Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 3:3-5: Instructional Contrasts

I John 3:3-5: And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. [1]

 In this passage, John highlights the differences between “righteousness” and ungodliness. [2] The standard for righteousness in verse 3 is becoming like Christ, not to earn salvation, but as an evidence of it. [3] Verse 4 explains when the elect sin they live as rebels of God’s holy law. [4] Again, remember neither John, nor anywhere in Scripture, demands human perfection. [5] However, true Christians will confess their sin and run to their Father for forgiveness and assistance in repentance. [6] Mercifully, verse 5 reinforces that Jesus Christ is the Messiah God promised to remove sin. [7] In Christ, believers can kill sin by the power and help of His Holy Spirit, and their doing so evidences the new life Jesus has earned for them. [8]

 Here there are two reactions we need to avoid: undeserved comfort or shame. Some of us can be tempted to abuse Christ’s grace, when it should lead us to repentance. [9] Others hear a call for holiness and feel condemned, missing the truth of the Triune God’s redemptive love. [10] Pray that the Holy Spirit helps you see the truth in 1 John and rightly apply it to your maturing heart.


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Jn 3:3–5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 298.

[3] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 296.

[4] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 297.

[5] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 297.

[6] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 297.

[7] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 298.

[8] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 298-299.

[9] Romans 2:4.

[10] Isaiah 42:3, Matthew 12:20.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 3:1-2: Present Joy and Future Glory

I John 3:1-2: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. [1]

 1 John 3:1-2 is an incredible encouragement for those who love the Trinity. John joyfully informs believers that God’s love has been poured over them and they are welcomed into His family by the blood of His Son. [2] John’s wording shows us the “action and the extent of God’s love” by assuring the elect they are adopted by the Trinity. [3] Knowledge of God is another blessing because a failure to know the Lord is why the world rejects Christ. [4] Verse 2 assures Christians that they are still God’s children, even though they wrestle with sin now, and promises a future where they will be perfected and freed from sin. [5]

 What more encouraging news could we ask for? When we were the Triune God’s enemies, He sent Christ to die for us, which makes us His adopted children. [6] When the Almighty adopts us, nothing can change that, not even our present sins. [7] Though there is suffering in this life, caused by our own sin, there is a day coming when sin and suffering will cease. [8] This good news motivates us to live more like Christ and share the Gospel with others, not out of fear, but from love. [9] May the assurance of our identity in Christ drive us to be more like Him.


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 293-294.

[3] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 294-295.

[4] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 294.

[5] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 294-295.

[6] Romans 5:1-12.

[7] Romans 8.

[8] Revelation 21-22.

[9] Romans 8:12-17; Matthew 28:18-19; Acts 1:8.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Psalm 8:7-9: “The Redeemer-King” [1]

Psalm 8:7-9: all sheep and oxen,

and also the beasts of the field,

the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,

whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

  O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth! [2]

 As David closes this Psalm, he reminds us of two important things: (1) man’s functioning as God’s representative on earth, and (2) that “The Redeemer-King of Israel is the Creator.” [3] Verse 9 helps us remember that the subject of this Psalm is the LORD, Who is to be praised. [4] Any authority and rule that people have on earth has been given from God by His wisdom. [5] The pinnacle of praise in this Psalm is that the Triune God has chosen, in love, to reveal Himself to His people. [6]

 Think about the joys we have discussed in this Psalm: man’s privileged position, God’s sustaining and creative work in man, and the restorative work of Christ. We would not know any of that if it were not for God’s revelation. We would not even know that we are more valuable than animals if we did not have God’s Word. What a joy, an undeserved joy, that the Almighty has made these things know to us, particularly in His Son. [7] Psalm 8 should lead us into heartfelt worship of a “Redeemer-King” Who has rescued us from ignorance of Himself, which leads into meaninglessness, uncertainty, separation from others, and devaluing in nature. [8] You can only have hope, purpose, sense, and value in the world if Jesus Christ is your exclusive Savior from sin. Turn to Him by confessing your sin and need of Him in prayer and you will see the glory David expressed in this Psalm.


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] Title take from Willem A. VanGemeren. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with the New International Version of the Holy Bible in Twelve Volumes: Vol. 5 (Psalms-Song of Songs). General Ed. Frank E. Gaebelein. (Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corporation, 1991), 110.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[3] VanGemeren, Expositor’s, 114 and 110.

[4] VanGemeren, Expositor’s, 110.

[5] VanGemeren, Expositor’s, 110.

[6] VanGemeren, Expositor’s, 110.

[7] Hebrews 1:1-3.

[8] Proverbs 30:1-9.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Psalm 8: 5-6: Jesus: The Last Adam

Psalm 8:5-6: Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings

and crowned him with glory and honor.

