contingency depends on whether you reside in God’s Power System (GPS), or whether you live out your life in great misery inside Satan’s Cosmic System.
If we choose the former, God (with reference to the Holy Spirit), will abide in us, bringing the desired conclusion of the Fruit of the Spirit; love is perfected in us. Or better-stated, AGAPE love is fulfilled in us.
The Verb “perfected” is TELEIOO in the Perfect, Passive, Participle meaning, “to bring to an end, to complete, perfect, to accomplish, or to fulfill.”
The Resultative Perfect places emphasis on the existing results of a finished product. When special attention is directed to the results of the action, emphasis on the existing fact is intensified, and therefore the perfect of existing state, but only inside of GPS.
The Passive Voice tells us that divine impersonal love receives the action of the verb. In other words, we translate God’s love into action inside GPS. So, GPS can be regarded as a converter, converting what God has provided into function, action, and happiness in the Christian life, (i.e. we are transfigured).
Perfected vs. 12 – TELEIOO – Verb Participle, Perfect, Passive, Nominative, Feminine, Singular
Perfected vs. 17 – TELEIOO – Verb Indicative, Perfect, Passive, Third Person, Singular
Perfected vs. 18 – TELEIOO – Verb Indicative, Perfect, Passive, Third Person, Singular
This is coupled with three statements of knowledge in Verse 12, 14 & 16. The number three represents Divine Perfection and six is the number of man. So in combination, man’s knowledge of God demonstrated through the application of divine love equal the Divine Perfection of God in us.
So, “perfected” means that AGAPE love has its full accomplishment, having molded us according to its own divine nature, just as God is love, Verse 8.
Paul states in Phil 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”
So, the full translation of Verse 12 is, “No one has ever seen God (with reference to the Father but regarding the Deity of all three members of the Trinity). If we (maybe we will and maybe we won’t) love each other (fellow believers), God (the Holy Spirit) resides in us (a statement of fact for the indwelling of God in the believer), and His love (Divine I.U. AGAPE love) has been fulfilled in us (the Fruit of the Spirit is Love).”
“People cannot see God, but they can see God’s children revealing Him in their love for one another and for those in need. This love is not something that we work up; it is the work of the Spirit within (Rom. 5:5). God’s love flows from us as we yield to the Spirit. Christians do not love each other because of their good qualities, but in spite of their bad qualities. As we abide in His love, we have no difficulty loving other Christians.” Warren Weirsbe’s Expository Outlines.
“The essence of God is to our eyes invisible, incomprehensible to our minds; but by yielding ourselves to the power of His love, so as to be transformed by it, and habituated to the exercise of mutual love, we come to know Him by the most pleasant and most apprehensible effects, experiencing His indwelling, vital, operative presence and influences, whereby He is daily perfecting this; His own likeness and image in us. This is the most desirable way of knowing God, when, though we cannot behold Him at a distance, we may feelingly apprehend Him close to us, and in us.” Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the New Testament.
As we noted, in Verse 12, the statement, “no one has ever seen God” was an enticing statement regarding literally / visibly seeing God versus what the rest of the passage describes as knowing God and becoming “perfected.” That is living the Christ-like transfigured life. In other words, we can see God, not in the visible realm, but in the spiritual mind’s eye.
Mat 5:8, ” Blessed (Happy) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“The pure in heart” are those that strive to apply the Word of God daily through the filling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, happiness comes to the believer who is washed with the Word and strives to apply it daily, through the filling of the Holy Spirit (God’s Power System – GPS), which first includes consistent application of 1 John 1:9 for the cleansing of the soul. Theirs is developing and knowing a personal relationship with the Lord, “walking in the light of Christ,” living the transfigured life – seeing God in the mind’s eye through their thoughts and actions.
Acts 15:9, “And He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.”
Heb 10:22, “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience (our Sin Nature) and our bodies washed (fellowship with God) with pure water (the Word of God).”
Heb 9:14, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
In Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, he states regarding the phrase, “and his love is perfected in us”, that it means, “it is carried out to completion. That is, our love for each other is the proper exponent of love to Him reigning in our hearts. The idea here is not that we are absolutely perfect, or even that our love is perfect, whatever may be true on those points, but that this love to others is the proper carrying out of our love toward Him; that is, without this our love to Him would not have accomplished what it was adapted and designed to do. Unless it produced this effect, it would be defective or incomplete. The general sense is this: “We claim to have the love of God in our hearts, or that we are influenced and controlled by love. But however high and exalted that may seem to be as exercised toward God, it would be defective; it would not exert a fair influence over us, unless it led us to love our Christian brethren. It would be like the love which we might profess to have for a father, if it did not lead us to love our brothers and sisters. True love will diffuse itself over all who come within its range, and will thus become complete and entire.” This passage, therefore, cannot be adduced to demonstrate the doctrine of sinless perfection, or to prove that Christians are ever absolutely perfect in this life. It proves only that love to God is not complete, or fully developed, unless it leads those who profess to have it to love each other.”
1 Cor 2:9-16, “But just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” 10For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. 14But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.”
Now back in 1 John 4:13-17, we see the following:
In Verse 13 we are able to see God and live the transfigured life, because God the Father has “given us His Spirit.” This is also a reference to Gal 5:22-25 where the fruit (i.e. resultant work of the indwelling and filling) of the Spirit is AGAPE Love.
1 John 2:5, “But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.”
Then in Verse 14, “we have beheld and witnessed.” John and the disciples literally witnessed the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, which demonstrated the Love of God – Sending His Son. That is the example we too must following – self-sacrificial love.
Then in Verse 15, “confessing Jesus is the Son of God.” This refutes the Gnostics false eloquent teachers of Verses 1-6, and tells us that true faith in Christ, as the God / Man, creates a union in us with God; whereby, we now have the power and ability to live the transfigured self-sacrificial life.
Then in Verse 16, “and we have come to know.” This tells us that knowledge precedes faith. You must have knowledge of a thing before you can believe in it. Therefore, through hearing the gospel message, the greatest act of love in all of creation, and mixing it with faith, we come to know the Love of God, which then gives us the opportunity to come to know God (“see” Him). As noted previously, none of this would be possible if it were not for the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, coming to the knowledge of the love of God should confirm in our hearts that God is in us and with us, “and God abides in him.”
Then in Verse 17, “by this,” is summarizing all the knowledge we have been given in Verses 12-16, that is:
- Knowing the self-sacrificial love of God for us from eternity past,
- Having faith in Christ as the Son of God,
- Knowing that we are the temple of God (“abides in us”),
- Knowing that we should also love our neighbors as Christ loved us, and
- Knowing that God’s love is fulfilled in us, when we operate in the transfigured life.
Therefore, all of this should give us “confidence,” (PARRESIA – freedom of speech, confidence, boldness), absolute confident assurance of blessings from God, for both time and in the eternal state (at the BEMA Seat of Jesus Christ), as well as giving us absolute confident assurance of our position and walk in Christ today.
