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Confident of God’s protection from the evil one

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:18-20

As John concluded, he gave a summary of facts about the Christian life. Each fact begins with “We know.” These are settled truths that define our status in God. He emphasized the essence of 1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” John describes a present ideal that presumes a reality that anticipates the appearance of Christ when He returns. The Christian certainly should have put away old, sinful behavior, but he also should be pursuing increased godliness that is appropriate to one “born of God,” who will one day remain eternally in God’s presence. Also, because a Christian has declared himself to be on God’s side in the spiritual battle, he receives protection from Jesus, so that they will not continue to sin. Presumably, if he moves away from Jesus as others have done, he is prey for “the evil one.” To be sure, John is not so naive as to think Christians don’t sin at all. He has just spoken of Christians’ needing intercession because of sin (see 1 John 5:16, 17), and earlier he supported the need of personal confession of sin (see 1 John 1:8–10). There is a great distinction between being “children of God” and being subjects of “the evil one.” It should not be too difficult for a person to know which group he is in. Calling the evil side “the whole world” presumes that Christians are in the minority. Without help, we face impossible odds. This was why John provided an assurance that there is help that God supplies. It is that “the Son of God has come.” He came to also provide us with “understanding.” We are not robots to God. We are rational beings with the need to know our purpose. Jesus explains God to us, for He is the Word of life, as John calls Him in the opening verses of this letter (1 John 1:1, 2). Here, John calls God “him who is true,” and he reinforces the fact that we are “in him.” We are, most assuredly, within God’s circle, but only because we have been brought there by “his Son Jesus Christ.” Without Him, we would be lost, slaves of the evil one. Jesus is “eternal life,” as He is “the true God.” John emphasized the importance of believers knowing Jesus and to do so is to know God (cf. John 1:1, 18; 20:28). We should avoid anything that will draw us away from the love of God. “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:20).


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