Robed in Majesty

The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.” (Psalm 93:1, ESV)

The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” (Psalm 97:1, ESV)

The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!” (Psalm 99:1, ESV)

The LORD (Heb. YHWW, the covenant God of Israel) reigns. Therefore, YHWH is King. That YHWH is King is a thread which is all over the OT. Indeed, God’s kingdom is an eternal kingdom (2 Peter 1.11, which speaks of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, i.e. Christ’s kingdom is NOT almost 2,000 yrs old as some in the brotherhood have claimed). Psalms 93-99 picture the majestic King & what it means for YHWH to be King. YHWH is the majestic King. But what does that mean?

The Majesty of Seeing God

Ezekiel (ch.1): Ezekiel sees the chariot of God, God’s Rolls Royce, a living vehicle transporting the living God. Then God rides up and notice that the best Ezekiel can do is use simile to describe the majesty & glory of God (esp.v. 26-28). He is beholding the glorious majesty of God.

Daniel (ch.7): We typically come to Daniel 7 because of the vision of the eternal kingdom of the Son of Man (i.e. Jesus), running straight for the interpretation; however, I want us to pause here and note the glory of the Lord described here. Here is God – the Ancient of Days – and Christ – the Son of Man – in heavenly glory, majesty. Daniel gets a glimpse and records it.

Transfiguration (Matt 17.1-8; Mark 9.2-8; Luke 9.22-27): Building on the Son of Man motif, the gospels record the glory of Jesus as His humanity is pulled back & His deity shows forth for a moment in time.

Revelation (chs.4-5): Described here is heaven, even the throne room of God. Words fail to completely capture what John sees and like the prophets of old, he struggles to capture the majesty of God.

These written accounts serve to describe the glorious majesty of God, picturing God “robed in majesty” as the King YHWH.

The Majesty & The Earth (93.1; 96.10)

The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.” (Psalm 93:1, ESV)

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.”” (Psalm 96:10, ESV)

Immovable, Unshakeable: God does this; He makes the earth established. We know from the NT He does this thru Christ (Heb 1.3, “sustaining all things by His powerful word”). He holds absolute sway over the world and everything in it. Nothing disturbs it unless God allows it to do so. Notice, the earth is happy about that (97.1) – it rejoices & is glad God is in control. So too should we be happy. We should adore God for His majestic power. “Atheism is the mother of anarchy; the reigning power of God exhibited in true religion is the only security for the human common-wealth. A belief in God is the foundation and corner-stone of a well-ordered state.” (Spurgeon 2:135).

Earthquake! Then the holy splendor of God causes the earth to quake. His glory is earth shaking! Let the whole world be moved to adoring awe, every tribe, language, people must bow before His infinite majesty.

The Majesty of God’s Vengeance (94.1)

O LORD, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth!” (Psalm 94:1, ESV)

Revenge? No, not revenge, which denotes an evil intention, delighting in the return for injury for injury. Throughout the NT we are told “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil,” that is, do not seek revenge. Certainly God is not in the revenge business. However…

Avenge: When it comes to upholding justice & righteousness, God will avenge and mete out vengeance upon those public wrongs. We must understanding that this serves to preserve a society. For example, the punishment of a criminal by the state is what is necessary to maintain law & order – it is not revenge, but it does seek to uphold justice by avenging bad (evil) behavior. So God, robed in majestic justice & righteousness, perfectly judges the earth and repays the wicked what they deserve for their evil behavior.

The Majesty of the King’s Holiness (99.3, 5, 9)

Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he!” (Psalm 99:3, ESV)

Exalt the LORD our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he!” (Psalm 99:5, ESV)

Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy!” (Psalm 99:9, ESV)

Let us tremble – not at His power, or His greatness but at His holiness. Notice the triple “holy, holy, holy” in Psalm 99. This seems to correspond to the “holy, holy, holy” of the seraphim in God’s throne in Isa 6. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Holiness Rules According to the Perfect Standard: “God is light” and His holy reign will be absolutely (morally) perfect. cf. Psa 19.7-9

Holiness Works Toward Highest Ends: God is infinitely wise and infinitely good. These combine so that He always seeks what is best for all men, esp. His people. “God so loved the world…” to see Christ in us.