            You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;

you have put all things under his feet. [1]

 In the first four verses we have focused on human beings. But the rest of Psalm 8 forces us to realize that David is not talking about any mere human. [2] In fact, the whole Psalm has echoes of Genesis 1:26-28, which is a call “to fill the whole earth with God’s glory.” [3] But we know that Adam, and every human after him (including ourselves) has failed to fill the earth with the Lord’s glory. [4] This is why Christ had to become man in order to fulfill the role Adam and all of us failed to live: to live as the Triune God intended us to. [5]

 Because all things have been put under Jesus’ feet, we have hope upon hope. Hebrews 2 and 4 make clear that Christ’s resurrection means those who believe in Him will have victory over death, and that His suffering gives us hope in ours. Paul’s quote of Psalm 8 in Ephesians 1:20-22 helps us understand that Jesus has secured our future blessings and hope. [6]

 Friend, the Last Adam has purchased life, hope, and a blessed future for you, defeating death itself. [7] Will you receive it, or look for hope in the broken creation around you? Even as a Christian, when we run to our idols instead of Jesus we are looking for hope in what cannot give it. Embrace Christ and you will have a caring, intentional, and hope giving Savior. May the Lord Jesus be pleased to draw us all closer to Himself today.


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] G.K. Beale A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Publisher, 2011), 50.

[3] Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, 37.

[4] Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, 50.

[5] Romans 5:1-12.

[6] Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, 277.

[7] 1 Corinthians 15:25-27.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Psalm 8:3-4: The Triune God: A Caring Creator

Psalm 8:3-4: When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

            what is man that you are mindful of him,

and the son of man that you care for him? [1]

 Psalm 8:1-2 showed us humanity’s privileged position because God has entrusted mankind with His creation and sustains them from infancy, but most clearly shows His love in Christ. [2] Verses 3-4 continue the same picture. Out of all the creatures, only humans can look at the heavens and ponder their position and purpose. [3] The world around us forces us to acknowledge there is a Creator and question our status before Him. [4] But people are not the byproduct of a cold and distant designer. The astounding truth is that the Trinity is loving. [5] One scholar explains: “Mindful has a compassionately purposeful ring, since ‘God’s remembering always implies his movement toward the object of his memory’; and care . . . similarly implies His action as well as His concern.” [6] The Lord is your intentional, pursing, active Friend Who deliberately loves and rescues you.

 While the universe is enough to show us there is a purposeful Creator, it is insufficient to guide us into true worship. [7] This is why the Creator became man so He could be the Creator of salvation. [8] The glory of the Gospel is not that humans only have the ability to reason, but that humans are so loved Christ lovingly died for them. [9]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin & J. Anderson. Commentary on the Book of Psalms Vol. 1. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), Logos Bible Software, 93-94.

[3] Derek Kidner. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Psalms 1-72, An Introduction and Commentary on Books I and II of the Psalms. General Ed: D.J. Wiseman. (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973), 67.

[4] Romans 1:18-32.

[5] Kidner, Psalms 1-72, 67.

[6] Kidner, Psalms 1-72, 67.

[7] Louis Berkhof. Systematic Theology: With a Complete Textual Index, 4th Revised and Enlarged Ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1977), 36-40.

[8] Colossians 1:15-23.

[9] John 3:16; Ephesians 1:3-11.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Psalm 8: 1-2: Evidence of God’s Love and Power

Psalm 8:1-2: O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

                        You have set your glory above the heavens.

            Out of the mouth of babies and infants,

                        you have established strength because of your foes,

to still the enemy and the avenger. [1]

 David’s praise in Psalm 8 should lead all of us to deep praise. Why? Because through Psalm 8, David’s Holy Spirit inspired message shows us how deeply God loves humans. [2] David begins the Psalm by “exclaiming” about the Almighty’s power in creation, a creation the Creator entrusted to people. [3] What a privilege that the God Who spoke molecular, geographical, etc. systems into being has blessed man with their stewardship and exploration! David also acknowledges Yahweh’s providential power and love in babies. [4] The Trinity’s abilities are so clear in the conception, carrying, birth and life of children that He does not need special explanation nor defense. [5] Further, God’s care for babies in enabling them to breath, eat, communicate without words, etc. shows His compassion toward people, a compassion and power so deep that those Who oppose Him are undone. [6]

 Amazingly, the Lord who entrusted us with creation and who creates and sustains infants is the same God who sent his Son to die for us. [7] In the clear ways we have not wisely stewarded the earth or properly valued our children, Jesus Christ never failed. The LORD loves you so much that He gave you His Son so that you can be in right relationship with Him, in addition to all of the things previously mentioned. May that turn our hearts in reverence toward Him.


