The Advocacy of Christ Is Our Antidote to Sin
While Walking in the Light; for to Know God, We Must Keep His Commandments and Love the Brethren, and
Not Love the World, Nor Give Heed to
Antichrists, against Whom Our Safety Is through the Inward Anointing of
God to Abide in God: So at Christ's
Coming We Shall Not Be Ashamed.
1. (1Jo 5:18.)
My little children—The diminutive
expresses the tender affection of an aged pastor and spiritual father.
My own dear children, that is, sons and daughters (see on 1Jo 2:12).
these things—(1Jo 1:6-10). My purpose in writing what I
have just written is not that you should abuse them as giving a license
to sin but, on the contrary, "in order that ye may not sin at all" (the
Greek aorist, implying the absence not only of the habit, but of
single acts of sin [Alford]). In
order to "walk in the light" (1Jo 1:5, 7), the first step is confession of
1:9), the next (1Jo 2:1) is that we should forsake all
sin. The divine purpose has for its aim, either to prevent the
commission of, or to destroy sin [Bengel].
And, &c.—connected with the
former; Furthermore, "if any man sin," let him, while loathing
and condemning it, not fear to go at once to God, the Judge, confessing
it, for "we have an Advocate with Him." He is speaking of a BELIEVER'S occasional sins of infirmity
through Satan's fraud and malice. The use of "we" immediately
afterwards implies that we all are liable to this, though
not necessarily constrained to sin.
we have an advocate—Advocacy is God's
family blessing; other blessings He grants to good and bad alike, but
justification, sanctification, continued intercession, and peace, He
grants to His children alone.
"paraclete," the same term as is applied to the Holy Ghost, as
the "other Comforter"; showing the unity of the Second and Third
Persons of the Trinity. Christ is the Intercessor for us above;
and, in His absence, here below the Holy Ghost is the other Intercessor
in us. Christ's advocacy is inseparable from the Holy
Spirit's comfort and working in us, as the spirit of
righteous—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.
The sense therefore is, "in that He is righteous"; in contrast
to our sin ("if any man sin"). The Father, by raising Him
from the dead, and setting Him at His own right, has once for all
accepted Christ's claim for us. Therefore the accuser's charges against
God's children are vain. "The righteousness of Christ stands on our
side; for God's righteousness is, in Jesus Christ, ours" [Luther].
2. And he—Greek, "And
Himself." He is our all-prevailing Advocate, because He is
Himself "the propitiation"; abstract, as in 1Co 1:30: He is to us all that is needed for
propitiation "in behalf of our sins"; the propitiatory
sacrifice, provided by the Father's love, removing the
estrangement, and appeasing the righteous wrath, on God's part, against
the sinner. "There is no incongruity that a father should be
offended with that son whom he loveth, and at that time offended
with him when he loveth him" [Bishop
Pearson]. The only other place in the New Testament where
Greek "propitiation" occurs, is 1Jo 4:10; it answers in the Septuagint to
Hebrew, "caphar," to effect an atonement or
reconciliation with God; and in Eze 44:29, to the sin offering. In Ro 3:25, Greek, it is
"propitiatory," that is, the mercy seat, or lid of the ark whereon God,
represented by the Shekinah glory above it, met His people, represented
by the high priest who sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on it.
ours—believers: not Jews, in
contrast to Gentiles; for he is not writing to Jews (1Jo 5:21).
also for the sins of the whole
world—Christ's "advocacy" is limited to believers
2:1; 1Jo 1:7): His
propitiation extends as widely as sin extends: see on 2Pe 2:1, "denying the Lord that bought them."
"The whole world" cannot be restricted to the believing portion
of the world (compare 1Jo 4:14; and
"the whole world," 1Jo 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"
3. hereby—Greek, "in this." "It
is herein," and herein only, that we know (present tense) that
we have knowledge of (perfect tense, once-for-all obtained and
continuing knowledge of) Him" (1Jo 2:4, 13,
14). Tokens whereby to
discern grace are frequently given in this Epistle. The Gnostics, by
the Spirit's prescient forewarning, are refuted, who boasted of
knowledge, but set aside obedience. "Know Him," namely,
as "the righteous" (1Jo 2:1, 29); our "Advocate and Intercessor."
keep—John's favorite word, instead of
"do," literally, "watch," "guard," and "keep safe" as a precious thing;
observing so as to keep. So Christ Himself. Not faultless conformity,
but hearty acceptance of, and willing subjection to, God's whole
revealed will, is meant.
faith, love, and obedience. John never uses "the law" to express the
rule of Christian obedience: he uses it as the Mosaic law.
4. I know—Greek, "I have
knowledge of (perfect) Him." Compare with this verse 1Jo 1:8.
5. Not merely repeating the proposition, 1Jo 2:3, or asserting the merely opposite
alternative to 1Jo 2:4, but
expanding the "know Him" of 1Jo 2:3, into
"in Him, verily (not as a matter of vain boasting) is the love of (that
is towards) God perfected," and "we are in Him." Love here
answers to knowledge in 1Jo 2:3. In proportion as we love God, in that
same proportion we know Him, and vice versa, until our love
and knowledge shall attain their full maturity of perfection.
his word—His word is one (see
on 1Jo 1:5), and comprises His
"commandments," which are many (1Jo 2:3).
hereby—in our progressing towards this
ideal of perfected love and obedience. There is a gradation: 1Jo 2:3, "know Him"; 1Jo 2:5, "we are in Him"; 1Jo 2:6, "abideth in Him"; respectively,
knowledge, fellowship, abiding constancy. [Bengel].
6. abideth—implying a condition lasting,
without intermission, and without end.
He that saith … ought—so that
his deeds may be consistent with his words.
even as he—Believers readily supply
the name, their hearts being full of Him (compare Joh 20:15). "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].
7. Brethren—The oldest manuscripts and
versions read instead, "Beloved," appropriate to the subject here,
no new commandment—namely,
love, the main principle of walking as Christ walked
2:6), and that commandment,
of which one exemplification is presently given, 1Jo 2:9, 10, the love of brethren.
ye had from the beginning—from the
time that ye first heard the Gospel word preached.
8. a new commandment—It was "old," in
that Christians as such had heard it from the first; but
"new" (Greek, "kaine," not "nea": new and
different from the old legal precept) in that it was first
clearly promulgated with Christianity; though the inner
spirit of the law was love even to enemies, yet it was
enveloped in some bitter precepts which caused it to be temporarily
almost unrecognized, till the Gospel came. Christianity first put
love to brethren on the new and highest MOTIVE, instinctive love to Him who first loved us,
constraining us to love all, even enemies, thereby walking in the steps
of Him who loved us when enemies. So Jesus calls it "new," Joh 13:34, 35, "Love one another as I have
loved you" (the new motive); Joh 15:12.
which thing is true in him and in
you—"In Christ all things are always true, and were so
from the beginning; but in Christ and in us conjointly the
commandment [the love of brethren] is then true when we
acknowledge the truth which is in Him, and have the same
flourishing in us" [Bengel].
Alford explains, "Which thing (the
fact that the commandment is a new one) is true in Him and in you
because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is now
shining; that is, the commandment is a new one, and this is true
both in the case of Christ and in the case of you; because in
you the darkness is passing away, and in Him the true light
is shining; therefore, on both accounts, the command is a new
one: new as regards you, because you are newly come from darkness
into light; new as regards Him, because He uttered it when He came into
the world to lighten every man, and began that shining which even now
continues." I prefer, as Bengel, to
explain, The new commandment finds its truth in its
practical realization in the walk of Christians in union with
Christ. Compare the use of "verily," 1Jo 2:5. Joh 4:42, "indeed"; Joh 6:55. The repetition of "in" before "you,"
"in Him and in you," not "in Him and you" implies that the love
commandment finds its realization separately: first it did so
"in Him," and then it does so "in us," in so far as we now "also
walk even as He walked"; and yet it finds its realization also
conjointly, by the two being united in one sentence, even as it
is by virtue of the love commandment having been first fulfilled in
Him, that it is also now fulfilled in us, through His Spirit
in us: compare a similar case, Joh 20:17, "My Father and your
Father"; by virtue of His being "My Father," He is also
darkness is past—rather, as in 1Jo 2:17, "is passing away." It shall not
be wholly "past" until "the Sun of righteousness" shall arise
visibly; "the light is now shining" already, though but
partially until the day bursts forth.