Holiness Sees Patient Suffering: We’ve seen a number of Psalms where the psalmists are right on the brink of throwing in the towel. But God sees this & everything. And He sustains them and us through it; you have breath in your lungs because He allows it.

Holiness Elicits Worship from Creation: “Worship at His holy mountain…at His footstool.” How could we do otherwise? The angels of heaven are praising His holiness even as we speak.

Behold your King! This same King left the splendor of heaven, put on flesh, lived among us a perfect life and died on a cross so that we might have the right & privilege of enter into His rule & reign as citizens. One day we will meet Him – we’ll have our Revelation 4, Ezekiel 1, Daniel 7 moment and see the King face-to-face.

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The Two Ways – Psalm 1

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 

Then too the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.


Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” is the poetic idea of what Psalm 1 is depicting. Jesus likewise spoke of two gates, two ways, two trees & two types of fruit, two houses, & two foundations (cf Mt 7.13-27, esp. 13-14). What are the two ways before every person? Psalm 1 is actually the first full expression of this idea in the Bible. It is clear, concise, and yet carefully crafted…

The Godly (1-3)

The blessing of delighting in God & His Word.

1Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

Purity before God (1): Maintaining purity before God is contingent upon the way in which you walk. 1) The Wicked Way: Notice the progression – from walking to standing to sitting. There is even progression in the company – the wicked (or ungodly) are those who have no fear of God before their eyes and are perpetually restless in their self-will; the sinners are those who indulge in open sin; the scoffers are those who ridicule religion and laugh at those who fear God. Said another way, the wicked/ungodly are unconcerned with religion, even apathetic; sinners have a particular way of transgressing (i.e. drunkards, etc.); scoffers have brought an end to all religious & moral impulse in themselves (“he is a believer in all unbelief”). The progression goes from forgetting about God (“wicked”), to habitual violation of God’s commands (“sinners”), to becoming a professor & promoter of sin to others (“scoffers”).  2) The Righteous Way: The righteous person will avoid all this progression down the pathway of wickedness. Instead, a) He will walk in the council of YHWH; b) He will stand in the way of God; c) He will sit at the feet of the Almighty.

2but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

Pleasure in God’s Law (2a): He loves it! Consider also, just how little of God’s word David had when he wrote this: Pentateuch and a few Psalms. Today we have the complete written word of God; how much more should we prize this volume and think deeply on it!

Pondering on God’s Law (2b): He carries the law of God with him in his mind all day & all night; turning it over, ruminating, musing, thinking. He treats Scripture like hard candy, savoring it all day,, not a candy bar quickly devoured.

3He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Picture (3): Not planted by chance or self; the righteous are “planted” by the Father, rooted in Christ (Col 2.7), by these flowing streams of living water (cf. Jn 7.38-39). He is the One who establishes us so we are fruit-bearing evergreens. “Prospers”: Adversity, yes, however, it is the best life there is.

Not long ago I was visiting with a member who had recently repented and rededicated himself to the Lord. He shared with me that “When I do things His way, life is good.” “How about that?” I replied. How about that indeed!

The Godless (4-6)

The fate of those who neither know God nor follow after His ways.

4The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Worthless: Chaff was the dead, worthless stuff which came off the grain. So the wicked are like chaff, carried away. The contrast is sharp: the righteous are planted firmly by God whereas the wicked are blown away. By the way, these are the novices of evil (wicked), the first phase of spiritual degradation; if this is their fate, how much worse will it be for the sinners and scoffers.

