Let no man deceive you - Either by asserting that "you cannot be saved from sin in this life," or "that sin will do you no harm and cannot alter your state, if you are adopted into the family of God; for sin cannot annul this adoption." Hear God, ye deceivers! He that doeth righteousness is righteous, according to his state, nature, and the extent of his moral powers.
Even as he is righteous - Allowing for the disparity that must necessarily exist between that which is bounded, and that which is without limits. As God, in the infinitude of his nature, is righteous; so they, being filled with him, are in their limited nature righteous.
Little children - Notes at 1 John 2:1.
Let no man deceive you - That is, in the matter under consideration; to wit, by persuading you that a man may live in sinful practices, and yet be a true child of God. From this it is clear that the apostle supposed there were some who would attempt to do this, and it was to counteract their arts that he made these positive statements in regard to the nature of true religion.
He that doeth righteousness is righteous - This is laid down as a great and undeniable principle in religion - a maxim which none could dispute, and as important as it is plain. And it is worthy of all the emphasis which the apostle lays on it. The man who does righteousness, or leads an upright life, is a righteous man, and no other one is. No matter how any one may claim that he is justified by faith; no matter how he may conform to the external duties and rites of religion; no matter how zealous he may be for orthodoxy, or for the order of the church; no matter what visions and raptures he may have, or of what peace and joy in his soul he may boast; no matter how little he may fear death, or hope for heaven - unless he is in fact a righteous man, in the proper sense of the term, he cannot be a child of God. Compare Matthew 7:16-23. If he is, in the proper sense of the word, a man who keeps the law of God, and leads a holy life, he is righteous, for that is religion. Such a man, however, will always feel that his claim to be regarded as a righteous man is not to be traced to what he is in himself, but to what he owes to the grace of God.
Even as he is righteous - See the notes at 1 John 3:3. Not necessarily in this world to the same degree, but with the same kind of righteousness. Hereafter he will become wholly free from all sin, like his God and Saviour, 1 John 3:2.
God's character has not changed. He is the same jealous God today as when He gave His law upon Sinai and wrote it with His own finger on the tables of stone. Those who trample upon God's holy law may say, “I am sanctified”; but to be indeed sanctified, and to claim sanctification, are two different things. SL 68.1
The New Testament has not changed the law of God. The sacredness of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is as firmly established as the throne of Jehovah. John writes: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth [transgresseth the law] hath not seen him, neither known him” (1 John 3:4-6). We are authorized to hold in the same estimation as did the beloved disciple those who claim to abide in Christ, to be sanctified, while living in transgression of God's law. He met with just such a class as we have to meet. He said, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning” (verses 7, 8). Here the apostle speaks in plain terms, as he deemed the subject demanded. SL 68.2
The epistles of John breathe a spirit of love. But when he comes in contact with that class who break the law of God and yet claim that they are living without sin, he does not hesitate to warn them of their fearful deception. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 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. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:6-10). SL 68.3Read in context »
We do not earn salvation by our obedience; for salvation is the free gift of God, to be received by faith. But obedience is the fruit of faith. “Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.” 1 John 3:5, 6. Here is the true test. If we abide in Christ, if the love of God dwells in us, our feelings, our thoughts, our purposes, our actions, will be in harmony with the will of God as expressed in the precepts of His holy law. “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” 1 John 3:7. Righteousness is defined by the standard of God's holy law, as expressed in the ten precepts given on Sinai. SC 61.1
That so-called faith in Christ which professes to release men from the obligation of obedience to God, is not faith, but presumption. “By grace are ye saved through faith.” But “faith, if it hath not works, is dead.” Ephesians 2:8; James 2:17. Jesus said of Himself before He came to earth, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:8. And just before He ascended again to heaven He declared, “I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.” John 15:10. The Scripture says, “Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.... He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” 1 John 2:3-6. “Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21. SC 61.2Read in context »
A mere profession of godliness is worthless. It is he that abideth in Christ that is a Christian. For “every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” In every clime, in every nation, our youth should cooperate with God. The only way a person can be pure is to become like-minded with God. How can we know God?—By studying His Word.... SD 297.2
