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The following is an excerpt from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary on 1 John 3.

 

No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:9–10)

John concludes this section with the summary statement, By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God. There are only two groups of people in the world (cf. Prov. 15:9): the children of God and the children of the devil. The first exhibits God’s righteous character through obeying His law (cf.Luke 1:6); the second exhibits Satan’s sinful character by disregarding the Word and habitually sinning (cf. Pss. 36:3; 119:150; Rom. 2:8). No matter what people may profess, or what past religious ritual or experience they may point to, anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

The final phrase of this section, nor the one who does not love his brother, reaffirms to readers another aspect of John’s moral test to identify true believers, namely the test of love (cf. John 13:34–35). For the apostle, it was also obvious that anyone claiming to be a Christian but not demonstrating brotherly love could not really be in Christ. He develops this argument in the remaining portion of chapter 3.

Grace to You
Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time

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