The BEMA or judgment seat of Christ is the evaluation of every believer of the Church Age, 1 Cor 3:10-16; 2 Cor 5:10-11. The evaluation is of what occurred in your life, (as the temple of God), between your salvation and departure from this life – Good or Bad.
Sin is not the issue here. Sin has already been evaluated and paid for. The good is all that you accomplished by means of the filling of God the Holy Spirit. The bad is all that you accomplished absent the filling of the Holy Spirit. That is, all that was accomplished by means of the flesh, i.e. your sin nature.
I.U. AGAPE love perfected in you (TELEIOO – achieved, fulfilled, or completed) is a sign of maturity, and maturity means the imputation of blessing and reward both in time and in eternity.
Therefore, the function of I.U. AGAPE love inside God’s Power System, (GPS), gives you confidence regarding the judgment seat of Christ.
1 John 2:28, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
Confidence for today is also noted in all the “abides in” in Verses 12-17. Abide is the Greek verb MENO meaning, “abide, stay, remain, live, dwell, or reside.” Each time MEMO is used, it is in the Present Tense, and when speaking of the believer, it speaks of function and residence inside GPS. When speaking of God, it is speaking of His divine provisions for the believer, the temple of God, through the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit – GPS.
As a result, we are to have confidence and boldness in both time and eternity.
- In our salvation: Heb 3:6, “But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope (confident expectation) firm until the end.”
- In Witnessing: Eph 6:19, “And pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.”
- In Prayer: Heb 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
- In eternity starting with the BEMA Seat of Jesus Christ: 1 John 2:28, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
Continuing in 1 John 4:17, “By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have Confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.”
We begin by remembering that:
God’s love is manifested in three ways:
1) Toward us – Verse 7-8.
2) In us – Verse 9, 12.
3) With us – Verse 17.
When we understand this, that is “seeing” God!
So this tells us of a life and fellowship with God saturated with His love. When we have this kind of love, we seek to please the Father and do not make the world a priority. As a result, we do not need to fear the day of judgment, because the Spirit’s guarantee proves that we are His children and that we will never face condemnation.
“May have confidence” is ECHO PARRESIA – εχο παρρεσια means, “freedom of speech, confidence, boldness, and liberty of access.”
It tells us that in spiritual maturity, we are operating in the Love of Christ, and as a result, we should have confident expectation of blessings and rewards in the eternal state, when we stand before our Judge.
This confidence is not placed in ourselves but in our Judge, Jesus Christ. It is a confidence in His justice, and confidence in His completed work, without which we otherwise would be condemned.
He is the one who has died for us, regenerated our hearts, given us eternal security, and it is He Himself who fills us as the Shekinah Glory. Through Him we have eternal life, and therefore we should have confidence for today and tomorrow.
Eternal Security and Confidence are two different things:
- Eternal security is inherited at salvation. Confidence is acquired through living inside GPS. So, one is inherited; the other is acquired
- Eternal security is permanent and cannot be destroyed through failure in the Christian life. Confidence in God is temporary, a virtue which can be destroyed by residence in Satan’s Cosmic System or misdirected through dependence on man rather than God, Psa 118:8
The exact middle of the Bible says in Psa 118:8, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.”
- Eternal security is a guarantee never to be lost, John 10:27-30; Rom 8:35; 2 Cor 5:5; Eph 1:13-14; 4:30. Confidence toward God is a virtue to be manufactured inside GPS.
Eph 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
- Therefore, because our Eternal Security is inherited, cannot be destroyed, permanent, and guaranteed, we should look to it in faith, and thereby gain confidence for today and for tomorrow.
God never meant for people to live in fear. There was no fear on earth until Satan and sin entered the world, Gen 3:10. As a result, Adam and Eve were afraid and hid.
The fact is, judgment is coming upon the world, and anyone who has never trusted in Christ ought to be afraid. But Christians should never be afraid to meet their Lord, 2 Tim 1:7; Rom. 8:1-15; 1 John 4:18.
2 Tim 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.”
The last phrase of Verse 17 is an interesting one related to our confidence, “because as He is, so also are we in this world.”
To understand this last phrase, we have to first ask ourselves, “who is Christ today?”
Verse 17 does not say “who was Christ?” That would take us back to His pre-incarnate person being deity alone.
Instead it states “as He is” in the Stative Present tense.
So, in answer to the question, today Christ is the incarnate God, as a result of His virgin birth. The God / Man in hypostatic union. In deity, He is perfect righteousness. In His humanity, He is impeccable without sin. But this only addresses His incarnation and still does not completely address who He is today.
Today, Jesus is also glorified, in resurrected body, with a new royal title, seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us day in and day out, Rom 8:34.
Rom 8:34, “Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”
So, in total that becomes our comparison, “just as He is, so also are we in this world.” Now we can answer the question, “who are we today?”
In the world today, the believer is:
- Positionally sanctified, having the righteousness of God, 1 Cor 1:2; 6:11; Heb 2:11; 10:10, 14.
- We are glorified, being placed in union with Christ, Rom 8:17-21, 29-30.
- We live in the resurrection life, as a result of being a new creation, Col 2:12; 3:1; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15.
- We are members of the Royal Family of God, 1 Peter 2:9.
1 Peter 2:9, “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
- Through the Baptism of the Spirit we are placed in union with Christ and will partake of His throne, Rev 3:21.
Rev 3:21, “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
Now these five points are all given to the believer, and we stand in them positionally, albeit number five also alludes to winner believers. Nevertheless, that keeps us in the context of this passage. From Verse 7-21, we are exhorted to “abide” / “walk in” the Love of Christ, experientially. So, this reminds us that Christ walked in love by means of God’s Power System, and today remains in Hypostatic Union, operating perpetually inside GPS. Therefore, we too must make daily decisions to walk inside GPS, abiding in the love of Christ. When we do, we are experientially living as Christ lived, and as He continues to live today. Therefore, we have volitional responsibility to:
- Intercede with prayer on behalf of our fellow man, as Royal Priests and Ambassadors for Christ.
- Perpetually reside inside GPS, as a result of confession of our sins and taking every thought captive.
- Do all things in self-sacrificial love, just as Christ loved us, and therefore as He is love, so also are we.
When we do, we have the same traits and characteristics that our Lord has, and resembling Him, we do not need to be alarmed at the prospect of meeting Him.
Therefore, our confidence in the day of judgment comes as a result of EPIGNOSIS of our positional privileges in Christ, as well as having confident assurance, when we are perpetually operating in His love inside GPS. Just as He is, so also we are in this world!!!!!
1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
“There is” is the Greek verb “to be” EIMI, but it is also the verb “to exist, to live, or to reside.” So, it is speaking about a lifestyle or existence. Here it is in the Present, Active, and Indicative.