It is through faith in Jesus Christ that the truth is accepted in the heart and the human agent is purified and cleansed. Jesus was “wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Is it possible to be healed, while knowingly committing sin?—No; it is genuine faith that says, I know that I have committed sin, but that Jesus has pardoned my sin; and hereafter I will resist temptation in and through His might. “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” He has an abiding principle in the soul, that enables him to overcome temptation. SD 297.3
“Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not.” God has power to keep the soul who is in Christ, when that soul is under temptation. “Whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” That is, every one who is a true believer is sanctified through the truth, in life and character. “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth [not professeth to do] righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; ... because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.” Now mark where the distinction is made: “Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither is he that loveth not his brother.” “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”39The Youth's Instructor, February 15, 1894. SD 297.4Read in context »
We build on Christ by obeying His word. It is not he who merely enjoys righteousness, that is righteous, but he who does righteousness. Holiness is not rapture; it is the result of surrendering all to God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father. HP 130.3Read in context »
What others may do, what others may say, what others may think of you, will not change God's thoughts toward you. He that doeth righteousness is righteous, and the opinion of man will not change his character.... Jesus loves you; and He takes no man's measurement of your character. You are to behold Jesus and reflect His image. Keep His love in your thoughts. Invite the heavenly Guest to abide with you.... OHC 174.4Read in context »
Those who are looking for the revelation of Christ in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, in life and character will seek to represent Him to the world. “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” They will hate sin and iniquity, even as Christ hated sin. They will keep the commandments of God, as Christ kept His Father's commandments. They will realize that it is not enough to acquiesce in the doctrines of truth, but that the truth must be applied to the heart, practiced in the life, in order that the followers of Christ may be one with Him, and that men may be as pure in their sphere as God is in His sphere. There have been men in every generation who have claimed to be the sons of God, who paid tithes of mint and anise and cummin, and yet who led a godless life; for they neglected the weightier matters of the law—mercy, justice, and the love of God.... RC 59.2
The sons of God will not be like the worldling; for the truth received into the heart will be the means of purifying the soul, and transforming the character, and of making its receiver like-minded with God. Unless a man becomes like-minded with God, he is still in his natural depravity. If Christ is in the heart, He will appear in the home, in the workshop, in the marketplace, in the church. The power of the truth will be felt in elevating, ennobling the mind, and softening and subduing the heart, bringing the whole man into harmony with God. He who is transformed by the truth will shed a light upon the world. He that hath the hope of Christ in him will purify himself even as He is pure. The hope of Christ's appearing is a large hope, a far-reaching hope. It is the hope of seeing the King in His beauty, and of being made like Him.... RC 59.3
He that abideth in Christ is perfected in the love of God, and his purposes, thoughts, words, and actions are in harmony with the will of God expressed in the commandments of His law. There is nothing in the heart of the man who abides in Christ that is at war with any precept of God's law. Where the Spirit of Christ is in the heart, the character of Christ will be revealed, and there will be manifested gentleness under provocation, and patience under trial. “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” Righteousness can be defined only by God's great moral standard, the Ten Commandments. There is no other rule by which to measure character.—The Signs of the Times, June 20, 1895. RC 59.4Read in context »
“The varied interests of the work are to be built up with care. From this time onward responsibilities will rapidly increase. God's will, the perfect rule of righteousness, is to be revealed in your work. Commune often every day with your God, and listen to the voice that says to you, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10). As your responsibilities increase with the advancement of the message, temptations will also increase. As the magnitude of the work presses itself upon the soul, humble your hearts before God. Act faithfully your part in the work, and stand faithfully in your individual accountability before God. God is no respecter of persons. He that doeth righteousness is righteous. A mere profession is of no value, and knowledge is of worth only as it is used righteously. TDG 78.4Read in context »