1 John 2

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

Observation

  • John is writing so the readers may not sin.
  • If we sins we have advocate, Jesus.
  • Jesus is righteous.
  • Jesus is the propitiation for our sins.
  • Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the world.
  • We know Jesus if we keep his commandments.
  • We know that we know Jesus by keeping his commandments.
  • If we do not keep Jesus commandments we do not know him.
  • If we keep the God’s word God’s love is perfected in us.
  • John is not giving any new commandments.
  • The commandment John is giving appears new because the darkness is gone.
  • If we hate our brother we are still in darkness.
  • If we are in darkness we do not know where we are going because the darkness has blinded us.
  • We are not to love the world or the things in the world.
  • If we love the world, we do not love the Father.
  • What is in the world is not from the Father.
  • The things in the world:
    • desires of the flesh
    • desires of the eyes
    • pride of life
  • The world and its desires are passing away.
  • Whoever does the will of God will live forever.
  • It is the last hour.
  • The antichrist was/is coming.
  • Many antichrists have already come.
  • We know it is the last hour because many antichrists have come.
  • Johns was writing to congregation(s) from which the antichrists came.
  • The antichrists were not of the congregations.
  • If the antichrists were truly a part of the congregation they would have stayed with them.
  • The antichrists left the congregations so it is plain that they were not part of the congregation.
  • If you have been anointed by the Holy One you have all knowledge.
  • The congregations John was writing to knew what was true.
  • Anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) is a liar.
  • No one who denies the Son (Jesus) has the Father.
  • Anyone who confesses the Jesus (the Son) has the Father too.
  • John tells the readers to remain in the teaching they first received.
  • It they maintain the teaching they first heard, they would abide in both the Son and the Father.
  • God has promised eternal life if they remained in the teaching they first received.
  • There were people trying to deceive the people John was writing to.
  • John calls those who were deceiving the readers, liars.
  • The anointing that the readers received from God remains with them.
  • Because the anointing remained with them they had no need of anyone to teach them.
  • The anointing they received from God teaches them everything.
  • John exhorts the readers to remain in God.
  • They were to abide in Christ so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink in shame.
  • Christ is righteous.
  • Everyone who practices righteousness abides in Christ.

Interpretation

One of the early heresies in the church was Gnosticism. There were many variations of Gnosticism. Basically, Gnostics believed that salvation was through special or secret knowledge. They thought of themselves having received, in addition to the gospel, a secret teaching. They believed that a spiritual awakening was demonstrated in one’s capacity to speak in either revelation or dream visions. They often spoke in poems, in songs, in stories that came out of the creative imagination. But as they saw it, it was the sense of an original voice, an original insight.

In this context it is clear what John is referring to in verse 7. “Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.” John is saying there is no secret knowledge. There is no private revelation. The only truth is the truth they had already been taught, that is, salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, in Christ alone.

John goes on to say that the result of a redeemed life is love. But this is not a warm fuzzy teddy bear love, as so often is portrayed by our culture. It is a something that is accepting of everything. No this is a true love of a brother and sister. When some are making false statements about the Father or Son or Holy Spirit, they could mislead the elect; true love would demand a confrontation. True love would demand opposition to the false teachers.

Out of context tackling someone and breaking their arm could seem hateful. But if the context is I am tackling them and dragging them out of the path of an oncoming automobile. That is love. That is not an expression of hatred. It is be an expression of love. Vigorously opposing false teachers is not hatred. It is love. True love requires a hatred of all that is not from God. John opposed the false teachers and Gnostics. He opposed them vigorously. He even went so far as to call the antichrists.

John says here very plainly. There is no need to be taught the secret knowledge. The recipients of John’s letter already knew the truth. “I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.” verse 21.

Application

Satan used Gnostics in the early church in an attempt to derail God’s plan to redeem His elect. John and the early church fathers fought against them vigorously. Satan’s play book is really pretty limited. Maybe that is because it does not need to very big or complicated. The two major heresies in the church today are heresies from the early church, Gnosticism and Pelagianism. While we do not hear anyone refer to themselves as gnostic, they preach and teach the same heresy as the Gnostics.

Examples range from the blatant such as the idea of “The Bible Code” in the 1990s. Proponents of the bible code taught there are hidden messages encoded in the Hebrew text. More common however is the claim to have received a special private revelation from God. This ranges from popular names in the evangelical church such as, Pat Robertson who claims to hear directly from God every year in January. Evangelicals continue to support him despite the fact that his prophecies are continually false. It is not limited to well-known names. It is not uncommon to hear evangelical preachers say from the pulpit on any given Sunday, “God told me…” They are claiming to have received a special private revelation. This is a revelation that only they have and cannot be tested. It is a revelation which is separate from the scripture. Unless what God told them is found directly in the scripture came from their imagination. And if they claim God has said something he did not they are taking the name of the Lord in vain. John says they are the antichrist.

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