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First John: 1 John 3:23a-The Father’s Command Related to Justification by Faith in His Son Jesus Christ Lesson # 137

First John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  1:00:59
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First John: 1 John 3:23a-The Father’s Command Related to Justification by Faith in His Son Jesus Christ

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1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. (ESV)
And this is his commandment” is composed of the following: (1) conjunction kai (καί), “and” (2) nominative feminine singular form of the demonstrative pronoun houtos (οὗτος), “this” (3) third person singular present active indicative form of the verb eimi (εἰμί), “is” (4) articular nominative feminine singular form of the noun entolē (ἐντολή), “commandment” (5) genitive third person masculine singular form of the intensive personal pronoun autos (αὐτός), “his.”
The conjunction kai is epexegetical which means that it is introducing a declarative statement, which identifies specifically the identity of the commands being referred to by the phrase tas entolas autou (τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ), “His commands” which appears in the fifth class conditional statement in 1 John 3:22.
The demonstrative pronoun houtos means “this” and is kataphoric meaning that it is pointing to the hina appositional clause which follows it.
The verb eimi means “to exist in a particular state or condition” which would indicate that these two commands exist in the state of being the Father’s commands, which are mentioned in verse 22.
The noun entolē refers to the Father’s commands which the Lord Jesus Christ communicated by the Spirit directly to His apostles which are identified as the command to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior to be declared justified by the Father and the command to love one another.
Now here in 1 John 3:23, the articular form of this noun entolē is once again employed with the intensive personal pronoun autos to denote possession expressing the idea that this command belongs to the Father.
That we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ” is composed of the following: (1) conjunction hina (ἵνα), “that” (2) first person plural aorist active subjunctive form of the verb pisteuō (πιστεύω), “we believe” (3) articular dative neuter singular form of the noun onoma (ὄνομα), “ name” (4) articular genitive masculine singular form of the noun huios (υἱός), “the Son” (5) genitive third person masculine singular form of the intensive personal pronoun autos (αὐτός), “His” (6) genitive masculine singular form of the proper noun Iēsous (Ἰησοῦς), “Jesus” (7) genitive masculine singular form of the proper name Christos (Χριστός), “Christ.”
The conjunction hina is employed with the subjunctive mood of the verbs first pisteuō, “we believe” and agapaō, “love” in order to form an appositional clause.
This clause identifies specifically for the reader the identity of the commands being referred to by the phrase tas entolas autou (τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ), “His commands” which appears in the fifth class conditional statement in 1 John 3:22.
The verb pisteuō means to “to believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance,” thus, “to trust, place complete or absolute confidence in” someone or something.
In 1 John 3:23, the verb pisteuō means to “totally and completely trust in” the person of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross in order to be declared justified by the Father so as to receive the gift of eternal life and the forgiveness of sins.
The first person plural form of this verb means “we” referring to John and each of the recipients of First John.
Thus, this is an “inclusive” we referring to both the author and the recipients of First John.
By using the first person plural form rather than the second person plural form, the apostle John is identifying with the recipients of First John in the sense that he is subject to this command to trust in the name of the Father’s Son, Jesus Christ.
The first person plural form of this verb is used in a distributive sense emphasizing no exceptions indicating that God the Father required that both John and the recipients of First John obey His command to trust in the name of the His Son Jesus Christ in order to be declared justified by Him.
The aorist tense of this verb pisteuō is a constative aorist which describes the act of a sinner being declared justified by the Father, the moment they trust in His Son Jesus Christ as their Savior.
The noun onoma signifies the person, the character, the life’s work, authority of Jesus Christ and His standing before the Father as His beloved Son, who is righteous and holy like the Father.
The noun huios is used in relation to Jesus Christ and is employed here as a title for the deity of Christ describing the relationship between the Father and Himself.
The proper name Iēsous is the Greek spelling of the Hebrew word Jehoshua, “Jehovah saves,” and refers to the human nature of the incarnate Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth.
The noun Christos emphasizes that Jesus of Nazareth, the incarnate Son of God delivered the believer from the sin nature, personal sins, the devil and his cosmic system, spiritual and physical death and eternal condemnation through His substitutionary spiritual and physical deaths and resurrection.
1 John 3:23 Specifically, this is His command: First, that each and every one of us believed in the name, that is His Son, who is Jesus who is the Christ. Secondly that each one of us continue making it our habit of divinely loving one another just as He gave to each one of us this command. (My translation)
1 John 3:23 is epexegetical which means that it is introducing a declarative statement composed of a hina appositional clause.
This clause identifies specifically for the reader the identity of the commands being referred to in phrase tas entolas autou (τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ), “His commands” which appears in the fifth class conditional statement in 1 John 3:22.
This hina appositional clause contains two commands, which summarize the Father’s commands.
Therefore, it is asserting that the command is two-fold.
The first required that John and the recipients of First John trust in the name of the Father’s Son Jesus Christ.
The second required that they love one another as God’s children.
Therefore, “His command” refers to these two commands.
The first is related to the moment the sinner is declared justified by the Father through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
At this moment, the sinner becomes a child of God.
Then, the second is applicable only to the child of God since only the child of God has the capacity to obey the command to love one another since obedience to this command demands the indwelling omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, which John identifies as the “anointing” in 1 John 2:20 and 27.
Therefore, the first command in 1 John 3:23 refers to the moment when a person makes the non-meritorious decision to place their complete and total trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Consequently, they were declared justified by the Father, regenerated by the Spirit and identified with Christ in His crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and session at the right hand of the Father.
This justifying faith delivers the sinner from eternal condemnation, condemnation from the Law, personal sins, the sin nature, the devil and his cosmic system as well as spiritual and physical death.
Therefore, this first command refers to making the non-meritorious decision to totally and completely trust in the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ and His substitutionary spiritual and physical deaths on the cross in order to be declared justified by the Father and to become a child of God.
The fact that this verb pisteuō in this first command is in the aorist tense and not the present tense is significant.
It is a constative aorist as we noted which means that it describes in summary fashion the act of faith which requires of the sinner in order to be declared justified by Himself.
This is justifying faith and occurs only once in a person’s life.
Thus, we can see why John does not put the word in the present tense since he does not want to emphasize durative action but rather he wants to describe in summary fashion this act of a sinner trusting in Jesus Christ as their Savior which results in the Father declaring them justified.
The aorist tense also emphasizes that this first command is no longer applicable to John and the recipients of First John or in other words, they are no longer required to obey this command since it is pointing back in the past to the moment of their justification.
It is not in the future tense, which would emphasize they have yet to do this and it is not in the present tense which would emphasize the need to trust in Jesus Christ in the present moment or habitually do this in the present.
In fact, John identifies the recipients of First John as children of God which is implying they have already been declared justified by faith in Jesus (cf. 1 John 3:1-3).
The aorist tense of this verb would thus indicate that John is referring to justifying faith or the faith in Jesus Christ which results in the Father declaring them justified.
On other hand, the verb agapaō is put in the present tense and not the aorist tense like pisteuō because John wants to emphasize that the command to love one another is still applicable for them and every child of God or in other words, they are still required to obey this command to love one another.
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