For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world (1 John 2:16).
Such desire and lust is not from the Father, but is from the world. The origin of sinful lust and desire is not God the Father. Its origin is the world opposed to God. Its root is in the “domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13). He is “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31). “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). To walk in the darkness of the world is to participate in its evil lusts and desires. We should pause and remember that the default position for you and me is darkness. As unbelievers, we are dead in sin. We walk in tune with the world; the Evil One has his way within us. The lusts of the flesh are our way of life. The Apostle Paul points out all of this in Ephesians 2:1-3. There is no neutral zone or demilitarized zone where a truce exists between God and the devil. Light and darkness are as incompatible lust and love. “The world and the church are thus portrayed in sharp contrast to each other, two entirely separate and distinct groups of people, the one under the dominion of Satan, the other born of God and knowing God” (Stott, 1981, p. 102).
No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God (1 John 3:9).
“The dividing line between God’s realm and that of Satan is here considered to run between two groups of people, the children of God and the children of the devil” (Haas et al., 1972, p. 93). There is no neutral ground between the two groups. There is no DMZ, De-Militarized Zone; we are on one side or the other. “John draws the conclusion that those who are on the same side as the Son of God, the great opponent of the devil, cannot follow the devil’s way and live in sin” (Marshall, 1978, p. 185). This conclusion offers a word of assurance to those who seek to follow Christ. John draws out an implication of this contrast in verse 10.
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20).
“The one who claims love for God, while practicing hatred toward others, neither speaks the truth nor belongs to its sphere” (Smalley, 2008, p. 251). “John does not mince words. If what a man is contradicts what he says, he is a liar” (Stott, 1981, p. 170). “John admits no position of indifference” (Westcott, 1967, p. 161). In football, there is a neutral zone between the offensive line and the defensive line. It is only eleven inches wide, the length of a football. Here, you are on one side or the other. There is no third position. There is no neutral ground in this spiritual warfare, no demilitarized zone.
He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life (1 John 5:12).
Verse 12 reads, He who has the Son has the life. There is a present participle and then a present tense. The action of the present participle is coordinate with the action of the main verb (Dana & Mantey, 1954, p. 230). “Eternal life is in the Son and may be found nowhere else” (Stott, 1981, p. 183). The next clause states the negative, He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. “It is as impossible to have life without having Christ as it is to have Christ without thereby having life also. This is because the Son is life” (Stott, 1981, p. 183). Once again, there is no middle ground, no neutral territory, no demilitarized zone. Knowing on what side you stand and live and work of great comfort and assurance. It can also accentuate the need for gospel preaching and evangelism.
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Dana, H. E. & Mantey, J. R. (1954). A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. New York: MacMillan.
Hass, C., et al. (1972). The Letters of John. New York: United Bible Societies.
Marshall, I. H. (1978). The Epistles of John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Smalley, S. S. (2008). 1, 2, and 3 John, Revised. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Stott, J. R. W. (1981). The Epistles of John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Westcott, B. F. (1966). The Epistles of St. John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.