1 John gives us three ways that we can know we are God’s children.
- One is the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. “And the one who keeps his commandments resides in him, and he in him. And by this we know that he abides in us: by the Spirit whom he has given to us.” (3:24).
- A second is grounded in the nature of God and our true belief in him. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God” (5:1, see also 4:2).
- The third is the fact that we are obedient to his commands. “Now this is how we can be sure that we know God: if we keep his commandments. The one who says, ‘I know God,’ yet does not keep his commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, truly in that person is the love of God brought to fulfillment. This is how we can be sure that we are in him: the one who claims to abide in God ought to walk just as Jesus walked” (2:3–6).
The question today is where does 3:19–20 fit, as part of #2 or #3. More specifically, is the idiom ἐν τούτῳ in 3:19 anaphoric, pointing back to the previous thought, or does it point forward?