1 John Chapter 2

1 John Chapter 2




By David L. Hannah

1 John 2:1

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

[NIV] My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

* My little children, *

UBS says,

“preferably ‘my dear children,’ since the Greek diminutive form expresses intimacy rather than age.”

JFB mentions,

“The diminutive expresses the tender affection of an aged pastor and spiritual father.”

Robertson mentions,

“John is now an old man and regards his readers as his little children.”

* these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. *

Zondervan tells us,

“Lest any conclude from his previous statements that sin must be considered inevitable in the life of the believer and not a matter of urgent concern since God forgives sins through Christ, John hastens to add, ‘I write this to you so that you will not sin.’ There is no question at all in his mind that sin and obedience to God are irreconcilable.”

Robertson correctly points out,

“John has no patience with professional perfectionists (1 John 1:8-10), but he has still less with loose-livers like some of the Gnostics who went to all sorts of excesses without shame.”

In the first Chapter of this Epistle John told his readers that he was writing to “bear witness” to them what he, and others, had seen, heard, looked upon, and handled (1 John 1:1-2); that he was declaring to them what he had seen (1 John 1:3); and that he was writing these things to them so that their “joy may be full” (1 John 1:4). Now he says he’s writing to remind them that the goal of a believer is to refrain from sin (current verse). Gnostics were teaching that sin didn’t matter. John was teaching that it did!

* And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, *

Concerning “advocate,” Vincent comments in his notes on John 14:16,

“parakleeton (NT:3875). Only in John’s Gospel and First Epistle (John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7; 1 John 2:1). From para (NT:3844), ‘to the side of,’ and kaleoo (NT:2564), ‘to summon.’ Hence, originally, ‘one who is called to another’s side to aid him,’ as an advocate in a court of justice.”

This verse shows us the beautiful balance of the Gospel: the goal of the Christian is to “sin not,” but the balance is that when we fail to achieve the goal we have an Advocate with God, who is our Judge, and Who just happens to be our Father as well. However, this beautiful Truth; the Truth that when we sin we have One Who intercedes for us (Rom 8:34), One Who for His sake the Father forgives us (Eph 4:32), and One Whose blood continuously cleanses us (1 John 1:7); doesn’t free us to sin.

We can never be free to sin because sin, in its’ very nature, is bondage (John 8:34); and we can’t be free to be bound because if we’re bound then we’re not free. Freedom and bondage are diametrically opposed to one another. You’re either one or the other; you’re either in prison or you’re not. Paul was amazed that anyone could entertain such a thought when we, as believers, have died to sin (Rom 6:1-2).

Though we’re not free to sin we understand that we’re not yet perfectly sinless. That’s why John taught in the previous Chapter that we’re deceiving ourselves if we don’t think that we have a need of the continuous cleansing of the blood of the Lamb (1 John 1:8), and we’re implying that God is a liar (1 John 1:10).

* Jesus Christ the righteous: *

The Lord Jesus is able to plead our cause before the Father.

Zondervan puts it this way,

“His worthiness to perform this function rests on the fact that even as God is righteous (1:9), so he too merits the title ‘The Righteous One.’”

JFB adds this insight,

“As our ‘advocate,’ Christ is not a mere suppliant petitioner. He pleads for us on the ground of justice, or righteousness, as well as mercy. Though He can say nothing good of us, He can say much for us. It is His righteousness, or obedience to the law, and endurance of its full penalty for us, on which He grounds His claim for our acquittal.”

When it comes to the person of our Father, Jesus is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Heb 1:3). If we’ve seen Jesus we’ve seen the Father (John 14:9). Everything the Father is Jesus is. He is “in very nature God” (Phil 2:6 NIV) because in “the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

Our Advocate, the One Who pleads our cause before the Father, is Himself “righteous.” The Righteous One pleads our cause before our Righteous Judge. As we’ve previously shown, God forgives us for Christ’s sake (Eph 4:32). Jesus fully satisfied the justice of God through His death on Calvary’s cross, and consequently, justice demands our forgiveness. That’s why John said that God “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

(Verse One of Chapter Two in my own words.)

My spiritual children, you who I’ve fathered in the faith, I’m not writing these things to give you an excuse to sin, but rather, so you won’t sin. That said, when any one of you does sin we have an Advocate, One Who pleads our cause before the Father, and that Advocate is Jesus Christ, He Who is righteous, and has consequently earned our Father’s attention.

1 John 2:2

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

[NIV] He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

* And he is the propitiation for our sins: *

Concerning “propitiation,” Vincent informs us,

to appease, to conciliate to one’s self, which occurs Luke 18:13; Heb 2:17. The noun means originally an appeasing or propitiating, and passes, through Alexandrine usage, into the sense of the means of appeasing, as here. The construction is to be particularly noted; for, in the matter of our sins; the genitive case of that for which propitiation is made.”

He goes on to tell us,

“to quote Canon Westcott, ‘that the scriptural conception of the verb is not that of appeasing one who is angry, with a personal feeling, against the offender; but of altering the character of that which, from without, occasions a necessary alienation, and interposes an inevitable obstacle to fellowship.’”

Adam Clarke comments,

“The atoning sacrifice for our sins. This is the proper sense of the word as used in the Septuagint, where it often occurs.”

Zondervan presents it this way,

“God’s holiness demands punishment for man’s sin. God, therefore, out of love (1 John 4:10; John 3:16), sent his Son to make substitutionary atonement for the believer’s sin. In this way the Father’s wrath is propitiated (satisfied, appeased); his wrath against the Christian’s sin has been turned away and directed toward Christ.”

Our iniquities and sins had separated us from the Father, causing His face to be hidden from us (Isaiah 59:1-2), but because of “his great love wherewith he loved us” (Eph 2:4) He “was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Cor 5:19). How did He accomplish this act of reconciliation? He “took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins” (2 Cor 5:21; TLB), and because of the great victory of the cross, where the death of the Lord Jesus Christ took away our sins (John 1:29), He no longer counts our sins against us (2 Cor 5:19), having already counted them against His Son. In other words, in every way the death of Christ forever satisfied the justice of a Holy God, propitiating (appeasing) Him. Let it be known that He is forever “just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom 3:26).

* and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. *

We who are believers understand that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was sufficient to carry away our sins, and the sins of all who place their trust in Him, but what of the phrase “also for the sins of the whole world”?

The individual who believes in UNIVERSAL RECONCILIATION, the doctrine that teaches that all men will eventually be saved, will use this Scripture to demonstrate his teaching. They would say that the sacrifice of Christ has satisfied the justice of God for everyone in this world, and therefore, everyone will eventually be saved.

The individual who believes in DIVINE ELECTION, the doctrine that teaches that God has pre-determined who will be saved and who will be damned, will explain that this phrase should be understood in a limited sense to refer to the world of the elect. Only those pre-determined, by God, to be saved, they would contend, are intended by this phrase; because it’s only for those individuals that Christ has become the propitiation for sins.

In voicing this opinion of a limited meaning intended in this phrase John Gill says,

“that is, not for the Jews only, for John was a Jew, and so were those he wrote unto, but for the Gentiles also. Nothing is more common in Jewish writings than to call the Gentiles amle, ‘the world’; and Mlweh lk, ‘the whole world’; and Mlweh twmwa, ‘the nations of the world’ {l}; see Gill on ‘John 12:19’; and the word ‘world’ is so used in Scripture; see # John 3:16; 4:42; Rom 11:12, 15; and stands opposed to a notion the Jews have of the Gentiles, that hrpk Nhl Nya, ‘there is no propitiation for them.’”

(Gill, who teaches DIVINE ELECTION, has much more to say on this phrase, and you can read his thoughts in his Commentary on this verse.)

The rest of the Evangelical world stands somewhere between the two above mentioned ideologies.

JFB explains it this way,

“Christ’s ‘advocacy’ is limited to believers (1 John 2:1; 1 John 1:7): His propitiation extends as widely as sin extends: see on 2 Pet 2:1, ‘denying the Lord that bought them.’ ‘The whole world’ cannot be restricted to the believing portion of the world (compare 1 John 4:14; and ‘the whole world,’ 1 John 5:19). ‘Thou, too, art part of the world, so that thine heart cannot deceive itself and think, The Lord died for Peter and Paul, but not for me’ [LUTHER].”

Barnes voices this opinion,

“This is one of the expressions occurring in the New Testament which demonstrate that the atonement was made for all people, and which cannot be reconciled with any other opinion. If he had died only for a part of the race, this language could not have been used. The phrase, ‘the whole world,’ is one which naturally embraces all people; is such as would be used if it be supposed that the apostle meant to teach that Christ died for all people; and is such as cannot be explained on any other supposition. If he died only for the elect, it is not true that he is the ‘propitiation for the sins of the whole world’ in any proper sense, nor would it be possible then to assign a sense in which it could be true.”

Clarke tells us,

“The apostle does not say that he died for any select part of the inhabitants of the earth, or for some out of every nation, tribe, or kindred; but for All Mankind; and the attempt to limit this is a violent outrage against God and his word.”

Vincent shares these thoughts with us,

“‘The propitiation is as wide as the sin’ (Bengel). If men do not experience its benefit, the fault is not in its efficacy. Düsterdieck (cited by Huther) says, ‘The propitiation has its real efficacy for the whole world; to believers it brings life, to unbelievers death.’”

I’m totally convinced that God “hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4), and that we who He foreknew He “also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29); but I’m equally convinced that predestination operates only within the parameters of His foreknowledge (Rom 8:28), and it does absolutely nothing to limit our freedom of choice. God, Who stands outside of time, see you and Adam at the same time. Before there was Adam, before there was planet earth, God already knew you (Eph 1:4). He knew every choice you would ever make because He already saw you make those choices; and consequently, He pre-determined to use your choices, rather good or bad, to work “good” in you (Rom 8:28), and ultimately to work towards the end of conforming you to the image of His Son (Rom 8:29), which is His eternal purpose for your life.

I’m in agreement with the vast majority of the Evangelical Commentators. I’m convinced that John is telling us that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is sufficient to save the entire world; and consequently, everyone in the entire world who embraces Christ as Savior, the “whosoever” crowd (John 3:16), will enjoy having the wonderful knowledge that their sins are forgiven, and they are cleansed (1 John 1:9).

A PERSONAL NOTE: It’s exceedingly difficult for me to embrace the doctrine of Divine Election. In order for me to do so I’d have to accept that a God who reveals Himself as Love (1 John 4:8) has purposely created persons to suffer eternal agony in the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:14-15), and has done this for “the good pleasure of his will” (Eph 1:5), “according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself” (Eph 1:9), because He “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph 1:11). Furthermore, I’d have to believe that everything you and I have suffered in this world has not been the result of living in an imperfect world where bad choices are made by us, and others, and the resultant bad consequences are suffered by those who are affected by those choices; but rather because God had pre-determined to cause us pain for His good pleasure, because He gets some measure of satisfaction from intentionally hurting us by carrying out His eternal purpose to do so. In other words, before the world was created God had already determined to hurt us, rather we were part of the Divine Elect or not. If we are part of the Elect then God only planned, from before creation itself, to hurt us throughout our lifetime; but if we’re not part of the Elect then God planned to hurt us throughout this lifetime, and then because the pain we suffered in this life was insufficient for Him, He plans to hurt us forever, and through no fault of our own because, if we were created to be an object of His wrath rather than part of the Divine Election, then our sins are not a result of our rejection of Him, but rather of His rejection of us.

I once heard a minister on the radio teaching on this doctrine of Divine Election. He said, as an example, that if several apples fell from the tree in a windstorm, and you only picked up three of those apples, you weren’t being unfair by not picking up the rest of them. However, my response to that example is that if you create in those apples the ability to reason and the ability to feel pain, and then torment them throughout the endless ages of eternity then YOU ARE BEING UNFAIR!! We say that God is Love, but that He’s also Justice. We then contend that His justice makes Hell necessary. Think this through with me. God creates an individual for the purpose of that individual being an “object of wrath,” one who will reject Him. However, the individual doesn’t choose to reject God because He’s been given a choice, but rather He rejects God because God chose to create Him to do so, and he powerless to do anything else. God created this individual to reject Him simply so that He could show “his wrath, and to make his power known” (Rom 9:22) to those He created to accept Him. Now, those who accept Him don’t choose to accept Him as a result of their being given a choice, but rather they accept God because God chose to create Him to do so, and they’re powerless to do anything else. Each individual simply does what he’s been programmed to do, powerless to do anything else. The individual created to accept Christ then enjoys the rapture of Heaven forever, but the individual created to reject Him is then burned and tormented forever, for the pleasure of the Creator, even though that individual never had a choice. Then this Creator claims, “God is Love!” (1 John 4:8).

I don’t believe, I can’t believe, in this God. The God I believe in is Love! If God created man without the freedom of choice, then all men would go to Heaven, as those who teach Universalism contend, because God’s “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9). I don’t believe, as the Divine Election crowd does, that Peter is simply referring to “all” in the crowd of the Divine Elect.

(Verse Two of Chapter Two in my own words.)

And this Righteous One has totally satisfied the justice of God regarding our sins; and He has accomplished this, not only for our sins, but also for the sins of every individual in the world.

1 John 2:3

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

[NIV] We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.

* And hereby we do know that we know him, *

Regarding “know,” Vincent comments,

“ginooskomen (NT:1097). Or, ‘perceive.’ By experience, from day to day; distinguished from oidamen (NT:1492) ‘we know,’ expressing absolute, immediate knowledge of a fact once for all.”

Thayer explains it this way,

“to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel.”

In the first twelve verses of this Epistle (1 John 1:1-2:2) John expresses the idea of knowing God as walking in the Light; now he simply speaks of it as knowing God. However, we’ll see shortly that they’re one and the same thing (1 John 2:8-11). When an individual knows God he has clarity; or, he is walking in the Light.

John wants his readers to be certain about some important issues: he wants us to know that we know God (current verse); that we’re “in him” (1 John 2:5); that we are living in the “last time” (1 John 2:18); that we know the truth (1 John 2:20-21); that every one who “doeth righteousness is born of him” (1 John 2:29); that when He appears we’re going to be like Him (1 John 3:2); that He “was manifested to take away our sins” (1 John 3:5); that we have “passed from death unto life” (1 John 3:14); that no one who hates his brother has “eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15); that when we genuinely love others we “are of the truth” (1 John 3:18-19); that He abides “in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (1 John 3:24); that every “spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God” (1 John 4:2); that “the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” is recognized by who listens to the writers of Scripture (1 John 4:6); that we dwell in God and God dwells in us (1 John 4:13); that “we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments” (1 John 5:2); that we may absolutely “know that we have eternal life” (1 John 5:13); that when God hears us our prayers are answered (1 John 5:15); that the child of God doesn’t live in sin (1 John 5:18); that we are “of God” (1 John 5:19); and that “the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 5:20).

