Purpose Clauses in The First Epistle of John (part 2)

Lloyd Cain

In our previous article we went through the First Epistle of John searching for purpose clauses introduced by the word "hina," which would show us why John wrote the epistle. Let us look at the same word, used about twenty times in this book, to see God’s purposes toward those who are in His family.

He Wanted Us to be His Children

"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that (hina) we should be called the children ( teknia -born ones, an affectionate relationship) of God." Here is God’s primary purpose toward us in this epistle. He wanted us to become His children. This transaction to translate us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col 1:13) required a foreign-kind of love. The idea of something from a different country is contained in the word "potapos" which is translated "what manner of" in this verse. Since we are His children, we now have all the benefits associated with His being our Father. One of those benefits is the prospect of our future likeness to the Lord Jesus for, "When we shall see Him we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is."

He Wants Us to be Clean

"But if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to (hina — in order that He may) forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,, (1:9). We were cleansed totally and judicially at conversion. In this first chapter, however, John shows us that there is still within us the principle of sin, the flesh, for "If we say that we have no sin we deceive our selves and the truth is not in us" (1:8). Further, he has shown us that this inner principle will manifest itself. The root will be displayed in the fruit for "If we say that we have not sinned we make him a liar and His word is not in us" (1:10).

What does the Christian do when he sins and fellowship with the Father is broken and he is defiled? "In order that He may forgive us," is an expression of the Father’s purpose. This purpose is fulfilled when we confess our sins. In faithfulness and on righteous grounds, He forgives the sin, and restores fellowship. The blood is forever efficacious to remove any and every defilement.

He Wants Us to be Clear from Strange Children

"They went out from us that (hina-in order that) they might be made manifest that they were not all of us" (2:19). It would seem here that God has come in and acted in His sovereignty by removing these corrupting teachers from the assemblies of His children.

Among those coming out of Egypt was a mixed multitude, a company not truly of Israel and who had not felt the effects of the redeeming blood. Early on the journey they "fell a lusting" and caused Israel to cry, "We remember the fish ... the cucumbers ... the melons ... leeks ... the onions the garlic," all of which were the things on which they had fed in Egypt. Their situation is similar to a local church where, unknowingly, unsaved people have been allowed in. There is profession but no possession of Divine life. The company becomes worldly in its aspirations as it attempts to appeal to those for whom the Word and the Person of Christ have no attraction.

In this letter the situation was even more serious for these unregenerate ones were actually teachers who were teaching doctrines which denied the central truths concerning the absolute deity and perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were "antichrist" within the company that belonged to Him. Mercifully, they went out "in order that they might be made manifest that they ... are not of us."

He Wants Us to be Confident

"And now little children, abide in Him that (hina) when He appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming,, (2:28). In the early part of the epistle John distinguished between being in Him, our position, and abiding in Him, our condition (cf.2:5 and 2:6). The former refers to our relationship and the latter to our fellowship with Him.

God willing this valuable teaching will be continued.

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