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1 John 3


 1 Behold, (1) (a) what love the Father hath given to us, that we should be (b) called the sons of God. (2) For this cause this world knoweth you not, because it knoweth not him.


(1) He beginneth to declare this agreement between the Father and the Son, at the highest cause, to wit, at that free love of God towards us, wherewith he so loveth us, that he also adopteth us to be his children.
(a) What a gift of how great love.
(b) That we should be the sons of God, and so that all the world may perceive we are so.
(2) Before he declareth this adoption, he saith two things: the one, that this so great a dignity is not to be esteemed according to the judgment of the flesh, because it is unknown to the world, for the world knoweth not God the Father himself.


 2  (3) Dearly beloved, now are we the sons of God, but yet it is not made manifest what we shall be, and we know that when he shall be made manifest, we shall be (c) like him, for we shall see him (d) as he is.


(3) The other: This dignity is not fully made manifest to us ourselves, much less to strangers, but we are sure of the accomplishment of it, in so much that we shall be like to the Son of God himself, and shall enjoy his sight indeed, such as he is now, but yet notwithstanding his is deferred until his next coming.
(c) Like, but not equal.
(d) For now we see as in a glass, 1 Corinthians 13:12 .


 3  (4) And every man that hath this hope in him purgeth himself, even (e) as he is pure.


(4) Now he describeth this adoption (the glory whereof as yet consisteth in hope) by the effect, to wit, because that whosoever is made the Son of God, endeavoreth to resemble the Father in purity.
(e) This word signifieth a likeness, but not in equality.


 4  (5) Whosoever (f) committeth sin, transgresseth also the Law; for (g) sin is the transgression of the Law.


(5) The rule of this purity can from no whence else be taken but from the Law of God, the transgression whereof is that which is called sin.
(f) Giveth not give himself to pureness.
(g) A short definition of sin.


 5  (6) And ye know that he was made manifest, that he might (*) take away our sins, and in him is no sin.


(6) An argument taken from the material cause of our salvation: Christ in himself is most pure, and he came to take away our sins, by sanctifying us with the holy Ghost. Therefore, whosoever is truly partaker of Christ, doeth not give himself to sin, and on the contrariwise, he that giveth himself to sin knoweth not Christ.

(*) Psalm 53:6; 1 Peter 2:22-24 .


 6 Whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not; whosoever (h) sinneth, hath not seen him, neither hath known him.


(h) He is said to sin, that does not giveth not himself to pureness, and in him sin reigneth: but sin is said to dwell in the faithful, and not to reign in them.


 7  (7) Little children, let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness, is righteous, as he is righteous.


(7) Another argument of things coupled together: He that liveth justly, is just, and resembleth Christ that is just, and by that is known to be the Son of God.


 8  (8) He that (*) committeth sin, is of the (i) devil; for the devil (k) sinneth from the (l) beginning. For this purpose was made manifest that Son of God, that he might loose the works of the devil.


(8) An argument taken of contraries: the devil is the author of sin, and therefore he is of the devil, or is ruled by the inspiration of the devil that serveth sin; and if he be the devil's son, then is he not God's son; for the devil and God are so contrary the one to another, that even the Son of God was sent to destroy the works of the devil. Therefore on the contrary side, whosoever resisteth sin, is the Son of God, being born again of his Spirit as of new seed, in so much that of necessity he is now delivered from the slavery of sin.

(*) John 8:44 .
(i) Resembleth the devil, as the child doeth the father, and is governed by his Spirit.
(k) He saith not sinned but sinneth, for he did nothing else but sin.
(l) From the very beginning of the world.


 9 Whosoever is born of God sinneth not, for his (m) seed remaineth in him, neither can he sin, because he is born of God.


(m) The holy Ghost is so called of the effect he worketh, because by his virtue and mighty working, as it were by seed, we are made new men.


 10  (9) In this are the children of God known, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness, is not of God, (10) neither he that loveth not his brother.