5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

Judgment: “The judgment” here seems to be the final judgment by God on the last day. Of course, no one will be standing because “every knee will bow” but here the inability to stand is connected to their guilt. Sinners will be cast out of the presence of the saints (i.e. heaven, though how much David knew about that is not known). And scoffers…are not mentioned, probably because if the wicked & sinners are not going to make it, there is no need to mention the scoffers.

Charles Spurgeon says, “Every church had one devil in it.” Weeds grow up with the wheat (cf Matt 13.24-30; 37-43). But there is coming a day when the “congregation of the righteous” will be purged, the weeds will be burned, but the wheat goes into the barn. May God grant that we find our place there!

6for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Known: “Knows” carries the idea of constant awareness. No one is going to game God who has marched down the way of the wicked nor will anyone be forgotten who has tread the way of the righteous. God is constantly watching over the way of the righteous; Yea, though we walk thru the shadow of death!

Application

Purity & Pleasure: Some may lay hold of the purity of verse 1 and avoid the path of the wicked, avoid sin. But do you delight in God’s word as verse 2 says? This beatitude (“Blessed,” v.1) is two-fold: purity & pleasure in pondering God’s word. Do you love God’s word? Do you seek to be alone with your Bible to read & study?

Meditate: Mentally chew the cud, like what a cow does. Get the sweetness & virtue out to nourish the soul & grow. This is hard candy, not a candy bar; it is a sucker, not a Snickers. Constant meditation upon God’s word has always characterized God’s people. It should characterize us today!

Fruit-Bearing Evergreens: In seasons of doubt we bear the fruit of faith; in seasons of worry, we bear the fruit of contentment; in seasons of trial, we bear the fruit of patience; in seasons of temptation, we bear the fruit of dependence on God. We bear fruit in its season!

Theme: This Psalm sets the tone for all the Psalms. The theme contained in this Psalm is found through the Psalms. No matter how bad it is, the righteous are known by God and the wicked perish. “Yeah, but it is really bad, Lord!” He says, “I got you!” God defends the Godly & destroys the godless.

The rest of the Psalms serve as exposition of this principle. But we have before us two portraits with the unspoken question looming: Which are we? Are we the righteous one which knows God, knows God’s law, and is known by God? Or are we the wicked, useless, with only impending destruction awaiting?

Growing in Your Walk with Christ, part 6

“Anyone whose life is not holy will never see the Lord” (Hebrews 12.14, NCV). The apostle Paul was acutely aware of just how vital holiness is for Christians. Already in chapter 5 of Ephesians he has exhorted his readers to purity in their lifestyle (vs.1-7). Now, pulling on the rich heritage of light and darkness familiar to him through the Old Testament, Paul unpacks the need for a holy life, a separate walk from the world with Christ (v.8-14).

A Holy Walk (5.8-14)

As children of light, Christians walk separated from darkness.

8for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

For at…darkness: Before Christ, they practiced these sins and were identified by darkness.

But now…the Lord: A sharp contrast is drawn from where they once were and where they are now. Now they are in the Lord which carries with it certain ethical charges and changes.

God is light (1 Jn 1.5). God dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim 6.16). His truth is light (Psa 43.3). Light expresses His perfection & glory & majesty & truth. Darkness, on the other hand, is every in opposition to His perfection & glory & majesty & truth. It is in this darkness the world gropes and in which we once made our abode. But not anymore. In Christ, we are “children of light.”

Walk as children of light: Here is the obligation of those rescued out of darkness.  “The life lived as children of light is characterized by goodness, righteousness, truth, and whatever is pleasing to the Lord” (Patzia 258).

9(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),

For the fruit of [the] light: Fruit is “a figurative term for the moral results of the lights, its products as a whole” (Nicoll 356). The earliest manuscripts read the light making “the Spirit” (NKJV, KJV) a transcription error intended to harmonize this verse with Galatians 5.22.