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin & J. Anderson. Commentary on the Book of Psalms Vol. 1. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), Logos Bible Software, 93-94.

[3] Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms Vol. 1, 93-94. See also Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8:5-8.

[4] Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms Vol. 1, 95.

[5] Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms Vol. 1, 96.

[6] Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms Vol. 1, 97-98.

[7] John 3:16.

Sovereignty, Providence, and Cultural Blinders

CFoxSovereignty.jpg

Sovereignty, Providence, and Cultural Blinders

It’s difficult to assess the spread of views on sovereignty and providence in the Christian population.

I have friends, daily devout and simply faithful, who never use these terms in their discussion of God, ever. To them, and for them, God is largely their good buddy, an equal partner, someone who contributed significantly to their salvation, but who is essentially their personal protector when needed, a doddering figure who doles out useful doses of friendly wisdom, when asked, and who intervenes in a crisis when prayer is passed up the chain; although how this casual friend has the authority or power to actually accomplish anything always seems obscured.

Other good friends are those who tend to be more legalistic and who use the Bible as the source of authority to get their way. And it is a good thing that God has joined their team, because their way is the most properly aligned with the Bible, and their way is the surest path to success in establishing God’s Kingdom. These folks speak of God as sovereign, and it sounds as though he is actually pretty powerful, but they are the ones in the driver’s seat. He is sovereign, to be sure, but their lives reflect only a passing nod to any form of submission on their part. Like some odd anime character, God is a powerful weapon in their hands as they move the Kingdom forward on their own terms.

I have known others who view God as a capricious despot who uses his power and authority to push us around with arbitrary and often nasty acts for his own nefarious ends. These people tend to either live in paralyzing terror that God will smite them if they aren’t “holy enough” or they reject him altogether, calling him that “Old Testament God,” who murdered people and said it was “okay” for some hidden reason. It is inevitable that you can’t have a relationship with a God like this. How sad that the hearts of men love to create gods who are infinitely distant.

And then there are some of us, the reasonable few, like myself, of course, who confidently pick up our Westminster confession and want so desperately to trust God’s sovereignty and providence. We want to believe that, “necessarily, freely, or contingently” connects to us with faithful regularity and means that God really loves us! We cling so desperately to “doth.” He “doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions and things…” These phrases reflect God’s Word, lofty and promising, and for the most part, we believe them firmly and have a ready response when we are cornered about How It All Works with vague references to “the mysteries of God.” But for the most part, it is confusing, and mysterious, and doesn’t really align very well with what happened last Tuesday.

Or, when we are honest, we struggle with figuring out how sovereignty and providence jive with most Tuesdays. We struggle with the issue of God being in charge. And we try to pretend that this is an intellectual struggle against a mystery, but the truth is that it is difficult for us to trust God.

The problem starts with our hearts, of course. We don’t want to submit to a Sovereign, and we are afraid to trust his plan. That is our vivacious starting point as humans. Once we are united to God through faith in Christ, we can at least want to submit, and we try to overcome our fears. In our union with Christ by faith, we know, finally, that God has a loving plan for us, one that truly is for his glory and our good.

But then it’s Tuesday, again.

As Americans, (and sinners), we don’t have an example of a Good King. There is no “authority” in our lives, or in our world, who is powerful and benevolent on our behalf. The most vivid expression of authority in our lives is traffic control. When we drive our cars, we must stop at red signs and red lights. And when I say, “stop,” of course, I am not talking about what a physicist would consider a cessation of relative motion against the surrounding environment; we all know that “stop” means “coast” or “slow down.” And don’t even get me started about those vague suggestions, you know, those numbers surrounded by “SPEED LIMIT.”

The fact is that traffic laws are not benevolent, personal, or even very sovereign. And yet, they teach our eager hearts daily that submission to sovereign authority is distant and avoidable, optional, irrelevant, and not in control as much as my gas pedal. When we say that God works out everything for his glory and for the good of his people, we don’t have a workable image in our mind to say, “God is like that.”

Cultural influences present a challenge to our “go to” verse about God’s providence and plan in Romans 8:28. God is working everything out for Good! This verse is absolutely true, but perhaps we look at that verse through optimistic American eyes, where “all things” are supposed to stinkin’ work out with a happy Hollywood ending where the good guys win, the bad guys get blown away, and everybody is happy, healthy, and rich with no bad outcomes or consequences. We are then disconsolate when things don’t work out that way; often the wicked do prosper, and in every story, when we are honest, we are the bad guys who should be blown away.