9-11. 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 Lu 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 Lu 11:23 holds good. "Where love is not, there
hatred is; for the heart cannot remain a void" [Bengel].
in the light—as his proper
his brother—his neighbor, and
especially those of the Christian brotherhood. The very title "brother"
is a reason why love should be exercised.
even until now—notwithstanding that
"the true light already has begun to shine" (1Jo 2:8).
10. Abiding in love is abiding
in the light; for the Gospel light not only illumines the
understanding, but warms the heart into love.
none occasion of stumbling—In contrast
to, "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." "In him who loves there is neither blindness nor
occasion of stumbling [to himself]: in him who does not love,
there is both blindness and occasion of stumbling. He who hates
his brother, is both a stumbling-block to himself, and stumbles against
himself and everything within and without; he who loves has an
unimpeded path" [Bengel]. John has in
mind Jesus' words, Joh 11:9, 10. Alford
well says, "The light and the darkness are within ourselves; admitted
into us by the eye, whose singleness fills the whole body with
11. is in darkness … walketh—"is"
marks his continuing STATE: he has never come out of "the darkness" (so
Greek); "walketh" marks his OUTWARD
WALK and acts.
including not only the destination to which, but the way
hath blinded—rather, as Greek
aorist, "blinded" of old. Darkness not only surrounds, but blinds him,
and that a blindness of long standing.
12. little children—Greek,
"little sons," or "dear sons and daughters"; not the same
Greek as in 1Jo 2:13,
"little children," "infants" (in age and standing). He calls
ALL to whom he writes, "little
sons" (1Jo 2:1,
Greek; 1Jo 2:28; 3:18; 4:4; 5:21); but only in 1Jo 2:13, 18 he uses the term "little
children," or "infants." Our Lord, whose Spirit John so deeply drank
into, used to His disciples (Joh 13:33) the term "little sons," or dear sons
and daughters; but in Joh 21:5,
"little children." It is an undesigned coincidence with the Epistle
here, that in John's Gospel somewhat similarly the classification,
"lambs, sheep, sheep," occurs.
are forgiven—"have been, and are
forgiven you": ALL God's sons and
daughters alike enjoy this privilege.
13, 14. All three classes are first addressed
in the present. "I write"; then in the past (aorist) tense, "I wrote"
(not "I have written"; moreover, in the oldest manuscripts and
versions, in the end of 1Jo 2:13, it
is past, "I wrote," not as English Version, "I write"). Two
classes, "fathers" and "young men," are addressed with the same words
each time (except that the address to the young men has an
addition expressing the source and means of their victory); but the
"little sons" and "little children" are differently addressed.
have known—and do know: so the
Greek perfect means. The "I wrote" refers not to a former
Epistle, but to this Epistle. It was an idiom to put the past
tense, regarding the time from the reader's point of view; when
he should receive the Epistle the writing would be past. When he
uses "I write," he speaks from his own point of view.
him that is from the
beginning—Christ: "that which was from the beginning."
appropriately to their age, are characterized by knowledge. The
young men, appropriately to theirs, by activity in
conflict. The fathers, too, have conquered; but now
their active service is past, and they and the children alike
are characterized by knowing (the fathers know
Christ, "Him that was from the beginning"; the children
know the Father). The first thing that the little children
realize is that God is their Father; answering in the parallel
clause to "little sons … your sins are forgiven you for His
name's sake," the universal first privilege of all those
really-dear sons of God. Thus this latter clause includes
all, whereas the former clause refers to those more especially
who are in the first stage of spiritual life, "little children."
Of course, these can only know the Father as theirs through
the Son (Mt 11:27).
It is beautiful to see how the fathers are characterized as
reverting back to the first great truths of spiritual childhood, and
the sum and ripest fruit of advanced experience, the knowledge of
Him that was from the beginning (twice repeated, 1Jo 2:13, 14). Many of them had probably known
Jesus in person, as well as by faith.
14. young men … strong—made
so out of natural weakness, hence enabled to
overcome "the strong man armed" through Him that is "stronger."
Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. This term "overcome" is
peculiarly John's, adopted from his loved Lord. It occurs sixteen times
in the Apocalypse, six times in the First Epistle, only thrice in the
rest of the New Testament. In order to overcome the world on the
ground, and in the strength, of the blood of the Saviour, we must be
willing, like Christ, to part with whatever of the world belongs to us:
whence immediately after "ye have overcome the wicked one (the prince
of the world)," it is added, "Love not the world, neither the things
… in the world."
and, &c.—the secret of the young
men's strength: the Gospel word, clothed with living
power by the Spirit who abideth permanently in them; this is
"the sword of the Spirit" wielded in prayerful waiting on God. Contrast
the mere physical strength of young men, Isa 40:30, 31. Oral teaching prepared these
youths for the profitable use of the word when written.
"Antichrist cannot endanger you (1Jo 2:18), nor Satan tear from you the word of
the wicked one—who, as "prince of this
world," enthrals "the world" (1Jo 2:15-17; 5:19, Greek, "the wicked one"),
especially the young. Christ came to destroy this "prince of the
world." Believers achieve the first grand conquest over him when they
pass from darkness to light, but afterwards they need to maintain a
continual keeping of themselves from his assaults, looking to
God by whom alone they are kept safe. Bengel thinks John refers specially to the
remarkable constancy exhibited by youths in Domitian's persecution.
Also to the young man whom John, after his return from Patmos, led with
gentle, loving persuasion to repentance. This youth had been commended
to the overseers of the Church by John, in one of his tours of
superintendency, as a promising disciple; he had been, therefore,
carefully watched up to baptism. But afterwards relying too much on
baptismal grace, he joined evil associates, and fell from step to step
down, till he became a captain of robbers. When John, some years after,
revisited that Church and heard of the youth's sad fall, he hastened to
the retreat of the robbers, suffered himself to be seized and taken
into the captain's presence. The youth, stung by conscience and the
remembrance of former years, fled away from the venerable apostle. Full
of love the aged father ran after him, called on him to take courage,
and announced to him forgiveness of his sins in the name of Christ. The
youth was recovered to the paths of Christianity, and was the means of
inducing many of his bad associates to repent and believe [Clement of Alexandria, Who Is the Rich Man Who
Shall Be Saved? 4.2; Eusebius,
Ecclesiastical History, 3.20; Chrysostom, First Exhortation to Theodore,
15. Love not the world—that lieth in
the wicked one (1Jo 5:19),
whom ye young men have overcome. Having once for all, through
faith, overcome the world (1Jo 4:4; 5:4), carry forward the conquest by not
loving it. "The world" here means "man, and man's world" [Alford], in his and its state as fallen from
God. "God loved [with the love of compassion] the world,"
and we should feel the same kind of love for the fallen world; but we
are not to love the world with congeniality and
sympathy in its alienation from God; we cannot have this latter
kind of love for the God-estranged world, and yet have also "the love
of the Father in" us.
neither—Greek, "nor yet." A man
might deny in general that he loved the world, while keenly
following some one of THE THINGS IN IT:
its riches, honors, or pleasures; this clause prevents him escaping
any man—therefore the warning, though
primarily addressed to the young, applies to all.
love of—that is, towards "the
Father." The two, God and the (sinful) world, are so opposed, that both
cannot be congenially loved at once.
16. all that is in the world—can be
classed under one or other of the three; the world contains these and
lust of the flesh—that is, the lust
which has its seat and source in our lower animal nature. Satan tried
this temptation the first on Christ: Lu 4:3, "Command this stone that it be made
bread." Youth is especially liable to fleshly lusts.
lust of the eyes—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. By the lust of the eyes David (2Sa 11:2) and Achan fell (Jos 7:21). Compare David's prayer, Ps 119:37; Job's resolve, Ps 31:1; Mt
5:28. The only good of
worldly riches to the possessor is the beholding them with the
eyes. Compare Lu 14:18, "I
must go and SEE it."
pride of life—literally, "arrogant
assumption": vainglorious display. Pride was Satan's sin whereby
he fell and forms the link between the two foes of man, the
world (answering to "the lust of the eyes") and the devil
(as "the lust of the flesh" is the third foe). 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 same three foes appear
in the three classes of soil on which the divine seed falls: the
wayside hearers, the devil; the thorns, the world; the
rocky undersoil, the flesh (Mt 13:18-23; Mr 4:3-8). The world's awful
antitrinity, the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and
the pride of life," similarly is presented in Satan's temptation of
Eve: "When she saw that the tree was good for food, pleasant to
the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise,"
Ge 3:6 (one manifestation of "the pride
of life," the desire to know above what God has revealed, Col 2:8, the pride of unsanctified
of—does not spring from "the
Father" (used in relation to the preceding "little children," 1Jo 2:12, or "little sons"). He who is born
of God alone turns to God; he who is of the world turns
to the world; the sources of love to God and love to the world, are
17. the world—with all who are of the
passeth away—Greek, "is passing
away" even now.