Found…and true: This triad summarizes living in light. “All goodness” is a disposition inclined toward good works (cf. 2.10); “righteousness” is moral integrity by obedience to God’s word; “truth” is what corresponds to reality, esp. relating to God.

This could serve as a commentary of sorts for what Jesus says in Matthew 5.14-16. Letting our light shine so that others may see it means we pursue goodness (a disposition seeking to engage in good works), righteousness (moral integrity & rectitude), and truth (freedom from falsehood and embracing, loving, and speaking moral truth). Sometimes there is a yawning chasm between what we know how we live. My brethren, these things ought not be so!

10and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

And try to discern…the Lord: To live (“walk,” v.8) as children of light means Christians will “find out” (NIV) what is acceptable to the Lord, He Himself being light. The present tense indicates that this is the lifelong, habitual practice of light-children. Keep discerning what pleases the Lord.

Like Yoda said, “No try. Do or do not.” To “discern” is “to ascertain by test and experiment. Our whole walk should be directed to finding out what things are pleasing to Christ, rejecting at once everything that is not so, and clinging to all that is…The supreme practical rule of the Christian’s life must be to please Christ” (PC 209). The way to discern what pleases Him is accurate & diligent study of His word. Further, through careful practice we can please our Lord. “Discern” & “pleasing/acceptable” are both found in Rom 12.2. This has led some scholars to see here (Eph 5.10) sacrificial language, i.e. our entire, every action is a sacrifice unto God as we are ever laid upon the altar.

Implied in this is that there is a lifestyle which is displeasing to God, i.e. a life lived in darkness, a life stubbornly refusing the light. Wickedness, unrighteousness, and falsehood would characterize that kind of life.

Pause for a moment and notice the progression of these verses:

  1. Transformation (v.8): We have been changed from darkness to light. Hence, we abandon immorality and pursue holiness; we put off ignorance and put on knowledge; we are no longer but now have joy.
  2. Obligation (v.8, 10): We are called to walk as children of light and live so as to discern what pleases God. Don’t go back to the darkness and engage what is not pleasing to God; walk farther into the day where God-pleasing activities are.
  3. Demonstration (v.9): We will demonstrate 1) divine beneficence/benevolence – doing good to all men; 2) divine righteousness – rendering to men what is theirs and to God what is His; 3) divine reality – the way things ought to be with God in control.

11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Take no part…darkness: The works of darkness are barren, having no life in them. They only produce death (see Rom 6.21). The Christian is to “have no fellowship” (NKJV) with the evil so prevalent in the world. That is old self behavior; the new self accentuates light, especially…

Instead expose them: Expose here means to convict through words and actions. By living the life excellently Christians convict and even condemn the world (see Noah, Hebrews 11.7). By speaking the word engagingly we can convince them of the truth.

Christians must never be content with passivity toward darkness. We are light and must shine forth into darkness (Matt 5.14-16; Phil 2.15). Now when people’s darkness is exposed it is traumatic so expect a reaction (see John 3.19-21).

12For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

For it is shameful…in secret: Clarke says this is a reference to the mystery cults of Ephesus which we engaged in extreme levels of debauchery as recorded by Livy. However, it need not be limited to those cultic practices performed at night. It certainly could be the secret vices of engaged in the home. Either way, it is shameful for those who practice them to talk about, but Christians must speak out and shed light into the dark corners of culture & society. Paul has done that throughout these two chapters as he contrasted the old self with the new self.

The degradation & depravity of man knows no bounds today. We’ve got an entire internet full of corruption and foulness. Parades are held in celebration of debauchery. Sin has crawled out of the shadows of hiding and is now all over the TV & silver screen. It is still darkness; it just seems the darkness is advancing. Fast falls the night. And it is still shameful, disgraceful. Deep down inside those who practice know this is the case. Yet, they have seared their conscience, walled it off in an attempt to silence that still small voice which tells them, “This is not right.”