You see, on Tuesday, something goes wrong and Houston, We Have a Problem. We are enlightened people who know what good is. It is true that God made us so that we can tell the difference between good and bad. But we need to be careful not to twist this to mean that good is when my plan works out, and when bad things don’t happen to me. Inevitably, in a moment of pungent reality, Tuesdays always shake our Westminster Confession foundation and life begins to fall apart.

It is a vivid struggle. How do you put “good” together with the fact that God’s sovereign plan includes, sickness, pain, death, suffering, financial struggles, careening careers, failed grades, broken marriages, defiant children, failed parenting, car wrecks, collapsing bridges, war, poverty, injustice, political intrigue, lost luggage, delays, coffee that is too sweet, clocks that are off by five minutes, dogs that bark when you’re on the phone, rotting fruit, grass that always needs to be cut, trashcans that are always full, and gas tanks that are always empty. Your heart has a ready answer; the only guaranteed constant in life is that there will always be something that will remind you that your plan is better than God’s! Hence the struggle; we know that God works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose, but MY plan for Tuesday didn’t include any problems!

The solution to Tuesday has two parts.

First, we need to fill our lives and minds with the word. Trite, of course, expected, of course, imperative? Absolutely. The solution to our conflict with sovereignty is truth; lots of it. We need to overwhelm our Tuesdays, our traffic, our mystery excuses, our rotting fruit with so much truth that nothing else matters. We also need to balance and inform our “go to” verse in Romans 8 with another passage, Acts 2:22-23: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know — this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” (ESV)

We wonder why God lets bad things happen to us, and this verse changes the object of that wonder. Rather than basing our confidence in God’s plan on something as fluid and shifting as whether Tuesday was good or not in our eyes, let’s place our feet on the foundation of God’s definite plan and foreknowledge that crucified his beloved son on our behalf. God himself suffered the worst evil and pain in all of history as part of his own, sovereign, plan so that we can have him. This passage is proof that God uses even the worst things to bring about glory and love and freedom and joy and peace. He is not capricious about his love and care, he is determined to pour out his love on us, and he has proven his commitment. In this context Romans 8:28 takes on a whole new meaning; for those united to Christ by faith, everything is good and works out for our happiness and salvation.

Second, we need to go back a few thousand years and visit a family of Israelites in Egypt, and it is year 200 of Israel’s enslavement. Imagine the young son, after a day of slave labor, perhaps beaten, asking his father about the sovereignty and providence of God. He asks his father about when “good things” will begin to happen, he knows the difference. For him, every day is Tuesday. His father knows the Scriptures, the promise of God to Abraham, the Law. Israel must “be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.” What do you tell your son when you know that you, he, his children and grandchildren will all live and die as slaves in Egypt? Did the love of God somehow get used up by Joseph?

At the core, this is our Tuesday dilemma. How do we reconcile what we know is true about God with the unassailable evidence that life is one endless trouble after another?

Humble faith. We must believe that no matter the sorrow, no matter the pain, this is the very thing for which Jesus died and this is the exact thing that he will deliver us from. Maybe not today, maybe not even in this lifetime, but deliverance is a guarantee. And despite the present circumstance, God still loves us, he still cares, his plan is still benevolent, we still have a glorious future, still, still, still.

By faith, God’s sovereignty and providence are unassailable by any number of Tuesdays.

This blog was written by Charles Fox

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

The Ready Children of God

1 John 2:28-29: And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. [1]

 John uses verse 28 to summarize chapter 2 and verse 29 to prepare us for chapter 3. [2] Verse 28 reminds believers that they long to see Jesus Christ’s physical return, and have assurance of salvation when He returns, because He has redeemed them from their sins. [3] True Christians respond to Jesus’ eminent return by obeying God’s Word and proclaiming the resurrected and returning Christ. [4] Verse 29 teaches that if people have been born of God they will “practice righteousness” because their heavenly Father is righteous. [5]

 These verses help us see two truths. As Dr. Lane Tipton teaches, “Saving faith rests [on Christ] and is restless [to serve Christ].” [6] Salvation is exclusively through Christ’s gracious redemptive work and the Holy Spirit producing faith in us. [7] The truth that Christ has earned our salvation is the motivation for biblical living. [8] While our actions do not earn salvation, faith in Christ leads to serving Him. [9] May the Holy Spirit give us grace to rest and be restless for our Lord.


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 287.

[3] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 287-288.

[4] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 288.

[5] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 288-289.

[6] Lane Tipton. “Christ as life giving Spirit, the law gospel distinction, distinction between archetypal and ectypal communion bonds.” (Lecture: Westminster Theological Seminary. Glenside, PA, March 18, 2017).

