1 My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. 2 And he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world. 3 This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commandments. 4 One who says, "I know him," and doesn't keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth isn't in him. 5 But whoever keeps his word, God's love has most certainly been perfected in him. This is how we know that we are in him: 6 he who says he remains in him ought himself also to walk just like he walked. 7 Brothers, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. 8 Again, I write a new commandment to you, which is true in him and in you; because the darkness is passing away, and the true light already shines. 9 He who says he is in the light and hates his brother, is in the darkness even until now. 10 He who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no occasion for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and doesn't know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 12 I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. 13 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, little children, because you know the Father. 14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 15 Don't love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love isn't in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn't the Father's, but is the world's. 17 The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God's will remains forever. 18 Little children, these are the end times, and as you heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen. By this we know that it is the final hour. 19 They went out from us, but they didn't belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have continued with us. But they left, that they might be revealed that none of them belong to us. 20 You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I have not written to you because you don't know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 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. 23 Whoever denies the Son, the same doesn't have the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Therefore, as for you, let that remain in you which you heard from the beginning. If that which you heard from the beginning remains in you, you also will remain in the Son, and in the Father. 25 This is the promise which he promised us, the eternal life. 26 These things I have written to you concerning those who would lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you don't need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in him. 28 Now, little children, remain in him, that when he appears, we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of him.
The subjects which are introduced into this chapter are the following:
I. A statement of the apostle that the great object which he had in writing to them was that they should not sin; and yet if they sinned, and were conscious that they were guilty before God, they should not despair, for they had an Advocate with the Father who had made propitiation for the sins of the world, 1-John 2:1-2. This is properly a continuation of what he had said in the close of the previous chapter, and should not have been separated from that.
II. The evidence that we know God, or that we are His true friends, is to be found in the fact that we keep His commandments, 1-John 2:3-6.
III. The apostle says that what he had been saying was no new commandment, but was what they had always heard concerning the nature of the gospel; but though in this respect the law of love which he meant particularly to enforce was no new commandment, none which they had not heard before, yet in another respect it was a new commandment, for it was one which in its peculiarity was originated by the Saviour, and which he meant to make the characteristic of his religion, 1-John 2:7-11. A large part of the Epistle is taken up in explaining and enforcing this commandment requiring love to the brethren.
IV. The apostle specifies 1-John 2:12-14 various reasons why he had written to them - reasons derived from the unique character of different classes among them - little children, fathers, young men.
V. Each of these classes he solemnly commands not to love the world, or the things that are in the world, for that which constitutes the peculiarity of the "world" as such is not of the Father, and all "that there is in the world is soon to pass away," 1-John 2:15-17.
VI. He calls their attention to the fact that the closing dispensation of the world had come, 1-John 2:18-20. The evidence of this was, that antichrist had appeared.
VII. He calls their attention to the characteristics of the antichrist. The essential thing would be that antichrist would deny that Jesus was the Christ, involving a practical denial of both the Father and the Son. Persons of this character were abroad, and they were in great danger of being seduced by their arts from the way of truth and duty, 1-John 2:21-26.
VIII. The apostle, in the close of the chapter 1-John 2:27-29 expresses the belief that they would not be seduced, but that they had an anointing from above which would keep them from the arts of those who would lead them astray. He earnestly exhorts them to abide in God the Saviour, that when he should appear they might have confidence and not be ashamed at his coming.
He exhorts them not to sin; yet encourages those who may have fallen, by the hope of mercy through Christ, who is a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, 1-John 2:1, 1-John 2:2. He who knows God keeps his commandments; and he who professes to abide in Christ ought to walk as Christ walked, 1-John 2:3-6. The old and new commandment, that we should walk in the light, and love the brethren, 1-John 2:7-11. The apostle's description of the different states in the family of God; little children, young men, and fathers; and directions to each, 1-John 2:12-15. A statement of what prevails in the world, 1-John 2:16, 1-John 2:17. Cautions against antichrists, 1-John 2:18-23. Exhortations to persevere in what they had received, and to continue to follow that anointing of the Divine Spirit, by which they could discern all men, and know all things necessary to their salvation, and proper to prepare them for eternal glory, 1-John 2:24-29.