13But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,

But when…the light: When Christians identify those evil, barren works of darkness to those who practice them, “people will come to see the true nature of evil and, it is hoped, turn to the light” (Patzia 261).

It becomes visible: Or they are seen for what they are, i.e. shameful, evil, darkness.

We, Christians, are enlightened (1.18; 5.8) and we are enlightening others. “Christians are to be God’s light in the midst of darkness” (Boice). We’re like Motel 6 – “We’ll leave the light on for the you.” Brethren, let us hold forth the light of the gospel in the midst of a “crooked and perverse generation.”

14for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

For anything…is light: Here is the transformative effect of the light of the gospel. Once enlightened, what was darkness is light (verse 8).

Therefore it says: or “He says” (KJV, NKJV). Either is an acceptable translation.

“Awake, O sleeper…on you”: Three metaphors for turning to God are linked in this statement: 1) Awakening from sleep; 2) Being raised from the dead; 3) Christ shining light into darkness. This may have been a song sung when a person was baptized (Patzia 262; see also Special Study).

Paul seems to present a three-fold progression from darkness to light:

  1. Exposure (v.11): Their sin(s) are revealed to them either through conversation with or conduct of Christians. They are found out.
  2. Disclosure (v.13): A crisis of judgment occurs – either they avoid the light (because they love evil) or they allow their deeds to be made manifest (John 3.19-21). But if they disclose their sins to God…
  3. Erasure (v.14): The light erases the darkness. They come to the serenity and tranquility of being So darkness is transformed into light by Christ (who is Himself the Light).

Special Study—What Is Paul Quoting in Ephesians 5.14?

Most scholars believe that Isaiah 60.1 is in view, though other Old Testament passages are cited as well (Isaiah 9.2; 26.19; 52.1). However, there is not an exact match with any OT text. So what is Paul quoting? Foulkes says, “The most likely explanation is that we have here another little fragment of an early Christian hymn” (155). Patzia goes further and says “it may have been used by the church at a baptismal service as part of a hymn that was recited or sung” (262). If it is a hymn, Isaiah 60.1 (et al) surely inspired it.

Fellowship with God is rooted in our Settled Practice of Righteousness

John ventures forth having established our position before God as children of God to explaining that with this position comes a practice God’s children are to follow. The shift is subtle: our positional status prompts and promotes a practical style of living. This practical aspect is captured by John in 1 John 3.4-10.

4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning—Present active participle, lit. the one doing  the sin. This is a person whose habitual practice is to sin (miss the mark, veer from the right). This is in contrast to “the one doing right” (2.29).

Also practices lawlessness—lawlessness (Gk. Anomia) is to behave with complete disregard for the laws of society. In this case, there is no regard for the laws (commandments) of the kingdom of God (cf. 2.3).

Sin is lawlessness—veering from what is right is also disregard for the law.

5 You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

You know—perfect tense of oida, absolute knowledge.

He appeared to take away sin—these Christians knew absolutely the purpose of Jesus’ coming: to take away, remove, bear/carry sins (ours). What is emphasized here is not the manner of the removal but the removal itself. Sin has been taken away.

In him there is no sin—not a single sin whatsoever. Present reality.

6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

No one who abides in Him—or “Whosoever abideth in him” (KJV). Abiding in Christ means certainly to be in Christ, but it also points to the communion we enjoy with Christ/God and is characterized by our habitual doing of God’s will. If our goal and aim is to do the will of God (do right, 2.29), we would not keep on sinning…

Keeps on sinning—KJV “sinneth not.” (Linear) Present tense verb which is captured in the KJV with the “-eth” suffix attached to the word. This is not occasional sin John is talking about here but habitual sin. And as is characteristic of John’s writing, he presents the two camps as opposite (light and darkness, right and wrong).

This is also a logical deduction from the foregoing discussion: if the nature of the Son of God is sinless perfection and if His purpose in coming was to take away sin, then no one who abides in Him keeps on sinning.

