Of the love of God to us. How we may distinguish the children of God and those of the devil. Of loving one another and of purity of conscience.
3:1. Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called and should be the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth not us, because it knew not him.
3:2. Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God: and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that when he shall appear we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is.
3:3. And every one that hath this hope in him sanctifieth himself, as he also is holy.
3:4. Whosoever committeth sin committeth also iniquity. And sin is iniquity.
Iniquity... transgression of the law.
3:5. And you know that he appeared to take away our sins: and in him there is no sin.
3:6. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: and whosoever sinneth hath not seen him nor known him.
Sinneth not... viz., mortally. See chap. 1.8.
3:7. Little children, let no man deceive you. He that doth justice is just, even as he is just.
3:8. He that committeth sin is of the devil: for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God appeared, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
3:9. Whosoever is born of God committeth not sin: for his seed abideth in him. And he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
Committeth not sin... That is, as long as he keepeth in himself this seed of grace, and this divine generation, by which he is born of God.
But then he may fall from this happy state, by the abuse of his free will, as appears from Rom. 11.20-22; Cor. 9.27; and 10.12; Phil. 2.12; Apoc. 3.11.
3:10. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil. Whosoever is not just is not of God, or he that loveth not his brother.
3:11. For this is the declaration which you have heard from the beginning, that you should love one another.
3:12. Not as Cain, who was of the wicked one and killed his brother.
And wherefore did he kill him? Because his own works were wicked: and his brother's just.
3:13. Wonder not, brethren, if the world hate you.
3:14. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death.
3:15. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in himself.
3:16. In this we have known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
3:17. He that hath the substance of this world and shall see his brother in need and shall shut up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in him?
3:18. My little children, let us not love in word nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
3:19. In this we know that we are of the truth and in his sight shall persuade our hearts.
3:20. For if our heart reprehend us, God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things.
3:21. Dearly beloved, if our heart do not reprehend us, we have confidence towards God.
3:22. And whatsoever we shall ask, we shall receive of him: because we keep his commandments and do those things which are pleasing in his sight.
3:23. And this is his commandment: That we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as he hath given commandment unto us.
3:24. And he that keepeth his commandments abideth in him, and he in him. And in this we know that he abideth in us by the Spirit which he hath given us.
1 John Chapter 4
What spirits are of God, and what are not. We must love one another, because God has loved us.
4:1. Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Try the spirits... Viz., by examining whether their teaching be agreeable to the rule of the Catholic faith, and the doctrine of the church. For as he says, (ver. 6,) He that knoweth God, heareth us [the pastors of the church]. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
4:2. By this is the spirit of God known. Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
Every spirit which confesseth, etc... Not that the confession of this point of faith alone, is, at all times, and in all cases, sufficient; but that with relation to that time, and for that part of the Christian doctrine, which was then particularly to be confessed, taught, and maintained against the heretics of those days, this was the most proper token, by which the true teachers might be distinguished form the false.
4:3. And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God. And this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh: and he is now already in the world.
That dissolveth Jesus... Viz., either by denying his humanity, or his divinity. He is now already in the world... Not in his person, but in his spirit, and in his precursors.
4:4. You are of God, little children, and have overcome him. Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
4:5. They are of the world. Therefore of the world they speak: and the world heareth them.
4:6. We are of God. He that knoweth God heareth us. He that is not of God heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
4:7. Dearly beloved, let us love one another: for charity is of God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.
4:8. He that loveth not knoweth not God: for God is charity.
4:9. By this hath the charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we may live by him.
4:10. In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.
4:11. My dearest, if God hath so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
4:12. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abideth in us: and his charity is perfected in us.
4:13. In this we know that we abide in him, and he in us: because he hath given us of his spirit.
4:14. And we have seen and do testify that the Father hath sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.
4:15. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God.
4:16. And we have known and have believed the charity which God hath to us. God is charity: and he that abideth in charity abideth in God, and God in him.