* if we keep his commandments. *

Zondervan tells us,

“To these ‘Gnostic’ opponents, knowledge of God came through ‘mystical insights’ or by a ‘direct vision of God.’ At the same time, they were uninterested in moral conduct and unconcerned about human behavior.”

What’s John referring to when he teaches that genuine Christianity is to be recognized by the individual’s keeping of the commandments of Christ?

Regarding “commandments,” UBS tells us,

“The plural (1 John 2:3; 3:22, 24; 5:2; 2 John 6) is used to indicate that the reference is to deeds which give concrete form to the one, great commandment of love.”

Wesley adds this insight,

“Particularly those of faith and love.”

Adam Clarke says,

“If we keep the commandments of God, loving him with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves, we have the fullest proof that we have the true saving knowledge of God and his Christ.”

John answers this question for us. He tells us to “keep his commandments” (1 John 3:22), and then shows us that he’s referring to the commandments to have faith in Christ and Love for people (1 John 3:23). Faith and Love are the commandments of the New Testament. Everything it tells us to do can be placed under the category of “faith,” or the category of “Love.” If we excel at trusting God and loving people then we will excel at the Christian life. Faith and Love are the only two roads that lead to success in the arena of “overcoming” our sins. Faith overcomes the world (1 John 5:4-5), and Love fulfills the Law (Matt 22:37-40; Rom 13:8-10; Gal 5:14). Love is the New Testament constraint that keeps us from abusing our liberty by living in sin (Gal 5:13). Faith causes us to see ourselves as dead to sin, and therefore we’re unable to continue in a lifestyle of sin (Rom 6:1-2).

John is teaching us that when we keep the commandments of Christ, when we trust in Christ and love one another, then we know that we know God; we know that we are genuine in our faith.

(Verse Three of Chapter Two in my own words.)

And here’s how you and I can come to understand that we genuinely know God, if we keep the commandments that the Lord Jesus taught us.

1 John 2:4

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

[NIV] The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

[Robertson] The one who keeps on saying: “I have come to know him,” and keeps on not keeping his commandments is a liar.

* He that saith, I know him, *

Regarding who “him” referred to, and who was saying this, Gill says,

“God or Christ, as the Gnostics did, who pretended to great, even perfect, knowledge of divine things.”

These false teachers claimed to have an enlightened understanding of God. They claimed they knew, and understood, Him far better than others, such as John. The Apostle is here demonstrating the error of their teaching, and emphatically calling it a lie.

*and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, *

Concerning “keepeth,” Thayer tells us,

“to attend to carefully, take care of; to guard; metaphorically to keep, one in the state in which he is; to observe; to reserve: to undergo something.”

Wuest renders this phrase as such,

“and His precepts is not habitually safeguarding with solicitous care, is a liar.”

In the previous verse he rendered “keep his commandments” this way,

“continually having a solicitous, watchful care in safeguarding His precepts by obeying them.”

The idea is that when someone, rather a teacher or a student, claims to have special knowledge about God, or claims that they know God experientially, but that individual isn’t living out the teachings of God, or making any attempt to do so, that individual is a liar.

To believe in God, to have faith in Him, according to the Amplified Bible, is to “trust in, cling to, rely on” God. It isn’t a matter of believing in the historical person of Jesus Christ, or believing that He was a good teacher; it’s a matter of believing that He is the Way (John 14:6), and consequently relying on everything He said. To claim that we know Him, but to demonstrate no interest in obeying His teachings, is to live a lie.

* and the truth is not in him. *

If we claim that our conduct that’s in disobedience to the Teachings of God’s Word isn’t sin “we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). When we live contrary to His Teachings and claim that we’re not sinning in doing so “we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10). That’s what the Gnostics were doing, and teaching others to do, and the Apostle reminds us again that the Truth was not in them (current verse).

(Verse Four of Chapter Two in my own words.)

When any individual claims that he knows God experientially, but that individual isn’t striving to walk out the Teachings of our Lord, he is a liar! The Truth of God’s Word has no place in him!

1 John 2:5

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

[NIV] But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:

* But whoso keepeth his word, *

Concerning “keepeth,” Robertson comments,

“Indefinite relative clause with modal an and the present active subjunctive, “whoever keeps on keeping.”

Regarding “word,” Vincent tells us,

“Note the changed phrase: word for commandments. The word is the revelation regarded as a whole, which includes all the separate commandments or injunctions.”

Let’s put four verses together (1 John 2:3-6). What assures us that we know Jesus is when we obey the things He commanded us to do (verse 3). Anyone who claims to know Jesus, but doesn’t do the things He taught us to do, is lying; and the Truth is not to be found in him (verse 4). But when we follow His Teachings; or, when we do what He taught us to do, our love for God and people matures; and we learn by experience that we are in Him (verse 5). Whoever makes the claim that he has made his home in Jesus ought to walk the way He walked; or, ought to live the way He lived (verse 6).

The idea in these verses is to order our lives by the Teachings of the Lord Jesus. If we do that, then it’s proof that we know Him. If we don’t, then it’s proof that we don’t know Him.

Now let’s look at those verses in the abridged form. We know Jesus when we do what He taught (verse 3), but we don’t know Him if we don’t (verse 4). When we do what He taught our walk of Love matures (verse 5), and walking in Love is walking like He walked (verse 6).

* in him verily is the love of God perfected: *

Obeying His commandments (verses 3-4) is obeying His Word (current verse), which is simply doing what He taught us to do. What are His commandments? Faith in God and Love for people are the things He taught us (1 John 3:22-24). Consequently, the result of our obeying His Teachings is His Love being perfected, or matured, in us (current verse).

Faith in God (which presupposes our Loving Him, because it’s impossible to totally trust someone we don’t Love) and Love for His people is the sum-total of New Testament teaching. Jesus, our Example, trusted His Father and Loved people. That’s what we ought to be doing! Yet, we place the emphasis everywhere else but on these issues. We seem to think that if we practice Christianity, if we dedicate ourselves to good habits (church attendance, tithing, reading our Bible, praying, etc.), and we abstain from bad ones (immorality, drinking, smoking, profanity, etc.), then we are strong, mature believers. But Jesus taught that others only recognize you as a genuine believer when you Love people (John 13:34-35), and John taught that you only truly know yourself that you’re genuine when you Love people (1 John 3:14). Rather we like it or not, Loving people is the litmus test that determines our genuineness!

* hereby know we that we are in him. *

He is the Vine and we are the branches. Abiding in Him results in our bearing “much fruit” (John 15:5), the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23), which is Love, etc. (Gal 5:22; John 15:8-14). John is emphatic about this point. We are Loved, and so, we must Love (1 John 4:7-13). In our current verse he’s telling us that when we do what Christ tells us to do that His Love is perfected in us. In Chapter Four he tells us that when we Love others His Love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12). Keeping His Word (current verse) is having faith in God and Loving people (1 John 3:22-24; 4:12). The fruit of His Love that we bear is a result of His Spirit abiding in us (Gal 5:22; 1 John 4:12-13), and it’s the proof that God is in us, and that we are in Him.

Thank God for our dedication and abstinence! However, if our church attendance, devotions, and prayer aren’t leading us into a walk of Christian Love then they’re worthless. In all of our abstinence may we abstain from unforgiveness, bitterness, gossip, and all other conduct that testifies to our lack of Christian Love.

(Verse Five of Chapter Two in my own words.)

But whoever lives out His Teachings that we are to trust God and Love people, in that individual God’s Love grows to maturity as a result of that Love being exercised: and consequently, we know by experience that we are in Him because His nature is seen in us.

1 John 2:6

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

[NIV] Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

* He that saith he abideth in him *

Concerning “I know him” (1 John 2:4), “in him” (1 John 2:5), and “abideth in him” (current verse), Vincent quotes another,

“Bengel notes the gradation in the three phrases ‘to know Him, to be in Him, to abide in Him; knowledge, fellowship, constancy.’”

JFB add this thought,

“implying a condition lasting, without intermission, and without end.”

John Gill mentions,

“The Syriac and Ethiopic versions read, ‘he that saith I am in him;’”

And he sees it as referring to,

“loved by him, chosen in him, united to him, a member of his, and have communion with him:”

Some of the statements that the Gnostics teachers were making were, “we have fellowship with him” (1 John 1:6), “we have no sin” (1 John 1:8), “we have not sinned” (1 John 1:10), “I know him” (1 John 2:4), and that “he abideth in him” (current verse). John responded by saying that they “lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:6), that they deceived themselves, and the truth was not in them (1 John 1:8), that they are liars, “and his word is not in” them (1 John 1:10), that they are liars, “and the truth is not in” them (1 John 2:4), and that if their statements are true then they ought to “walk, even as he walked” (current verse).

John later says, “let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). I realize that in the context of that verse he’s speaking about our Love for people, but in our current verse he’s saying the same thing regarding our Love for the Lord.

* ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. *

The Amplified Bible renders this portion of the verse this way,

“ought [as a personal debt] to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself.”

JFB comments,

“‘Even as He walked’ when on earth, especially in respect to love. John delights in referring to Christ as the model man, with the words, ‘Even as He,’ &c. ‘It is not Christ’s walking on the sea, but His ordinary walk, that we are called on to imitate’ [LUTHER].”

Jesus was sent to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt 15:24), but His Love extended beyond those boundaries to the Canaanite woman (Matt 15:22-28) and the Centurion with the sick servant (Matt 8:5-13), and then through the Apostles it extended to Gentiles everywhere (Acts 10:34-11:1). In the Lord’s journeys among the Israelites He demonstrated His Love to those who were rejected by the religious leaders of the Jews; publicans and harlots (Matt 21:31-32), sinners (Luke 7:36-50), the demon-possessed (Luke 8:1-2), the diseased (John 9:1-7), etc. The only ones who ever made Him angry were those in that religious crowd, those who had an inflated view of their own worthiness (John 2:14-16; Matt 23:13-36).

Are we walking “as he walked”? Do we love the sinner more than we love the self-important, self-righteous, holier-than-thou believer? Do we mix well with sinners, or, like the Pharisees, do we fear the filth of their sin will stain our perfectly white garments? Jesus chose the sinner over those who felt so deserving of their perceived stance before God.

We’re to Love as He Loves (John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:16; 4:7-8, 11, 21). So, How does He Love? He’s patient with us, kind, free of envy, feels no need to boast or to demonstrate that He’s better than us (1 Cor 13:4); He’s never rude to us, seeks our well-being instead of His own, doesn’t easily lose His temper with us, keeps no record of our wrongs (1 Cor 13:5); He never delights in the problems that we face as a result of our bad choices, but rejoices when we walk in the Truth (1 Cor 13:6); He always protects us, believes in us, hopes for what’s best for us, and perseveres with us in difficult times (1 Cor 13:7); and His Love for us never ends (1 Cor 13:8).

NOTE: I used the NIV Translation of this passage to reach the above definition of the Love that He has for you and I.

If that’s the way He Loves then that’s the way you and I are to Love, and we’re to Love everyone that way. James tells us that this Royal Law, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (James 2:8), works the same way the Mosaic Law worked: if you break the Law of Moses in just one place then you’re guilty of breaking it all (James 2:10-11), and the same holds true with the Royal Law (James 2:9, 12). We can’t decide who we’ll Love the way we’re Loved! We must Love all! If we don’t, then we’re not walking as He walked (current verse).

(Verse Six of Chapter Two in my own words.)

Anyone who says that he’s living in Christ, abiding in constant fellowship with Him, ought to be living the way He lived, which means loving the way He loved.

1 John 2:7

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

* Brethren, *

Concerning “Brethren,” Vincent comments,

“Brethren adelfoi (NT:80). The correct reading is agapeetoi (NT:27) ‘beloved.’”

JFB adds this insight,

“The oldest manuscripts and versions read instead, ‘Beloved,’ appropriate to the subject here, love.”

* I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment *

The Teaching that John is now laying before them, as sound doctrine, isn’t alien to his readers. The commandment that he’s wanting them to follow isn’t new to them at all. It’s the very teaching that they’ve always had. It’s “old hat” to them.

The Living Bible renders it,

“I am not writing out a new rule for you to obey, for it is an old one you have always had,”

* which ye had from the beginning. *

As I’ve stated in my earlier notes (1 John 1:1) I stand convinced that the “beginning” being spoken about here is the manifestation of God in the flesh in the person of His Son, Jesus. The coming of Christ was a new “beginning,” separate from the “beginning” being spoken of in John’s Gospel (John 1:1), or the “beginning” mentioned in the Book of Genesis (Gen 1:1). This beginning wasn’t the “beginning” of the measurement of time, or the beginning of the creation of our universe; it was the “beginning” of the new Life that we have in Jesus, and this Life was manifested (1 John 1:2), shining forth as the Light that shows the Way for mankind (John 1:4).

In this “beginning” the Lord Jesus gave us a new commandment (John 13:34-35), and that commandment, which James refers to as the “Royal Law” (James 2:8), had been with the Church since its inception.

* The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. *

The Church began with this commandment, this Royal Law. In that sense, it was an old commandment. The Apostles taught this commandment to the Church from the moment their ministries began, and consequently, every believer in the Church had heard this commandment from the moment they were born into the body of Christ. It wasn’t “new” to them in the sense that John was now teaching them something different, but it was a “staying of the course” for the Apostle. He was reminding them of the commandment that replaced the Mosaic Law as the “proof positive” of the genuineness of the Church (John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:14). Moses’ Law was the uniqueness of Israel; the Royal Law is the uniqueness of the Church.

(Verse Seven of Chapter Two in my own words.)

You who I love, I’m not setting before you a new way to conduct yourselves, but I’m encouraging you to follow the Teaching you’ve known ever since you began following Jesus. You’ve heard this commandment from the very beginning of your walk with Jesus. It’s “old hat!”

1 John 2:8

Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

* Again, a new commandment I write unto you, *

The commandment the Apostle’s referring to is old, as stated in the previous verse, in the sense that it’s the message his readers have heard since their being born into the family of God. It wasn’t a change of direction for them. They were to continue to walk in obedience to this commandment. What commandment was he referring to? It’s the commandment that the Lord Jesus gave to us, the commandment to love each other (John 13:34-35). We’ll see this in the next three verses (1 John 2:9-11).