No one who keeps on sinning—and here is the clarification of the practice of sin (linear present tense participle). Lit. this is “the one sinning” and points to a life marked by a habit of sin. It also points a life which is not in Christ and denies Him.

Has either seen him or known him—Woods says this points to the enjoyment one finds in God (sees) and the recognition of God in one’s life (knows). John uses the perfect tense of the verbs: one has not seen nor presently sees Him and has not known nor presently knows Him. Indeed, Sin and Christ are irreconcilable, incompatible and are at enmity.

7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

Let no one deceive you—Let no one pull you away so as to stray from the truth.

Whoever practices righteousness is righteous—lit. the one doing the right(ness) as opposed to the one sinning (v.6). Compare this with 2.29. The one whose habitual practice (keeps on doing) is to do what is right concerning the will/law/commandments of God is righteous. In other words, you are doing what God desires. God makes us righteous through Christ; we, being righteous, will do what is righteous.

As he is righteous—In other words, your doing exactly what Jesus did while on earth. Character and practice cannot be separated; Jesus’ life shows us this.

8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 

Whoever makes a practice of sinning—present tense part. lit. the one doing (the) sin. This is again continuous action, a lifestyle and career of sin. The habit of sin.

Is of the devil—cf. Jn 8.44; When one acts like the devil, they demonstrate they are not children of God but children of the devil. This person belongs to and is aligned with the devil. Important note: John is careful not to say they are “begotten” of the devil. “The devil made no one, he begot no one, he created no one; but whosoever imitates the devil, is, as it were, a child of the devil, through imitating, not through being born of him” (Augustine). “There is the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the evil one, and man cannot find or make a third domain; if he is not in the one he is in the other.” – Pulpit Commentary

For the devil has been sinning from the beginning—this is his character. Hence, when one sins, breaking the law of God, they demonstrate the same character as the devil and their relation to him. “From the beginning” probably points to the devils fall from an angel of God to the demonic evil being he is now. He was the first sinner. But he continues to sin.

The reason the Son of God… – In v.5 we see the work of Jesus to take away sin. Here John adds that Jesus’ work was to destroy the “works” (pl.) of the devil. The word John uses for “destroy” is “loose” picturing, as it were, chains that had bound mankind; he unbinds, dissolves the bonds. So Christ, in removing our sins, looses us from the bonds of sin. He takes away/looses the us from the penalty and punishment of sin.

9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.

No one born of God—Perf., pass., part; lit. the one having been born of God. How? John 3.3,5 – baptism. God is incompatible with sin; irreconcilable opposites. Hence…

Makes a practice of sinning—KJV “doth not commit sin” is unfortunate and unbiblical (2.1). John is dealing with the habitual, continual career of sin; walking in darkness.

For God’s seed abides in him—God’s seed has taken up resides and continues to dwell in the begotten of God. But what is that seed? Most commentators point to the parable of the soils where Jesus says the word of God is the seed. That’s fair. In context, that fits (2.24). The apostolic word. But dig a bit deeper: you had Gnostics running around saying they had been reborn and enlightened and as a result they had the divine nature  or seed remaining in them. Over against this heresy, John tells Christians who have been born again they have God’s seed (His nature) in them. And what higher motive is there for not sinning?

He cannot keep on sinning—indeed, if he is a partaker in the divine nature, God makes his dwelling in him, then he should be done with sin and be focused on righteousness (2.29; 3.7, 10). Children of God do not act unbecoming of their Father.

Because he has been born of God—perf. Pass., ind. We were begotten and stand begotten of God. We continue to be children of God, bearing the divine nature/image in our being.

10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

By this—preceding or what follows? Either/both for they both are similar

It is evident who are the children of God—the individual who is a child of God is clearly known by what their practice is. Partakers in divine nature. Cf. Matt 7.16

Who are the children of the devil—at the same time, we can clearly know (identify) who the children of the devil, those who are partakers in the nature of Satan (sin).