(9) The conclusion, by a wicked life they are known which are governed by the sprit of the Devil, and by a pure life, which are God's children.
(10) He beginneth to commend charity towards the brethren, as another mark of the Sons of God.


 11  (11) For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that (*) we should love one another;


(11) The first reason, taken of the authority of God, which giveth the commandment.

(*) John 13:34; John 15:12 .


 12  (12) Not as (*) (n) Cain which was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. (13) And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s good.


(12) An amplification, taken of the contrary example of Cain which slew his brother.

(*) Genesis 4:8 .

(n) He bringeth forth a very fit and very old example, wherein we may behold both the nature of the sons of God, and of the sons of the devil, and what state and condition remaineth for us in this world; and what shall be the end of both at length.
(13) A short digression: Let us not marvel that we are hated of the world for doing our duty, for such was the condition of Abel who was a just person; and who would not rather be like him than Cain?


 13 Marvel not, my brethren, though this world hate you.


 14  (14) We know that we are translated from death unto life, because we (o) love the brethren. (*) He that loveth not his brother, abideth in death.


(14) The second reason: Because charity is a testimony that we are translated from death to life; and therefore hatred towards the brethren is a testimony of death, and whosoever nourished it, doeth as it were foster death in his bosom.
(o) Love is a token that we are translated from death to life, for as much as by the effects the cause is known.

(*) 1 John 2:10; Leviticus 19:17 .


 15  (15) Whosoever hateth his brother, is a manslayer; and ye know that no manslayer hath eternal life abiding in him.


(15) A confirmation: Whosoever is a murderer, is in eternal death; who so hateth his brother, is a murderer, therefore he is in death. And thereupon followeth the contrary. He that loveth his brother, hath passed to life, for indeed we are born dead.


 16  (*) (16) Hereby have we perceived love, that he laid down his life for us; therefore we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren.


(*) John 15:13; Ephesians 5:2 .

(16) Now he sheweth how far Christian charity extendeth, even so far, that according to the example of Christ, every man forget himself, to provide for and help his brethren.


 17  (*) (17) And whosoever hath this (p) world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and (q) shutteth up his compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?


(*) Luke 3:11 .

(17) He reasoneth by comparisons: For if we are bound even to give our life for our neighbors, how much more are we bound to help our brothers' necessity with our goods and substance?
(p) Wherewith this life is sustained.
(q) Openeth not his heart to him, nor helpeth him willingly and cheerfully.


 18  (18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue only, but in deed and in truth.


(18) Christian charity standeth not in words, but in deed, and proceedeth from a sincere affection.


 19  (19) For thereby we know that we are of the truth, (20) and shall before him assure our hearts.


(19) He commends charity, by a triple effect; for first of all, by it we know that we are indeed the sons of God, as he sheweth before.
(20) Therefore it cometh that we have a quiet conscience, as on the contrary side he that thinketh that he hath God for a judge, because he is guilty to himself, either he is never or else very rare quiet, for God hath a far quicker sight then we, and judgeth more severely.


 20 For (r) if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.


(r) If an evil conscience convinceth us, much more ought the judgments of God contemn us, who knoweth our hearts better than we ourselves do.


 21  (21) Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we boldness toward God.


(21) A third effect also riseth out of the former, that in these miseries we are sure to be heard, because we are the sons of God, as we understand by the grace of sanctification which is proper to the elect.


 22  (*) (22) And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in his sight.


(*) Matthew 21:22; John 15:7; John 16:23; 1 John 5:14 .

(22) The conclusion: That faith in Christ, and love one towards another, are things joined together, and therefore the outward testimonies of sanctification must and do answer that inward testimony of the Spirit given unto us.


 23  (*) This is then his commandment, That we believe in the Name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave commandment.


(*) John 6:23; John 17:3 .


 24  (*) For he that keepeth his commandments, dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, even by that (s) Spirit which he hath given us.


(*) John 13:34; John 15:10 .

(s) He meaneth the Spirit of sanctification, whereby we are born anew, and live unto God.




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 1 Corinthians 14:8

And also if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle?

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