The Customary Present Tense denotes what habitually occurs or may be reasonably expected to occur.
The Active Voice says that fear produces the action of the verb.
The Indicative Mood is declarative for a simple statement of fact.
We will translate this “There exists.”
“No fear” is OUK PHOBOS. OUK is the Greek negative for “not or does not.” The noun PHOBOS comes from the word PHEBOMAI that means, “to be put to flight.” So, PHOBOS comes to mean, “panic, flight, fear, the causing of fear, terror, shock, worry, or anxiety.” Sometimes it means, “reverence for God or respect for persons,” but that is not the case here.
So, we have, “exist not fear” or “fear does not exist.”
Then we have “in love.” This is a Dative of Sphere, EN HO AGAPE, literally, “in the sphere of love.” This is speaking of the type of love we have seen throughout this book of impersonal and unconditional self-sacrificial love. This is the type of love that God the Father has, the type of Love God the Son has, and the type of love the Holy Spirit has and manifests in us, Verses 7-12, 16. This is the sphere of love we must operate in as well, Verse 16, “the one who abides in this sphere of love abides in God and God abides in him.” This is the type of love that gives us confidence in the “day of judgment,” Verse 17. So we have “Fear does not exist in (the sphere of God’s impersonal and unconditional self-sacrificial) love.”
Next, is the contrasting conjunction ALLA for “but.” It can also mean, “not only this but.”
Then, we have “perfect,” in the Adjective TELEOIS, from the same root word we have seen earlier and means, “having reached its end, i.e. complete.” It also means, “to be mature.” Therefore, it means, “perfect in the sense of maturity.”
Then we have AGAPE again for “love,” that is impersonal and unconditional self-sacrificial love.
Next, we have “casts out,” which is BALLO, in the Present, Active, Indicative that means, “to throw or cast, to cast out, to put out, to drive out,” and the Adverb of Place EXO, which means, “outside or away from.” Here it is in the sense of one thing supplanting another, that is, one thing driving out something else. So we have “drives out.” In other words, when you operate in the sphere of God’s love, the garbage of fear is removed from your soul. Therefore love breeds confidence in your soul.
The Stative Present tense is for a condition which perpetually exists (i.e. love always drives out fear).
The Active Voice says that the mature believer with impersonal love produces the action of the verb.
The Declarative Indicative Mood is a statement of Bible doctrine, “love drives out fear.”
With love you operate in confidence. Without love you operate in fear. You either operate in confidence, or you operate in fear.
Then, we have the direct object of the driving out, PHOBOS, used again for “fear” with the definite article HO for “this fear.” “This fear,” in the context of this passage, is embarrassment and shame at the BEMA seat of Jesus Christ, the “Day of Judgment” for believers only. Remember, this is a judgment for works, not sin according to 1 Cor 3:10-15 and 2 Cor 5:1. Sins have already been judged at the Cross.
So, the first sentence in this passage reads: “Fear does not exist in (the sphere of God’s impersonal and unconditional self-sacrificial) love but mature (impersonal and unconditional self-sacrificial) love drives out this fear.”
Operating in the sin of fear in life leads to a lack of divine good works, which leads to fear at the BEMA of Jesus Christ, which means a loss of rewards in the eternal state.
On the other hand, operating in the divine righteousness of God’s love in life leads to achieving divine good works, which causes confidence at the BEMA of Jesus Christ, which means distribution of rewards in the eternal state.
In order to understand this passage, we need to better understand what love is driving out? We all have an idea of what fear is, but we need to understand it in Biblical terms and context. In the Bible, “fear” can be a good thing, as in reverence or respect for God, or it is a bad thing, in the emotional revolt of the soul in fear, worry, anxiety, etc.
The context of these passages is not using fear in reverence for God, but in the bad sense of emotional sinning, which is the opposite of reverence for God. Therefore, to understand what love drives out, we need to understand what fear is, in the context of the BEMA Seat of our Lord, that brings shame on the “Day of Judgment”.
Doctrine of Fear
2 Tim 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and sound judgment.”
A definition of bad fear is, “A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”
Fear is characterized by panic when in a dangerous or disastrous situation. It is a painful emotional distress aroused by impending pain, danger, disaster, or evil, or by illusions regarding the same. It is worry, apprehension, consternation, or horror. Fear is also an active feeling of dread, of which fright and terror are the more intense degrees.
Every time fear comes into your life, you are not living the Christian way of life, you are not living in the Plan God has for you. God does not want you to be afraid of anything.
The Plan of God is designed to remove all fear in your soul and replace it with confidence in Bible doctrine, which leads to confidence in the Lord. That is the only true basis for confidence, spiritual self-esteem, which is through Bible doctrine. This inevitably results in the greatest courage in life. It’s more than moral courage; it is a mental attitude courage in all relationships and in all circumstances of life.
Fear, like anger, is a sin of emotion. Emotion cannot think, apply Bible doctrine, or function in a crisis. Emotion has no doctrinal content, when fear or any other sins are involved.
Therefore, fear destroys your ability to think, and especially to reason under pressure. That means inability to apply God’s Word, which results in the emotion taking over in the soul. Fear represents total disorientation to the Plan of God, and some form of cosmic involvement. That is, you are too wrapped up in the world.
Fear is a contradiction to the Plan of God for the Church. Fear, worry, and anxiety are a contradiction to God’s Plan, purpose, and will for your life. Contradictions to the Plan of God are not rewardable. Therefore, having fear in this life will lead to shame and a loss of reward for eternity at the BEMA Seat of Jesus Christ.
Fear is lack of thinking under pressure. It is a general problem in life. We are designed by God to be rational creatures; fear makes us irrational. Fear is an irrational and emotional sin.
For the believer, fear is failure to learn and apply Bible doctrine for the problems of life, and failure to learn and utilize the Problem Solving Devices (PSD).
Fear is a whole system of sins that includes worry, anxiety, insecurity, incapability of doctrinal application, and therefore inability to use the PSD.
The more things you surrender to fear, the more things you fear. The extent to which you surrender to fear, the greater is your capacity for fear. To the extent to which you surrender to fear, to that extent fear controls more and more of your life.
Increasing fear means increasing insecurity, which destroys your capacity for love, life, happiness, and blessing. The greater your capacity for fear, the more you increase the power of fear in your life.
- No believer can rest in God’s Plan while in a state of fear, worry, anxiety, hatred, anger, and other emotional sins.
- Sudden disaster, historical or personal, often places the believer under great pressure and moves him into panic, where he cannot concentrate on God’s Word that he has learned.
- The difference between fear and courage is the ability to concentrate, trust, and rest in God’s Word when under great pressure. The coward cannot think under pressure, while the man of courage concentrates under the same pressure and rests in God.