[7] Ephesians 2:1-10.

[8] Philippians 2:1-11; Colossians 3:1-17; etc.

[9] James 2:14-26.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

Remain in Christ by the Holy Spirit [1]

1 John 2:26-27: I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. [2]

 Regrettably, some Christian can act as if they do not need instruction or guidance. 1 John 2:26-27 states the opposite. Contextually, John tells true believers to ignore heresy because the Holy Spirit grows true believers (not new and unbiblical teaching). [3] John’s instruction helps us see that the Christ—given gift of the Holy Spirit makes all Christians, congregants and pastors alike, stand on equal footing because they all learn with the Holy Spirit’s aid. [4] The central message is “in the last three words,” calling us to “abide in [Christ].” [5] When we “remain” in Christ’s teaching, found in Scripture, by the Holy Spirit’s power we persevere in the Trinity’s providence, growing in knowledge and godliness. [6]

 Saying one prayer is not enough. Occasional church attendance is insufficient. Rarely reading the Bible is inadequate. Christians need to hear Christ-centered, biblically faithful preaching and teaching. [7] Certainly, life circumstances affect church participation and devotional life. But believers miss opportunities to mature in Christ-likeness and make themselves easy prey for deception when devoutness is absent. [8] Yes, salvation is by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone. [9] But how healthy can faith be when we minimize growth? May the Holy Spirit empower His elect to grow in the Triune God’s ways, as He has promised. [10]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 286. Kistemaker uses “remain,” rather than the ESV’s “abide,” hence my citing of him here.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[3] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 285.

[4] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 285-286.

[5] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 286.

[6] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 286.

[7] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 285.-286.

[8] 1 Peter 5:8-9.

[9] Galatians 2:11-21.

[10] Philippians 1:6.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:25-25: Abide in Truth and Happiness

1 John 2:24-25: Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. [1]

 Based on the title, you might be cringing in fear that this is about to be a health and wealth devotional. But John’s message does not allow us to go that route. In fact, John’s message is much better than self-confidence, self-approval, and self-sufficiency. These verses remind Christians of the joys they will have from remaining faithful to the Gospel John taught them by the power of the Holy Spirit. [2] By continuing in a biblical understanding of the Gospel, believers have fellowship with the Triune God and enjoy “real happiness.” [3] This “real happiness” is not infatuation with whimsical desires, but rests on the tested, true, and tried Word of God that can weather any storm. [4]

 This is why good doctrine is so important. [5] When we are careless in understanding Scripture and get quickly attached to truths that seem biblical without examining them we rob ourselves of real happiness. [6] Are you struggling to understand the difficulties in your life? Are you itching for doctrines that promote yourself rather than the Gospel? Examine what you believe against the Bible so that lasting happiness can be yours. This happiness may not make you feel the way you think you should feel, but will free you from deception. Will you abide in truth and happiness that comes from God’s Word, pointing to Christ’s redemptive work on every page, or will lies consume you?


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2018), Logos Bible Software, 198-199.

[3] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 199.

[4] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 198-199. See also Timothy Keller’s “Our Identity: The Christian Alternative to Late Modernity's Story” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehw87PqTwKw.

[5] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 198.

[6] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 198.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:22-23: “Truly God and Truly Man” [1]

1 John 2:22-23: Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. [2]

 Throughout church history many people have denied Christ’s deity and/or humanity. [3] Even today, Mormonism claims that Jesus was once a man who became a god and we can become gods ourselves. [4] Other modern examples abound. What happens if we waver on the incarnate Christ’s being truly God and truly man? We worship a god who cannot save because he is powerless and cannot represent us. [5] John also teaches that we cannot know God the Father if we do not understand His revelation to us in His Son. [6] Loose/misguided Christology leads to eternal damnation, misunderstanding God, and creates lies. [7]

 Do you grasp how serious this is? These are not arbitrary opinions founded on subjective desires. This is eternal life or death. [8] This is the Gospel: how the eternal Son of God became man so His elect could be saved, sanctified, restored. [9] If you are a Christian, are you careful in articulating Christ so that you are presenting Him faithfully as much as possible? [10] If you are a non-Christian: do not be deceived by the many antichrists and lies about Jesus. [11] The LORD Jesus is the risen, incarnate, exalted Son of God Who saves sinners. Put your faith in Him, and you will be saved. [12]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] Stephen Nichols. “The Humanity of Jesus: The Ligoner Statement on Christology.” www.Ligoner.org. Accessed 1 August 2019. https://www.ligonier.org/blog/the-humanity-of-jesus-the-ligonier-statement-on-christology/.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[3] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. and ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 195.

[4] Jeff Durbin. “The Gospel for Mormons.” Youtube.com. Accessed 1 August 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQNObk2qAwo.

[5] Carl Trueman. “Tertullian.” (Lecture: Westminster Theological Seminary, Glenside, PA, October 8, 2015).

[6] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 197.

[7] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 198.

[8] John 14:6; Acts 4:14.

[9] John 1:1, 3:16; Ephesians 1:3-14; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-4, 1 John 3:1-10; etc.

[10] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 195.

[11] Matthew 7:15-20; Romans 16:17-18; Ephesians 5:6-13; Galatians 6:1-10; 1 John 4:1-6.

[12] Ephesians 2:1-10.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:20-21: Christ’s Anointing

1 John 2: 20-21: But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. [1]

 After mentioning the antichrists who have left Christianity by denying Christ’s identity as God and Savior, John reminds believers of their God-given ability to detect deception. [2] Christians are able to tell truth from lies about the Gospel because God the Father through God the Son has anointed His elect. [3] This anointing is God the Holy Spirit abiding with God’s children because of “the Holy One[’s],” Jesus’, perfect work. [4] Because of the Holy Spirit’s presence with believers, John reminds Christians of the Gospel as they battle heresy. [5]

 As we apply this text to ourselves, believers must remember that the Holy Spirit’s presence does not mean they know everything about the Gospel. Christians should spend their lives learning and living the Gospel. [6] John means that the Holy Spirit directs us when someone lies about the Gospel, and helps us properly proclaim Christ’s death and resurrection as we are sanctified. [7] For those who deny Christ and His Word: you do not have His Holy Spirit to guide you in the truth and are lost in your sin. [8] If you confess your sin and need that only Jesus satisfies, you will receive God’s forgiveness, and have the Holy Spirit’s help for life. [9]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 280.

[3] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 278.

[4] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 279.

[5] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 279-280.

[6] Philippians 3:12-15; Hebrews 12:1-2.

[7] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 278.

[8] Romans 8:7-8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Timothy 3:10-17.

[9] John 14:6; Acts 2:14; Romans 5:1-12; 8; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, Galatians 5:16-26; etc.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:18-19: God’s Good Purging

1 John 2:18-19: Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. [1]

 Some words can only be described as “theological grenades”: words that spark a series of often conflicting opinions. One of those words is “antichrist” and it is in verse 18. Why does John mention one antichrist then several in the same verse? John is helping us see that the antichrist is someone who denies Jesus Christ’s deity and work. [2] Verse 19 reveals these antichrists have come from the church. [3] This does not mean that the church is erroneous, but that there are people who are not saved in church. [4] The reality that unbelievers are in church, and they will leave and spread their sin should not alarm true Christians. [5] Rather, God’s purging His church calls real believers to thank God for His work in giving them salvation and perseverance, and to guard the church. [6]

 If John called his readers to rejoice in Christ’s salvation and to vigilance over doctrine years ago, how much more so should we? [7] We fail to love when we let someone live in improper doctrine. [8] While this is not ground for theological bullying, we cannot be cowards either. [9] One of the most loving things we can do is joyfully tell others about their need for Christ, as someone else lovingly told us.


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] 1 John 2:22. See also John Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. and ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 190-191.

[3] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 191.

[4] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 191-192.

[5] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 192.

[6] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 192.

[7] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 191.

[8] Bruce K. Waltke. The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 440-441.

[9] Charles Bridges. A Commentary on Proverbs. (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2008). 87.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:16-17: Murderous and Momentary Desires

1 John 2:16-17: For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. [1]

 In verse 15 John forbade loving what God hates. [2] John uses verses 16-17 to explain why loving worldly things is lethal to the soul. [3] (For clarity’s sake: when John says, “the world” he is not condemning God’s good creation, but desires, tendencies, and behaviors that come from Satan.) [4] Verse 16 shows us that inward desires that delight in sinful nature and adulterous lust lead to lives obsessed with status. [5] Verse 17a teaches the murderous and momentary nature of giving into ungodly desires. One scholar explains, “If [someone] places his interest in that which is here today and gone tomorrow, he reaps a harvest of instability, stumbles in the darkness of sin and, because he has cast his lot with the world, faces a similar end.” [6] In contrast, verse 17b shows the everlasting security Christians have when they keep Christ’s commandments of believing Jesus is the eternal Son of God Who Redeems sinners and to love other believers. [7] This security is for all who believe exclusively in Christ, and is their hope in all seasons. [8]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. and ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 187.

[3] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 271.

[4] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 272.

[5] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 271-272. For the adulterous nature of lust, Kistemaker (on page 272), reminds us of Matthew 5:28.

[6] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 272-273.

[7] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 273.

