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First John: 1 John 2:17b-The One Who Does the Will of God Experiences Eternal Life Lesson # 75

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First John: 1 John 2:17b-The One Who Does the Will of God Experiences Eternal Life

Notes & Transcripts
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (ESV)
Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom
Lesson # 75
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (ESV)
But whoever does the will of God abides forever” expresses the contrast between the people belonging to Satan’s kingdom and the believer who does the will of the Father.
Whoever does the will of God” is composed of the following: (1) articular nominative masculine singular present active participle form of the verb poieō (ποιέω), “whoever does” (2) accusative neuter singular form of the noun thelēma (θέλημα), “the will” (3) genitive masculine singular form of the noun theos (θεός), “of God.”
The verb poieō is transitive and means, “to obey” because in context, it is employed with the noun thelēma, “the will” which is modified by the noun theos, “of God.”
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To “obey” means, “to comply with or follow the commands, prohibitions, and instructions of another, to respond conformably in action to another, to submit something.”
If we paraphrase this definition, we can say that the believer who obeys the will of God as it is revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Word of God is complying with, following the commands and prohibitions of, responding conformably in action to, submitting to the will of God.
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 in means that the believer who “at any time does” obey the will of God lives with reference to that which is eternal.
The noun thelēma is used with reference to the will of the Father, which is indicated by the noun theos which modifies it.
The latter means “God” referring to the Father which is indicated by the word’s articular construction which in the New Testament commonly signifies the first member of the Trinity unless otherwise indicated by the context.
Abides forever” is composed of the following: (1) third person singular present active indicative form of the verb menō (μένω), “abides” (2) preposition eis (εἰς) (3) articular accusative masculine singular form of the noun aiōn (αἰών), “forever.”
The verb menō means, “to live” and is expressing the idea of living with reference to that which is eternal as a result of obeying the will of the Father.
The present tense of this verb is a customary or stative present used to signal an ongoing state expressing the idea of the believer existing in the state of living with reference to that which is eternal, i.e. experiencing eternal life by experiencing fellowship with God.
The present tense of the verb menō also functions as a gnomic present which is used to make a statement of a general, timeless fact.
It expresses the spiritual principle that the believer who does obey the will of the Father is “as an eternal spiritual truth” living forever in the sense that they are experiencing fellowship, which is experiencing eternal life.
The noun aiōn means “eternal” but it does not refer to a future existence but rather something a person can experience in the present as indicated by the present tense of the verb menō.
Thus, John is not using this word for the believer living forever in the future but rather existing in the present state of experiencing eternal life as a result of obeying the will of the Father.
If John was speaking of that which will take place in the future in the life of the believer who obeys the Father’s will, he would have put the word in the future tense.
It can be argued that this is a futuristic present which is used to describe a future event, and typically adds the connotations of immediacy and certainty but most instances involve verbs whose lexical meaning involves anticipation and such is not the case with the verb menō.
If John wanted to speak of a future event, it would have been simple for him to put this verb in the future tense.
Therefore, the noun aiōn in denotes the concept of the believer experiencing eternal life and thus fellowship with God as a result of obeying the Father’s will for their life.
The noun aiōn is the object of the preposition eis which is not a marker of an extent of time but rather it is functioning as a marker of reference expressing the idea of someone living “with reference to” that which is eternal as a result of obeying the Father’s will.
Each one of you continue making it your habit of not loving the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone does at any time love this world, then the love for the Father is unequivocally not existing in him. 16 Secondly, each and every one of these things in the world (the flesh’s lust resulting in a person’s lust resulting in the arrogance produced by material possessions) are unequivocally not originating from the Father. On the contrary, they are originating from this world. 17 Furthermore, this world is passing away along with its lust. However, the one who at any time does God’s will is living with reference to that which is eternal. (My translation)
The will of the Father here in is a reference to obeying the Lord Jesus Christ’s Spirit inspired command recorded in to love one another as He loves the believer.
This is indicated by John’s assertion in .
This verse teaches that the cosmic system of Satan is passing out of existence from the earth because the command to love one another is an historical fact in the life of Jesus Christ and the lives of the member of His church who are obeying His command to love one another.
Therefore, the will of God in refers to obeying the command to love one another since teaches that obedience to this command is the reason why this world system of Satan is passing away.
John is not teaching that one’s obedience results in receiving eternal life and living with God forever.
In other words, he is not referring to justification but rather the believer experiencing their sanctification after justification.
The Lord Jesus Christ, and His apostles including John taught that justification is through faith alone in Jesus Christ (, ; ; ; ) and not by obedience.
A sinner can never obey God until they receive the capacity to do so and they receive this capacity at the moment of justification when they receive the indwelling of the Spirit.
When a person possesses the Spirit, they now have the capacity to obey God.
Therefore, in , the fact that John is speaking of obedience to the will of God rather than faith in the Lord Jesus Christ at justification indicates that he must be referring to the believer experiencing their sanctification and fellowship with God after justification as a result of obeying the will of the Father.
Specifically, they experience fellowship with God and sanctification as a result of obeying the command to love one another.
This justification results in receiving the gift of eternal life, which is first experienced by the sinner the moment they receive this gift.
However, when they sin, they lose this experience.
However, they gain it back again through confessing their sins () to be restored to fellowship.
They maintain that fellowship by obeying the will of the Father, which is revealed by the Spirit through the various commands and prohibitions in the Word of God.
The command to love one another summarizes all the commands and prohibitions in Scripture related to the believer’s relationship to their fellow believer.
Therefore, in , the apostle John is presenting a contrast between those who love the cosmic system of Satan and material possessions and those who love their fellow believer and thus love God who is the author of the command to love one another since, as to His nature, God is love.
Those who love the cosmic system by lusting after material possessions are not experiencing fellowship with God and thus eternal life while on the other hand, the one who is obeying the command to love one another is.
Thus, the warning contained in for the recipients of this epistle who were Christians located in the Roman province of Asia is that if you love the cosmic system of Satan and material possessions, you will not experience fellowship with God and thus eternal life.
The encouragement in these verses is that they will experience eternal life and fellowship with God by obeying His will which is accomplished by obeying the command to love one another.
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