- The suddenness or intensity of a disaster hinders the believer from concentrating on Bible doctrine he has already learned. Normal reaction to disaster can be fear and panic, so that the believer cannot apply God’s Word to the situation. Because of this, there are many Biblical commands about fear to negate our normal human reaction.
Deut 31:6, 8, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid of them or tremble because of them for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you. He will not desert you. The Lord Himself goes before you, therefore He will be with you. He will never leave you nor desert you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.”
Isa 41:10, “Therefore, the Lord is the One who goes ahead of you; do not fear or be dismayed.”
- Fear of death destroys capacity for life and is a sign that you are still in spiritual childhood. Death is the last thing in the world that should concern you, for you have no control over the manner of your death or time of your death. When you realize your death is strictly in the Lord’s hands and that it is the one time when the Lord’s wisdom will prevail over your volition, you come to a peaceful realization of the God’s sovereignty and rest in Him. Likewise, once you understand there is nothing to fear in death, then you begin to realize there is nothing to fear in life.
- Fear is a great motivation in life for most people. Yet fear is totally destructive; it destroys love. Making wrong decisions out of fear destroys your capacity for life.
- Many people spend so much time being afraid of death, or of dying, or of starving, or of being poor, etc., that they do not enjoy life. They have no zest for life and no capacity for life. The person in this world who has zest and capacity for life is the spiritually mature believer.
- Fear of adversity destroys capacity for prosperity. When prosperity comes, you’re so afraid that you will lose it that, in your fear, you have absolutely no capacity for that prosperity. You may stash it all away for “a rainy day.” But that’s no capacity for life. Therefore, you do not enjoy prosperity when it comes.
- Fear makes you herd bound so that you come to depend on others.
- Believers in all stages of spiritual growth can find themselves suddenly in the fear-panic ploy of Satan’s Cosmic System from some sudden disaster. Every believer must be prepared for this. The solution to fear is found in the faith-rest drill, by which the believer claims a promise from God’s Word to stabilize your thinking. This adjusts your thoughts away from the fear and panic and onto the God’s Word.
Psa 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”
1 John 4:4, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
Heb 13:5-6, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?””
Once you recall a portion or major segment of God’s Word, you then apply it to the situation. The next step is to trust in it and rest on it.
1 Cor 2:5, “Your faith should not be in the wisdom of man (human viewpoint), but in the power from God (Bible doctrine in the soul).”
2 Cor 5:7, “For we walk by faith and not by sight.”
Previously, we noted the first half of Verse 18, “Fear does not exist in (the sphere of God’s impersonal and unconditional self-sacrificial) love but mature (impersonal and unconditional self-sacrificial) love drives out this fear.”
Now, we note the next portion of Verse 18, “…because fear involves punishment…”
First is the explanatory causal subordinating conjunction HOTI meaning, “because.”
This is followed by HO PHOBOS, our word for “fear,” where we do not translate the definite article.
Next is the verb ECHO in the Present, Active, Indicative basically meaning, “to have and to hold.” It can be translated many different ways based on the syntax. But in this causal clause linked with the Accusative of our next word KOLASIS, it means, “involves, includes, causes, or simply has.”
The Customary Present Tense means what habitually occurs, or what may reasonably be expected to occur when the believer is frightened.
Then, we have the Greek noun for punishment KOLASIS, which means, “chastisement, correction, punishment or penalty.”
A.T. Robertson states that “KOLASIS has a context of discipline.”
Marvin Vincent states, “Torment (as used in the KJV) is a faulty translation. The word means punishment, penalty.”
Its verb form, KOLAZO meaning, “to punish” is found Acts 4:21; 2 Peter 2:9. Therefore, KOLASIS means, “disciplinary punishment.”
KOLASIS is used only twice in the New Testament, and in the same case, gender, and person (Accusative, Feminine, Singular), showing the significance of its meaning. It is used here in regards to believers and in Mat 25:46 in regards to unbelievers.
Mat 25:46, “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
The context of Matthew 25 is our Lord’s return, His Second Advent. At that time, He will remove from the earth all unbelievers so that only believers who survive the Tribulation will walk into the Millennium.
“These will go away into eternal punishment.” The unbeliever will be thrown into Hades for the 1,000-year reign of our Lord and then into the Eternal Lake of Fire, Rev 20:13-15.
1 John 4:18 is not addressing the unbeliever and eternal condemnation, but the believer and temporal judgment in two categories. Even though it is addressed to believers, the first category has effect on the unbeliever who is also living in fear.
Therefore, the phrase HOTIS HO PHOBOS ECHO KOLASIS means, “because fear includes punishment,” and indicates that the punishment is inherent in the fear. That is, fear carries its own punishment and that punishment can include more fear. As we noted last week, fear begets fear.
As Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
In addition, this phrase describes a process, not merely an effect. As we noted previously, this kind of fear is driven out or expelled by matured love in the Christ-like nature, where God’s love is being perfected in us.
As we have noted, the opposite of fear is courage or confidence, confidence in the day of judgment for the believer, Verse 17. When we operate in God’s type of love, it gives no room for fear. But on the other hand, if we do not operate in God’s impersonal and unconditional self-sacrificial love, the inevitable result is fear, (which is sin), or lack of courage or lack of confidence. Not just in the day of judgment but for today.
In addition, the punishment referred to here is the immediate consequence of the sense of sin, not a holy awe and respect for God but a slavish fear, the opposite of the enjoyment of love.
As Matthew Henry states, “There is a difference between having fear (reverence) for God and being afraid of Him. The fear of God imports high regard and veneration for God. Obedience and good works, done form the principle of love, are not like the servile toil of one who unwillingly labors from dread of a master’s anger. They are like that of a dutiful child, who does services to a beloved father, which benefit his brethren and are done willingly. It is a sign that our love is far from perfect when our doubts, fears and apprehensions of God are many.”
Dorothy Thompson stated, “Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.”
Fear is the natural consequence of sin (Gen 3:10; 4:13-14), and it comes as a punishment (Deut 28:25, 28). The fear of man and of evils are dangers to be avoided, from which the fear (reverence and respect) of God delivers, (Num 14:9; 21:34; Psa 23:4; 31:14).
Prov 28:1, “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
So, from what we have noted, there are two categories of punishment caused by fear, “because fear includes punishment”, 1) Self-Induced punishment through self-induced misery, and 2) Divine Discipline. So you can be punished three ways by fear: by yourself, by your peers, and by God.
Mat 8:26, “He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.”
Mat 10:26, 28-31, “26Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known…. 28Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him (God) who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows”.
- Fear, like all mental attitude arrogance, is self-punishing and self-destructive. Not only is your soul affected by making negative or bad decisions, but the presence of fear in the soul overflows into the body causing various psychosomatic illnesses.
a) Many wrong decisions result in mental illnesses and psychotic, neurotic, and sociopathic behavior on the part of believers.
b) Many wrong decisions from a position of weakness result in mental illness, which is acquired from arrogance, self-centeredness, selfishness, self-righteousness, and the practice of making thousands of wrong decisions.
c) Therefore, we need to take responsibility for our well-being by not giving over to fear. It starts with our mental attitude, our volitional responsibility.
