Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

Free Grace Media

Of Princeton, New Jersey


AuthorClay Curtis
TitleGod's Purifying Love
Bible Text1 John 3:1-3
Synopsis God loves his children in a manner so as to purify each one within, making his children know we are his sons and shall be saved by his great love so that we repent from lies and persevere unto the end in the truth. Listen
Series 1 John 2018
Article Type Sermon Notes
PDF Format pdf
Word Format doc
Audio HI-FI Listen: God's Purifying Love (32 kbps)
Audio CD Quality Listen: God's Purifying Love (128 kbps)
Length 44 min.

Series: 1 John
Title: God’s Purifying Love
Text: 1 John 3:1-3
Date: November 8, 2018
Place: SGBC, NJ


1 John 3: 1: Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  3: And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.


After all the miracles John witnessed as he walked with Christ, he was most astonished at “what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!” Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to rejoice in the same.


Luke 10: 17: the seventy [the disciples Christ sent forth to preach] returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. 18: And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19: Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20: Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. 21: In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.


Brethren, the most astonishing thing is “what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” 


Subject: God’s Purifying Love


The world believes the lie that God loves everyone and is trying to save everyone.  They exalt sinners teaching that the problem is that sinners will not cooperate and let God save them.  That is false.  It is opposite the truth of the scriptures.


Proposition: God loves his children in a manner so as to purifying each one within, making his children know we are his sons and shall be saved by his great love so that we repent from lies and persevere unto the end in the truth.




1 John 2: 29: If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.


Always read scripture in context.  John is declaring the difference between God’s children and those who are anti-christ who went out from us.  The difference is made by the Holy Spirit sent from Christ and the Father.  John spoke of those who once professed to believe Christ but “went out from us” “that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”  Then writing to children of God, John says, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” (1 Jn 2: 19-20)  By the Holy Spirit we are born-again and made to believe the truth.  It is then that we experience the adoption of children learning that God is our Father and we his children.


God loved his people freely, without a cause in us, in eternity before he made the world. (Eph 1: 3-6)  The Father “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself.”  This great love of adoption is given us through the redemption God’s Son accomplished, making God’s children righteous.


Galatians 4: 4: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5: To redeem [to make righteous] them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  6: And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.  7: Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.


So as John is speaking about the unction given to his people, he says “If ye know that [Christ] is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” (1 Jn 2: 29)  He is saying that if you know that Christ redeemed his people and made us righteous that we might be born again and receive the adoption of children then you know everyone who believes on Christ is born of him.  Notice in one verse John says “doing righteousness” and loving brethren then in another instead of “doing righteousness” he speaks of believing on Christ.  Doing righteousness is believing on Christ.  In each verse, he gives the reason for faith in Christ and love of brethren to be because we are born of God, as he does in 1 John 2: 29.


1 John 3: 10: In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.


1 John 3: 23: And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24: And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him…


1 John 5: 1: Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.


So as John declares that we have the unction of the Holy Spirit so that we have experienced the adoption of children through the righteousness of Christ, he marvels, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God?”




God our Father loved us from eternity and because he loved us he sent his only begotten Son to redeem us from the curse of the law.


1 John 4:9: In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  10: Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.


God so loved his children that he sent his only begotten Son and he sent his only begotten Son into this sin-cursed world when we did not love him.  God did so “that we might live through him.”  That meant God’s only begotten Son would have to lay down  his life.  He had to bear our sin and guilt—bearing in his conscience the shame as he owned our sin and guilt to be his own before the Father he loved.  Then he had to bear our curse under the fierce wrath of justice, separated from the Father he loved who turned his face from him.  Christ had to do so “to be propitiation for our sins”, that is, to make satisfaction to God’s holy law for the sins of his people.


I tried to imagine sending my son into the vilest place I could think of like the underground sewer in New York City.  It is a dirty, disease ridden, rat infested sewer pit.  And I tried to imagine sending my son into such a place to save someone who did not love me.  But that comparison falls short.  There is nothing to compare to the love of God for his people manifested in him sending his only begotten Son into this world to lay down his life for us.  Oh that God would grant us to “be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Eph 3: 18-19)




When it says that we “might” live through him it does not mean “maybe.”  Christ accomplished propitiating God for his people.


Isaiah 38: 17: Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.


Therefore, each of God’s children must be given eternal life. But we came into this world with Adam’s corrupt nature, dead in trespasses and in sins.  God said of his people, “How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations?” (Jer 3: 19)  Out of all the multitudes of sinners, God said, “How shall I make thee my children, my heirs?  How shall I give thee a pleasant land and my goodly inheritance?”  Listen to the answer, “And I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.”


This is John’s whole point throughout his epistle. God makes his child never turn away from him.  John says “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin”—he does not turn away from Christ—“for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin”—God’s incorruptible seed remains in his born-again child and the believer cannot turn away in apostacy—"because he is born of God.”