If that’s the case, then why is John calling it a “new commandment” in this verse? When the Lord Jesus was questioned regarding which one of the commandments of Moses was the greatest His response included two commandments taught by Moses (Matt 22:35-40). He answered that the greatest of the commandments of the Law was to love God passionately (Deut 6:5), and the second greatest was to love our neighbors as ourselves (Lev 19:18), neither of which were included in the Ten Commandments. Why were these the two greatest of the Old Testament commandments? It was because the entire “law and the prophets” hung on those two commands (Matt 22:40). In other words, there was no way to understand, or to obey, anything that the Old Testament taught without a proper understanding of those two commands. If an individual could obey those two commands he would be walking in obedience to everything taught in the Law.

When, on the very evening that He would be betrayed, Jesus gave a “new commandment” to His disciples (John 13:35-35), what was He really doing? He wasn’t merely changing the wording of the Old Testament commandment; “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Lev 19:18) to you shall “love one another; as I have loved you” (John 13:34). He was changing the very Law itself! Why was He doing that? He was about to change the priesthood from the order of Aaron to the order of Melchisedec (Heb 7:11-28), and the changing of the priesthood necessitated the changing of the Law (Heb 7:12). According to Moses’ Law a high priest must be a descendent of Aaron and Jesus wasn’t. Moses’ Law forbade Jesus to be our High Priest, but according to the eternal purposes of God, on that night He changed the Law! We are no longer under the Law of Moses (Rom 6:15), but now we are under the Royal Law (James 2:8), which is the Law of Love!

Paul taught us that even though we “have been called unto liberty” we should not do whatever our flesh desires, but we should, motivated by His Love, “serve one another” (Gal 5:13). He then says that the Law of Moses stands fulfilled in us when we Love our neighbor the way we Love ourselves (Gal 5:14). This Love, that was “shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Rom 5:5), causes us to understand that we have an ongoing debt to everyone to Love them (Rom 13:8).

Concerning the phrase found in the just mentioned verse, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another,” JFB quotes Hodge as saying,

“‘Acquit yourselves of all obligations except love, which is a debt that must remain ever due’ [HODGE].”

It’s no longer the Law that motivates us, but it’s His Love that now constrains us. His Love in us causes us to Love Him, and Love each other, and that constraining force causes us to walk in righteousness, doing what’s right in the sight of God. It’s this Love that caused the Apostle Paul to tirelessly preach the Gospel to everyone he could, believing that he was in debt to humanity to share this Gospel with them (Rom 1:14-16).

Fear is the motivating force when we live under the Law, but Love motivates us when we walk in His grace.

John, in our current verse, is telling his readers that even though this commandment is “old” to you (previous verse) it is the very “new” Law that governs the dispensation of the Church.

* which thing is true in him and in you: *

John Wesley explains it this way,

“Namely, with regard to loving one another. A commandment which, though it also was given long ago, yet is truly new in him and in you. It was exemplified in him, and is now fulfilled by you, in such a manner as it never was before. For there is no comparison between the state of the Old Testament believers, and that which ye now enjoy.”

The Lord’s new commandment that He gave to the Church, “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34), came with a Promise, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). This was true concerning Jesus. All who were honest seekers knew that He was genuine, that He wasn’t seeking His own good, but the good of those He ministered to, because they recognized that He deeply Loved them. What He said was true in His life, and John says that it’s also true in the lives of all who willingly obey His command to Love others. His readers had evidently experienced some degree of this because John writes here that it was also true in their case. It was true then and it’s true now. When we Love others the way we’re Loved by Christ then “all men” will know that we’re genuinely His disciples.

* because the darkness is past, *

Vincent makes this claim,

“Wrong. The passing is not represented as accomplished, but as in progress. Rev., rightly rendering the present tense, is passing away.”

Adam Clarke agrees with him when he says,

“He does not say that the darkness was all gone by, but paragetai (NT:3855), it is passing away; he does not say that the fulness of the light had appeared, but eedee (NT:2235) phainei (NT:5316), it is now shining, and will shine more and more to the perfect day; for the darkness passes away in proportion as the light shines and increases.”

The Living Bible translates the last half of this verse like this,

“as we obey this commandment, to love one another, the darkness in our lives disappears and the new light of life in Christ shines in.”

The Amplified Bible has it,

“because the darkness ( moral blindness) is clearing away and the true Light ( the revelation of God in Christ) is already shining.”

Almost every new translation of the Bible agrees with Vincent. The darkness isn’t totally behind us, but it’s on the way out. The Living Bible has this darkness passing away in our lives as we learn to walk in the Light, which is walking in obedience to the “new” commandment that the Lord gave us to Love one another. This thought is certainly in agreement with the next three verses (1 John 2:9-11).

Clarke mentioned that the passing away of darkness is in direct proportion to the increasing of the Light shining in us. I agree. As we walk in greater measure in the Love of God the darkness has less control of our lives.

* and the true light now shineth. *

Robertson tells us,

“Linear present active, ‘is already shining’ and the darkness is already passing by. Dawn is here.”

“God is light” (1 John 1:5)! God is “the truth” (John 14:6)! God is the “true light” (current verse)! This is the message that John received from Him Who is “the Word of life” (1 John 1:1), “the life” that “was manifested” (1 John 1:2), “that eternal life” (1 John 1:2), and “his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). This “true light” is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Heb 1:3). He is the “express image” of the “God” Who “is love” (1 John 4:8). His Life communicated the Truth that God is Love! That Truth is “the light” that “shineth in darkness” (John 1:5), that is “the light of men” (John 1:4).

When you and I walk in the Love of God we are “in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in” us (1 John 2:10). In the Light we don’t stumble because we see where we’re going, but those who aren’t walking in the Love of God do stumble because they can’t see where they’re going (1 John 2:11).

Correct orthodoxy doesn’t give us clear vision. Faithful church attendance doesn’t, consistent keeping of the rules of our fellowship doesn’t, paying tithes doesn’t, praying doesn’t, reading the Bible doesn’t; only our learning to Love others the way He Loves us gives us clarity of vision. The same is true concerning what causes others to know that we’re genuine in our faith, and what convinces us that we’re genuine. God help us to place the emphasis where it belongs. The commandment to Love one another is the most important commandment that we can ever keep!

(Verse Eight of Chapter Two in my own words.)

Yet, it really is a new commandment that I’m writing to you about (because it’s the commandment that replaces the Law of Moses as the Law that governs the Church), and the Truth of this commandment was seen in the conduct of Christ, and is seen in your conduct: the reason being that the influence of the darkness in your lives is increasingly passing away, and the real Light (the Love of God walked out) is now shining in you.

1 John 2:9

He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

* He that saith he is in the light, *

The Apostle continues to deal with the claims of the false teachers among them. In this case their claim that they were “in the light,” or enlightened by spiritual revelation from God. In the sphere of their revelation there were the “haves” and the have-nots,” those who were chosen to be enlightened and those who weren’t; and consequently, those to be loved and those not to be loved.

Shun any church or doctrine that gives room for an elitist mentality. Genuine revelation causes us to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6), to Love as He Loved.

* and hateth his brother, *

Concerning “hateth,” UBS says,

“‘To hate’ is here (and in 1 John 2:11; 3:15; 4:20) the direct opposite of ‘to love.’ It does not focus on feelings of aversion (as in 3:13, which see), but on deeds neglecting love, helpfulness, and self-sacrifice (cp. 3:17); hence, ‘does not love at all,’ ‘does not put first,’ ‘treats as an enemy.’”

Zondervan explains it this way,

“How does John understand hate? His answer lies primarily in what one does. Hate is the absence of the deeds of love. To walk in the light is to love one’s brother, and God’s love will express itself in concrete actions. If these are missing, it is not because love can be neutral or can exist unexpressed. Love unexpressed is not love at all. When it is absent, hate is present.

In this instance, hate is the failure to deny oneself, the unwillingness to lay down one’s life for a brother (John 15:13). One considers one’s own plight first (1 Cor 13:5); disregards the robbed and afflicted (Luke 10:30-37); despises the little ones (Matt 18:10); withholds the cup of cold water from the thirsty (Matt 25:42); and makes no effort to welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, or help the sick (Matt 25:43). Whenever a brother has need and one does not help him, then one has, in fact, hated his brother.”

JFB tell us,

“There is no mean between light and darkness, love and hatred, life and death, God and the world: wherever spiritual life is, however weak, there darkness and death no longer reign, and love supplants hatred; and Luke 9:50 holds good: wherever life is not, there death, darkness, the flesh, the world, and hatred, however glossed over and hidden from man’s observation, prevail; and Luke 11:23 holds good. ‘Where love is not, there hatred is; for the heart cannot remain a void’ [BENGEL].”

Notice the above quotes. These Commentaries are telling us that as surely as faith without works is dead, Love without works is “hate.” Are they right?

John later tells us that if we see a brother in need and do nothing about it when we can, then our profession of Love is a lie (1 John 3:17). Verbal confession of Love must be legitimatised “in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). In the same way that genuine faith is verified by the actions of the believer genuine Love is verified by its corresponding actions.

If I tell you that I believe, that I have faith, that a particular old bridge is safe, but I refuse to drive over it, then you’ll recognize quickly that my profession of faith isn’t backed up by my actions. My faith, without works, is dead. It’s not genuine faith. In the same way, if I tell you that I Love a particular individual, but when that individual needs a friend I’m no where to be found, then you’ll also recognize quickly that my profession of Love isn’t backed up by my actions. It’s not genuine Love.

John doesn’t see varying degrees of certain things. He doesn’t see us as kind of loving our brother. He sees us as either loving him, demonstrated by the corresponding actions of that Love, or hating him. To John, words are cheap. If you Love someone then your actions will always show it. There is no middle ground. To claim that we don’t Love someone, but that we don’t hate him either, is illegitimate. The only two options he gives us in this Epistle are Love and hate. Jesus possessed this same tendency. He said, “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” (Luke 11:23). Again, it either or! There’s no in-between. It’s faith or unbelief! You’re either for me or against me! It’s Love or hate! It’s always one or the other!

God’s isn’t asking us to somehow change our emotions towards someone. We feel what we feel. He’s asking us to change our actions towards that individual. He’s asking us to be patient, to be kind, to never allow envy to overtake us when good things happen to him, not to boast about ourselves or be arrogant in an attempt to keep him in his place, not to behave badly around him, not to seek what’s best for us instead of him, not to easily lose our temper with him, not to think the worst of him, not to be happy when misfortune befalls him, but to be happy when good things come his way, not to give up on him when the burden is heavy, not to quit believing in him, not to quit hoping for the best for him, not to give up on him, but to unceasingly care for him (1 Cor 13:4-8). We can’t control how we feel towards someone, but we can control our actions towards that individual. That’s “agape” Love. Here’s the good news. If our actions toward that individual are actions consistent with the above-described Love, our emotions will eventually come around. However, if our actions are not consistent with that Love, then the Apostle places us in the category of hating that individual. Consequently, in this area of our Christian walk, he places us in the category of never leaving the darkness. We’re still groping around in our blindness, trying to find our way.

* is in darkness even until now. *

Concerning “even until now,” Robertson says,

“Up till this moment. In spite of the increasing light and his own boast he is in the dark.”

Claiming we’re “in the light” doesn’t mean we’re “in the light.” If our actions don’t support our claim then we’re still “in darkness.”

NOTE: As we continue to apply the teachings of the New Covenant to our lives the Light shines brighter is us. We see clearer! Why? Because “the darkness” is “on its way out and the True Light” is “already blazing” (1 John 2:8) [The Message]!

(Verse Nine of Chapter Two in my own words.)

He that makes his claim that he’s indeed abiding in the Light, but his actions towards his brother aren’t the actions of one who loves that brother (which means that he’s yet living in the sphere of hatred towards that brother), that individual hasn’t yet escaped the darkness.

1 John 2:10

He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

* He that loveth his brother *

UBS makes this comment,

“Now at last the contents of the great commandment are explicitly mentioned. Brotherly love is an important theme in this Letter, see also 1 John 3:11-18, 12; 4:7, 11, 20 f; 5:1 f. In the controversy with the false teachers it is the test for people’s fellowship with God. THE TERM ALWAYS IMPLIES ACTIVITY, DOING DEEDS OF LOVE.” (Capital letters added for emphasis.)

Zondervan mentions,

“Unlike his opponents, his concern is with deeds, not claims.”

Wycliffe tells us,

“This is not mere profession, as in verse 9, but the actual truth.”

The Apostle is demonstrating the difference between invalid claims and the Truth. The Gnostic teachers were making false claims about their spiritual status (1 John 1:6, 8, 10; 2:4, 6, 9). John is counter-balancing these false claims with statements regarding what genuine spirituality looks like (1 John 1:7, 9; 2:5, current verse).

As we saw in our notes on the previous verse (1 John 2:9), genuine Love is more that a statement. We can claim to Love one another easily enough, with very little cost to ourselves as individuals; but genuine Love costs us our very lives (1 John 3:16). This is the Love that causes us to prefer others above ourselves (Rom 12:10; Eph 5:21; Phil 2:3-4), and is the only proper motivation for self-sacrifice (1 Cor 13:3). This is the Love that walks itself out in our actions towards our fellow man. This is the Love that John has in mind (1 John 3:17-18).

* abideth in the light, *

Regarding “abideth,” Robertson says,

“Present active indicative, continues in the light and so does not interrupt the light by hating his brother.”

UBS makes the following comment,

“or ‘is-and-remains in the light,’ ‘dwells/lives in radiance and goes on dwelling/living in it (or goes on doing so)’, ‘stays in the light’ (TEV).”

The individual who is actively walking out Christian Love towards his fellow man is abiding, as if living in a home, in the sphere of the Light, which is God (1 John 1:5). This is the man who is spiritual. Why? Because he’s walking the way Jesus walked (1 John 2:6), “who went about doing good” (Acts 10:38) to those around Him. This is the evidence of our spirituality! We tend to judge one’s spirituality by his gifts and talents (1 Cor 13:1), by his understanding of doctrinal mysteries (1 Cor 13:2), and by his giving (1 Cor 13:3); but the Lord Jesus tells us that we’ll know them by their fruit (Matt 7:16-20). This fruit is recognized by our LOVE for God and man, our JOY that results from our knowing God and loving people, our PEACE with God and towards man, our LONGSUFFERING with man, our GENTLENESS towards man, our GOODNESS towards man, our FAITH in God and faithfulness with man, our MEEKNESS in the presence of God and towards man, and our TEMPERANCE (self-control) in our dealings with man (Gal 5:22-23).