Rosa Parks stated, “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
- Under the law of volitional responsibility, we cause our own misery and suffering. This is the most common and the first cause for human suffering in general, and is also a specific cause for believers. Our emphasis here is on believers only.
- Every human being must take the responsibility for his own decisions and his own actions in life. You must understand that you can never blame others for your misery, your unhappiness, and your suffering. You take full responsibility for yourself, based on your own wrong decisions related to your associations, your activities, your motives, your functions in life.
- At salvation, all sins were judged at the cross. Yet all our sins have natural consequences in life, for which the individual who commits them must take full responsibility. We must always link consequences with bad decisions, rather than blaming someone else. A short trip to unhappiness is to always blame others for your problems, not seeing them as a result of your bad decisions.
Gal 6:7 states the law of volitional responsibility: “Be not deceived; God cannot be mocked. Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”
The consequences are generally classified as self-imposed, self-induced, and self-indulged.
a) Self-Imposed Misery means voluntarily assumed or endured and results from negative or wrong thinking or motivation. Negative thinking includes all wrong mental attitudes, all forms of arrogance, everything by which you react to life in your thinking including fear. By wrong thinking and wrong motivation, we enter into self-imposed misery long before we make any decisions that cause self-induced misery. It is also suffering caused by ignorance of Bible doctrine and resultant self-deception.
b) Self-Induced Misery means willfully acquired or brought on misery, and results from deliberate wrong actions.
c) Self-Indulged Misery means yielding to the desires and whims of oneself, especially to an excessive degree and results from impulsive wrong actions.
Since deliberate wrong actions originate from wrong motives and wrong decisions, these cause self-induced misery; whereas, impulsive actions are spontaneous and impetuous. Therefore, self-indulgence circumvents motives and decisions and generally falls back to thinking related to lust and self-gratification or a locked-in system of arrogance.
Hos 8:7, “They who sow to the wind shall also reap the whirlwind.”
Col 3:25, “For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of that wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”
Many times, man manufactures his own problems and resultant suffering. On the other hand, God manufactures solutions and blessings in the midst of suffering.
Luke 12:28-34, “But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Anne Frank stated, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”
Thomas Jefferson stated, “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.”
Divine discipline is distinguished from the law of volitional responsibility with its self-imposed, self-induced, and self-indulged forms of misery. As we noted last week under the law of volitional responsibility, bad decisions not only destroy future options in life, but they result in tremendous misery manufactured by ourselves, for which we must take full responsibility. The resultant discomfort, misery, and unhappiness may last for a short or long period of time depending on our volition.
On the other hand, Divine discipline is what God does for us as a loving Father in the realm of reproof and correction, so that we do not continue in self-imposed, induced and indulged misery. More importantly He does so, so that we do not remain in sin and get back to a place where God is able to bless us.
Prov 3:11-12, “My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD or loathe His reproof, 12For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”
Psa 119:75, “I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”
Heb 12:5 6, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; 6FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES (warning discipline), AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES, (intensive discipline).”
Rev 3:19, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent (change your mind in regards to sin and self-induced misery).”
- Divine discipline is the sum total of punitive action taken by the justice of God in grace to correct, to punish, to encourage, to train, and to motivate the believer’s free will toward the Plan of God.
- Therefore, divine discipline is distinguished from divine judgment, in that discipline is for believers only, but judgment is directed toward all categories of the human race and angels under certain circumstances.
- The believer is therefore exhorted to have no fear in the “day of judgment,” by means of positive volition towards the Plan of God. The believer is also told that if they have negative volition towards the Plan of God, it results in a soul of fear which includes punishment (self-induced misery coupled with divine discipline).
- When believers get out of fellowship through sin, human good, or evil, we bring suffering on ourselves. If we do not use the most basic Problem Solving Device of Rebound (1 John 1:9), we will continue in a state of carnality, cosmic living, or reversionism, 1 Cor 11:27-28. Carnality is a brief stay in the cosmic system; reversionism is a prolonged residence in the cosmic system.
- Only in time are we, as members of the Royal Family of God, disciplined in the form of suffering, 1 Cor 11:32.
- If the believer persists in the three categories under the law of volitional responsibility, i.e., self-imposed, self-induced, and self-indulged misery, it is obvious that God will add to it, if he does not come around through Rebound, 1 Cor 11:29-30.
- Punishment from God often follows the failure to Rebound from our sins, 1 Cor 11:31. Our every sin originates from our free will. Though temptation may come from the Old Sin Nature or another source, we make the decision to sin! Likewise, all wrong decisions come from some form of arrogance or lust that we produce.
- While God is the source of divine discipline, man’s free will is the source of suffering under the law of volitional responsibility. In addition, God uses His sovereignty and His perfect judgment to know when it’s time to warn us that we have been persistently out of fellowship, and to bring us back to reality with varying categories of discipline, 1 Cor 11:30.
- All divine discipline, except the sin unto death (sleep), is always designed to correct, to train, and to motivate.
- The purpose for divine discipline is to train or teach us, Rev 3:19, to motivate us to recover our residency inside GPS, and to warn us that we are out of bounds and functioning in Satan’s Cosmic System. (GPS is the only place we as members of the Royal Family of God can execute His Plan for our lives).
a) As a perfect plan, God’s Plan must be executed in bounds, not out of bounds. Just as the referee blows the whistle, the flag is thrown, and the penalty is given when a player is out of bounds or out of line in a sports game, so God blows the whistle on us through the administration of punishment: Divine Discipline.
So, as 1 John 4:18 says, “because fear includes punishment,” that punishment is either Self-Induced causing misery in our lives or Divine Discipline to train, correct, or reprove us so that we do not end up living a life of fear but a life of confidence as we walk in the love of God.
Heb 13:5-6, “…for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?””
Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.”
1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
The last phrase is our next topic for understanding. Breaking it down it looks like this, “In fact, the person who is afraid (PHODOUMENOS – Present, Passive Deponent, Participle) has not received maturity of soul by means of operating in God’s AGAPE love (OU TETELEIOTAI – Perfect, Passive, Indicative).”
A better overall translation would be: “Fear does not exist in virtue-love, but matured virtue-love drives out fear; for fear includes punishment. In fact, the person who is afraid has not been matured by virtue-love.”
Therefore, we have our next topic:
Fear Demonstrates Immaturity:
Being matured in love means consistent application of God’s Word already resident within your soul as expressed by “loving your neighbor as Christ loved you.” This is further explained in Verses 19-21.
As we grow in love, fear leading to more fear (through self-induced misery and being afraid that God will punish you for every wrong step you make), diminishes and is done away with, Rom 13:8-10.
