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1 John 3:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
7 Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous;
Little children. Τεκνια. This is such language as an aged apostle would be likely to use when addressing a church, and its use in this epistle may be regarded as evidence that John had reached an advanced period of life when he wrote the epistle.
Let no one 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 some would attempt to do this, and it was to counteract their arts that he made these positive statements regarding the nature of true religion.
The one who practices 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 the apostle lays on. The man who does righteousness, or leads an upright life, is a righteous man, and no other one is. No matter how anyone 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; regardless of what Bible wisdom 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 (See below), he cannot be a child of God. Compare Matt. 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.
As he is righteous. Righteous; upright; just: (צֶדֶק tsedeq; ) refers to one who is in a righteous standing before God, who is characterized by righteous actions and morals in accordance with God’s moral standards. What does this mean? The person adheres to God’s standards, His moral code. He does what is required according to this moral standard. (Ps 7:9) He is honest, fair, and truthful in his actions, which are correct according to God’s standards. He is not deviant in any way (Lev. 19:36). He is able to make a moral judgment when deciding what is right and wrong without prejudice. – Gen. 18:23-24; Deut. 16:20; Prov. 3:33; Zeph. 2:3; James 3:18.
We need to be under the influence of this hope of being like the Savior, he puts forth those efforts in struggling against sin and in overcoming his evil propensities, which are necessary to make him pure. The apostle would not deny that we are dependent on Divine aid for the success of these efforts. Still, as is often done in the sacred writings, he brings into view the agency of man himself as essentially connected with success. Comp. Phil. 2:12. The particular thought here is that the hope of being like Christ and being permitted to dwell with him will lead a man to earnest efforts to become holy and will be followed by such a result.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews