Category Archives: 1 JOHN 2

The apostle John applies three further tests to professed believers, and then details the three stages of maturity in the family of God.

The First Epistle of John, Chapter 2

NOTES ON THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN CHAPTER TWO

1:1-4    INTRODUCTION: 

THE THREE-FOLD PURPOSE OF THE EPISTLE

First purpose To inform us that the epistle is “concerning the word of life”.  In other words, the theme is the life of God as expressed in the Son of God when He was on earth.
Second purpose To tell us that the one who is Eternal Life personified has been manifested, seen, heard, and reported.
Third purpose To report these things so that we may have a share in them, and consequently have full joy.

The life of God expresses itself in the manifestation of light and love, and these two themes continue throughout the epistle.

1:5-2:2    Christ’s life tells us God is light:

THREE TESTS FOR THOSE WHO CLAIM TO BE WALKING (LIVING) IN THE LIGHT

First test, verses 6-7 If we say we walk in the light.  Those who pass the test do walk in light, and the blood of Jesus Christ keeps us fit for the light.
Second test, verses 8-9 If we say we have no sin.  Those who pass the test confess their sins.
Third test, verses 10-2:2 If we say we have not sinned.  Those who pass the test do not deny sinning, and have an Advocate with the Father.

2:3-11    Christ’s life shows us how to love:

THREE TESTS FOR THOSE WHO CLAIM TO KNOW THE LOVE OF GOD IN CHRIST

First test, verses 3-5. He that saith “I know Him”.  Those who pass the test find God’s love reaches its goal in their hearts, verse 5.
Second test, verses 8-9 He that saith he abideth in Him.  Those who pass this test walk as Christ walked, verse 6.
Third test, verses 9-11.  He that saith he is in the light.  Those who pass this test love their brothers, and do not stumble them, verse 10.

3:12-27      The family of God is addressed according to maturity, after the general statement of verse 12.

THREE STAGES OF MATURITY IN THE FAMILY OF GOD:

Verse 13(a)  First word to fathers
Verse 13(b) First word to young men.
Verse 13(c) First word to infants.
   
Verse 14(a) Second word to fathers.
Verses 14(b)-17 Second word to young men.
Verses 18-27  Second word to infants.

The instruction to the infants is given so that they may grow into young men, and then into fathers.  After this, the leading features of the passage are now developed in the remainder of the epistle, so that this growth might take place.  The first phrase of the next section is, “little children, abide in Him”, verse 28.  By little children the apostle means all the children of God, not just the infants.  To abide in Him is to rest in what He is, and this is developed in the remainder of the epistle.

The leading themes of the address to the infants are enlarged on in the rest of the epistle, and they are as follows:
1.    Antichrist shall come.
2.    Already there are many antichrists.
3.    Believers have the Holy Spirit, and know all things.
4.    The deceivers deny the Father and the Son.
5.    There is the need to abide in Him

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN CHAPTER 2, VERSES 1-11

2:1  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

2:2  And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

2:3  And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

2:4  He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

2:5  But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.

2:6  He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.

2:7  Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

2:8  Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

2:9  He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

2:10  He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

2:11  But 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.

1:5-2:2    Christ’s life tells us God is light:

THREE TESTS FOR THOSE WHO CLAIM TO BE LIVING (WALKING) IN THE LIGHT

First test, verses 6-7 If we say we walk in the light.  Those who pass the test do walk in light, and the blood of Jesus Christ keeps us fit for the light.
Second test, verses 8-9 If we say we have no sin.  Those who pass the test confess their sins.
Third test, verses 10-2:2 If we say we have not sinned.  Those who pass the test do not deny sinning, and have an Advocate with the Father.