Jeremiah 32: 37: Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38: And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: 39: And I will give them one heart [one faith, by one Spirit], and one Way [Christ the Way], THAT THEY MAY FEAR ME FOREVER, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they SHALL NOT DEPART FROM ME. 41: Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. 42: For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.


So Christ sends the gospel and finds us dead, unwilling and unable to believe on Christ.  But God, who is rich in mercy, FOR HIS GREAT LOVE WHEREWITH HE LOVED US, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Eph 2: 4-5)




John says because we are born of God’s Spirit through the righteousness of Christ by the love of God “therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”  (1 John 3: 1)


John 1: 10: He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11: He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12: But as many as received him, to them GAVE HE power to become the sons of God, [he gave us the privilege and faith to experience the adoption of children] even to them that believe on his name: 13: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.


The only reason we are holy and righteous is due to God’s love in begetting us again of the Holy Spirit and making us righteous by Christ. When we declare this to the world, they do not know us and even hate us, why?—"because it knew him not.”  Christ said,


John 15: 18: If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19: If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you…22  If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin… 24  If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.


Brethren, when we declare the gospel to our lost friends and loved ones, this is why the world does not know us and even hates us, it is because the world does not know our Lord Jesus Christ nor God our Father. Our gospel pricks their conscience that they are sinners, that salvation is not by their works, but by Christ’s works.




1 John 3: 2: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  3: And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.


Some think this means a believer makes himself pure in heart.  But we cannot make ourselves pure in heart, much less, even as Christ is pure.  We just saw in scripture that we are made pure by the work of the Holy Spirit through Christ’s redemptive work.  The apostle Peter said this the same way as John said it.  But Peter shows us a little more clearly that it is the work of God that purifies us.


1 Peter 1: 21: Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.


By Christ accomplishing the redemption of God’s elect, God raised Christ from the dead and gave him the glory to be Head over the church to send the Holy Spirit to give us life.  Then Peter says this,


1 Peter 1 22: Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit


It attributes this to us simply because God effectually brings his child to believe on Christ our Lord for Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption. But Peter declares that this purity is by Christ, through the Spirit.


1 Peter 2: 23: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever…25:…And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.


Purification of our souls cannot be by a sinner because we sinful flesh.  But by Christ, by the Spirit, by the washing of regeneration, by the incorruptible see of the word, God creates a pure heart within, giving us a new spirit so that we are purified, even as Christ is pure.  When he has done this work in us, he says,


Hebrews 10:22: Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.


So why does Peter and John say we purify ourselves?  It is because when God gives us the unction, the Spirit makes us to know the truth.  For the first time we “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” Then we know “now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  Go through John’s epistle and notice how many times he says “we know”, “ye know”, etc.  It is because every believer to whom God has given one heart by one Spirit “have an unction and ye know all things.”  We know Christ is All!


It is because “Christ, the hope of glory,” is formed in us in the pure heart.  Every man that has this hope in him, God effectually grants repentance to come out from darkness, out from lies, so that we walk no more with them.  God gives us faith to come to Christ the Light, to believe the Truth, to walk in the Light by continuing in the light, in the truth, believing on Christ.  We cannot stop doing so because his seed remaineth in us.  God gives us an “unfeigned”—unhypocritcal, unfake—"love of our brethren” so that we love others who are begotten of him, who believe on Christ and we cannot forsake assembling with them under the truth!


Paul spoke of the lies of a false gospel as darkness and he spoke of light as truth.


2 Corinthians 6: 14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15: And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16: And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  17: Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18: And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 1: Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, LET US CLEANSE OURSELVES FROM all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.


Throughout John’s epistle he speaks of anti-christ who went out from us and their lies as darkness and truth as light, the same way, Paul did.


1 John 1: 5: This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6: If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.


Here is my point.  John saw a problem in the church to whom he wrote with deceivers. He said, “These things have I written unto concerning them that seduce you.”  But John assures his brethren that those born of God shall abide in truth by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. “But the anoiniting which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 Jn 2: 26-27) 


Then he reminds us how we can discern liars from true believers—"If you know Christ is righteous, ye know that everyone that ‘believeth on him’ is born of him.”


Then in our text, John gives us this assurance of God’s purifying love, “Every man who hath this hope in him”—every man on whom God has bestowed his love, every man God has purified  to know we are sons of God, to know when he shall appear then we shall be like him—does what God’s effectual grace makes him do—“purifieth himself, even as he pure”—he forsakes the darkness of lies and believes on the Light, even as Christ is his purity.   


John is assuring us by God’s great love that we have been born of God and experienced the adoption of children because Christ has made us righteous and pure so that we know we shall see Christ and be like him when he returns.  By the purifying love of God every man who has this hope cannot assemble with antichrist but comes out from them and continues in Christ with our brethren because Christ’s seed remains in us and we cannot do otherwise!  This is why John broke out in astonishment at God’s great love for us who have experienced the adoption of children.  So we are astonished and assured of our security in Christ due to God’s great love in calling us his sons.


Psalm 36:7: How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. 8: They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. 9: For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.