1 John 3: Children of God

Why does knowing God important for the recognition of his children?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
John 15:20–21 “Remember what I said before. The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you. If they had listened to me, they would listen to you. They will treat you the same way they treated me, because they do not know the one who sent me.”
1 John 3:1 How great a love God must have for us that we should be called his children. The people of the world don’t recognize us because they don’t know him.
King James
John 15:20–21 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

What can change our desires so we want to be more like Christ?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Mark 10:21–22 Jesus looked at him with love in his eyes. “You lack one thing. Go and sell everything you own, and give the money to the poor. You will have treasure in Heaven and can follow me.” After hearing this, he walked away sad, because he was very wealthy.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, we may be God’s children, but we don’t yet know what we will become. But the more of him we see, the more we’ll want to be like him, for we shall see how great he really is.
King James
Mark 10:21–22 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

To live without sin, what must we do?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Galatians 5:16 Let me make this perfectly clear: if you listen to God’s Spirit within, you will seek to please him and to benefit others, not to satisfy your selfish desires.
James 4:8 Move closer to God, and he will move closer to you. Wash your hands of wrongdoing and purify your hearts with good motives. Don’t live a double life, but have a single focus upon what the Lord wants.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our wrongdoing, he is sure to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 3:3 Those with hope in Christ should strive to be without sin, just as he is.
King James
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Why do people sometimes lack respect for the law?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 7:5 While we lived under the law, we struggled with sinful desires that felt good at the time but had deadly consequences.
Romans 7:8 When we have commandments—speed limit signs, for example—all kinds of wrong desires lead us to ignore the traffic laws. We know what the sign says, but we believe we can drive at the speed we want, lying to ourselves that we are doing right. But if there are no laws, we have no sin.
Romans 7:14 The problem is not with laws, which have a spiritually good purpose, but with our human nature that is a slave to fleshly gratification.
1 John 3:4 All sin is lawlessness, because it shows our lack of respect for what God wants.
King James
Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
Romans 7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

If Christ came, not only to forgive sin but to free us from sin, what might hold people back from a sin-free life?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
John 10:10 “The thief comes with one purpose: to steal, kill, and destroy. I came to bring the fullness of life.”
Romans 6:20 How do we know this is true, that we are completely free from sin? While we were slaves to sin, we were under no obligation to be righteous. The reverse is also true. If we are completely committed to pleasing the Lord, we are under no obligation to be unrighteous. We are free, able always to make the right choice.
1 John 3:5 You know, Christ is without sin, and he came to make us like him, free from sin.
King James
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Romans 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

Are we like the leopard that can’t change its spots, or can we change our desires? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Jeremiah 13:23 Can people change the color of their skin, or can the leopards remove their spots? If so, then those who practice evil can also do good.
Romans 7:16 If my conscience convicts me for my wrong thoughts or actions, I am agreeing with the goodness of the law that says I should have acted differently.
1 John 3:6 Those who are alive in Christ lack the desire to do anything wrong. But those who sin haven’t recognized him, and they don’t really know him.
King James
Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
Romans 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
1 John 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

Psychologists have said we are motivated either to pursue pleasure or to avoid pain. Do you believe that’s true? Why do people do what is right?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Hebrews 11:26 The reproach of being God’s anointed was a greater treasure to Moses than all the riches in Egypt, even though he hadn’t yet seen the reward for his commitment.
1 John 3:7 Little children, don’t let anyone mislead you. The righteous do what is right because of who they are—pure of heart.
King James
Hebrews 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

What makes us different from Satan in that we can repent, becoming God’s friend instead of his enemy?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 5:10 While we were God’s enemies, we were welcomed as if we were his friends, given life through the death of his Son.
James 2:9 If you favor some people above others, you have sinned by violating the principle that God has established.
1 John 3:8 Those who do wrong when they know what is right are like Satan, who did that in the beginning. The Son of God was revealed to change our desires and destroy what Satan started.
King James
Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
James 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