2:1  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

My little children- having applied tests in chapter one which find out whether they are true believers, the apostle can now confidently address them as children in the family of God.  He uses two words in the epistle which are both translated in the Authorised Version as “little children”.  However, in verses 13 and 18 of this chapter the reference is to the infants in the family of God, whereas in 2:1,2,12,18; 3;7,18; 4:4; 5:21, the reference is to all who are born again, and are therefore children in the family of God, irrespective of their stage of maturity.  So in this chapter John addresses every believer in verses 1,12, and 28, whereas in verses 1, 13, and 18-27 he addresses those who are newly-saved.
These things write I unto you- the things of chapter one, on the theme of “life”, as found in, and manifested by, Christ, who is life personified, John 14:6.
That ye sin not- this is the ideal standard that we are set, because our example is Christ in His sinless perfection.  John has seen the glory of that perfection, for he had been with Christ “from the beginning”, and never did he see Christ sin.
The law was given to frighten Israel into not sinning.  As Exodus 20:20 says, “God is come down to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not”.  With us it is different, for God has come down to us in His Son, that His grace might be known, and we see that grace in the face of Jesus Christ, as well as His glory, 2 Corinthians 4:6.  Nonetheless, God still proves His people, but not to condemn and cause them fear, but that they might be encouraged to live like His Son.  The more we know of Him, the more detestable sin will seem to us.
And if any man sin- so John writes for two reasons, the first, in chapter one, that we sin not, and second, in this verse, (hence the “and”), if we do sin, that we might know what God’s provision for us is.
Note it is not “when any man sin”, as if John is expecting it to happen, but “if any man sin”, as if, (as should be the case), it will be an exceptional event.
We have an advocate with the Father- just as John included himself in the tests of chapter one, so he includes himself here in the possibility of sinning.  There is only one who never sinned; all others, even apostles, have the capacity and will to do so, hence the need for Divine provision.  That provision is two-fold, and the first is here, the advocacy of the Lord Jesus.  An advocate is one who speaks up for another, having the ability and authority to do so.  The word used is translated Comforter in the upper room ministry, where the idea is of one called alongside to help.  Here the idea is of a legal advocate, for when believers sin Satan lives up to two of his names, (Satan meaning “adversary”, and Devil meaning “accuser”), and accuses them in the presence of God; see Job 1:6-11, 2:1-5;  Revelation 12:10.
Note that we have this advocate, we do not have to engage Him each time we sin; He is constantly involved in a ministry of intercession for His own, as Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25 assure us.
The fact that the advocate is with the Father indicates that the relationship of children with the Father is in view.  If we had an advocate with God it would mean that we were looked on as sinners.  But the reality is that our advocate speaks for us on the basis that we are children of God, despite the fact that we have sinned.
Jesus Christ the righteous- the emphasis is not so much on the fact that He is the Son of the Father, although that is true, but rather that He, Jesus, the sinless man, and Christ, the approved man, is righteous in all His dealings.  He does not try to disguise the fact that we have sinned, nor make excuse for sin.  He does not need to do these things even if He were capable of them, (which He is not), for He has the perfect answer when the Devil accuses us before God.  This perfect answer is found in the next verse.

2:2  And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

And He is the propitiation for our sins- when John saw the Lord Jesus as He is in heaven, he saw Him as “a lamb, as it had been slain”, Revelation 5:6.  John had been in the Upper Room after the resurrection of Christ, and had seen the nail prints in His hands and feet, Luke 24:39, and the spear-wound in His side, John 20:27, (the wounds inflicted at the beginning of the crucifixion process, and at the end of it).  These wounds showed that it was the Lord Himself that was before them, for only one person in Jerusalem at that time had the marks of crucifixion in His hands and feet, and also a spear wound.  The two thieves had the former, but not the latter, and in any case they were still in the grave.  We learn from the gospels the historical facts about the crucifixion, but in the epistles we learn the deeper meaning behind them.  And part of that deeper meaning is the truth that by His suffering and death, (for both were necessary to make propitiation, as the two goats of Leviticus 16 teach us), He made propitiation.
So as He intercedes for His own as their advocate, He does so as the one who made propitiation for them at Calvary, and because that work was done to God’s utmost satisfaction, the Devil has no valid and sustainable claim against us.  It is not that the sin of a believer is less deserving of Divine wrath, but that the sin has already been answered for at Calvary.
And not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world- John was ever concerned for the welfare of the souls of men.  As he thinks of the way propitiation caters for the needs of believers when they sin, his mind cannot help think that the work of Christ is enough for the whole world too.  There is no sin that has not been given an answer by Christ on the cross.  The foundation has been laid there whereby any in the world of sinful men, even if they all came, (which they are genuinely invited to do), would find there is full and adequate provision for them.  We must not limit the scope of the work of Christ; it was not limited at all, despite what Calvinists might say. 