This is the Love that John concerns himself with in this Epistle. Saying you Love someone while your actions don’t testify of that Love would not impress this Apostle (1 John 3:14-19). He would see it as hypocrisy! Paul saw these fruitless testimonials as merely making noise (1 Cor 13:1), as amounting to nothing (1 Cor 13:2), and as producing no spiritual benefit (1 Cor 13:3). Genuine Love can only be seen in the actions it produces.

When our actions towards others reflect this kind of Love John tells us that we have made our home in the Light.

* and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. *

Some Commentators (for example: Zondervan, Robertson, and Barnes) believe that John is saying that when we Love our brother we are not a stumbling block to others, while others (for example: UBS, Vincent, and JFB) believe John to be saying that when Loving our brother is the sphere within where we walk, then we see clearly and avoid the pitfalls of life, and therefore don’t stumble ourselves. I personally agree with the second opinion because of the flow of John’s teaching. In the next verse he tells us that we are blinded by the darkness when we don’t walk in Love (1 John 2:11), and therefore, according to the words of Jesus recorded by John, would be deceptible to stumbling (John 11:9-10). It makes sense that he’s telling us the opposite in this verse; that being, when we Love our brother we see clearly because we are walking in the Light, and therefore, we can avoid all obstacles in our path.

Think about your own life, or the lives of those you Love. When one hates another, or refuses to forgive someone, or is blinded by bitterness towards someone, he can’t see clearly where he’s going. He is literally blinded by the darkness that is hate. He makes bad decisions, causes others great discomfort whenever the subject arises, and continues to disparage his testimony.

(Verse Ten of Chapter Two in my own words.)

He that truly Loves his brother (and his actions testify to the veracity of that Love) has made his home in the God Who is Light, and seeing clearly in that Light he easily avoids all obstacles that could cause him to stumble.

1 John 2:11

But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

* But he that hateth his brother *

Regarding “hateth,” Barnes gives us this insight,

“The word here used would, in this connection, include both the mere absence of love, and positive hatred. It is designed to include the whole of that state of mind where there is not love for the brethren.”

Please see my notes on the previous two verses (1 John 2:9-10). John appears to see hatred as any attitude absent of Love, and not simply absent of verbally expressed Love, but absent of Love demonstrated by action. In other words, if your actions towards an individual aren’t consistent with Paul’s definition of Love (1 Cor 13:4-8), then you are in the sphere of the hatred spoken of here.

* is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, *

John tells us that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5), that in this Light “we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7), that “the true light now shineth” (1 John 2:8), that when an individual abides in this Light he “loveth his brother,” and “there is none occasion of stumbling in him” (1 John 2:10).

He also tells us that in Christ there’s “no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5), that if “we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:6), that when we keep the new commandment to Love one another “the darkness is past” (1 John 2:8), that the one who hates “his brother, is in darkness even until now” (1 John 2:9), and that he “is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes” (current verse).

The individual who doesn’t Love his brother, whose actions towards that brother aren’t consistent with the Biblical definition of Love (1 Cor 13:4-8), and not representative of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23), is still in “darkness,” is still living outside of the Light Who is God (1 John 1:5).

JFB makes this point,

“‘is’ marks his continuing STATE: he has never come out of ‘the darkness’ (so Greek); ‘walketh’ marks his OUTWARD WALK and acts.”

The false teachers weren’t walking in Biblical Love towards their brothers. John says that they’ve never left the sphere of being in the darkness. They are yet “in” the darkness and they “walk” in the sphere of that darkness.

* and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. *

Vincent tells us,

“The aorist tense, blinded, indicates a past, definite, decisive act. When the darkness overtook, it blinded. The blindness is no new state into which he has come.”

Zondervan comments,

“Though he has eyes, he can see nothing. And the darkness so blinds his eyes that he has no idea ‘where he is going.’ Life is a search, but for him it is without direction. He never knows whether he is closer to or farther from his destination. The only certainty is that he is without hope of reaching it. So hate destroys any window for light from God. To live without loving one’s brother means to deny oneself the presence of God and the reality of fellowship with the community of faith.”

UBS makes this observation,

“‘he is not aware in what direction he is going (or which road he is taking).’ Or, since going refers to behavior, ‘he does not realize what he ought to do.’”

Men and women who aren’t saved can “see” sufficiently enough to make decisions about marriage, about divorce, about buying or selling stocks, about which job to take, and about a myriad of other issues that confront them in their day to day existence. However, when it comes to making spiritual choices they can’t “see” at all, no matter how religious they might be. Consequently, spiritually speaking, they have absolutely no idea what they’re doing or where they’re going. The Scripture tells us, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them” (Proverbs 20:12). To be able to “hear” what the Spirit is saying to the Church (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22), or to be able to “see” clearly what God expects from us (1 John 2:10-11), we must walk in the Light; we must be born again, allowing the Holy Spirit to baptize us into the body of Christ, Who is Light.

What we see in John’s comments is that God is Light (1 John 1:5), and that God is Love (1 John 4:8). We also see that when we Love our brother we are living in the Light (1 John 2:10), but when we hate our brother we’re living outside of the Light, in utter darkness (1 John 2:9, 11). In mathematics we learn that if A=B and B=C, then A=C. In this Epistle we learn that Light=God and God=Love, and therefore we conclude that Light=Love.

For the Love of us God sent His Son to die (John 3:16)! God, our Father, made the choices He made because of Love! God, the Son, made the choices He made because of Love! Nothing could interfere with God’s eternal plan to redeem us. Because God was moved by Love He saw clearly what He had to do. When you and I make the choices we make because we Love God, and we Love people, we are in the Light and can see just as clearly what we have to do. Outside of Love there’s only me! Keith Green wrote in one of his songs, “It’s so hard to see when my eyes are on me.” When we’re not living for God, and for others, we have no vision. We’re making self-centered choices in the darkness, unable to see what’s real. But nothing truly satisfies in the darkness, so we continue to grope around trying to discover something that makes sense. Sadly, we can never “see” what’s real, what’s eternal. We only find the counterfeit, the temporary.

(Verse Eleven of Chapter Two in my own words.)

On the other hand, the one who hates his brother (whose actions toward his brother aren’t consistent with Christian Love) continues to make his home in darkness, and consequently, every step he takes is in that darkness, and he has absolutely no idea where he’s going because the utter darkness he lives in has totally blinded him, making him incapable of seeing.

1 John 2:12

I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.

* I write unto you, little children, *

There are various ideas regarding who these “little children” are. “Little children” in this verse comes from a different Greek word than “little children” in the next verse. In this verse the Greek word is “teknion,” but in the next verse it’s “paidion.

Strong’s Concordance defines “teknion” as,

“Diminutive of G5043; an infant, that is, (plural figurative) darlings (Christian converts): – little children.”

Strong’s defines “paidion” as,

“Neuter diminutive of G3816; a childling (of either sex), that is, (properly) an infant, or (by extension) a half grown boy or girl; figuratively an immature Christian: – (little, young) child, damsel.”

Because John uses different Greek words in these two verses some suppose that “little children” (teknion) in our current verse is referring to the entire group of his readers, because it’s supposed that that’s the way it was used in the rest of this Epistle (1 John 2:1, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21). They then suppose that he intentionally used a different word for “little children” (paidion) in the next verse, a word he only uses once more (1 John 2:18), to refer to a particular group of his readers, as compared to “young men” and “fathers.” Others believe that even though the Greek words are different John refers to the same group of his readers in both verses. These Commentators are convinced that since the other two groups, “young men” and “fathers,” were addressed twice it would make sense that this group was also addressed twice.

Agreeing with the former idea UBS points out,

“The group addressed can best be taken to comprise the congregation as a whole, not a certain age-group. A positive argument for this interpretation is the use of the term little children in v. 1. A negative one is this: if the author had intended an age-group parallel to that of “the fathers” and “the young men,” one would expect another sequence, namely, children, young men, fathers.”

John Wesley agrees when he tells us,

“Thus St. John bespeaks all to whom he writes. But in 1John 2:13-27, he divides them particularly into ‘fathers,’ ‘young men,’ and ‘little children.’”

Matthew Henry, however, counters with these thoughts,

“There are novices in religion, babes in Christ, those who are learning the rudiments of Christian godliness. The apostle may seem to encourage them by applying to them first.”

Albert Barnes agrees with Henry when he says,

“The word here rendered ‘little children’ teknia (NT:5040) is different from that used in 1 John 2:13, and rendered there ‘little children,’ paidia (NT:3816); but there can be little doubt that the same class of persons is intended. Some have indeed supposed that by the term ‘little children’ here, as in 1 John 2:1, the apostle means to address all believers-speaking to them as a father; but it seems more appropriate to suppose that he means in these verses to divide the body of Christians whom he addressed into three classes-children, young men, and the aged, and to state particular reasons why he wrote to each. If the term teknia (NT:5040) ‘little children’ here means the same as the term paidia (NT:3816) ‘little children’ in 1 John 2:13, then he addresses each of these classes twice in these two verses, giving each time somewhat varied reasons why he addressed them.”

Though Henry and Barnes agree that the two terms refer to the same group of believers within the Church, they disagree on who that group is. Henry believes it to refer to spiritual children of any physical age, while Barnes believes it to refer to physical children.

* because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. *

Regarding “because,” UBS offers theses thoughts,

“Because (here and in the five next sentences). The Greek conjunction can mean either ‘because’ or ‘that’ Many versions (among them RSV, TEV) have ‘because,’ but ‘that’ seems to be more probable, since John is stressing some vital truths of Christian life.”

Strong’s explains it this way,

“Neuter of G3748 as conjugation; demonstrative that (sometimes redundant); causatively because.”

Concerning “are forgiven,” UBS says,

“The perfect tense indicates a situation in the present that is the result of an event or act in the past.”

UBS shares this regarding the phrase, “for his name’s sake,”

“in the Greek lit. ‘because of his name.’ For ‘name’ see 1 John 3:23. The pronoun refers to Jesus Christ; hence, for example, ‘on Jesus Christ’s account,’ ‘because of what Jesus Christ did.’”

John is either telling all his readers, or he’s telling that portion of his readers who, spiritually speaking, are “little children” (depending on one’s point of view concerning who’s meant by “little children”), that their sins are forgiven.

Understanding that our sins are forgiven is an amazing reality of the Christian life. Our sins had separated us from God (Isa 59:1-2), but because of “his great love wherewith he loved us” (Eph 2:4) He sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16; 1 John 3:16). When Jesus was dying on the cross of Calvary “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Cor 5:19). Through that great act of Love “he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor 5:21). Our sins are forgiven (current verse) and we stand justified before God by His grace, by faith in God (Rom 5:1) and His redeeming work at Calvary (Rom 5:9).

Why has God done these amazing things? He hasn’t done this great thing because of any “works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 3:5-6). God has forgiven our sins and saved our souls “according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph 1:5). He did it “according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself” (Eph 1:9). He ordained the cross from “the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8). We’ve always been on His mind. He has done these amazing things for “his name’s sake,” to accomplish His eternal purpose in our lives (Rom 8:29-30). May we fill the heavens with His praise! Amen!

(Verse Twelve of Chapter Two in my own words.)

Little children, I write to you that your sins are forgiven! God has done this for His own sake (because He radically Loves you, and wants to share His glory with you).

1 John 2:13

I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

* I write unto you, fathers, *

Concerning “fathers,” UBS comments,

“Having spoken to the congregation as a whole, John now proceeds to address two age-groups, here the older, in v. 13 b the younger generation.”

However, Robertson holds this view,

“Those mature believers with long and rich experience [egnookate (NT:1097), ye have come to know and still know)].”

Some Commentators believe that John is writing to those mature in age, others believe that he’s writing to those mature in faith, and others that he’s writing to those who are mature in faith as a result of their knowing God for a very long time, thus being also mature in age.

Adam Clarke makes this statement,

“By fathers it is very likely that the apostle means persons who had embraced Christianity on its first promulgation in Judea and in the Lesser Asia, some of them had probably seen Christ in the flesh; for this appears to be what is meant by, Ye have known him from the beginning.”

* because ye have known him that is from the beginning. *

The reason the Apostle is writing to this particular group of believers that he refers to as “fathers” is because they had come to know an individual intimately, by experiencing Him personally [see Robertson’s notes on this same Greek word used earlier in this Chapter (1 John 2:3)]. The One they had come to know is the One “that is from the beginning.” Of course, the reference is to the Lord Jesus (1 John 1:1-3). The fact that this group knew Him in this way convinces me that this group, though most probably mature in age, is referred to as “fathers” because of their spiritual maturity.

In the above-mentioned Adam Clarke quote he said “some of them had probably seen Christ in the flesh.” In my mind I wouldn’t be surprised if this particular group was a very small group, all of which had seen Jesus in the flesh. If that’s the case, the Apostle is saying to this group, “Guys, you know that I’m telling you the Truth because you, too, were there! You, too, know Him in the sense that you saw Him! You are among the remnant of those who were the original believers! You heard Him with your own ears, saw Him with your own eyes, and touched Him with your own hands (1 John 1:1)! You saw Life manifested (1 John 1:2)! You were among them who saw Him, and heard Him, and testified to others about those glorious things (1 John 1:3)! You saw Him, with the consequence that you still see Him in your minds! Again, you were there!” This group, in my mind, was made up of those who were truly “fathers” of the faith; and consequently, they grieved with John about the error that was permeating the Church, that error being the false teaching of the Gnostics.

There’s no absolute Scriptural proof of my above comments. They’re simply something I believe to be true. In other words, the above paragraph represents my personal opinion on who’s meant by “fathers.”

* I write unto you, young men, *

Strong’s Concordance describes “young men” as,

“a youth (under forty).”

UBS sees “young men” this way,

“The term refers to persons who are no longer adolescents and stand at the beginning of adulthood, in the transitional period before they are fully settled.”

However, Clarke sees it this way,

“are such as are grown up to man’s estate; these perform the most difficult part of the labor, and are called to fight the battles of the Lord.”

When he divided those he was writing to into three groups there are different possibilities regarding whom John intended in each division.

Possibility Number One: He was dividing his readers into three distinct groups based on their age.

Possibility Number Two: He was dividing them into three distinct groups based on their spiritual maturity. The “fathers” represent those who are the most spiritually mature in the group, while the “young men” represent those who are spiritually mature, but not yet at the level of the “fathers,” and the “little children” represent those who are saved, but not spiritually mature.

Possibility Number Three: This possibility is similar to number two, but somewhat different. The “fathers” represent those who had actually seen Jesus in the flesh, the “young men” represent those who are spiritually mature, but were too young to had seen Jesus in person, and the “little children” represent those who were saved, but not spiritually mature.

