Recently, we searched the first Epistle of John for purpose clauses, introduced by the word “hina,” to learn why John wrote the epistle. Now we want to search First John again for the same word, used about twenty times in this book, to learn God’s purposes toward His family members.
He Wanted Us to be His Children
“Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that (hina) we should be called the children (tekn ia—born ones, an affectionate relationship) of God” (3:1). Here is God’s primary purpose toward us in this epistle: He wanted us to be His children. Making this possible required translating us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col. 1:13), a transaction that required a foreign kind of love. This is the idea contained in the word “potapos” which is translated “what manner of” in this verse. This love cannot be found in the world—only in Him who is Love.
He Wants Us to be Clean
In Order that …”If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to (hina) forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteous-. ness” (1:9). When we were converted Christ’s blood cleansed us completely and judicially. However, John’s first chapter reminds us that the principle of sin, the flesh, still lives within us. He says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1:8). Further, John shows us that this sin principle will manifest itself in our lives, just as fruit on a plant reveals its root. John says, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1:10). What can we do when sin defiles us and breaks our fellowship with the Father? The Father’s expressed purpose for all believers, “that He may forgive us,” is fulfilled when we confess (homologeo – to admit, to name the sin) our sins. Faithfully, and on righteous grounds, the Lord forgives our confessed sin and fellowship is restored. The blood of Christ is forever efficacious to remove any and every defilement.
He Wants Us to be Clear of Strange Children
“They went out from us… that (bin a—in order that) they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (2:19). The Psalmist prayed, “Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children” (144:11). To help us understand the reason for separating believers and unbelievers in an assembly, John records the negative effects a “mixed multitude” has on the real company. He also shows us how God responded to the mixing: He removed the corrupting teachers from the assemblies of His children.
An earlier example of a mixed multitude is found among the people coming out of Egypt. The mixed group was not actually of Israel, and had not felt the effects of the redeeming blood. Early on the journey, they “fell a lusting,” causing Israel to cry, “We remember the fish, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, the garlic,” in memory of all the food they ate in Egypt. This situation can be compared to a local church where people not truly born again have unknowingly been allowed in. If some members profess but do not possess divine life, the whole company may become worldly in its attempts to appeal to those not attracted to the written Word nor the Person of the Word (the Lord Jesus Christ). In John’s letter, the situation was even more serious. These unregenerate ones were teachers promoting doctrines that denied the central truths concerning the absolute deity and perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were antichrist within the company that belonged to Him. Mercifully, they left the gathering in order “that they might be made manifest that they all are not of us” (not saved).
He Wants Us to be Confident
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that (hina) when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (2:28 NKJV). In the early part of the epistle, John distinguished between our position of being in Christ and our condition of abiding in Him (cf. 2:5 and 2:6). The former refers to our relationship with Christ and the latter to our fellowship with Him. The former is like a chain that cannot be broken, whereas the latter is like a thin thread that remains intact based on our conduct and the confession of our sins.
The word “parresia,” translated “confidence,” refers to speaking in an open, unreserved way. As Christians, we should strive to maintain open communication with God so that “when He appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him” (2:28). The confidence we are to have is in view of the imminent return of the Lord. Christians are to live “like men that wait for their Lord,” (Luke 12:36) because He may come today to take us into His presence.
The word “parresia” occurs three other times in this epistle. The first is found in 4:17. Here “parresia” likely refers to the transliterated word “parousia,” (presence or being with), which speaks of our position in Christ. In 4:17 we read, “that we may have confidence. . .because as He is, so are we in this world.” The second and third occurrences, 3:21 and 5:14, refer to confidence in our prayer life: “if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us.”
He Wants Us to be Compassionate
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that (hina) we should love one another” (3:11). John told the believers to expect nothing but hatred from the world. Conversely, as God’s family members, they were to be marked by love. The Lord said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). This mark of discipleship was not only meant to be heard in our speech, but was also meant to be acted out. John asks: if a man observes his brother is in need, yet “shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (3:17). James teaches us that a belief that does not behave is not a true belief. Charity without compassion is not the kind of love our Savior talked about.
He Wants Us to be Consecrated
“For this is the love of God, that (hina) we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not burdensome” (5:3). Love will keep us clean and confident (4:17-18), and will also keep us compassionate. As well, according to this verse, love will also keep us consecrated. The Lord Jesus taught, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Obeying the Lord and desiring to serve Him are the true tests of a believer’s love for the Lord. The Hebrew bond-servant faced the same tests. If he chose to confess his love for his master, he would then prove it by having his ear bored through with an awl. After this act, the Hebrew servant would profess he was not his own, and would serve his master forever. Is our love for our Master less than this? Do we respond less to our Lord and Master Who purchased us and teaches us that His commandments are not a burden? The Lord loved us and wanted us in His family. Now His purpose is for us to display the characteristics of His family.