Rom 13:8-10, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Unfortunately, many believers do not grow up in Christ. Instead, they are restrained from doing certain things in their Christian lives because of fear of punishment, or fear of the consequences. This means that they live their lives with regret and in hypocrisy. They know what they should be doing, they say they believe in God’s Word, but they don’t apply it.
For the believers who advance, they advance past a certain point, because they switch from the fearful / disciplinary end of their spiritual life, the beginning of it, to love and respect for God.
You cannot pass a certain point in the Christian life until you get away from the restraining concept. The restraining concept is the enforced humility part of the spiritual life (Divine discipline). That is necessary for new believers and for babies. But sooner or later it is necessary to get to the motivating part of the spiritual life, a Personal Sense of Destiny.
- If you have personal love for God the Father and you understand His integrity, you don’t need to claim specific promises for every situation. Instead, you rest on the entire essence and integrity and person of God. If you love God, you know God.
- Once you have virtue-love, you’re not afraid of anything whereby you need promises, for now you know the One who makes the promises. You understand God’s integrity, and therefore you are dependent on Him. If you are dependent upon God and His integrity, then having fear is not only an insult to God, but it is blasphemous and sinful.
- Mature believers are not afraid, because they understand the love of God and they understand His righteousness and justice. They understand that if they happen to step out of line and are disciplined, it is in their best interest where they learn and grow from it.
- Where there is true love for God and His people, there does not need to be any fear of future judgment. God may have to discipline us in love during this life, but we do not need to be afraid of meeting Him face to face when He returns. We all will have some embarrassment, because we are not without sin, but we absolutely do not need to be afraid, Rom 3:21-26; 8:1-2.
- Anyone who has never trusted Christ ought to be afraid. But Christians should never be afraid to meet their Lord, 2 Tim 1:7; Rom. 8:15-17.
2 Tim 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
Rom. 8:15, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!””
- Therefore, having God’s Word is having God’s love and that produces courage, which drives out fear.
- Relying on God’s power is true courage.
a) God the Father – The omnipotence of God the Father is related to your portfolio of invisible assets. The Father’s Plan has provided you the greatest power in the universe.
b) God the Holy Spirit – Gives us our operational power inside of GPS.
c) God the Son – His Word in your soul exudes courage while He also controls history, which perpetuates the human history so that we can execute the Plan of God for our lives.
- Confidence toward God motivates courage toward mankind. Worship directed toward God motivates love toward man, Verse 17a, “By this the love of God is matured with us.”
True love then is the absence of fear. It is impossible to have fear and be occupied with Christ at the same time.
True courage means sound judgment, thinking under pressure, and good judgment at all times. Sound judgment comes from Bible doctrine, not from emotion. The person with real courage is the person with doctrine in their soul.
For example, when David faced Goliath, he had doctrinal courage, which was far superior to Goliath’s loud-mouthed macho courage.
Maturity is always characterized by courage or lack of fear. Psa 3:6; 56:3-4, 11; Heb 11:27. This is true even when surrounded in battle.
Psa 3:6, “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about.”
Christian Perfection, Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfect … ”, by Oswald Chambers.
“It is a trap to presume that God wants to make us perfect specimens of what He can do—God’s purpose is to make us one with Himself. The emphasis of holiness movements tends to be that God is producing specimens of holiness to put in His museum. If you accept this concept of personal holiness, your life’s determined purpose will not be for God, but for what you call the evidence of God in your life. How can we say, “It could never be God’s will for me to be sick”? If it was God’s will to bruise His own Son (Isaiah 53:10), why shouldn’t He bruise you? What shines forth and reveals God in your life is not your relative consistency to an idea of what a saint should be, but your genuine, living relationship with Jesus Christ, and your unrestrained devotion to Him whether you are well or sick.”
“Christian perfection is not, and never can be, human perfection. Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship with God that shows itself to be true even amid the seemingly unimportant aspects of human life. When you obey the call of Jesus Christ, the first thing that hits you is the pointlessness of the things you have to do. The next thought that strikes you is that other people seem to be living perfectly consistent lives. Such lives may leave you with the idea that God is unnecessary—that through your own human effort and devotion you can attain God’s standard for your life. In a fallen world, this can never be done. I am called to live in such a perfect relationship with God that my life produces a yearning for God in the lives of others, not admiration for myself. Thoughts about myself hinder my usefulness to God. God’s purpose is not to perfect me to make me a trophy in His showcase; He is getting me to the place where He can use me. Let Him do what He wants.”
Then in 1 John 4:19 we have, “We love, because He first loved us.”
“We love” is the function of our impersonal and unconditional love towards all of mankind. There is no object stated here, (although the KJV has added “Him” in error. It was a scribe’s interpretational addition during the Middle Ages). The object is not needed, because it has been stated throughout the context of this book and chapter. So, this is love as a virtue towards all of mankind, not love as an interaction of the human race. Remember also that in order to love all of mankind, we must first have love for God, as noted in Verse 20-21.
“Because He first loved us” HOTI HEMEIS (EGO) PROTOS AGAPAO HEMAS (EGO).
Here we have the Aorist, Active, Indicative of AGAPAO for “had loved”.
The Culminative Aorist views God’s love for all of mankind in its entirety, but emphasizes it from the viewpoint of existing results (our ability to love in the present). This includes all that God has done for us that has resulted in our salvation and giving us His Power System to fulfill His Plan for our lives. So it goes back to eternity past and relates to salvation and our spiritual walk in time.
Since we are into the Christmas season, this would be a good time to review how God’s love was manifested towards us so that we too could love as He first loved us.
In Romans 8:28-39, we have a powerful passage indicating how God’s love has been manifested towards us, giving us the ability to love and have courage in all situations. There is a pattern in this passage.
The pattern is as follows:
- First there is a statement of encouragement for the believer,
- Followed by what God has done or is doing on our behalf, so that we can have courage-love.
Encouragement: vs. 8:28a, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, …”
What God did: vs. 8:28b-30, “…To those who are called according to His purpose. 29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
Encouragement: vs. 31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”
What God did: vs. 32a “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, …”
Encouragement: vs. 32b-33a, “…how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33aWho will bring a charge against God’s elect? …”
What God did: vs. 33b-34 “…God is the one who justifies; 34who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”
Encouragement: vs. 35-37a, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” 37aBut in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer…”
What God did: vs. 37b, “…through Him who loved us.”
Encouragement: vs. 38-39a, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39anor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, …”
What God did: vs. 39b, “…which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Now, looking further into this pattern, we see 3 specific things about our Lord Jesus Christ, related to His and the Father’s love for us.
- In vs. 29, “…so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”
- In vs. 32a, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, …”
- In vs. 34b, “Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”
In this we see the Plan of God from eternity past for our salvation, Christ would be born, He would be sacrificed for our sins, He would be raised, He would be exalted, and He continues to work on our behalf today.
