First John: 1 John 3:8a-The Believer Who Practices Sin Possesses the Characteristic Originating From the Devil Lesson # 110

First John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  1:00:29
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First John: 1 John 3:8a-The Believer Who Practices Sin Possesses the Characteristic Originating From the Devil

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1 John 3:8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (ESV)
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil” is composed of the following: (1) articular nominative masculine singular present active participle form of the verb poieō (ποιέω), “whoever practices” (2) articular accusative feminine singular form of the noun hamartia (ἁμαρτία), “of sinning” (3) preposition ek (ἐκ), “of” (4) articular genitive masculine singular form of the noun diabolos (διάβολος), “the devil” (5) third person singular present active indicative form of the verb eimi (εἰμί), “is.”
The apostle John is using the figure of asyndeton in order to emphasize the solemn nature of the eternal spiritual principle which asserts that the person who does practice that which constitutes sin does possess the characteristic originating from the devil and which characteristic is sinning.
The verb poieō means, “to practice” and its object is the articular accusative feminine singular form of the noun hamartia, “of sinning.”
Therefore, this verb is expressing the idea of a member of the Christian community practicing sin.
The present tense of the verb poieō is a gnomic present which is not used to make a statement of a general, timeless fact but rather is used to describe something that is true any time and does take place.
Therefore, the gnomic present of the verb is expressing the idea of a believer who “at any time does” practices that which constitutes sin.
The noun hamartia is used with reference to mental, verbal and overt acts of personal sin from the perspective that these acts miss the mark of the absolute perfection of God’s character, i.e. His holiness.
Here it is used here in 1 John 3:8 of a believer committing a sin whether mental, verbal or overt act of sin.
Therefore, this word speaks of any thought, word or action on the part of the Christian which is in disobedience to God’s laws.
The third person singular present active indicative form of the verb eimi means “to possess a particular characteristic” which is identified as practicing that which constitutes sin.
This interpretation is indicated by the fact that the previous assertion mentions the believer sinning and the casual clause to follow asserts that the devil has been sinning from the beginning.
The present tense of the verb eimi is a gnomic present which is used to make an absolute statement regarding the person who does at any time practice that which constitutes sin indicating that they are “as an eternal spiritual truth” possessing the characteristic of sinning which originates from the devil.
The noun diabolos means “the devil” and refers to God’s greatest enemy among the fallen angels and is the object of the preposition ek, which is functioning as a marker of source indicating that sinning originates from the devil in that he was the first among the angels to sin against God.
For the devil has been sinning from the beginning” is composed of the following: (1) conjunction hoti (ὅτι), “because” (2) preposition apo (ἀπό), “from” (3) genitive feminine singular form of the noun archē (ἀρχή), “beginning” (4) articular nominative masculine singular form of the noun diabolos (διάβολος), “the devil” (5) third person singular present active indicative form of the verb hamartanō (ἁμαρτάνω), “has been sinning.”
The conjunction hoti is employed with the indicative mood of the verb hamartanō, “has been sinning” in order to form a causal clause which presents the reason for the previous assertion that the person who does practice that which constitutes sin does possess the characteristic originating from the devil.
The verb hamartanō means “to sin” referring to committing a mental, verbal or overt act of sin which is contrary to the will and law of God.
The present tense of this verb is an extending from past present or a present of past action still in progress.
Therefore, the present tense of hamartanō speaks of the devil sinning in the past and emphasizes that he is continuing to do this at the moment John wrote this epistle.
The noun archē means “the beginning” since the word pertains to a point at the beginning of a duration and here it speaks of the point in the past before the creation of mankind when Satan committed his first sin against God which is recorded in Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Isaiah 14:12-14.
Therefore, the word speaks of the beginning of Satan’s rebellion and opposition against God and refers to the point in the past before the creation of mankind when Satan introduced sin into God’s creation through his own rebellion against God.
The noun archē is the object of the preposition apo, which functions as a marker of time which indicates that the prepositional phrase ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς, “from the beginning” answers the question as to how long the devil has been sinning, namely, from the beginning of his rebellion against God.
1 John 3:8 The one who at any time does practice that which constitutes sin does possess the characteristic originating from the devil because this devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose, God’s one and only Son was revealed, namely, in order to destroy the works produced by the devil. (My translation)
The apostle John solemnly presents the recipients of First John another eternal spiritual principle or spiritual axiom related to committing sin which asserts that the person who does at any time practice that which constitutes sin does possess the characteristic originating from the devil.
This characteristic is sinning.
It is important to remember that John is addressing the recipients of this epistle who were sinners justified by faith in Jesus Christ and were living in the Roman province of Asia in the final decade of the first century A.D.
This spiritual axiom is therefore addressed to them and designed to keep them from practicing sin.
This assertion is not about the antichrists he mentions in 1 John 2:18 and identified as non-believers in 1 John 2:19 since he is addressing the conduct of the recipients of this epistle and not the conduct of these false teachers.
John is not saying that the believer who does practice sin is a child of the devil as some translations make it appear he is saying and some expositors would assert he is teaching.
This is indicated by the fact that 1 John never speaks of the antichrists as “fathered by the devil” in the same sense as Christians are “fathered by God” (cf. 1 John 3:9).
Rather, John is saying that the believer who does at any time practice that which constitutes sin does as an eternal spiritual truth exist in the state of possessing the characteristic which originates from the devil and that characteristic is sinning.
This interpretation is supported by the fact that the previous assertion mentions the believer sinning and the casual clause which follows it asserts that the devil has been sinning from the beginning.
Therefore, here in 1 John 3:8, the apostle John is not identifying that this person who practices sin is a child of the devil but rather that they manifest the characteristic which originates from the devil and which characteristic is sinning.
Sin is that which characterizes the devil.
John does not want the recipients of First John to practice that which characterizes the devil.
Rather, he wants them to practice that which characterizes Jesus Christ, which is righteousness which he refers to at the end of 1 John 3:7.
John then presents the reason why the believer who does practice sin possesses the characteristic of sin and which characteristic originates from the devil by asserting that the devil has been sinning from the beginning, which speaks of the first time the devil sinned against God.
Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Isaiah 14:12-14 presents the fall of Satan.
His first act of sin and rebellion against God took place before the creation of the human race.
John is teaching that sin originated among his moral rational creatures with the devil himself.
Therefore, “the beginning” speaks of the beginning of Satan’s rebellion and opposition against God.
It refers to the point in the past before the creation of mankind when Satan introduced sin into God’s creation through his own rebellion against God.
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