2:1 The New Life
SUMMARY OF I JOHN 2:
The Advocate with the Father. The Propitiation. The Old and the New Commandment. The Love of the World and the Love of the Father Inconsistent. The Unction of the Holy Spirit. Antichrist. The Anointing Which Teacheth All Things.
My little children. From so aged a teacher as John, now probably more than four score, and at least fifty years in the service of Christ, this fatherly style of address is very appropriate.
That ye sin not. He writes to exhort them to a pure and holy life, the only life permissible to those born again.
And if any man sin. The word man is not found in the Greek. The meaning is, If any brother, any of you, should be overtaken by sin, there is a way of forgiveness. They must not sin, but if unhappily one does sin, let him go to Christ, the Advocate.
We have an advocate with the Father. Who pleads with the Father not to withdraw his love because we may have been betrayed into sin.
2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins. The mercy seat of the Tabernacle where God met man was called the propitiation. Christ is our mercy seat, where God meets us in mercy and forgiveness.
And not for ours only. Christ's offering is for all. He tasted death for every man (Heb 2:9).
2:3 And by this we do know that we know him. The evidences that we have a saving knowledge of Christ is loyal obedience to his commandments.
2:4 He that saith, etc. If one claims to have a saving knowledge of Christ, yet lives in disobedience, his life puts the lie to his words.
2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, etc. It is by keeping his commandments that the love of God is made perfect in us. Obedience is the result and proof of love, and also gives love the opportunity to flow over the whole life. Compare Joh 14:21.
Hereby. By our loyal obedience.
2:6 He that saith he abideth in him. Whoso abideth in Christ, and lives by the life Christ imparts, must show that life by a life like that of Christ. See Joh 15:4.
2:7 I write no new commandment unto you. He writes in substance what was commanded from the beginning when he bids them walk as Christ walks.
The old commandment is the word which ye have heard. The Gospel. Its substance is condensed by Christ into the words: Follow me.
From the beginning. Their first hearing of the gospel.
2:8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you. Yet this commandment, the substance of which is brotherly love, is in one sense new, because it was first taught them by Christ. See Joh 13:34.
Which thing is true in him and in you. Its truth is shown in the life of Christ and in your life.
Because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. The truth of the new commandment is shown because you have come out of the darkness and are walking in the light that shineth. He that keeps the new commandment walks in the light.
2:9 He that saith he is the light, etc. If one hates his brother he demonstrates that he is in darkness.
1Joh 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light. On the other hand, brotherly love shows that one abides in the light.
And there is none occasion of stumbling in him. Because he walks in the light and can see where he walks.
2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness. He who hates is not following Christ, the Light, and hence walks in the darkness, hence
that darkness hath blinded his eyes. He cannot see the dangers that beset him on account of the darkness.
2:12 I write unto you, little children. John calls all the saints little children. Then he divides them into three classes, fathers, young men, and little children (1Jo 2:13), but the Greek word paidion, rendered little children in 1Jo 2:13, is a different one from 1Jo 2:1,12, teknion.
2:13 Fathers, because ye have known him [that is] from the beginning. These father have not known Christ in the flesh, but have walked with him long and realized his presence.
Young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. The special excellence of these Christian young men is that they have overcome the temptations of the evil one.
Little children, because ye have known the Father. These have known the Father, and can say, Our Father who art in heaven (Mt 6:9 Lu 11:2).
2:14 I have written unto you, etc. This verse, imitating the Hebrew parallelism, repeats with slight variations 1Jo 2:12,13.
2:15 Love not the world. An exhortation to all three classes just named in 1Jo 2:13,14. The love of the world and of God are not reconcilable. See PNT Jas 4:4.
Neither the things [that are] in the world. The ways of the world, its passions, pleasures and pursuits.
2:16 For all that [is] in the world. This sinful world is comprehended under three heads.
The lust of the flesh. The desires which spring from the appetites and passions.
The lust of the eyes. The desires that are aroused by appeals made to our eyes.
The pride of life. The vain glory of the world; its foolish display. Sensuality, avarice and pride, nearly but not quite, illustrate what is meant.
2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof. All things are transient,
But he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. He who does the will of God builds on eternal foundations.
2:18 It is the last time. We are in the last dispensation.
Antichrist shall come. False Christs and those opposed to Christ. See PNT Mt 24:4. Anti-Christ is Anti-Christianity.
Whereby we know that it is the last time. Their appearance is a part of the series of events which leads to the final consummation.
2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us. This implies that these antichrists were apostates. The worst men are often those who were once outwardly religious and have fallen away.
For if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us. Had they been true and genuine Christians they could hardly have fallen into such a state of enmity. Their going away and bitter opposition show that they were not real converts.
2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One. Ye are anointed with the Holy Spirit. Christian means an anointed one; Anti-Christ would mean against the Anointed. Hence John reminds them that they have been anointed by the Holy One.
And ye know all things. All things needful to guard against these opposers and seducing teachers. It is the privilege of those who have this anointing to know Christ experimentally (Joh 14:22,23).
2:21 I have not written unto you, etc. John writes to them as those who know the truth, and know how to discern between the truth and lies.
2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? Hence they will know how to reject these antichrists who lyingly deny Jesus Christ.
2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father. All who deny the Father and the Son are antichrist; so also those who reject the Son cannot have the Father.
2:24 Let that therefore abide in you. The truth concerning the Father and the Son which Anti-Christ denies.
Ye also shall continue. He who remains steadfast in this faith will continue in the Son, and in the Father.
2:25 And this is the promise. This promise, [even] eternal life, is made to all who abide in the Son and in the Father.
2:26 These [things] have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. All these words about Anti-Christ; all in 1Jo 2:18-29 is to put them on their guard against false teachers.
2:27 But the anointing which ye have received, abideth in you. See 1Jo 2:20. This anointing is spoken of because it furnishes them a means of guarding against the false teachers and seducers. The passage does not teach a continuous revelation, or that we are to be led by the inner light, but that God has given us means of knowing whether men speak the truth.
Ye need not that any man should teach you. There is another fountain of knowledge so that ye need not the aid of these opposing teachers.
As the same anointing teacheth of you all things. The Holy Spirit bestowed upon you. It was the promise of Christ that the Spirit should guide you into all the truth (Joh 16:13). The Holy Spirit was thus imparted to the apostles and through them spiritual gifts were imparted everywhere in the early church. Among these gifts were wisdom, knowledge, prophecy, and discerning of spirits. These extraordinary gifts continued until the Holy Spirit had prepared the New Testament to guide the church (1Co 13:8). Now we have the Word of God, which the Holy Spirit has given us, and the presence of the Spirit with us to fit us for understanding. The word and the unction still teach us all things.
2:28 Abide in him. By continuing in the truth taught of God.
2:29 If ye know that he is righteous. A life of righteousness shows that we have the life of Christ, and hence is proof that we have been born of him.