It might be worth quoting what one of them wrote, “I know there are those who think it necessary to their system of theology to limit the merit of the blood of Jesus:  if my theological system needed such limitation, I would cast it to the winds.  I cannot, I dare not, allow the thought to find a lodging in my mind, it seems so near akin to blasphemy.  In Christ’s finished work I see an ocean of merit:  my plummet finds no bottom, my eye discerns no shore.  There must be sufficient efficacy in the blood of Christ, if God had so willed it, to have saved not only all the world, but all in a thousand worlds, had they transgressed their Master’s law.  Once admit infinity into the matter and limit is out of the question.  Having a Divine Person for an offering, it is not consistent to conceive of limited value.  Bound and measure are terms inapplicable to the Divine sacrifice.  The intent of Divine Purpose fixes the application of the infinite offering, but does not change it into a finite work”, C. H. Spurgeon.

There are those who point to the undoubted fact that the words “the sins of” are not in the Received Text.  From this they deduce that Christ made propitiation for the whole world, but not for the sins of the whole world.  They do not tell us what making propitiation for the world means.  The fact is that the words in italics, (“the sins of”), are necessary to give the sense.  If the apostle had written, “He is the propitiation for us, and also for the whole world”, the objection might be sustained.  But because he undoubtedly wrote “not for our’s only”, a phrase which prompts the question “for whose as well?” then the words “for the sins of” must be inserted to explain that it is also for the sins of the whole world as well.  It will not do to suggest that John is distinguishing between the sins of Jewish believers and Gentile believers.  Nor is John making a difference between his readers and other believers scattered throughout the earth, since the epistle is not addressed to a particular group of believers, but rather to all in the family of God.
Perhaps some contend for this view because they do not distinguish between the work of Christ accomplished, and the work of Christ applied.  For instance, Galatians 1:4 speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, (the work accomplished when Christ died), that He might deliver us from this present evil world, (the work applied when a person believes).  Just because Israel was nationally atoned for on the Day of Atonement did not mean that they were all personally saved, for the conditions God laid down for them to be in the personal good of the work of atonement were to afflict their souls, (the equivalent to repentance), and abstain from work, (the equivalent to faith), Leviticus 16:29,30.  If they refused to do these two things, they opted out of the blessing, being cut off from the nation that God had reconciled to Himself that day.  In this age, men are required to opt in by repentance and faith.  The work of Christ is available to all, but sadly is not availed of by all.

At this point we need to define the word propitiation.  It may be understood like this: “Propitiation is that aspect of the work of Christ at Calvary by which He gave to God the full and final satisfaction with regard to every claim God had against sin, enabling mercy to be shown to the repentant sinner on a just basis”.

WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR PROPITIATION?

1.    Because sins offend God.  As God is the Absolute Standard of righteousness and holiness, all deviations from this standard are highly offensive to Him.  Such is the intensity of His holiness that the simple mention of it is enough to make the posts of the doors of the temple in heaven move, Isaiah 6:3,4.  His reaction to sin and iniquity is to turn from it, for He is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and who cannot look upon iniquity, Habakkuk 1:13.  The very presence of sin in the universe is a grief to God. 

2.    Because as Moral Governor of the universe, He must be seen to deal with sins.
God has enemies, both devilish and human, and He must be clear of any charge which they may level against Him that suggests He has ignored sins, or at least, ignored some sins.  Eternity must not be allowed to run its course without this matter being settled.  God deals with some sins instantly, but the majority seem to have gone unpunished.  Sentence against an evil work has not been executed speedily, Ecclesiastes 8:11, since God is longsuffering, and waits to be gracious.  This situation might give rise to the charge of indifference to sins, and so God must act to defend His honour.

3.    Because God must have a just basis for continuing to have dealings with sinful men. 
One of the main purposes of the sacrifices on the Day of Atonement in Israel was that God might continue to dwell amongst them despite their uncleanness, Leviticus 16:16.  So also when Christ was down here.  It was only because God was not imputing trespasses so as to instantly judge them, but rather was working to reconcile unto Himself, that He was prepared to have dealings with men in the person of His Son.  See 2 Corinthians 5:19.

