I will quote from my January 1987 diary.
"January 24, 1987
It is 8:30 Saturday morning. A grey day outside. I am still waking up. I am going to work on my sermon this morning. What a better way to face another day.
"If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteous is born of Him. SEE how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him"
First John 2:29; 3:1
Tonight I want us to look at First JN 2:29;3:1. I want us to see the great love of God the Father for His elect children. And how a consideration of that wondrous love should effect our Christian walk.
The First Epistle of John has been my study for awhile. This short letter is a very beautiful piece of writing. The more I study this letter, the more I am amazed at its depth. I believe one could study and reflect upon this short letter all his life and never exhausts its depth (truly it is holy Writ!). I want us tonight to look to reflect on these verses from this profound letter.
One thing I want to say here at the beginning is that I do not plan to go into the Gnostic controversy addressed in this letter. I want to look at First John 2:29;3:1 in a devotional manner. To ponder for awhile the love of God the Father and how that tremendous love ought to effect our lives as the children of God.
In First John 2:18-29 John warns his flock of many antichrists "Children it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour" (1 JN 2:18). The antichrist were seeking to tear the body of Christ apart by spreading false doctrine. How are the children of God to withstand the assaults of these antichrists? They are to "abide in Him" to keep a personal relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ. And to keep the teaching they heard from the Apostle. The apostle John also mentions that these Christians had received a special anointing of the Holy Spirit so as to have a real heart knowledge of the Truth "But you have a anointing from the Holy One"
Verse 28 is the conclusion to a section started at verse 18 of chapter 2. In verse 29 is a beginning of a new section. In verse 29 we read "If you know He is righteous, you know that one also practices righteousness is born of Him." The apostle John has repeatedly stated that if we profess to be the children of God we will be like our heavenly Father. In verse 29 John once again states that if we know God the Father to be Righteous we will practice righteousness. All those "born again" will practice Righteousness. If we who are Christians will practice righteousness it is because we ant to be like our heavenly Father. Just like the Lord Jesus when He walked on the earth acted righteous because He was the only-begotten Son of God. By the Lord acting righteous showed He was the Son of God so also us. We show the world that we are children of God by being righteous-by practicing righteousness.
What does it mean to practice righteousness? To be holy as our heavenly Father is holy. To walk in obedience to the commandments of our heavenly Father. (1 JN 2:1-6)
The apostle John in verse 29 mentions regeneration "born of Him". If we are regenerated we will be righteous like our heavenly Father. Here we see the origin of the new birth, regeneration is traced to God the Father. In John 3 verse 1 we have the mentioning of the new birth in chapter 2:29 causes the apostle John to stop and consider the love of God displayed in our regeneration-being born again.
Lenski writes in his commentary on First John 2:29 "John could say that everyone that is born from him, every child of his, is also righteous; but he reverses this and says much more. Our being righteous proves that we are born from him, and our doing the righteousness is the perceptible evidence of our birth. By it we can judge in regard to the mysterious and the intangible fact that a spiritual birth has occurred in us. . ."
the evidence of the Divine begetting
Maybe after point 4 I should say something before going directly into the Applications.
We have looked at the fact that if we are truly children of God-born of God will we be righteous. Righteous conduct is the evidence of being born of God.
The apostle John says in chapter 3 verse 1 "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us" John tells his spiritual children to "Consider what wonderful love!" In verse 29 John had mentioned the New Birth. The apostle John in considering that the Father would stoop so low to love sinful men so as to call sinners to be children of God causes him to stand in amazement. Notice that John does not merely say that the Father loved man, but that He has given love, which is much stronger way of declaring the fact. God did not merely show love; He has actually imparted love to man.
The love of God transforms those who believe into children of God. They are "called" God children-this is their reputation. ("The Letters Of John The Apostle: An In-Depth Commentary" by Donald W. Burdick "1 John 3:1 "See how great a love of the Father has bestowed upon us." The mention in the preceding verse of being born of God stirs within John a deep sense of amazement, which he expresses "See how great a love" a Greek aorist imperative calling for immediate action "Look (at once) at the kind of love. . ." The word bristles with urgency and excitement, and all the more so when followed by a Greek word originally meaning "from what country," this word came to be a stronger synonymn of a Greek word meaning "of what kind." It commonly expresses amazement and wonder at the nature of the item being described. One of the disciples used it when calling Jesus's attention to the greatness and the magnificence of the temple building and the stones of which they were constructed (Mark 13:1). Similarly, John here exclaims, "Consider what wonderful love!" pg. 229, 230)" end of sermon reflections from my January 1987 diary.