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1 John chapter 3

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What does 1 John chapter 3 mean?

Chapter 3 further discusses the importance of being a child of God and living accordingly (3:1–10). A major implication of being a child of God is that we are to love one another (3:11–24).

First John 3:1–10 can be further subdivided into two main sections. Verses 1 through 3 focus on God's love, and how that love results in believers becoming children of God. The second section begins in verse 4, which notes "Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness…" Verse 6, "No one who abides in him keeps on sinning…" In other words, true fellowship with God cannot result in ongoing sinful living without repentance. A saved believer will experience conviction, which is meant to lead to a return to God, asking for forgiveness and a restored fellowship with Christ (1 John 1:9–10).

The second main section of the chapter is in verses 11 through 24. Here, John focuses on love for one another (1 John 3:11). This passage consists of three main parts. Verses 11 through 15 focus on the love believers should have for one another. Verses 16 through 18 describe loving one another by our actions. Verses 19 through 24 discuss whether our hearts condemn us or not. First John 3:21 notes, "Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God." When we have confessed our sins and abide (remain) in Christ, we can ask for anything according to His will and receive it (1 John 3:22).

The final two verses also offer an important reminder. John again focuses on love for God through Jesus as well as loving one another, offering teaching closely similar to the Great Commandment in Matthew 22:37–40.

These verses also highlight the triune nature of God. John mentions God twice in verse 24, the Son Jesus Christ in verse 23, and the Spirit in verse 24. All three persons of the triune Godhead are distinct, yet serve in perfect community as the one true God.
What is the Gospel?
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