John 13:3, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands (exalted), and that He had come forth from God (born as a man) and was going back to God (resurrection after death).”
The first aspect is being “first born among many brethren”. You see God had to become man in order to be a satisfactory sacrifice. He had to be like us in order to die for us.
Jesus Christ, as God in eternity past, determined to fulfill the Father’s Plan of salvation (“among many brethren”) by becoming a man. In order to fulfill the Father’s Plan He could not be born as you and I are born, because we are born with Sin, Rom 5:12.
Rom 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
Therefore, Jesus had to be born without sin to qualify as the perfect sacrifice, Rom 8:3; Phil 2:5; Heb 10:1-14.
Rom 8:3, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.”
Phil 2:5-8, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but deprived Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
So the picture goes like this:
- Adam fell in the garden.
- Sin entered into the world.
- Sin is perpetuated in the human race passed down through the father. The Old Sin Nature is transmitted through the twenty-three male chromosomes that fertilize the female ovum in copulation.
- At birth God imputes to the new born Adam’s original sin. That imputation joins with the Sin Nature and the baby is born physically alive yet spiritually dead.
- Therefore, all have sin.
- Sin separates man from God.
- God desires to reconcile man back to Himself.
- Therefore, sin needs to be paid for.
- Jesus Christ volunteered to be the sacrificial lamb for our sins in eternity past.
- To do so He had to become like us, yet without sin.
- Therefore, the necessity for the virgin birth.
If a woman could have a virgin pregnancy, i.e., if her ovum could be fertilized apart from male copulation, the progeny could be born into the world without an Old Sin Nature and spiritually alive.
In the case of our Lord Jesus, God the Father imputed human life to His human soul, but divine justice could not impute Adam’s original sin since there was no target, no home, no antecedence, no affinity, there being no genetically formed Old Sin Nature in Him.
- The first prophecy of the virgin birth is found in Gen 3:15.
- The Jewish prophecy of the virgin birth is found in Isa 7:14, 9:6-7.
- The historical fulfillment of the virgin birth is found in Mat 1:19 25.
- The result of the virgin birth is noted in John 1:14; Rom 1:3; 1 Tim 3:16; Heb 2:14; Phil 2:5 11.
John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Heb 2:14-15, “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”
This morning we continue our Christmas series of understanding, 1 John 4:19, “We love, because He first loved us.”
Last week we noted the love of God towards us as demonstrated through the sending of His Son. We noted the means of our Lord’s sending, the virgin birth, Mat 1:18-25.
The virgin birth was necessary so that God could become man in the likeness of Adam’s original creation; that is, without a sin nature yet having humanity which is capable of sinning.
The fact that our Lord was born without sin was not the qualifying factor for being the perfect sacrifice. It just got Him started in the right direction. From there our Lord had to remain without sin.
As we know, Adam was created in perfection, without a sin nature, but with his free will volition, he chose to sin when outwardly tempted to do so by Satan, Gen 1:26-31; 2:7-3:7.
In like form, our Lord was also tempted by Satan, Mat 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13, yet with His free will volition, He chose not to sin and remained in perfection qualifying Him for the Cross.
This qualification for the Cross is called in theology – Impeccability.
Definition: Impeccability is that doctrine of Christology that recognizes the fact that during the entire course of our Lord’s life, while in hypostatic union, He did not sin though He was tempted in His humanity and the temptations were real.
- The first Adam was temptable and peccable. This means that Adam in the Garden of Eden was temptable and capable of sinning, through the use of his own volition in response to temptation. Like the Last Adam (Jesus Christ) he was tempted from the outside. Adam did not have a sin nature. The first Adam originated the sin nature. There was only one way Adam could sin, by eating the forbidden fruit.
- The Last Adam, Jesus Christ in hypostatic union, was temptable but impeccable. Our Lord Jesus Christ during His First Advent was NON POSSE PECCARE, not able to sin in His deity, and POSSE NON PECCARE, able not to sin in His humanity. The humanity of Christ was temptable, but able not to sin. The deity of Christ was neither temptable nor peccable. Jesus Christ in hypostatic union was therefore temptable but impeccable. The temptations were real but our Lord was able not to sin
Because of the virgin pregnancy and virgin birth, when human life was imputed after the fetus emerged from the womb, there was no simultaneous imputation of Adam’s original sin, due to no genetically formed Old Sin Nature. God the Holy Spirit fertilized the twenty-three pure chromosomes of Mary with twenty-three other pure chromosomes; therefore, no old sin nature of a male was passed down to the embryo.
Upon His birth, instead of imputing Adam’s original sin, God the Father was able to bring spiritual life to that baby including the indwelling and filling of God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, from birth our Lord was the prototype for God’s Power System (GPS), Isa 11:2-3; 42:1, 61:1-2.
Isa 42:1, “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.”
GPS is God’s guarantee that the Holy Spirit would sustain the humanity of Christ during His earthly ministry, which began at the point of our Lord’s baptism, Mat 3:16.
God the Holy Spirit therefore provided the enabling power for the humanity of Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry, Mat 12:18,28; Luke 4:14-15,18.
The Doctrine of KENOSIS, Phil 2:5-8, tells us that Jesus Christ did not solve His own problems via His personal deity. Therefore, in Hypostatic Union Jesus relied on GPS to remain impeccable, not His own deity.
James 1:13, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.”
The important point of all this is that the Lord Jesus Christ did not rely upon His deity. He voluntarily refused to use His own deity to sustain Himself (Doctrine of KENOSIS). In Mat 4:1, our Lord was guided by the Holy Spirit in the prototype, GPS, as He went out into the desert, in order that He might be tested by the devil in evidence testing.
Therefore, from the virgin birth to the Cross, resurrection, ascension, and session the humanity of our Lord functioned in the prototype, GPS, the place of virtue and impeccability.
Though He had no old sin nature inside to tempt Him, Satan himself acted as His sin nature and tempted Him personally, something Satan also did with Adam and Eve.
Our Lord, the last Adam, was able not to sin (POSSE NON PECCARE) because of GPS, while at the same time not able to sin, (NON POSSE PECCARE), because of His deity in Hypostatic Union.
In regards to the temptation by Satan, L.S. Chafer states in his Systematic Theology, “The real issue was clear: would the humanity of Christ yield to an appeal to act independently of God even when all the kingdoms of this cosmos world (cf. Matt. 4:8) are offered as a bribe – kingdoms which, in the end, would be His from the hand of His Father (cf. Ps. 2:7-9; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 11:15; 19:16)?”
Christ’s impeccability was a demonstration of humanity abiding perfectly to the will of God. As Hebrews 10:5-7 tells us, God required an impeccable body. Our Lord’s goal was to deliver that body.
“Our Lord being made in the likeness of sinful flesh allowed Him to be tempted and tested. Yet there was a major difference between His humanity and ours. He remained “apart from sin”. He had no sin nature and He never committed a single sin. Still that does not mean that His humanity was impeccable. It was peccable, though it never knew sin.” (Charles Ryrie).
