Chapter 2, Verse 2-5
1 John 2:1) [GNB] I am writing this to you, my children, so that you will not sin; but if anyone does sin, we have someone who pleads with the Father on our behalf—Jesus Christ, the righteous one.
1 John 1:6) [GNB] If, then, we say that we have fellowship with him, yet at the same time live in the darkness, we are lying both in our words and in our actions.
QUESTION: What does “live in the dark” mean?
ANSWER: When our life choices are contrary to the sound teaching of Scripture we are walking in the darkness.
NOTE: This verse isn’t talking about acts of sin; it’s talking about choosing to live contrary to the Truth.
ANOTHER NOTE: John is most probably directing this comment at the Gnostics. They claim that they know Jesus, but they claim that Jesus never came in the flesh, and they claim that since the spirit is saved, but not the flesh, that it’s O.K. to sin. One might learn some valuable lessons that will benefit the saved spirit. They claim to have a relationship with Jesus, but they walk in darkness.
QUESTION: Why did John write this letter?
ANSWER: He didn’t want us to sin.
QUESTION: What if we do sin?
ANSWER: We have a Heavenly Lawyer Who represents us in the courtroom of Heaven! We confess! God forgives! God cleanses! He does this to answer the intercessory prayers His Son makes for us.
Romans 8:34) [GNB] Who, then, will condemn them? Not Christ Jesus, who died, or rather, who was raised to life and is at the right side of God, pleading with him for us!
Concerning this verse,
“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” [Robertson].
NOTE: We must never make grace an excuse for bad conduct. We might not always live right, but we must always desire to live right.
On To This Week’s Lesson:
1 John 2:2) [GNB] And Christ himself is the means by which our sins are forgiven, and not our sins only, but also the sins of everyone.
QUESTION: Has God forgiven all of mankind their sins against Him?
ANSWER: Note the following translations of this verse:
(KJV) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.
(BBE) He is the offering for our sins; and not for ours only, but for all the world.
(CEV) Christ is the sacrifice that takes away our sins and the sins of all the world’s people.
(GW) He is the payment for our sins, and not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole world.
(MSG) When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good–not only ours, but the whole world’s.
Regarding “the sins of everyone,”
“At any rate, the propitiation by Christ provides for salvation for all (Heb_2:9) if they will only be reconciled with God (2Co_5:19-21)” [Robertson].
QUESTION: What, then, is John saying in this verse?
ANSWER: Salvation has been provided for all of mankind; however, each one of us must come to Christ in order to be reconciled to God.
Isaiah 59:1-2) [GW] The LORD is not too weak to save or his ear too deaf to hear.
2) [GW] But your wrongs have separated you from your God, and your sins have made him hide his face so that he doesn’t hear you.
2 Corinthians 5:19-21) [GNB] In other words, God was using Christ to restore his relationship with humanity. He didn’t hold people’s faults against them, and he has given us this message of restored relationships to tell others.
20) [GNB] Therefore, we are Christ’s representatives, and through us God is calling you. We beg you on behalf of Christ to become reunited with God.
21) [GNB] God had Christ, who was sinless, take our sin so that we might receive God’s approval through him.
QUESTION: Why wasn’t God answering the prayers of Israel at this time in their history?
ANSWER: They weren’t serving God; they were living in total disobedience.
QUESTION: Why isn’t God answering our prayers?
ANSWER: The only sin we commit, as Christians, that keeps God from answering our prayers is the sin of unbelief.
Mark 11:22-24) [GNB] Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.
23) [GNB] I assure you that whoever tells this hill to get up and throw itself in the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
24) [GNB] For this reason I tell you: When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for.
1 John 2:3) [GNB] If we obey God’s commands, then we are sure that we know him.
(KJV) And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
QUESTION: What are His commandments?
ANSWER: Note the following verses:
John 14:15) [GNB] If you love me, you will obey my commandments.
John 15:9-10) [GNB] I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love.
10) [GNB] If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
What Are His Commandments?
1 John 3:22-24) [GNB] We receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
23) [GNB] What he commands is that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as Christ commanded us.
24) [GNB] Those who obey God’s commands live in union with God and God lives in union with them. And because of the Spirit that God has given us we know that God lives in union with us.
John 13:34-35) [GNB] And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35) [GNB] If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”
QUESTION: What are His commandments?
ANSWER: 1) We must put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. 2) We must love one another.
NOTE: This is the only evidence the unbeliever will accept.
1 John 2:4) [GNB] If we say that we know him, but do not obey his commands, we are liars and there is no truth in us.
QUESTION: To whom is John talking to in this verse?
ANSWER: John is pointing this statement at the Gnostic; however, it applies to all of us. If we claim to know the Lord Jesus, and yet, we don’t care what He said, then we are liars.
1 John 2:5) [GNB] But if we obey his word, we are the ones whose love for God has really been made perfect. This is how we can be sure that we are in union with God:
(BBE) But in every man who keeps his word, the love of God is made complete. By this we may be certain that we are in him:
(GW) But whoever obeys what Christ says is the kind of person in whom God’s love is perfected. That’s how we know we are in Christ.
(MSG) But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love. This is the only way to be sure we’re in God.
QUESTION: What truth is John conveying to us in today’s lesson?
ANSWER: If we have 1) faith in God, which presupposes loving Him, and 2) love for one another, then we are mature Christians.
NOTE: If we get these two things right, the rest will fall in place. When we struggle with sin we are struggling with one of these two commandments; or perhaps, we are struggling with both.
PLEASE NOTE: 1) If we don’t trust what God says, then we CAN’T live victorious Christian lives.
2) If we don’t love others, then we WON’T live victorious Christian lives.
Matthew 22:36-40) [GNB] “Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37) [GNB] Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38) [GNB] This is the greatest and the most important commandment.
39) [GNB] The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’
40) [GNB] The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church