Whoever does not practice righteousness—Present Active Part., lit. the one not doing righteousness. This is lifestyle, habitual, continual career stuff.  What does it mean to “do righteousness”? Obedience to the will and word of God. Do what is right when faced with the commandments of our holy God. Said another way: doing what God desires of us. Ok, what does it mean not to “do right”? Failure to keep the commandments of God, disobedience to the law of God. The person whose life does not match up with God’s revelation is “not of God.”

The one who does not love his brother—Present Active Part., lit. the one not loving his brother. Here John ties in the “new commandment” and places this on par with righteous behavior. The significance of this commandment cannot be over-stressed. This is the springboard into the next portion of John’s letter about sacrificial love. Who is my brother? One commentator says “mankind at large.” Eh…But John specifies in 3.14, 16—”the brothers.” Fellow Christians, fellow children of God.

Fellowship with God is rooted in obedience to Jesus’ commandments

1 John 2.3-6 (ESV), And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

By this we know that we have come to know him – “we know” (present tense) “we have come to know” (perfect tense). We know it right now but that’s because we knew in the past and the effects abide with us. We know “him,” that is, Jesus. This is a once-for all obtained and continued in knowledge. There are abiding effects that come with this knowledge.

If we keep his (Jesus’) commandments – God’s commandments are a revelation of light and darkness (v.6, 7). By obeying them, we know God and continue to know Him. You won’t keep them perfectly; you ought to try. Commandment keeping assures of something: we know God. The guy in 1.6 does not know God (thinks God does not care about sin); he’s not keeping the commandments. The one who knows God keeps the commandments of God, i.e. walk in the light (which God has revealed).

“I know him” – should be the same as above: I have come to know him (perfect tense Gk.).

Does not keep his commandments – seems to acknowledge the standard but does not live according to what God has revealed through Christ. We must acknowledge the standard and live accordingly.

[he] is a liar – this is not just a boo-boo; this is serious stuff. And from the “apostle of love”! Is there love in calling someone a liar? There is with God; he knows the reality and gravity of the situation. To call darkness “darkness” is a kind thing to do – like putting a skull-and-cross-bones on a bottle of poison or a lighthouse on the shore, these are acts of love. This is an expression of divine love. Otherwise, we end up with an Isaiah 5.20 situation.

Keeps his (Jesus) word – obedience to the commandments

The love of God is perfected – John will go into deep detail about perfected love (cf. 4.7ff.)  God has a deep, vested love, a cross full of love. We’ll see that. But here, suffice it to say that keeping the commandments of God, the word of God will bring about perfect love in us. That is, it is an accomplished fact, a reality. This is our love for God; knowing God necessitates keeping God’s word (commandments) and keeping His word involves loving Him. Overarching this is being “in him” which is fellowship language – with Him, His Son.

We may know that we are in him – this is fellowship language. By this – what? Keeping his commandments. This confronts and conflicts with antinomianism.

There is obligation that goes along with our profession. You’re in Christ (conversion), how do you remain in Him?

Whoever says he abides in him – here is profession: “I am in Him.” How many people claim this? They claim to be in Christ, in God. John is going to confront those, not only in his day, but even in our day who claim to be something they are not: Christian. For us today, those Christians who profess to follow Christ but live like the world, that kind of conduct is just heretical as any of these first century threats. “There is something frightful in the fact that the most dangerous thing of all, playing at Christianity, is never included in the list of heresies or schisms.” –Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher and theologian.

Ought to – here is our obligation. “Ought to”: really feel the weight here; you owe it to God to live like Christ.

walk in the same way in which he (Jesus) walked – How did Jesus walk? Exactly as God commanded, assigned. He walked in love, righteousness, mercy, peace. If would say we abide in him, we have the moral obligation to follow the perfect model of our faith and walk as Jesus walked. Nothing less than perfection should be our aim in living for God.