As evident from my above notes I’m convinced that possibility number three is the correct explanation of which readers were represented in each division.

* because ye have overcome the wicked one. *

Concerning “overcome,” Thayer says,

“of Christians, that hold fast their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, and temptations and persecutions.”

Regarding “wicked one,” John Gill comments,

“Satan, who is eminently so, being the first that was, and the worst that is so; for he is wickedness itself, he is wholly, entirely, immutably, and unalterably wicked; and his whole work and employment is in wickedness.”

I’m convinced that John has intended these groups to be divided, as such, because of spirituality, and not age. If this is the case then I think it’s important to note that one never grows old spiritually, in the sense that he needs to leave the more strenuous tasks to those who are younger than he. The more spiritually mature one is the more spiritual victories he’s able to win through Christ. He would be at the front of the battle, not on a porch in a rocking chair. This is why I believe that the dividing line between “fathers” and “young men” has nothing to do with the young being more vigorous. Rather, as you can see in my above notes, I’m convinced “fathers” was a classification left to those who had actually seen the Lord, and “young men” was a classification referring to all others who, besides “fathers,” had grown spiritually to maturity.

These spiritually mature “young men” had, through the power of God’s grace in their lives, and their learning to trust in that power, learned to walk victoriously through the conflicts of life, and the “wiles of the devil” (Eph 6:11). In Christ all those who have trusted Him for salvation have “overcome” the devil positionally. In other words, that victory is provided for us through the victory of the cross. However, these “young men” have learned to walk out that victory in their daily lives. They believe that they have died to sin (Rom 6:9-14), and what someone truly believes will always reflect itself in that person’s actions. Consequently, they believe they are new creatures in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), and therefore they live like they are new creatures in Christ.

* I write unto you, little children, *

Zondervan tells us,

“the word used here stresses the immaturity of the child and the need to be under instruction or direction.”

In my notes on the previous verse (1 John 2:12) I mentioned the various ideas on why the Greek words for “little children” are different in that verse and this one. Some believe that, in spite of that difference, they both refer to the same classification of individuals in the church, while others believe that the first refers to the entire church while the second refers to an individual group in that church. In spite of who you might agree with, all seem to believe that “little children” in this verse is referring to a distinct group in the church, and not the entire church.

Again, those who stand convinced that these classifications deal with age groups believe this group to be referring to the literal children in the church. Those, including myself, who believe that these classifications refer to the various states of spiritual maturity in the church believe this group to be referring to those believers who have not grown to spiritual maturity, regardless of how long they might have been saved (1 Cor 3:1-3).

* because ye have known the Father. *

Zondervan go on to tell us,

“As children who are under teachers in the faith, John’s readers have come to know God as the Father.”

This is that classification of believers that have come to know God as their Father. They are definitely saved, but they have not yet progressed into the state of spiritual maturity, or faith, where it can be said to them that you “have overcome the wicked one,” the way that it was said to the classification of believers known as “young men.”

(Verse Thirteen of Chapter Two in my own words.)

I write to you fathers who, like me, have personally known Him (heard Him, saw Him, touched Him, and saw Him manifested,) this One Who is from the beginning. I write to you young men (you who have grown to spiritual maturity) because you are walking out the victory won for us at Calvary, walking in the sphere of the evil one being overcome. I write to you children (you who, though born again, need to grow spiritually) to remind you that you have come to know God as your Father.

1 John 2:14

I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

* I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. *

The only difference between this verse and the previous verse concerning what John has to say to those he refers to as “fathers” is in the previous verse he says “I write unto you,” and in this verse he says, “I have written unto you.”

Concerning this difference Robertson says,

“Epistolary aorist referring to this Epistle, not to a previous Epistle. Law (Tests of Life, p. 309) suggests that John was interrupted at the close of 1 John 2:13 and resumes here in 1 John 2:14 with a reference to what he had previously written in 1 John 2:13. But that is needless ingenuity. It is quite in John’s style to repeat himself with slight variations.”

For discussion on what he is saying to this class of “fathers” see my notes on the previous verse (1 John 2:13), because he’s simply repeating himself here.

* I have written unto you, young men, *

Once again there’s the difference of “I write unto you” in the previous verse and “I have written unto you” in this verse. Once again John repeats to a class of his readers what he said in the previous verse, but unlike his address to the “fathers,” in his address to the “young men” he adds additional insight.

* because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, *

Regarding “strong,” UBS comments,

“The reference is not, of course, to physical strength. This may have to be made explicit, for example, by saying, ‘you have strength of heart,’ or by choosing for strong an adjective that restricts the reference to character and spirit such as, ‘courageous,’ ‘steadfast.’”

Zondervan shares these thoughts,

“They were indeed ‘strong’ (GK G2708) as the children of faith, but the author reminds them that their strength ultimately depends on one fact alone–the Word of God abiding or living in them.”

These “young men” are spiritually strong! These “fathers” have a spiritual insight into the Lord Jesus Christ! These aren’t comments you can make about someone simply because they’re a certain age. These are comments you can make about someone if your classifications are based upon spiritual maturity instead of age. Churches have many young adults who aren’t spiritually strong, and they have many older adults who have little insight into Who Jesus is!

This group called “young men” is a group of spiritually mature believers. Their faith in God, a faith based on the “word of God” that “abideth in” them, made them spiritually strong, strong in the Lord.

* and ye have overcome the wicked one. *

This is a repeat of what he wrote to this group in the previous verse. See my notes on that verse (1 John 2:13)

Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). These “young men” had remained (the meaning of the Greek word meno translated “continue”) in His Word, and His Word remained (the meaning of the same Greek word meno, which is translated “abideth” in our current verse) in them. As a consequence, these “young men” found spiritual freedom, which translated into their experiencing the joy of walking in the sphere of having “overcome the wicked one.”

NOTE: It’s the group referred to as “little children” that John sees as being in danger of falling into the error of the Gnostic doctrine. This group is definitely born again, which is seen by the fact that the Apostle said to them “ye have known the Father” (1 John 2:13). However, John doesn’t speak about them living in the sphere of having “overcome the wicked one,” are of being “strong,” like he does of the “young men.” It couldn’t be said to this group of “little children” that “the word of God abideth in you.” They hadn’t continued in the Word of God, and consequently, they hadn’t experienced the promised freedom that accompanies the believer who makes his home in God’s Word. They were vulnerable.

(Verse Fourteen of Chapter Two in my own words.)

I write to you fathers who, like me, have personally known Him (heard Him, saw Him, touched Him, and saw Him manifested,) this One Who is from the beginning. I write to you young men (you who have grown to spiritual maturity) because you are strong in the Lord as a result of His Word living inside of you, and you are walking out the victory won for us at Calvary, walking in the sphere of the evil one being overcome.

1 John 2:15

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

* Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. *

Concerning “love,” UBS comments,

“The verb is used here with a non-personal goal in the sense of ‘to strive after,’ ‘to try to get’ (as in, ‘love the reserved seats in the synagogues,’ Luke 11:43, TEV); then, ‘to prefer,’ in the sense of, ‘to like better than the things of God’ (as in, ‘men love the darkness rather than the light,’ John 3:19, TEV).”

Regarding “world,” Zondervan says,

“It obviously means something quite different here than in John 3:16. There the Father’s love of the world is apparently based on his having willed the world into existence. It is his creation; he created it to be good, beautiful, and worthy of giving glory to him. Likewise those who live in the world are his creatures, whom he loves; even in their desperate state of living in darkness and the shadow of death, he remains constant in desiring to rescue them from eternal death. Here, however, the world is presented as the evil system under the grip of the devil (cf. 1 John 5:19; Jonn 12:31; 14:30).

Concerning the verb tense Robertson says,

“Prohibition with me and the present active imperative of agapao, either stop doing it or do not have the habit of doing it.”

As Zondervan mentions God does indeed Love this world so much that He gave His Son to rescue it (John 3:16). Surely He wouldn’t Love something that He doesn’t want us to Love. It can’t be wrong to do what He does! Consequently, as Zondervan says, “world” in our current verse has to intend something quite different from what “world” in John’s Gospel intends.

Here John is speaking about the world system, about doing things the way the world does them. Don’t be motivated by the things that motivate the unregenerate.

The “world” system says, “Take the job you prefer if it furthers your goals, irregardless rather or not it adversely affects your marriage, your children, or you. It’s about success! It’s about prestige! It’s about power! It’s about money!”

God, on the other hand, says, “I know the big picture! I know what’s best for you! I see tomorrow! Seek my face! Seek to do my will at any cost! It’s not about success, but it’s about obedience! It’s not about prestige, but it’s about putting others first! It’s not about power, but it’s about humble serving God and man! It’s not about money, but it’s about laying “up for yourselves treasures in heaven!”

* If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. *

What exactly is John telling us not to do? When he tells us, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (current verse), he’s saying what the Lord Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters,” because “either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other,” and concluded “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt 6:24). It’s the same thought Paul shared when he told us to, “seek those things which are above,” and to set “your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:1-2). Jesus concluded His above-mentioned thoughts by saying, “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matt 6:33). That’s the message here. God wants to be preeminent in our lives. He desires our Love, our passions, our desires to center on Him. If the “world” is what we’re passionate about, then we’re not passionate about God. It’s one or the other.

(Verse Fifteen of Chapter Two in my own words.)

Don’t love the system of this world, nor the things you think this system can provide for you. If anyone sets his love on the system of this world, he has not set his love on his Heavenly Father.

1 John 2:16

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

* For all that is in the world, *

Vincent comments,

“Not all things severally, but all that is in the world collectively, regarded as a unit.”

In the previous verse (1 John 2:15) John tells us not to love the world. In this verse he tells us why.

He’s not speaking about “the world” in reference to the planet. God created this planet, and everything on it, and saw that it was good (Gen 1:4, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). Even though sin has marred its’ beauty, and it’s not longer in its’ original state, it’s still quite beautiful.

He’s not speaking about “the world” in reference to mankind. God “so loved the world” (John 3:16) in that regard.

He’s speaking about “the world” in reference to its’ system of operation. He’s referring to how fallen mankind operates on this planet. The Apostle Paul said it this way,

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to ‘the course of this world,’ according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:2) [emphasis mine].

Paul was referring to mankind walking in accordance with what’s acceptable in any given “age” [the meaning of the Greek word translated “course”] of “the world,” and how what’s acceptable to the world is under the influence of “the prince of the power of the air,” who is the devil, or “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” In the next verse he tells us that in our pre-salvation state we “all had our conversation” [which means our lifestyle] “in times past in the lusts of our flesh” (Eph 2:3) in accordance with that system, which “lusts” he will go on to discuss. He also refers to it as “the wisdom of this world” (1 Cor 2:6; 3:19), “the spirit of the world” (1 Cor 2:12), and John says that “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19).

In review, Paul refers to “the world” that John is referring to in our current verse as the “course [age] of this world,” the “wisdom of this world,” the “spirit of the world;” he claims that this system is in accordance with “the prince of the power of the air,” who is “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience;” and John claims that this entire system “lieth in wickedness.” This is “the world” that we’re commanded not to love.

Next, John tells us exactly what’s “in the world.”

* the lust of the flesh, *

Concerning “lust,” Vincent comments in his notes on Mark 4:19,

Lusts, not in the limited sense of mere sexual desire, but in the general sense of longing. The word is also used of desire for good and lawful things (Luke 22:15; Phil 1:23).”

Regarding “flesh,” he says,

“Sensual appetite. The desire which resides in the flesh, not the desire for the flesh,” and adds, “The lust of the flesh involves the appropriation of the desired object.”

In this system of “the world” mankind pursues the desire that, Vincent says, “resides in the flesh.” Unfortunately, it’s in the sphere of “in the flesh,” that Paul says there “dwelleth no good thing” (Rom 7:18), but rather in the members of that flesh “the law of sin” (Rom 7:23) is active. The “lust of the flesh” is in direct opposition to the desires of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:17). Consequently, when we pursue the “lust” [desire] “of the flesh” we are pursuing the exact opposite of what the Holy Spirit desires for us.

JFB makes this statement,

“the lust which has its seat and source in our lower animal nature. Satan tried this temptation the first on Christ: Luke 4:3, ‘Command this stone that it be made bread.’ Youth is especially liable to fleshly lusts.”

The lust [desire] of the flesh of fallen man would include those things that are cravings of the nature of man separate from God. Certainly immoral sexual indulgence would be included, as would other excesses of fallen man: alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, etc.

* and the lust of the eyes, *

Vincent claims,

The desire of the eyes does not involve appropriation. It is satisfied with contemplating. It represents a higher type of desire than the desire of the flesh, in that it seeks mental pleasure where the other seeks physical gratification.”

When we think of this category of “the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15), and we realize that fallen human nature desires those things that look appealing to the eye, we quickly understand that we are most vulnerable in this generation of mass media. Not only are we confronted with “things” that look appealing in our every day movement, but now we’re also confronted with these “things” at the movies, on television, in print, and on the internet. We’re constantly shown “things” that others do, and we wish we were doing, or others have, that we wish we had.

JFB states,

“the avenue through which outward things of the world, riches, pomp, and beauty, inflame us. Satan tried this temptation on Christ when he showed Him the kingdoms of the world in a moment.”

The lust [desire] of the eyes of fallen man would include those things that are cravings of the nature of man separate from God, as a result of what he sees. Certainly immoral sexual images that entice us to dwell on lustful thoughts would be included, as would other temptations brought about my what we’ve seen: the desire for a more expensive house, a newer car, more money, etc.

* and the pride of life, *

Vincent shares these thoughts,

“It means, originally, empty, braggart talk or display; swagger; and thence an insolent and vain assurance in one’s own resources, or in the stability of earthly things, which issues in a contempt of divine laws. The vainglory of life is the vainglory which belongs to the present life.”

In fallen man there’s such a tendency to want to shine above our fellows. We want to be seen as more successful, as having nicer things, as being more influential. This is the “pride of life.”

Concerning “pride of life,” JFB tells us,

“literally, ‘arrogant assumption’: vainglorious display. Pride was Satan’s sin whereby he fell,” and also said, “Satan tried this temptation on Christ in setting Him on the temple pinnacle that, in spiritual pride and presumption, on the ground of His Father’s care, He should cast Himself down.”

The pride of life that fallen man contends with would include the desire for those things that are cravings of the nature of man separate from God, that would result in his feeling superior. This category would seem to infer those “things” a person accumulates, rather material (such as houses, cars, money, etc.) or non-material (such as titles, power, fame, etc.) as a result of that lust (desire) to be seen as superior to others.

* is not of the Father, but is of the world. *

UBS makes this comment,

“The Greek preposition rendered ‘(out) of’ indicates origin, here probably quality as it is determined by origin. Accordingly, the sentence may be rendered, ‘springs from the world, not from the Father,’ ‘does not have the quality of the Father but (has the quality) of the world,’ ‘has nothing to do with the Father, but (has) everything (to do) with the world’.”

The reason we’re not to love “the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:16) is because those “things” do not have their origin in the Father. They originate in the world. Those “things,” the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, constitute this current system that fuels the motions of life; and they’re a result of the depravity of fallen man, and they are the “things of the world” we’re not to love. Life originates in God, but these “things” originate in the system of this world controlled by the devil, and brought about by man’s desire to indulge his fallen nature, to have the finer things in life, and to be seen as better than others.

Christians build doctrines that give validity to these very things that God tells us not to love. These doctrines might tell us to refrain from indulging in the “lust of the flesh,” but they teach us that it’s perfectly acceptable to want those good things your eyes see, and to desire to be seen as successful. Not only do they tell us it’s acceptable, but they tell us it’s the very will of God for us. It’s about seeing and accumulating! After all, “God Loves us, and wants us to have the very best!” they teach us. Where’s the teaching about self-denial and taking up our cross (Matt 16:24)? About losing our lives for His sake (Matt 16:25)? About godliness with contentment being great gain (1 Tim 6:6)? About preferring others above ourselves (Rom 12:10; Phil 2:3-4)?

(Verse Sixteen of Chapter Two in my own words.)

Because within the system of this world the only things that matter are the things your flesh desires, the things your eyes desire, and the desire to feel better than everyone else, and those things don’t originate in our Father, but they come forth as a result of buying into this system.

1 John 2:17

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

* And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: *

Regarding “passeth away,” Robertson tells us,

“(paragetai). ‘Is passing by’ (linear action, present middle indicative), as in 1 John 2:8.”

Wycliffe points out that John gives us three reasons why we should not love the world,

“supplanting God in our affections with the things of the world” (see his notes on 1 John 2:15) is the first reason; “the things of the world are not of the Father” (see his notes on 1 John 2:16) is the second reason; and “the world is _ _ _ transitory” (see his notes on our current verse) is the third reason.

All that constitutes “the world” that John tells us not to love, the system which operates through, and spawns, “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16), is temporary. Therefore, any benefit derived from this system is temporary. We cannot derive anything of eternal benefit from this “world,” this system. Paul goes a step farther and reminds us that absolutely everything we see is temporary, and consequently, we should keep our eyes on those things that are not seen (2 Cor 4:18). Those are the things that are eternal!

God has created in this world (referring to our planet) a groaning (Rom 8:22), an earnest desire, to see the full manifestation of the sons of God (Rom 8:19). That manifestation will be clearly witnessed when the eternal purpose of God for our lives is fully realized, that purpose being our becoming “conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29). God has willed that we will be like Jesus when we see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). Our becoming like Jesus is what our very planet groans for! And we also, as believers, groan for that day (Rom 8:23), that day when our body is redeemed and the sin that dwells in the members of that body (Rom 7:23), the lust of our flesh (1 John 2:16) “passeth away” (current verse).

* but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. *

Concerning “doeth the will of God,” JFB says,

“not his own fleshly will, or the will of the world, but that of God (1 John 2:3, 1 John 2:6), especially in respect to love.”

Wesley sees it this way,

“That loves God, not the world.”

I agree with these men. This Epistle is about that very subject. We need to understand that we are Loved by God; and the realization that we are Loved should produce in us a great Love for God (1 John 4:8), and for man (John 13:34-35). When our conduct is born of a Love for God, and a Love for man, we’re doing the will of God (Matt 22:35-40; Rom 13:8-10; Gal 5:14; James 2:8).

You have a God-given groaning, a God-given earnest desire, to be like Jesus. You groan for that day when that particular promise of God is fully realized. What’s Jesus like? He’s exactly like His Father. He’s the “brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Heb 1:3). If you’ve seen Jesus you’ve seen His Father (John 14:9). What’s our Father like? “God is love” (1 John 4:8)! You and I will become conformed to His image when we Love like He Loves. This will be fully realized when we see Him as He is, but in the meanwhile we’re to be experiencing an ever-increasing transformation into His likeness, “from glory to glory” (2 Cor 3:18); or, the NIV translates it, “with ever-increasing glory.”

We “groan” to be like Him, which means to Love like Him. It’s God’s eternal purpose for our lives! Nothing else will satisfy us. God has programmed us in such a way that we’re “out of focus” when we’re not walking in His Love. The lusts of this world are temporary, but God’s Love is eternal.

God’s Love for you is eternal! Consequently, you believers will live with Him forever and ever.

(Verse Seventeen of Chapter Two in my own words.)

And the world, and its system, and all its corresponding lusts, are in the process of passing away. However, whoever, as the course of his life, does what the Father desires him to do (which is to Love Him and to Love people) is going to abide for eternity (with our Father).

1 John 2:18

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

* Little children, *

This is the “little children” mentioned in verse 13, not in verse 12. See my earlier notes on the possibility of them referring to two different things (1 John 2:12-13).

* it is the last time: *

Concerning “the last time,” Zondervan claims,

“With other NT writers, John viewed the whole period beginning with Christ’s first coming as the last days (see Acts 2:17; 2 Tim 3:1; Heb 1:2; 1 Pet 1:20). They understood this to be the ‘last’ of the days because neither former prophecy nor new revelation concerning the history of salvation indicated the coming of another era before the return of Christ. The word ‘last’ in ‘last days,’ ‘last times’ and ‘last hour’ also expresses a sense of urgency and imminence. The Christian is to be alert, waiting for the return of Christ (Matt 25:1-13).”

UBS tells us,

“In some Gospel passages (such as John 3:18; 4:23; 5:25) John views the final decision as being a fact already, in others as becoming a fact in the immediate future. It is the latter view that prevails here; hence, for example, ‘we are getting near the end of things’ (Phillips).”

JFB agrees when they tell us,

“Each successive age has had in it some of the signs of “the last time” which precedes Christ’s coming, in order to keep the Church in continual waiting for the Lord.”

Barnes also agrees,

“The closing period or dispensation; that dispensation in which the affairs of the world are ultimately to be wound up.”

Clarke agrees as well,

“This is the last dispensation of grace and mercy to mankind.”

Robertson sees it as less definite,

“We are left in doubt about this ‘last hour’ whether it covers a period, a series, or the final climax of all just at hand.”

Gill sees it differently,

“the last hour of the apostolic age.”

Vincent has a different opinion still,

“The dominant sense of the expression last days, in the New Testament, is that of a period of suffering and struggle preceding a divine victory. See Acts 2:17; James 5:3; 1 Pet 1:20. Hence the phrase here does not refer to the end of the world, but to the period preceding a crisis in the advance of Christ’s kingdom, a changeful and troublous period, marked by the appearance of ‘many antichrists.’”

While most Commentators believe this Epistle to be written after the destruction of Israel in 70 A.D., Matthew Henry doesn’t. Consequently, he remarks,

“our Jewish polity in church and state is hastening to an end; the Mosaic institution and discipline are just upon vanishing away; Daniel’s weeks are now expiring; the destruction of the Hebrew city and sanctuary is approaching.”

As you can see, there are differing ideas as to what John is referring to as “the last time.” I personally agree with the consensus of the majority. I believe John was referring to the fact that the Church Age represents the final stage of history preceding the fulfillment of those events prophesied by him in the Book of Revelation. In my view, following the Church Age will be the Rapture of the Church, which will be followed by the Tribulation Period, which will be followed by the Millennial reign of Christ, and finally, Eternity itself.

In this day of the Church certain things will take place in increasing fashion until the end of this Age (Matt 24:4-14). The particular issue that concerns the Apostle in our current passage is the issue of “false prophets” (Matt 24:11), those who will teach errors that are contrary to the Teaching of the Apostles. In this case, one of the errors being taught concerned the Godhead, and the part the Lord Jesus plays in that Godhead; and consequently, this teaching is against Christ, and therefore the ones teaching it are “antichrists.”

* and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, *

Regarding “antichrist,” UBS says,

“The Greek prefix anti- can mean “against” as well as “instead of.” Accordingly, antichrist may be taken as describing one who, assuming the guise of Christ, opposes Christ.”

Vincent explains it this way,

“The absence of the article shows its currency as a proper name. It may mean one who stands against Christ, or one who stands instead of Christ. —- While the false Christ is merely a pretender to the Messianic office, the Antichrist “assails Christ by proposing to do or to preserve what he did, while denying Him.” Antichrist, then, is one who opposes Christ in the guise of Christ.”

Concerning “shall come,” Robertson states,

“So Jesus taught (Mark 13:6; Mark 13:22; Matt 24:5; Matt 24:15; Matt 24:24) and so Paul taught (Acts 20:30; 2 Thess 2:3).”

The Apostle’s reminding his readers of what was evidently a common doctrine taught by the early Church, that doctrine being that before the closing of this chapter of time as we know it, an evil man, one who’s in league with the devil, will arrive on the scene. This futuristic man was known in Church doctrine as Antichrist!

* even now are there many antichrists; *

John is telling his readers, “Church, you know that the Antichrist is coming before this age of the Church comes to a close. Though he is not yet here, there are many others who are here, those who have the same spirit as that one who is to come.”

What’s he talking about? At the time of his writing this Epistle there were those who had infiltrated the Church who were teaching heresies about Who Christ was, and is. They were denying that Jesus was the Christ (1 John 2:22), and that He was the very Son of God (1 John 2:23). Their doctrines denied the sound Teaching of the Lord Jesus, and the Teaching of the Apostles. They claimed that they had no sin (1 John 1:8), that they had never sinned (1 John 1:10), and that it wasn’t necessary to obey the Lord’s Teachings (1 John 2:4). Their conduct expressed that it was all right to hate others (1 John 2:9, 11), and their actions expressed a love for the system of this world (1 John 2:15-17). Their doctrine was against Christ, their way of living their lives was against Christ, and consequently, they were “antichrists.”

* whereby we know that it is the last time. *

Because the spirit of Antichrist, the evil one who’s prophesied to come, was already in this world in the persons of the false teachers John was warning his readers about, he concludes that logic therefore demands an understanding that he and his readers were currently living in “the last time.”

JFB brings out a valid point in his above-quoted remark: every generation since the beginning of the Church has seen some “signs” that point to the “last time.” As a result, each generation has expected the soon return of the Lord Jesus. Here John says, “it is the last time” (current verse). Paul writes, “we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord” (1 Thess 4:15), “we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds” (1 Thess 4:17), and “the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor 15:22). The “last time” has begun, in the sense that it had its’ beginning in the conception of the Church, but it hasn’t yet reached its’ climax where the Antichrist will be revealed (2 Thess 2:3).

(Verse Eighteen of Chapter Two in my own words.)

Little children (you who, though born again, need to grow spiritually), the last time has begun. You’ve heard our Teaching that Antichrist will surely come, but (though that hasn’t happened yet) even as you read this Epistle understand that there are already many antichrists. This is why we know that the last time has begun.

1 John 2:19

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

* They went out from us, but they were not of us; *

The overwhelming majority of Commentaries that I have access to have the “us” of this verse referring to the congregation of believers; i.e., the Church. Their thought is that these false teachers had once been a part of the Church, but now they have voluntarily left the Church, thus proving that they were never genuinely a true part of the Church. I disagree.

First of all, without a question the “they” of this verse is referring to the false teachers (the Gnostics) that John had just referred to as “antichrists” (1 John 2:18). Most agree with that assertion. However, these false teachers had never left the Church, or “went out from us,” as this verse states. They were, at the time of the writing of this Epistle, still in the Church, still teaching the congregation their false doctrine. They didn’t denounce the Church, but rather claimed to have a higher enlightenment to share with the Church.

If the “us” isn’t the Church then who is it? I believe John is referring to the “we” of the first part of Chapter One (1 John 1:1- 5) when he says “us” in our current verse. Notice that he refers to those included in that “we” as “us” in one of those verses (1 John 1:3), so he certainly could be doing that in our current verse as well. By the way, it’s quite possible that the “we” of the second part of Chapter One (1 John 1:6-10) is also referring to John and his friends, who saw Jesus in the flesh. If that’s the case, he’s saying that if “we,” he and his friends, say certain things (1 John 1:6, 8, 10), or do certain things (1 John 1:6, 7, 9), those things determine their genuineness in the faith. He wants his readers to see that if that’s true about John and his friends, then it’s true about everyone, including the false teachers among those readers. Paul used a similar tactic when he referred to himself, and his friends, to make a point that he wanted his readers to apply to the false teachers of his day, the Judaizers (Gal 1:8-9).

If my assertion is true, then what is John saying when he says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us” (current verse)? I’m convinced that these false teachers had given the appearance that they were one of the “we” that we’re talking about. How would they do that? By being seen with them as often as possible. Why would they do that?

John was one of the Jerusalem Twelve, the original Apostles. He later writes in this Epistle that someone’s genuineness is determined by rather, or not, they agree with the teachings of this group called “we” (1 John 4:6). This “we” was entrusted with the responsibility of establishing Church doctrine in that first century A.D. Church, which included writing and prophesying the very Word of God that the Church would come to recognize as Scripture. John was most probably the only remaining writer of Scripture. However, the “we,” would have originally included all those who wrote New Testament Scripture. Paul was a member of that “we” until the time of his death. What he wrote to the Church was recognized to be Scripture (2 Pet 3:16). Like John, in the above-mentioned verse, Paul knew that what he taught was the very Word of God. Consequently, he could say that even an angel should be cursed if that angel preached any other gospel than the gospel Paul taught (Gal 1:8). That “we” that once included Paul, however, at the time of the writing of this Epistle consisted of only one writer of Scripture, that being John. However, it would also include those remaining prophets who were among believers prophesying to them the infallible Word of God (1 Cor 14:29-32), who were also witnesses who had personally saw Christ (1 John 1:1-5).

The Gnostics, these false teachers that John refers to as “antichrists” in our previous verse (1 John 2:18), were intentionally seen with this group of “we” so that those who saw them would come to believe that they spoke with the same authority as that “we” did. They wanted those listening to their heresy to believe it to be the very Word of God, a further enlightening of what John, and the others, had previously taught them. John’s telling his readers that, in spite of appearance, these Gnostics were not one of the “we.” They were not among that group that it could be said of, “he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us” (1 John 4:6). As a matter of fact, not only was the doctrine of these false teachers not a part of that standard, it had to be subjected to it. When it was, it was found wanting!