“In all of these testings, Christ was victorious while remaining wholly in the realm of human resources.” (Chafer)
1 Peter 2:22, “He who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.”
Heb 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
“In Hypostatic Union, the humanity of Christ is temptable but impeccable because of His humanity’s residence, function, and momentum inside the prototype GPS, where He utilized the delegated omnipotence of the Holy Spirit. The person of Christ in Hypostatic Union was temptable but impeccable. The humanity of Christ did not sin; the deity of Christ could not sin. The impeccability of Christ was the prerequisite for His saving work on the cross. Therefore, our Lord was qualified to go to the cross, to receive the imputation and judgment of all the sins of the entire human race, and to provide eternal salvation for all who believe in Him. Jesus Christ retained His impeccability while bearing our sins. The substitute has to keep on being perfect.” R.B. Thieme Jr.
1 John 3:5, “You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.”
1 Peter 2:24, “And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”
2 Cor 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” See also Isa 53:5-6.
Heb 2:17-18, “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”
We wrap up chapter four with the final two verses.
1 John 4:20-21, “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”
This passage begins with the third class conditional “if,” EAN, tied with the Subjunctive mood of LEGO, “to say,” meaning, “maybe you will and maybe you won’t say”. It relates to “someone,” TIS, which is speaking to believers in the Royal Family of God. With the context that follows, we are speaking of the reversionistic believer who is involved in the cosmic system.
The statement being made by this believer is the assertion that they love God. It is an assertion of hypocrisy, because of the following subjunctive statement, “and hates his brother,” MISEO ALDEPHOS.
The Subjunctive Mood for MISEO tells us that this is part of the object lesson. It’s a hypothetical scenario.
Just as we saw in Verse 18 that the opposite of love is fear, we have another adjective to describe the opposite of love – hate. Therefore, fear and hate go hand in hand.
Hating your brother is also noted by comparing what functional virtue is in Romans 13:8-10, where the list of commandments is the demonstration of hating your brother and hypocrisy of the believer who operates in them. This mandated morality demands obedience to a series of negative and positive commands as noted in God’s Word. Likewise, the Royal Family Honor Code demands the filling of the Holy Spirit as the means of executing the positive and negative commands of God’s plan.
In addition, Romans 14:10, 12-13 gives us another example of hating our brother – judging him, as does the list found in Prov 6:16-19, and as described in 2 Tim 3:2-8.
Prov 6:16, 17, 18a, 19a, “There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”
2 Tim 3:2-8, “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.”
Next, we have the results or the ‘then’ statement, “he is a liar,” PSEUSTES (psyoos’-tace).
Thayer defines this word as: a liar, one who breaks faith, or a false and faithless man.
Then in the last part of this passage, we have the key word “cannot” in the phrase “cannot love God whom he has seen”.
The Greek words for “cannot” are OUK DUNAMAI. OUK is the Greek negative meaning, “not,” and DUNAMAI is a primary Greek verb meaning, “to be able”, or “to have power”. DUNAMAI is where we get our word dynamite.
DUNAMAI is in the Present tense, Middle or Passive Deponent voice, and Indicative mood.
The Progressive Present stands for action in a state of persistence, continuous action.
The Active Voice tells us that the believer in the cosmic system produces the action.
The Declarative Indicative Mood is for the reality of the fact that the believer in the cosmic system is incapable of personal love toward God, and incapable of impersonal love toward man.
It means that we do not have the power and are incapable of virtuous loving. Therefore, if we do not have impersonal and unconditional love for our fellow mankind, or even a fellow believer who should be easier to love, we truly are powerless and incapable of loving God. Ultimately, this is due to the fact that we are operating outside of GPS and walking in the cosmic system.
So we have an exhortation here in regards to the Royal Family Honor Code with an example of what not to do. This is the believer who alleges to possess the motivating virtue, personal love for God. But in reality does not.
Because he does not have the motivational virtue, he is incapable of possessing the functional virtue, impersonal love towards mankind. You cannot have functional virtue without motivating virtue.
In other words, if you assert that you love God, but do not love even your fellow believers, obviously there is a malfunction. But this is not a malfunction that is hidden from others. This exhortation takes it up a notch. This one tells us that our true mental attitude is obvious to all.
So we have the principle that our motivational virtue precedes any functional virtue and both are developed exclusively inside GPS. Motivating virtues are directed toward God; functional virtues are directed toward man.
In our hypothetical case, the believer asserts a motivation virtue toward God, but reveals that there truly is no motivational virtue, because he is not functioning in it. He obviously does not possess love for God, because he has no impersonal love directed toward man. It is personal love for God that motivates impersonal and unconditional love for man.
Instead, this believer hates others, including certain believers. This not only indicates cosmic involvement, but reveals the lie he is living.
As we noted in vs. 17 & 18, you cannot have confidence in God without having courage toward man, and that courage is not an emotion. Emotional courage can come from anger or hatred. People can do things that appear to be courageous when they are angry, but confidence in God is a motivating virtue that will lead you to not have fear in what man can or will do to you. Therefore, you have courage with regard to people, with regard to circumstances and life in general. There is nothing in life that frightens you.
Likewise, vs. 20-21 tell us, you cannot have love towards God without having love towards man.
Absence of one category of virtue means absence of all virtue. The believer cannot have personal love for God, and at the same time hate his fellow believer. This believer asserts a motivating virtue (personal love for God), but he does not have a functional virtue (impersonal love toward all believers).
Therefore, the assertion is both self-deceit and hypocrisy, Gal 6:3. Many believers living inside the cosmic system claim virtue, but their actual status quo eliminates the existence of virtue in their lives. Only residence inside GPS can remove the lie from such an assertion. Because of this, God gives us the motivational mandate in Verse 21.
This mandate is the continuation of John’s message from the beginning of this book. In Chapter 2, Verse 3-6, 9-11; and in Chapter 3:9-11, 15-18.
It is based on the mandate given by our Lord in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Love as expressed in confidence toward God can only exist where there is a capacity from Bible doctrine resident in the soul. The same Bible doctrine that produces love for unseen God also produces confidence to love unconditionally seen man. Therefore, love and confidence go together.
Since God’s Word is the source of impersonal love as a virtue inside GPS, malfunction of that love in one direction means malfunction in all directions. Therefore, hatred of people or lack of impersonal love toward people is tantamount to malfunction of love toward God and confidence in God.
Personal love toward God is our motivating virtue. It provides the basis for fulfilling the Royal Family Honor code, or the Christian way of life. This is made possible and demonstrated towards others, when we are filled with the Spirit and walk by the Spirit. In other words, the power system for Christianity or Royal Family dynamics is related to GPS, the only source for the manufacture of virtue in life.
Rom 12:9-10, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.”