If God’s children lack the capacity to sin, why do so many Christians still struggle with sin?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
2 Corinthians 12:7 To protect me from thinking too highly of myself in the abundance of revelations, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan sent to keep me humble.
Hebrews 5:12 By now, you ought to be teachers, but instead you need others to teach you basic scriptural truth. You’re like babies who can’t handle solid food but must be given milk.
James 4:7 Completely surrender your will to whatever God wants. Then your resistance to the devil is an absolute no, and he has no reason to hang around.
1 John 3:9 If you really are God’s children, then you have his nature and cannot sin.
King James
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Is it reasonable to label those who aren’t pleasing God as “children of the devil”? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
John 8:44 “You come from your father, the devil, and your desires are like his. From the beginning, he was a murderer and opposed the truth, because truth was not in his nature. When he lies, he speaks from his heart, because he is a liar and the father of lies.”
1 John 3:10 God’s children are known by their righteous deeds. Those who don’t love others and aren’t doing what pleases God are children of the devil.
King James
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

Why is it important to love others?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 13:10 Love never wishes harm upon someone, which explains why love is the fulfillment of the law.
1 John 3:11 That’s the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another.
1 John 3:14–15 When you love people who have nothing to give in return, you have passed from death into life. Anyone who doesn’t have that kind of love is walking in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that murderers have no part in eternal life.
King James
Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
1 John 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
1 John 3:14–15 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

If Cain’s argument was with God, why did he kill his brother?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
1 John 3:12 Don’t be like Cain, a child of the devil. Why did he kill his brother? Because his actions didn’t please God, but his brother’s did.
King James
1 John 3:12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

For what reasons do people hate others instead of loving them?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
1 John 3:13 Don’t be surprised, my friends, when the people of this world hate you.
King James
1 John 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

How extreme should we be in our love for others?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 5:43–44 “People usually say, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy,’ but I say you should show kindness to your enemies, doing good to those who persecute you.”
1 John 3:16–17 We recognize God’s love because he sacrificed his life for us, and we ought to give our lives for the sake of others. If you have something to offer and see someone in need, yet you do nothing, where is the expression of God’s love from within?
King James
Matthew 5:43–44 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
1 John 3:16–17 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

Why are good intentions not necessarily good?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
1 John 3:18–19 My dear children of Christ, let’s not just say we love others. Let’s actually do it. Our actions show that we believe what we preach, and our relationship with God is strengthened.
King James
1 John 3:18–19 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

How might we be helped by realizing that God knows everything about us, seeing everything we do, even knowing our thoughts?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Psalm 139:2 You see every time I sit or stand. No matter how distant I might think I am, you still know my thoughts.
1 John 3:20 If you feel guilt and shame, go to God who already knows everything about you—and he still loves you.
King James
Psalm 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

If God doesn’t condemn us, why might some Christians condemn themselves?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
John 8:10–11 Jesus stood. “Woman, where are your accusers? Is there no one here to condemn you?”
“No one, sir.”
“Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
Romans 2:1 Don’t be quick to excuse yourselves, as if you were never guilty of such behavior. In judging others, you condemn yourselves.
Romans 8:1 When it’s our nature to hear and obey God, we don’t have to feel condemned. That’s because we’re not living to satisfy our flesh, but we’re seeking to be led by the Spirit.
1 John 3:21 My friends, as God changes us and we no longer condemn ourselves, then we have greater confidence in him.
King James
John 8:10–11 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

Why do mountains have to move when what we ask agrees with what God wants to do?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 21:21–22 “Know this for certain. If you have unwavering faith, you will not only do things like this, but you will say to this mountain, ‘Rise and be thrown into the sea,’ and it will obey. When faith connects your prayer with what God wants to do, you will see it happen.”
Mark 11:22–24 “If you have unwavering faith in God for what he wants to do, you can be sure that whoever says to this mountain, ‘Rise and be thrown into the sea,’ will see it happen. Under those conditions, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, is as good as done.”
1 John 3:22 We receive what we ask of God when we’re doing what he wants—not doing what he allows but rather what is most pleasing to him.
King James
Matthew 21:21–22 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Mark 11:22–24 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Why might Christians have difficulty doing what God wants?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
1 John 3:23 What does God want from us? To believe Jesus is the Christ, his Son, to love one another as Jesus said we must do, and to live under his direction and authority.
King James
1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

How do we find the center of God’s will?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
1 John 3:24 When we are in the center of God’s will, we live in him and he lives in us. How do we know we have that relationship? By the gift of the Holy Spirit within.
King James
1 John 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.