John later wrote to the Church of Ephesus and said, “thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars” (Rev 2:2). This verse demonstrates that there were those who wanted to appear to have Apostolic authority, but did not. Those in our current verse were of that number.

* for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: *

John is now telling his readers that if this group of teachers, these Gnostics, had ever genuinely been a part of this “we,” then they would still, at the time of the writing of this Epistle, be seen as being among them.

Evidently, after the Gnostics had concluded that they had gained sufficient respect as being one of those with the authority to speak Scripture, they felt no need to continue the pretense of being seen as one of the “we” by the charade of constantly being seen with them; so John writes, “They went out from us” (current verse). Consequently, they had broken away from them with their new brand of teaching. John’s telling the Church that if these teachers had ever had the God-given authority to speak and write Scripture then they would still be among the “we,” and their doctrine would be in total agreement with the doctrine of John and his friends.

* but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. *

The Gnostics “went out” from the “we” (referred to in this verse as “us”), feeling that the timing was right to introduce a new teaching. They thought that the decision to leave this group was their’s alone. However, in this verse we discover that God was behind it.

The Gnostic’s plan was to win over believers to their doctrine, persuading them that God had given them a new revelation that exceeded the revelation He had given to the “we.” God’s plan was to reveal to the Church that these false teachers were never part of the “we,” and had never been entrusted with the responsibility of speaking and writing Scripture. Their claims were false! They were not to be trusted! Their doctrines were erroneous!

(Verse Nineteen of Chapter Two in my own words.)

These antichrists might have come out from us, but they were never one of us (who are numbered among the Apostles). If they had ever been one of us (who speak or write the very Word of God), then without a doubt they would still be a part of us (teaching the same things we teach). However, they aren’t still a part of us because they left us! God’s reason for allowing this to happen is to make it evident to you that these antichrists were never one of us (who are numbered among the Apostles).

1 John 2:20

But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

* But ye have an unction from the Holy One, *

Regarding “unction,” Vincent says,

“The word means that with which the anointing is performed – the unguent or ointment.”

Thayer gives us this definition,

“anything smeared on, unguent, ointment, usually prepared by the Hebrews from oil and aromatic herbs. Anointing was the inaugural ceremony for priests.”

Zondervan shares this thought,

“The author now returns to the heretical claims of his opponents. They probably claimed superior knowledge because they had received an exclusive ritual anointing that gave them knowledge.”

Regarding Who this “Holy One” is, many Commentators believe it to be Christ, while many others believe it to be the Holy Spirit. Without question, the source of this “unction” is God; rather He’s God, the Father; God, the Son; or God, the Holy Spirit. However, it seems to me that this “unction” that we have is the Holy Spirit, and therefore, the giver would be either the Father or the Son. Jesus said, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter” (John 14:16). However, John, the Baptist, said this regarding Jesus, “he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Matt 3:11). So, the Father gives the Holy Spirit, and Jesus baptizes us with that Holy Spirit.

As Zondervan stated, the Gnostics claimed a special anointing from God. The Apostle now reminds his readers that as a result of their faith in God, their being born into the family of God, their being Christians, they have a special anointing from God; and that anointing is the Holy Spirit.

* and ye know all things. *

Jesus said that this Spirit of Truth, this “unction,” this anointing that we’ve received from “the Holy One” will “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13), and “teach you all things” (John 14:26). John is now reminding his readers that the blessed Holy Spirit that resides in them has been sent to them for this very purpose.

(Verse Twenty of Chapter Two in my own words.)

But God has prepared you to withstand the false teaching of these antichrists by sending to you that which is the very substance of the anointing (the Holy Spirit), and the consequence of having this Holy Spirit in you is that you know all things (as a result of His teaching you all things).

1 John 2:21

I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

* I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, *

John isn’t writing this letter because his readers are ignorant of the Truth. On the contrary, he’s reminding them that they already know the Truth. If we already know the Truth why’s it necessary to be reminded of that fact?

Sometimes we can doubt the very Truth we know as a result of the convincing lie we’re hearing. Bad doctrine can appeal to us to the extent that we want to believe it because of the fact of the fallen nature. Sin dwells in our members (Rom 7:23), promises us pleasure (Heb 11:25), and is appealing to our desires (James 1:14). A message that teaches that sin is inconsequential, that we can indulge our “lusts,” and God doesn’t mind at all, might be difficult to resist if the teacher of that message can present it with “cunning craftiness” (Eph 4:14). In those moments, when we are tempted to embrace a lie, we need to be reminded that we already know the Truth.

* and that no lie is of the truth. *

UBS offers these thoughts,

“The clause aims directly at the teaching of John’s opponents. Just as they themselves are not ‘of us’ (v. 19), so their words are lies and cannot ‘be of the truth,’ or ‘spring from the truth,’ ‘have the quality of truth’; or, with further shifts, ‘lies and truth cannot go together,’ ‘one who lies cannot have anything to do with truth.’”

The Living Bible renders it this way,

“but I warn you as those who can discern the difference between true and false.”

The Bible In Basic English has it,

“because that which is false has nothing in common with that which is true.”

The translation called The Message translates it,

“and to remind you that the truth doesn’t breed lies.”

The Apostle is telling his readers that the Gnostics, those “antichrists” (1 John 2:18), were “not of us” [did not speak as an Apostle] (1 John 2:19), and their teachings were not “of the truth” (current verse). He emphatically states that their teachings were lies. In the next two verses we discover what those lies were.

“Church,” he’s saying, “you know the Truth! If what you’re hearing from these teachers isn’t consistent with the Truth you’re grounded in then it’s not part of the Truth. Rather, it’s a lie!”

(Verse Twenty-one of Chapter Two in my own words.)

I’m not writing this letter to you because I think you’re ignorant of the Truth. On the contrary, I’m writing it to remind you that you do know the Truth! Anything you hear that’s contrary to that Truth is a lie!

1 John 2:22

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

* Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? *

John had just written, “no lie is of the truth” (1 John 2:21). Now he writes that any one who’s teaching a “lie” is a “liar.” Exactly what doctrinal “lie” is the Apostle concerned with in this verse? He’s denouncing the heresy of the Gnostic teachers who were denying that Jesus is the Christ.

Robertson has this to say regarding these Gnostics,

“There were two kinds of Gnostics, both agreeing in the essential evil of matter. Both had trouble with the Person of Christ. The Docetic Gnostics denied the actual humanity of Christ, the Cerinthian Gnostics distinguished between the man Jesus and the aeon Christ that came on him at his baptism and left him on the Cross. Some practised asceticism, some licentiousness. John opposes both classes in his Epistles. They claimed superior knowledge (gnosis) and so were called Gnostics.”

Any denial of the Scriptural Truths that Jesus, Who is God the Son, is the promised “Christ” [Messiah] (Matt 1:16), that He was born of a virgin (Matt 1:23), and that He became a literal man in a literal body (1 Tim 3:16) is a “lie,” and the teller of that “lie” is a “liar.” Jesus was God’s Son an eternity before His resurrection, because He was the Son when God “gave” Him, not just after He had been given (John 3:16). He was also the “Christ” an eternity before He ever became a man (Phil 2:5-11). The Gnostics denied these Scriptural facts. As a result, John identified them as liars.

* He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. *

Zondervan tells us,

“Obviously such a denial of Jesus’ humanity struck at the very heart of the Incarnation. By denying Jesus’ true sonship, these opponents of John denied the Father as well. Because they denied Jesus’ human life, they rejected the community of love he established. Most likely the false teachers mocked the commands of Jesus as taught by the apostles. Little wonder that John designates them “antichrists.” They rejected Jesus.”

UBS points out,

“Since denying the Son is the cause and denying the Father the result, one would expect the Son to be mentioned first. The reverse sequence has probably been chosen in order to stress the dreadful consequences of this false christology. It is to bring out that man’s relationship with God himself is at stake.”

John further identifies these false teachings as a denial of “the Father and the Son.” As such, they were the teachings of those who opposed Christ, and were consequently referred to here as “antichrist” in nature.

John reminds his readers that God the Father and God the Son are One (John 17:22). It’s impossible to have a right relationship with One and not the Other. If you deny the Truth about Jesus, you are denying what the Father claims to be True, and therefore you’re denying the Father. The Trinity is One God! When God is in our lives God the Father is there, God the Son is there, and God the Holy Spirit is there. When God is in you, all of Him is in you! If God the Son isn’t in you then God the Father isn’t in you! If you deny the Son then you deny the Father!

(Verse Twenty-two of Chapter Two in my own words.)

Who is the liar telling these lies? It’s the one who denies that Jesus is the promised Christ! When a teacher teaches these things he’s denying the Father, because he’s denying the Son. Consequently, he is antichrist!

1 John 2:23

Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

* Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: *

UBS tells us regarding this statement,

“or ‘everyone who denies the Son cannot have the Father,’”

Regarding “hath not the Father,” they say,

“‘To have the Father’ expresses a close and intimate communion with the Father.”

The Bible In Basic English translates it this way,

“He who has no belief in the Son has not the Father.”

Whoever denies the Truth about the Incarnation, that God the Son “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:7), doesn’t have any relationship with the Father. See my notes on the previous verse (1 John 2:22).

John makes it abundantly clear that any viable relationship with God includes a relationship with the Father and the Son.

* (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. *

According to Strong’s Concordance the Greek word “homologeo” is used twenty-four times in the New Testament. This is the only time it’s translated “acknowledgeth,” while it’s translated “confess” seventeen times, including earlier in this Epistle (1 John 1:9).

The Message translates it,

“but affirming the Son is an embrace of the Father as well.”

Robertson gives us these reasons why this is so,

“Because the Son reveals the Father (John 1:18; John 14:9). Our only approach to the Father is by the Son (John 14:6). Confession of Christ before men is a prerequisite for confession by Christ before the Father (Matt 10:32; Luke 12:8).”

When our confession is in line with the solid Teaching of Scripture regarding Who Jesus is, and it’s a confession of faith in Him as our only way to the Father (John 14:6), then that confession brings us into a right relationship with the Father. We then have an intimate relationship with God the Son, and God the Father. Though that’s the extent of what this verse concerns itself with, when we confess the Son we also have an intimate relationship with God the Spirit (Rom 8:9; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; Gal 4:6; Eph 1:12-13).

(Verse Twenty-three of Chapter Two in my own words.)

And anyone who denies the Son in this way has absolutely no relationship with the Father. However, anyone who confesses that Jesus is the Christ (and the only way to the Father), this man has entered into an intimate relationship with the Father.

1 John 2:24

Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

* Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, *

“Abide” and “remain” are from the same Greek word. That word is meno. Concerning this word, Strong’s says,

“A primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy).”

Regarding “from the beginning,” JFB tells us,

“from the time of your first hearing the Gospel.”

John wants them to get this! Twice he emphasizes the need for them to allow the Truth that they’ve heard from the very beginning of their walk with the Lord to remain in them, to continue to be a part of them. What was this message? John identifies it in the next Chapter when he says, “this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:11). In John’s view the Gospel message is that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), that He’s bestowed that Love on us (1 John 3:1), that our response to that Love is our Loving God back (1 John 4:19), that we understand His Love for us by the fact of His dying for us (John 3:16; 1 John 3:16), that the revelation of His Love causes us to Love one another in the very way that we’re Loved (John 13:34-35). It’s inconceivable to John that a true believer would not want to Love others, dispensing the very Love he’s a recipient of.

Paul tells us that this Love was “shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Rom 5:5). It’s in us! Let’s let it out by Loving others. This is the message John had been preaching “from the beginning.” He’s telling his readers to abide in that Truth, and not to abandon it for the false teaching of the Gnostics.

* ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. *

UBS comments,

“According to this clause it is only by way of the word of the Gospel as it is preached by the eyewitnesses (cp. 1 John 1:1-3), that one can come to the Son, just as it is only through the Son that one can come to the Father. This is probably the reason why the Son is mentioned before the Father here, not after him as in v. 22.”

UBS has it right! Truth is important! It’s by experiencing that Truth that we discover in His Word that we find freedom (John 8:32). We need to stay in that Truth, that doctrine that the Apostles taught.

“Continue” is from the same Greek word as “abide” and “remain” are. If you “abide,” if you “remain,” if you “continue” in the beginning Truth, then you will “abide,” you will “remain,” you will “continue” in the Son: and consequently, if you “abide,” if you “remain,” if you “continue” in the Son then you will also “abide,” you will also “remain,” you will also “continue” in the Father.

What’s this verse telling us? Is it telling us that we can be saved, in the state of being “in the Son, and in the Father,” and then lose that salvation, or fall out of the state of being “in the Son, and in the Father”? Or, is it telling us that if we don’t “abide,” if we don’t “remain,” if we don’t “continue” in the Truth we’ve heard “from the beginning” that we were never genuinely saved, in the state of being “in the Son, and in the Father,” in the first place?

Let the Theologians fight about it! The bottom line is, whichever doctrine you hold to, the end result is the same. If you “continue in the Son, and in the Father,” then you are going to Heaven!

What do I believe about it? I believe that the One Who began this good work in me “will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6), because He’s “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:2). I’m standing at this point of my life confident that when I die I’m going to Heaven. Why? It’s because my confidence isn’t in me, but it’s in God!

(Verse Twenty-four of Chapter Two in my own words.)

Because of this, let the thing that continues to abide in you be the Truth that you’ve heard ever since the day you were saved. If the Truth that you’ve heard ever since the day you were saved continues to abide in you, then you will continue to abide in the Son, and as a result of that, you will continue to abide in the Father.

1 John 2:25

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

* And this is the promise that he hath promised us, *

The promise John’s about to mention isn’t just any promise. It’s the promise that God Himself has promised us. Consequently, it’s a promise that has absolutely no potential to fail. Everything God says is Truth (John 17:17). He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). It’s impossible for Him to lie (Heb 6:18). Everything He testifies to, past, present, or future, is sure, is certain (Psalm 19:7).

Why are these things certain? How can God testify with certainty about a future that has yet to happen? I can think of two reasons why the promise He’s given to us, that promise that guarantees our future, is absolutely certain to come to fulfillment.

First, the very Word of God is creative (Rom 4:17). From our perspective as creatures of time, our future has not yet happened; but God “calleth those things which be not as though they were.” His Word then creates the uncreated, and what isn’t suddenly is. When God says it, it is!

Second, God is living outside of our dimension of time. He sees past, present, and future simultaneously. He sees Adam and you at the same “time,” in His reality (Rom 8:28-30; Eph 1:4; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2, 19-20; Rev 13:8; 17:8). Consequently, we who God “did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8:29). Because we are among that group He foreknew we are “also called,” we are “also justified,” and we are “also glorified” (Rom 8:30). God, before there was Adam, already saw us as the called, the justified, and as the glorified. He stands outside of our realm of time and saw it millenniums before it happened in our reality. God is merely testifying to what He has already seen! He has seen it, He testified to it, and we can be certain it will come to pass exactly as He says it will.