4.    Because if men are to be shown mercy, have their sins forgiven, and be reconciled to God, there must be a solid basis upon which these things can happen. 
God declares Himself to be a Saviour God- He cannot be fully satisfied solely by judging men .  The fact that “God is light” demands that this be done, but “God is love” too, and delights to manifest Himself in grace.

5.    Because the cycle of sin must be broken. 
In other words, if there is not to be an eternal succession of creations, falls, remedies for fall, and new creations, then there must be that established which is once for all, giving the complete answer to the question of sin.  Unless this complete answer is given, the new heavens and new earth will not be safe from disturbance.

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF PROPITIATION?

1.    The demands of God are fully met.
To satisfy God as the Moral Governor of the universe, an adequate and final answer must be found to the question of sin.  The demands of His holiness and righteousness are such that every sin must be responded to.  Only Christ is adequate for this situation.  He it is who has “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself”, Hebrews 9:26.  To put away in that verse means to abolish.  As far as God is concerned, and in this context, sin is not.  No charge can henceforth be made against God that He has ignored the presence of sin.  On the contrary, He has taken account of each and every sin through His Son’s work at Calvary.  John wrote, “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world”, 1 John 2:2.  Of course “the sins of” is in italics in that verse.  But the words must be supplied because they are implied in the “ours” of the previous statement.  If John had written “not for us only”, then the translation could have continued “but also for the whole world”.  Since, however, he uses the possessive pronoun “ours”, which shows he is writing about the sins people possess, then “the sins of” must be inserted.  Now the apostle will write later that “we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness”, 1 John 5:19.  He sees mankind divided into two clearly defined sections, believers, and the whole world.
John not only clearly distinguishes between believers and the world, but just as clearly states that Christ is the propitiatory offering for both classes.  That Christ became the propitiation for the whole world does not mean that the whole world will be saved, since propitiation is only made good to a person when he believes.  It does mean, however, that no charge may be levelled against God for not making provision for men.  Gospel-blessing may be genuinely offered to all men, for there is abundant provision for all. 

2.    God’s dealings are vindicated.
In Old Testament times God blessed men by reckoning them righteous when they believed in Him.  Romans 3:24,25 indicates that the propitiatory work of Christ vindicates God for so acting.  In can be seen now that God was blessing anticipatively, crediting believers with the results of Christ’s work before they had been achieved.  He also remitted, or passed over, their sins in forbearance, holding back from judging those sins in virtue of what His Son would do at Calvary. 

3.    God’s glory is fully displayed.
There is no attribute of God which has not been fully expressed at Calvary.  This is why the apostle Paul speaks of rejoicing in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement, Romans 5:11.  Atonement in this verse means reconciliation, one of the effects of propitiation.  By His sacrificial work at Calvary Christ has brought the character of God out into full and glorious display.  Those who are brought by faith into the good of that work are enabled to behold that display, and rejoice in it.  Would we know Divine holiness, or righteousness, or love, or wrath, or any other aspect of the Person of God?  Then we must look to the cross for the sight of it.  We shall not be disappointed.

4.    God’s mercy is available.
The repentant sinner who called upon God to be merciful to him, is the first person in the New Testament to use the word propitious- “God be merciful to me on the basis of propitiation”.  He went down to his house justified, Luke 18:13,14. Under the terms of the New Covenant, God promises that “I will be merciful (propitious) to their unrighteousness, Hebrews 8:12. The mercy-seat was the same width and breadth as the ark, telling us that the ark (the person of Christ) and the mercy-seat, (the work of Christ), were perfectly matched. But we are not told the thickness of the gold of the mercy-seat, for there is an infinite supply of mercy for those who believe, enough to keep them secure for all eternity.

5.    God’s forgiveness is assured. 
In Hebrews 10:5-8 we have the Spirit of Christ in the psalmist telling of His work of sacrifice. Then we have the Spirit’s testimony telling us of the results of that work, Hebrews 10:15-17.  God promises emphatically that He will not remember the sins and iniquities of His people any more, since He brought those sins into remembrance at Calvary, and Christ dealt with them effectively there. “No more” means in no way, nor at any time.  Note that God pledges to positively not remember, not negatively to forget. We may forget, and then remember again, whereas God promises never to remember for ever.