INTRODUCTION TO 1 JOHN 2
In this chapter the apostle comforts the saints under a sense of sin; urges them to an observance of the commandments of God, in imitation of Christ, particularly to the new commandment of brotherly love, and gives his reasons for it; dehorts them from the love of the world, and the things of it; cautions them against false teachers and antichrists, and exhorts them to abide in Christ, and persevere in the faith of him. He first declares that the end of his writing was to prevent their sinning; but supposing any should fall into sin through infirmity, he comforts them with the consideration of the advocacy of Christ, and of his being the propitiation for the sins both of Jews and Gentiles, 1-John 2:1, and whereas some persons might boast of their knowledge of Christ, and neglect his commands, he observes, that the keeping of them is the best evidence of true knowledge, and of the sincerity of their love to God, and of their being in Christ; and that such who show no regard to them are liars, and the truth is not in them; and such that profess to be in Christ and abide in him, ought to walk as they have him for an example, 1-John 2:3, and instances in a particular commandment, to love one another, which on different accounts is called an old and a new commandment, and which has been verified both in Christ and his people; for which a reason is given in the latter, the darkness being past, and the true light shining, 1-John 2:7, upon which some propositions are founded, as that he that professes to be in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness to this very moment; and that he that loves his brother is evidently in the light, nor will he easily give or take offence; and that he that hates his brother is not only in darkness, but walks in it, being blinded by it, and so knows not whither he is going, 1-John 2:9, and this commandment of love the apostle writes to the saints, as distinguished into the several classes of fathers, young men, and children; and urges it on them from the consideration of the blessings of grace peculiar to them; as ancient knowledge to fathers, strength and victory to young men, knowledge of the Father, and remission of sins, to children, 1-John 2:12, and then he dissuades from the love of worldly things, seeing the love of them is not consistent with the love of God; and seeing the things that are in it are vain and sinful, and are not of God, but of the world; and since the world and its lust pass away, when he that does the will of God abides for ever, 1-John 2:15, he next observes unto them, that there were many antichrists in the world; which was an evidence of its being the last time; and these he describes as schismatics and apostates from the Christian churches, 1-John 2:18, but as for the saints he writes to, they were of another character, they were truly Christians, having an anointing from the Holy One, by which they knew all things; nor did the apostle write to them as ignorant, but as knowing persons, and able to distinguish between truth and error, 1-John 2:20, and then he goes on with his description of antichristian liars, showing that they were such who denied Jesus to be the Messiah, and the relation that is between the Father and the Son, 1-John 2:22, and closes the chapter with an exhortation to perseverance in the doctrine of Christ; since it was what they had heard from the beginning, and since by so doing they would continue in the Father and in the Son, and besides had the promise of eternal life, 1-John 2:24, and indeed this was the main thing in view in writing to them concerning seducers, to preserve them from them, though indeed this was in a great measure needless, since the anointing they had received abode in them; and taught them all things, and according as they regarded its teaching they would abide in Christ, 1-John 2:26, to which he exhorts them from the consideration of that boldness and confidence it would give them at his appearance, who they must know is righteous, and so that everyone that doth righteousness is born of him, 1-John 2:28.
(1-John 2:1, 1-John 2:2) The apostle directs to the atonement of Christ for help against sinful infirmities.
(1-John 2:3-11) The effects of saving knowledge in producing obedience, and love to the brethren.
(1-John 2:12-14) Christians addressed as little children, young men, and fathers.
(1-John 2:15-23) All are cautioned against the love of this world, and against errors.
(1-John 2:24-29) They are encouraged to stand fast in faith and holiness.
SUMMARY.--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.
*More commentary available by clicking individual verses.