* even eternal life. *

Zondervan tells us,

“What is promised in the Gospel is the everlasting knowledge of Father and Son (John 17:3). It is a promise the community has already received. Eternal life has begun, but its eschatological fulfillment is also promised. What dimension this fellowship with the Son and the Father will assume in the ‘life to come’ is yet unknown (1 John 3:2). But the hope is certain. All that is now known about it is only a foretaste of the glory that will be revealed.”

We understand that “eternal life” implies our living forever. But, what else does it imply? In Zondervan’s notes above they mention a later verse in this Epistle (1 John 3:2). I will be more thorough on what that verse implies in the notes on that verse. However, let it suffice for now to say that this “eternal life” includes our becoming like Jesus, which is the eternal purpose of God for our lives (Rom 8:29). That certainly will include our being “like him” in character, but it also includes our being “like him” in the sense that we will cease to exist in our current realm of time, our current reality, and enter into what it means to be an eternal creature. Also, we will come to know the “only true God, and Jesus Christ” (John 17:1-3) in an immensely more intimate way.

(Verse Twenty-five of Chapter Two in my own words.)

And we have this as the promise that God, Himself, has given to us, the promise of eternal life.

1 John 2:26

These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

* These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. *

Concerning “seduce,” Thayer defines it,

“1) to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way; 1a) to go astray, wander, roam about; 2) metaph.; 2a) to lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to deceive; 2b) to be led into error; 2c) to be led aside from the path of virtue, to go astray, sin; 2d) to sever or fall away from the truth; 2d1) of heretics; 2e) to be led away into error and sin.”

John wants his readers to understand why he’s writing the things that he is. He wants them to be able to discern between Truth and error, between Apostles and antichrists (Rev 2:2).

Who knows what went us in the minds of these false teachers? Perhaps they honestly felt they were the ones with the truth, that they had actually received a new revelation from God. Or, perhaps they were mere charlatans, and simply wanted to deceive the Church for the sake of profit. However, whatever they might have thought, John saw them as those who were actively attempting to cause his readers to stray from the Truth they had been taught. Sincere, or not, they were heretics. Their teachings were lies (1 John 2:22), they were antichrists (1 John 2:18), and their doctrines were a denial of Who Jesus truly is (1 John 2:23). They were an extreme danger to the Church.

John wanted his readers to fully understand that these men were false teachers, that to believe the doctrine they taught was to fall to the seduction of error, and to stray from the Truth. You can’t embrace Truth and lie (1 John 2:21). They are diametrically opposed to one another. John’s wants his readers to understand that Truth isn’t a mixture of his doctrine and the doctrine of these Gnostics. Rather, any doctrine brought to them, the Church, must be submitted to the doctrine of John, and the other writers of Scripture (1 John 4:6).

(Verse Twenty-six of Chapter Two in my own words.)

The reason that I’ve written these things to you is to inform you about these false teachers who are attempting to lead you away from the Truth.

1 John 2:27

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

* But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, *

Regarding “abideth,” Strong’s Concordance says,

“A primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy).”

John had already told his readers that they had an “unction,” an anointing that God had given them as believers (1 John 2:20). Now he tells them that this anointing “abideth.” What great news for you and I. We don’t have to pray for the anointing. We receive the anointing when we are born into the family of God, and that anointing permanently lives in us. We are anointed!

* and ye need not that any man teach you: *

Zondervan comments,

“If they abide in the teaching and in the anointing, they need neither new teaching nor new teachers. Since they have received their ‘teaching’ from the Son through those who were his witnesses from the beginning and have his ‘anointing,’ they have in fact no need for anyone more to teach them, not even John himself.”

One of the gifts that the Lord Jesus gives to the Church is the gift of “teachers” (Eph 4:11). That passage is telling us that God sends gifted men to teach the Church sound doctrine. However, in our current verse John’s telling us that we don’t need any man to teach us. Are these two Scriptures contradicting one another? How do we reconcile these two verses? Let’s look at two possibilities.

Possibility Number One: Paul wrote to the Galatian believers that if any individual, including himself, and even if that individual was an angel from heaven, were to preach a gospel different than the one they had already received they should suffer an eternal curse from God (Gal 1:8-9). Paul, and John in our current passage, were stating that “any man” who teaches any doctrine contrary to the one already taught to them by the Holy Spirit through those gifted “teachers” spoken of in Ephesians should be rejected by the Church, along with their doctrine. John will soon write that his doctrine is what all other doctrines must be judged by (1 John 4:6). Consequently, it’s conceivable that the point made in our current verse is that we don’t need “any man,” who wasn’t one of the gifted men sent to us by the Holy Spirit, to teach us some new doctrine that’s contradictory to the doctrine taught by those gifted men, who were taught by the Holy Spirit.

Possibility Number Two: Paul wrote to Timothy, “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” (2 Tim 2:7). Luke, who traveled with Paul, wrote that those in Berea “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:10-11). Jesus asked, “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone” (Matt 7:9)? He then asked, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him” (Acts 17:11)? In other words, if we can trust our earthly fathers to give us the needful, good things we ask for, we can certainly trust our heavenly Father to give us the necessary good things we ask for. Here’s what I’m suggesting, whenever “any man” teaches us any thing, we should first “consider” what the man is saying, then search “the scriptures,” then ask the Father for understanding, and then trust that He’ll give us the “good things” we’ve asked for. When we do that then the Holy Spirit teaches us “all things” (John 14:26), guiding us into “all truth” (John 16:13). Only the Holy Spirit can ultimately convince our spirit of Divine Truth! Human teachers can bring Truth to our attention, but only the Holy Spirit can reveal that Truth to us, making it our Truth, the Truth that sets us free (John 8:32).

Both possibilities are true, but I believe possibility number two is the one John has in mind in our current passage.

* but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, *

UBS says the following,

“Teaches is in the present tense, expressing continuity. The teaching is an ongoing process, which preserves the believers in the truth, although the false teachers try to lead them astray.”

Zondervan comments,

“He does not advance the idea, perhaps favored by some of his opponents, that the Spirit will add new revelation to what has already been given.”

Zondervan goes on to say,

“This anointing is ‘real, not counterfeit’ (cf. John 15:26; 16:3)–a reference to the gnosticizing opponents who claim as the source of their teaching a special anointing not commonly received by the company of believers. But the test of the anointing is its fidelity to that which is from the beginning. Since the opponents’ teaching fails precisely at this point, their anointing is exposed as false.”

This anointing, this Holy Spirit Who has made His permanent home in you, does exactly what Jesus said He would do; He teaches you “all things” (John 14:26). This Truth that He teaches you was already identified as that “which ye have heard from the beginning” (1 John 2:24). John’s readers were instructed to let those beginning truths remain in them, and not to allow new doctrine to remove them from those truths they had already received.

Again, God entrusted certain men with the responsibility of writing Scripture. John was one of those men, and could therefore insist that other teachings must agree with his teachings in order to be “of God” (1 John 4:6). These Gnostics claimed to have that same special anointing (1 John 2:19), but John exposed them as antichrists (1 John 2:18) and liars (1 John 2:22).

Those things that the Holy Spirit teaches us are absolute Truth. There is no lie to be found in those things. Any doctrine that doesn’t line up with this revealed Truth is a lie, and therefore has not been given by revelation from the Holy Spirit. We, along with those first century Christians John was writing to, need to reject any teaching that’s contradictory to the teaching of those men called to write Scripture “from the beginning” of the Church Age. When we reject false teaching we also reject the teachers who are teaching that error. We reject them as teachers, but we continue to Love them, and to pray for their conversion to the Truth.

* and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. *

JFB comment,

“The oldest manuscripts read the imperative, ‘abide in Him.’”

Following are some other translations’ rendering of this phrase,

“just as it has taught you, remain in him.” [NIV]

“so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do].” [AMP]

“so keep your hearts in him, through the teaching which he has given you.” [BBE]

“Live deeply in what you were taught.” [The Message]

The anointing, the blessed Holy Spirit Who teaches us “all things,” is presented here as the One Who “hath taught” us, in the past tense. The Holy Spirit has already revealed the Truth to us, the Truth we have had “from the beginning,” through those who were called to write the Holy Scriptures. We are to abide in the Lord Jesus, just as this revealed Truth has taught us. Any teaching that alters what has been taught “from the beginning” is to be rejected. We are to allow this Truth to remain in us (1 John 2:24), and we are to remain in the Lord Jesus just as this Truth, revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, teaches us (current verse).

(Verse Twenty-seven of Chapter Two in my own words.)

But that anointing you’ve received from the Lord Jesus abides in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you (some new doctrine). That same anointing is your Teacher, and He teaches you all things that pertain to the Truth. He is Truth, and no lie is a part of Him. Abide in Jesus, just as this Anointing as taught you.

1 John 2:28

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

* And now, little children, abide in him; *

JFB make this comment,

“Greek, ‘little sons,’ as in 1 John 2:12; believers of every stage and age.”

Thayer gives this definition,

teknion – 1) a little child; 2) in the NT used as a term of kindly address by teachers to their disciples.”

This is the “little children” of verse twelve, not verse thirteen (see my notes on those verses). This Greek word, teknion, is only used nine times in the New Testament, eight of them by John (John 13:33; 1 John 2:1, 12, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21). Paul used it only once (Gal 4:19). No other writer of New Testament Scripture used it.

John just instructed his readers to “abide in him” in the previous verse (1 John 2:27). Now he repeats that admonition, but this time he prefaces it with “little children,” addressing those he tenderly cares for as a spiritual father.

* that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, *

Regarding “when,” JFB say,

“literally, ‘if’; the uncertainty is not as to the fact, but the time.”

Concerning “when he shall appear,” Robertson tells us,

“A clear reference to the second coming of Christ which may be at any time.”

Of “confidence,” Zondervan comments,

“‘Confidence’ is one of John’s favorite words to describe the freedom and boldness that belong to the Christian before God in prayer (1 John 3:21; 5:14) and at Christ’s coming.”

He’s telling his readers, his “little children,” to abide in Christ because He could come at any time. What “if” it’s soon? We can look forward to the certainty of His coming, at an uncertain time, with great confidence as we continue to abide in Him. That’s John’s message here.

There is absolutely no doubt that Jesus is coming again! John states it as a fact! The challenge for us is to walk faithfully before Him until He does.

* and not be ashamed before him at his coming. *

Barnes shares these thoughts,

“We feel ashamed when our hopes are disappointed; when it is shown that we have a character different from what we professed to have; when our pretensions to goodness are stripped off, and the heart is made bare. Many will thus be ashamed in the last day, Matt 7:21-23; but it is one of the promises made to those who truly believe on the Saviour, that they shall never be ashamed or confounded. See the notes at 1 Peter 2:6.”

Abiding in Him is abiding in His Love, because He is Love (1 John 4:8). We have the great Christian hope of seeing Jesus face to face (1 John 3:2), and “hope maketh not ashamed” (Rom 5:5). Why? That verse goes on to tell us it’s “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” When we abide in Him we abide in His Love, and because His Love is in us we won’t be ashamed when our hopes are fulfilled, and Jesus comes again. We have confidence because the fear of punishment at the hand of God is destroyed by Love (1 John 4:17-18). We understand that God radically, fanatically, relentlessly, continuously Loves us, and longs for us to join Him in His eternal home. Knowing that He Loves us is what gives us this confidence! Knowing that He Loves us is what causes us to be free from shame in His presence! We are His! He is ours! We long to see Him when we abide in Him, when we abide in His Love.

However, when we base our relationship with God on any other basis than His Love for us we can never think of facing Him with confidence, but rather we fear that we’ll be ashamed before Him because of all our failures.

John’s message in this Epistle is a message of a Love affair between God and His people. That’s the message his readers had heard “from the beginning,” and that’s the message they needed to allow to abide in them. The so-called enlightenment of the Gnostics taught another message, one that could never bring confidence to those who were about to face God. How do I know that? There’s absolutely no other message, but the message that God Loves us, that can give us this confidence.

(Verse Twenty-eight of Chapter Two in my own words.)

Now, my little children, abide in Him (in Who He is, in the Truth that He Who is Love Loves you). That way, if He comes soon, in your lifetime, you will receive Him with confidence, having no shame in His presence when He appears (because you will rest in the Truth that the One Who is appearing is the One Who has Loved you eternally).

1 John 2:29

If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

* If ye know that he is righteous, *

Concerning “if ye know,” JFB tells us,

“if ye are aware (are in possession of the knowledge).”

Vincent defines “know” this way,

“know absolutely.”

Robertson explains it,

“know by intuitive or absolute knowledge.”

“My little children,” John’s saying, “you absolutely know that God is a righteous God.” God’s righteousness wasn’t being disputed by the false teaching of the Gnostics, so John simply states it as an understood fact. Every believer knows intuitively that God is righteous. As a matter of fact, we understand that righteousness is defined by the very conduct of God. What He is, is what righteousness is!

* ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. *

Regarding “ye know,” JFB says,

“ye discern or apprehend.”

Vincent has it this way,

ye perceive.”

Robertson comments,

“then ‘ye know’ or ‘know ye’ (ginoskete either indicative or imperative) by experimental knowledge (so ginosko means in contrast with oida).”

Child of God, if you know intuitively that God is righteous, that righteousness is defined by the character of God, then you, by discernment, by perception, by experience know that those who are truly “born of him” will do what’s right as a practice of life.

As we’ll see in the next Chapter the individual “that committeth sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Here, in our current verse, we see “that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” The Greek word for “committeth” and “doeth” is the same word. In both cases, according to the Online Bible, the tense is present, the voice is active, and the mood is participle. In other words, John is talking about the identical action when he refers to righteousness, as he is when he refers to sin. This demonstrates that he’s not talking about a single act of sin making one “of the devil,” any more than he talking about a single act of doing what’s right making one “born of him,” the “him” referring to God. Rather, he’s speaking about those who, as a habit, do what’s right. We’ll discuss this further in the next Chapter.

This is a repetition of what he said earlier, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). If we’re genuine in our faith then it ought to show in our conduct.

(Verse Twenty-nine of Chapter Two in my own words.)

If you know, and I know you do, that God is righteous, then you must perceive that it’s the individual who is doing, as a pattern of life, what’s right (what’s in line with the conduct of God as seen in His Son) who is truly born of God.

Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church