YOU ARE OF GOD – 1 John 4

Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

1 John 4:4 RSV

1 John 4:4; 1 John 4:5; and 1 John 4:6 all begin with an emphatic personal pronoun: (1 John 4:4) “ye” (HUMEIS)

(1 John 4:5) “they” (AUTOI)

(1 John 4:6) “we” (HEMEIS)

These refer respectively to (1 John 4:4) John’s readers in general, (1 John 4:5) to the false teachers, and (1 John 4:6) to John the apostle and other apostolic witnesses of Christ and the revelation of his doctrine to mankind.

This distinction is important.

By refusing to listen to the false teachers, the sheep have overcome them, conquered them; the seducers have gone out, unable to hold their own within the fold.

“He that is in the world” is a reference to the devil, the prince of this world.

It also includes the meaning that the indwelling God in Christian hearts is greater than any particular advocate of Satan’s teaching.

Apart from Revelation, where it is used 17 times, 1 John uses the verb to overcome more often than any other book (6 times).

“He that is in you” is a clear reference to the fact of God indwelling, or being “in” Christians, a truth which is no different in any manner from Christ or the Holy Spirit dwelling in them.

He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

John 8:47 RSV

The only proof needed to demonstrate that men are sons of the devil is that of their being unwilling to “hear” in the sense of “obeying” the word of God.

For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
1 Corinthians 4:15 RSV
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