the lust thereof—in its threefold
manifestation (1Jo 2:16).
he that doeth the will of God—not his
own fleshly will, or the will of the world, but that of
2:3, 6), especially in
respect to love.
abideth for ever—"even as God also
abideth for ever" (with whom the godly is one; compare Ps 55:19, "God, even He that abideth of old): a
true comment, which Cyprian and
Lucifer have added to the text
without support of Greek manuscripts. In contrast to the three
passing lusts of the world, the doer of God's will has three
abiding goods, "riches, honor, and life" (Pr 22:4).
18. Little children—same Greek as
2:13; children in age.
After the fathers and young men were gone, "the last
time" with its "many Antichrists" was about to come suddenly on the
children. "In this last hour we all even still live" [Bengel]. 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. The
connection with 1Jo 2:15-17 is: There are coming those seducers who
are of the world (1Jo 4:5), and
would tempt you to go out from us (1Jo 2:19) and deny Christ (1Jo 2:22).
as ye have heard—from the apostles,
preachers of the Gospel (for example, 2Th 2:3-10; and in the region of Ephesus, Ac 20:29,
shall come—Greek, "cometh,"
namely, out of his own place. Antichrist is interpreted in two
ways: a false Christ (Mt 24:5, 24), literally, "instead of Christ";
or an adversary of Christ, literally, "against Christ."
As John never uses pseudo-Christ, or "false Christ," for
Antichrist, it is plain he means an adversary of Christ,
claiming to himself what belongs to Christ, and wishing to substitute
himself for Christ as the supreme object of worship. He denies the
Son, not merely, like the pope, acts in the name of the Son, 2Th 2:4, "Who opposeth himself
(Greek, " ANTI-keimenos")
[to] all that is called God," decides this. For God's great truth, "God
is man," he would substitute his own lie, "man is God" [Trench].
are there—Greek, "there have
begun to be"; there have arisen. These "many Antichrists" answer to
"the spirit of lawlessness (Greek) doth already work." The
Antichristian principle appeared then, as now, in evil men and evil
teachings and writings; but still "THE
Antichrist" means a hostile person, even as "THE Christ" is a personal Saviour. As "cometh" is
used of Christ, so here of Antichrist, the embodiment in his own
person of all the Antichristian features and spirit of those "many
Antichrists" which have been, and are, his forerunners. John uses the
singular of him. No other New Testament writer uses the term. He
probably answers to "the little horn having the eyes of a man, and
speaking great things" (Da 7:8, 20); "the man of sin, son of perdition"
2:3); "the beast ascending
out of the bottomless pit" (Re 11:7; 17:8), or rather, "the false prophet," the
same as "the second beast coming up out of the earth" (Re 13:11-18;
19. out from us—from our Christian
communion. Not necessarily a formal secession or going out: thus
Rome has spiritually gone out, though formally still of the
not of us—by spiritual fellowship
1:3). "They are like bad
humors in the body of Christ, the Church: when they are vomited out,
then the body is relieved; the body of Christ is now still under
treatment, and has not yet attained the perfect soundness which it
shall have only at the resurrection" [Augustine, Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of
John, Homily 3.4].
they would … have
continued—implying the indefectibility of grace in the elect.
"Where God's call is effectual, there will be sure perseverance" [Calvin]. Still, it is no fatal necessity, but
a "voluntary necessity" [Didymus], which
causes men to remain, or else go from the body of Christ. "We are
either among the members, or else among the bad humors. It is of his
own will that each is either an Antichrist, or in Christ" [Augustine]. Still God's actings in eternal election
harmonize in a way inexplicable to us, with man's free agency
and responsibility. It is men's own evil will that chooses the way to
hell; it is God's free and sovereign grace that draws any to Himself
and to heaven. To God the latter shall ascribe wholly their salvation
from first to last: the former shall reproach themselves alone, and not
God's decree, with their condemnation (1Jo 3:9; 5:18).
that they were not all of us—This
translation would imply that some of the Antichrists are of us!
Translate, therefore, "that all (who are for a time among us) are not
of us." Compare 1Co 11:19,
"There must be heresies among you, that they which are approved may be
made manifest among you." For "were" some of the oldest manuscripts
read "are." Such occasions test who are, and who are not, the Lord's
20. But—Greek, "And." He here
states the means which they as believers have wherewith to withstand.
Antichrists (1Jo 2:18),
namely, the chrism (so the Greek: a play upon similar
sounds), or "anointing unguent," namely, the Holy Spirit (more plainly
mentioned further on, as in John's style, 1Jo 3:24;
4:13; 5:6), which they
("ye" is emphatical in contrast to those apostates, 1Jo 2:19) have "from the Holy One, Christ"
(Joh 1:33; 3:34; 15:26; 16:14): "the righteous" (1Jo 2:1), "pure" (1Jo 3:3), "the Holy One" (Ac 3:14) "of God"; Mr 1:24. Those anointed of God in Christ
alone can resist those anointed with the spirit of Satan,
Antichrists, who would sever them from the Father and from the
Son. Believers have the anointing Spirit from the Father also,
as well as from the Son; even as the Son is anointed therewith by the
Father. Hence the Spirit is the token that we are in the Father and in
the Son; without it a man is none of Christ. The material unguent of
costliest ingredients, poured on the head of priests and kings,
typified this spiritual unguent, derived from Christ, the Head, to us,
His members. We can have no share in Him as Jesus, except we
become truly Christians, and so be in Him as Christ,
anointed with that unction from the Holy One. The Spirit poured on
Christ, the Head, is by Him diffused through all the members. "It
appears that we all are the body of Christ, because we all are
anointed: and we all in Him are both Christ's and Christ,
because in some measure the whole Christ is Head and body."
ye know all things—needful for acting
aright against Antichrist's seductions, and for Christian life and
godliness. In the same measure as one hath the Spirit, in that
measure (no more and no less) he knows all these things.
21. but because ye know it, and that,
&c.—Ye not only know what is the truth (concerning the
Son and the Father, 1Jo 2:13),
but also are able to detect a lie as a thing opposed to the truth. For
right (a straight line) is the index of itself and of what is crooked
[Estius]. The Greek is
susceptible of Alford's translation,
"Because ye know it, and because no lie is of the truth"
(literally, "every lie is excluded from being of the truth"). I
therefore wrote (in this Epistle) to point out what the lie is, and who
the liars are.
22. a liar—Greek, "Who is the
liar?" namely, guilty of the lie just mentioned (1Jo 2:21).
that Jesus is the Christ—the grand
He is Antichrist—Greek,
"the Antichrist"; not however here personal, but in the
abstract; the ideal of Antichrist is "he that denieth the Father and
the Son." To deny the latter is virtually to deny the former. Again,
the truth as to the Son must be held in its integrity; to deny that
Jesus is the Christ, or that He is the Son of God, or that He came in
the flesh, invalidates the whole (Mt 11:27).
23. Greek, "Every one who denieth the
Son, hath not the Father either" (1Jo 4:2, 3): "inasmuch as God hath given Himself to
us wholly to be enjoyed in Christ" [Calvin].
he—that acknowledgeth the Son hath
the Father also. These words ought not to be in italics, as though
they were not in the original: for the oldest Greek manuscripts
hath—namely, in his abiding possession
as his "portion"; by living personal "fellowship."
acknowledgeth—by open confession of
24. Let that—truth respecting the Father
and the Son, regarded as a seed not merely dropped in, but having taken
ye—in the Greek standing
emphatically at the beginning of the sentence. YE, therefore,
acknowledge the Son, and so shall ye have the Father also
from the beginning—from the time of
your first hearing the Gospel.
remain—Translate as before,
ye also—in your turn, as distinguished
from "that which ye have heard," the seed abiding in you.
2:27, "the anointing
abideth in you … ye shall abide in Him." Having
taken into us the living seed of the truth concerning the Father and
the Son, we become transformed into the likeness of Him whose seed we
have taken into us.