[8] Romans 8.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:14-15: Undivided Love

1     John 2:14-15: I write to you, fathers,

because you know him who is from the beginning.

       I write to you, young men,

because you are strong,

and the word of God abides in you,

and you have overcome the evil one.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [1]

 If a husband told his wife, “I love you and this person I met online” would you believe him? No! Similarly, you would not believe a Christian who said they loved the Trinity but lived like the world. That is John’s message in verses 14-15. [2] John’s repetition in verse 14 reinforces the importance for spiritual fathers to continuing growing in Christ, and that young Christians only conquer through devotion to God and His Word. [3] Verse 15 clarifies that if we live in the things the LORD hates we cannot please Him. [4]

 Do you view Jesus as so holy and worthy that you want to be more like Him? Everyone could grow in this area, but if it is not a concern to you then you should be worried about your soul. Claiming to love God while walking in darkness is a dangerous lie for your soul. [5] If you are a Christian struggling to love God, pray that He would renew your love and He will gladly send His Holy Spirit to help you. Speaking to your pastor can also help, especially if there are worldly loves pulling you from Christ. If you are not a Christian, know that your love for what God hates results in death. [6] You can have life by confessing your sinful loves and need for Christ’s perfect work. When you embrace Christ, your affections for the things that are killing you will decrease, and your love for the Triune God will increase.


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. and ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 187.

[3] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 268.

[4] Calvin, Catholic Epistles, 187.

[5] 1 John 1:5-10.

[6] Romans 6:23.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:12-13: Poetic Reminder

1 John 2: 12-13: I am writing to you, little children,

because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.

       I am writing to you, fathers,

because you know him who is from the beginning.

       I am writing to you, young men,

because you have overcome the evil one.

       I write to you, children,

because you know the Father. [1]

 In verses 12-14 John uses poetry to condense his thoughts, encouraging all Christians—including spiritual fathers and young men. [2] “Little children” is John’s way of addressing his readers as their pastor. [3] John reminds believers that their “[s]ins have been, are, and remain forever forgiven” because of Christ. [4] (We know John references Christ when he writes “name’s sake” because of how John uses “name” in 1 John 1:9; 2:1-2; 4:10.) [5] Next, John focuses on those who “have gained spiritual knowledge of and about Jesus Christ” (fathers), and those who have defeated Satan “and rejoice in their salvation” (young men). [6]

 Why does this matter? Have you considered the joy and calling you have if you have embraced salvation in Christ? Have you thought about the liberating news of knowing that your sins are removed as far as the east is from the west, enabling you to receive salvation and right standing before the Holy Triune God? [7] If you are a “father” in the faith, are you training the next generation for service to Christ? [8] If you are young in your faith, when was the last time you rejoiced in Jesus’ perfect work and shared it? These truths should change our lives. [9]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 265.

[3] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 265-266.

[4] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 266.

[5] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 266.

[6] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 267.

[7] Psalm 103:12; John 14:6; Romans 8; Ephesians 1-2; etc.

[8] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 267.

[9] Philippians 3:1-10.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:9-11: Christians Loving Christians

1 John 2:9-11: Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. [1]

 Keeping up the discussion on darkness in verse 8, John teaches that when Christians fail to love each other they are in sin’s darkness. [2] One scholar explains, “Whoever hates a Christian brother breaks God’s commands, is devoid of truth, and lives in spiritual darkness.” [3] When Christians love one another in action, they are walking as Christ did (hence the analogy of light in verse 10). [4]

 Loving Christians can be trying. Many believers have been hurt by other Christians—perhaps you have been hurt. If this is true, please know that others’ sin against you breaks Jesus’ heart. Also, Christ has promised to be near you and comfort you in this season. [5] Further, in God’s providence, even in these trials the LORD is not defeated nor surprised. [6] He is so powerful and wise He can turn these sins into opportunities to grow in Him. [7] May the Triune God also guide you to a church with wise elders who can help you as much as possible. [8]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 263.

[3] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 263.

[4] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 263.

[5] Psalm 34:18.

[6] Herman Bavinck. Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 2 & 3, ed. John Bolt. Trans. John Vriend. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2011), Vol. 2 God & Creation: 173, 191, & 253. Vol. 3: Sin & Salvation in Christ: 29.

[7] Romans 8:28; James 1:2-4; 1:12-15; and The Westminster Standards: The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, & the Shorter Catechism. (Philadelphia, PA: Great Commission Publications, 2011), The Confession of Faith, chapter V.

[8] Romans 12:18.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:7-8: Living Gospel

1 John 2:7-8: Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. [1]

 These verses may look like contradictions: how can John give an old and new commandment? Before we give up on the Bible, let’s consider what John was thinking when he wrote. When John mentions “the beginning” he is referencing the first time the readers “heard the gospel.” [2] John is reminding the people he loves of the Gospel that saved them from their sins. [3] But how is this commandment also new? Because the author understands that believing the Gospel means following Christ’s commandments, including the “ ‘new commandment’ ” to “ ‘Love one another’ ” from John 13:34. [4] Because John’s audience was living according to Christ’s commands, John is able to affirm that they are living less like the world (the darkness), and more like Christ (the true light). [5]

 This is the life transformation that comes with solely accepting Christ as your Savior. [6] This does not mean that you will be perfect, but that God will mature you and help you live less like the darkness and more like Christ. [7] Believers need to continue clinging to the Gospel to have the strength and hope needed to live this old and new commandment. If you do not believe in Christ, then you do not have the ability to love others. [8] Once you embrace Christ by confessing your sins and acknowledging your need for Christ’s blood bought forgiveness to God in prayer, you will be able to truly love, and will eternally by truly loved. [9]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Colin G. Kruse The Letters of John. General Editor: D.A. Carson. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000), 82.

[3] Kruse, The Letters of John, 82.

[4] Kruse, The Letters of John, 82-83.

[5] Kruse, The Letters of John, 82-84.

[6] Philippians 1:6.

[7] 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8.

[8] Galatians 6:22; 1 John 3:16, 4:7-11.

[9] John 10:27-30, 17; Romans 5:6-11; 1 John 4:9-11.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:5-6: A True Relationship

1 John 2:5-6: 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. [1]

 Verse five reminds us that Christianity is not a list of rules to white knuckle through: to truly keep God’s Word requires loving God. [2] If we want to know we have a relationship with the Trinity we must have love, otherwise we do not have true fellowship with the Triune LORD. [3] Verse six also helps prepare us for a discussion on how loving Christian siblings is a necessary evidence of real faith. [4] True believers love God and other Christians.

 But Scripture and experience tell us that no one can live these two loves flawlessly. Pastor John Calvin reminds us that when we strive to keep these laws “according to the measure of grace given unto [us]” we are living faithfully. [5] If perfection were left for us to reach, we would not need Christ’s perfect work. Christians: our calling is to keep loving God and other believers with the Holy Spirit’s help.

 If you are reading this blog and are convicted that you are trying to obey God’s laws without loving Him you need to pray for love. Certainly, past trials and present circumstances may make loving God hard. But if you are just obeying Christ’s laws because you have to and not because you love Him, please confess your need for love. Love for the Triune God is needed for true obedience, whereas loveless obedience is self-focused self-righteousness. Prayerfully, you will grow in a relationship with the Trinity that results in life-long love rather than relation-less servitude.


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. & ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 175.

[3] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 176.

[4] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 176.

[5] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 176.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:3-4: Calling to Character and Christ

1 John 2:3-4: 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. [1]

 In 1 John 1:1-2 we discussed how 1 John is written to prevent people from being deceived into leaving the church. [2] 1 John 2:3-11 proves that the deceivers do not know God because they lack the character to obey Him. [3] Character in accordance with God’s Word, though it cannot earn salvation, [4] is evidence of salvation—particularly when it leads to believing in Jesus and loving other Christians. [5] Although Christians do not live perfectly, if someone is “characterized by disobedience to [Christ’s] commands” she/he cannot claim to have “an authentic relationship with God.” [6]

 A calling to character this big should drive us to the Christ described in 1 John 2:1-2. Failure to know God in Christ and love His people results in death. [7] The way to avoid death is to confess your lack of character, and your need for Christ as your only righteousness before a holy God. If you have not received Christ, cling to Him today. You will be saved and given the Holy Spirit to start developing Christian character. [8] If you have received Christ, what ways can you believe in His goodness more, and love your siblings in Christ better? Again, such actions do not save, but they should be things you desire as a result of God’s work in your life. [9] Pray that God continues developing your Christian character so you may continue rejoicing in His work in your life. [10]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Seth Dunn, “For Real.” Proclamationpca.com. Accessed 27 June 2019. http://proclamationpca.com/blog/category/Devotions.

[3] Colin G. Kruse The Letters of John. General Editor: D.A. Carson. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000), 77.

[4] Ephesians 2:8-10.

[5] Kruse, The Letters of John, 78-79.

[6] Kruse, The Letters of John, 79.

[7] Romans 6:23.

[8] 1 John 1:9; Romans 8:13.

[9] Psalm 37:4; The Reformation Study Bible. General Editor R.C. Sproul. (Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries, 2005), 1832.

[10] Philippians 1:3-6.