25. this is the promise—Eternal
life shall be the permanent consummation of thus abiding in the
Son and in the Father (1Jo 2:24).
he—Greek, "Himself," Christ,
"the Son" (compare 1Jo 1:1).
promised—(Joh 3:15, 36; 6:40, 47, 57; 17:2,
26. These things—(1Jo 2:18-25).
have I written—resumed from 1Jo 2:21
and 1Jo 2:14.
seduce you—that is, are trying to
seduce or lead you into error.
27. But—Greek, "And you
(contrasting the believing readers with the seducers; the words
'and you' stand prominent, the construction of the sentence following
being altered, and no verb agreeing with 'and you' until 'need not')
… the anointing," &c. (resumed from 1Jo 2:20).
received of him—(Joh 1:16). So we "are unto God a sweet savor of
abideth in you—He tacitly thus
admonishes them to say, when tempted by seducers, "The anointing
abideth in us; we do not need a teacher [for we have the Holy Spirit as
our teacher, Jer 31:34; Joh 6:45; 16:13]; it teaches us the truth; in that
teaching we will abide" [Bengel].
and—and therefore. God is sufficient
for them who are taught of Him; they are independent of all others,
though, of course, not declining the Christian counsel of faithful
ministers. "Mutual communication is not set aside, but approved of, in
the case of those who are partakers of the anointing in one body"
the same anointing—which ye once for
all received, and which now still abides in you.
all things—essential to salvation; the
point under discussion. Not that the believer is made infallible, for
no believer here receives the Spirit in all its fulness, but only the
measure needful for keeping him from soul-destroying error. So the
Church, though having the Spirit in her, is not infallible (for many
fallible members can never make an infallible whole), but is kept from
ever wholly losing the saving truth.
no lie—as Antichristian teaching.
ye shall abide in him—(1Jo 2:24, end); even as "the anointing abideth in
you." The oldest manuscripts read the imperative, "abide in
28. little children—Greek,
"little sons," as in 1Jo 2:12;
believers of every stage and age.
abide in him—Christ. John repeats his
monition with a loving appellation, as a father addressing dear
when—literally, "if"; the uncertainty
is not as to the fact, but the time.
we—both writer and readers.
ashamed before him—literally,
"from Him"; shrink back from Him ashamed. Contrast
"boldness in the day of judgment," 1Jo 4:17; compare 1Jo 3:21; 5:14. In the Apocalypse (written, therefore,
Bengel thinks, subsequently), Christ's
coming is represented as put off to a greater distance.
29. The heading of the second division of
the Epistle: "God is righteous; therefore, every one that doeth
righteousness is born of Him." Love is the grand feature and principle
of "righteousness" selected for discussion, 1Jo 2:29-3:3.
If ye know … ye know—distinct
Greek verbs: "if ye are aware (are in possession of the
knowledge) … ye discern or apprehend also that," &c.
Ye are already aware that God ("He" includes both "the Father,"
of whom the believer is born (end of this verse, and
1Jo 3:1), and "the Son," 1Jo 2:1, 23) is righteous, ye must
necessarily, thereby, perceive also the consequence of that truth,
namely, "that everyone that doeth righteousness (and he alone;
literally, the righteousness such as the righteous God approves)
is born of Him." The righteous produceth the righteous. We are never
said to be born again of Christ, but of God, with
whom Christ is one. Hollaz in Alford defines the righteousness of
God, "It is the divine energy by whose power God wills and does all
things which are conformable to His eternal law, prescribes suitable
laws to His creatures, fulfils His promises to men, rewards the good,
and punishes the ungodly."
doeth—"For the graces (virtues) are
practical, and have their being in being produced (in being exercised);
for when they have ceased to act, or are only about to act, they have
not even being" [ŒCUMENIUS]. "God
is righteous, and therefore the source of righteousness; when
then a man doeth righteousness, we know that the source of his
righteousness is God, that consequently he has acquired by new birth
from God that righteousness which he had not by nature. We argue from
his doing righteousness, to his being born of God. The
error of Pelagians is to conclude that doing righteousness is a
condition of becoming a child of God" [Alford most truly]. Compare Lu 7:47, 50: Her much love evinced that
her sins were already forgiven; not, were the condition
of her sins being forgiven.