6.    God’s people are preserved.
The Lord Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene after He was risen, and instructed her to tell the brethren that He was about to “ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God”, John 20:17.  Thus He would still be the link between His people and God, maintaining them in His dual role of Advocate with the Father, and High Priest in things pertaining to God.
The basis of His advocacy is two-fold.  His person, for He is Jesus Christ the righteous, and His work, for He is the propitiation for our sins, 1 John 2:1,2.  The apostle John was concerned about believers sinning.  The sins of believers are just as obnoxious to God, and just as deserving of wrath, as those of unbelievers.  But we are “saved from wrath through Him”, Romans 5:9, as He pleads the merits of His work.  He is, says John, the propitiatory offering for our sins.  Not was, but is.  In other words, the one who acts for us in heaven as our advocate, is the very same one who hung upon the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.
He is also our High priest.  The language of Hebrews 2:17,18 is as follows, “Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.  For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted”.  These verses form a bridge between chapter two, with its emphasis on the reasons why the Lord Jesus took manhood, and the way in which Israel were tempted in the wilderness.  Note in particular the word “for” which begins verse 18.  Too little attention has been paid to this word, and hence the connection between verses 17 and 18 is often lost.  The reason why we have a high priest who is merciful and faithful is that He has been here in manhood and suffered being tempted.  When His people pass through temptation, then He undertakes to deal with their cause.  Because He has been here, and has been tempted in all points like as we are, He is able to help us when we cry to Him for help.  The word for succour is used by the woman of Canaan in Matthew 15:25 when she cried out, “Lord, help me”.  He is able to point us to the ways in which He overcame in the wilderness temptation, and thus we are strengthened to resist temptation.
But what if we fall, and sin?  In that case He comes to our aid in another way.  We see it typified negatively in Leviticus 10:16-20.  The priests were commanded to eat the sin-offerings, if the blood thereof had not been brought into the sanctuary.  But at the end of the consecration of the priesthood, Moses was angry on God’s behalf, for the priests had failed in this.  Moses said, “God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord”, Leviticus 10:17.  One of the functions of priesthood, then, was to personally identify with the sin-offering by eating it, and by so doing bear the iniquity of the congregation, taking responsibility for their failure, but doing so safeguarded by the fact that a sin-offering had been accepted by God.  As they did this the scripture explicitly says they made atonement for the people, Leviticus 10:17.  We see then what the writer to the Hebrews means when he talks of Christ making reconciliation or propitiation for the sins of the people.  He is indicating that Christ personally identifies Himself with His sin-offering work at Calvary, and thus takes responsibility for the failures of His people under temptation.  This is acceptable to God, and His people are preserved, despite their failure.

7.    God’s purpose for the earth is furthered. 
When Adam the head of the first creation fell, all creation had to be subjected to vanity, or else a fallen man would have been head over an unfallen creation.  Now that He has obtained rights over the earth by His death, the Lord Jesus is able to bring in new conditions for God.  He can now righteously deliver the present creation from the bondage of corruption into which the fall of man brought it, Romans 8:19-23.  Colossians 1:20 assures us that on the basis of the blood of His cross, all things, whether in earth or in heaven, can be reconciled to God, for that alienation between God and His creation which took place at the Fall, can be remedied.  Notice it is things, not people, that are spoken of in that verse as being reconciled.

8.    God’s intention to create a new heavens and new earth can be realised. 
Unless the sin which has marred the first creation is dealt with, God cannot righteously introduce an eternal earth and heavens, for it would not have been evident that He was able to deal with the fall of the first creation.  Having dealt with it through Christ, He is able to bring in new things that will never be spoiled.  Daniel was told that Messiah the Prince would bring in “everlasting righteousness”, Daniel 9:24, and this He will do, on the basis of His death.  It only remains for God to announce “Behold, I make all things new”, Revelation 21:5, and a “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness”, shall be established, 2 Peter 3:13.  At last there will be a settled and congenial place for righteous to dwell in, after all the turmoil brought in by Adam’s sin.  At last those profound words spoken by John the Baptist will be fully brought to pass, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”, John 1:29.

Returning to 1 John chapter 2:

2:3-11    Christ’s life shows us how to love:

THREE TESTS FOR THOSE WHO CLAIM TO KNOW THE LOVE OF GOD IN CHRIST:

First test, verses 3-5. He that saith “I know Him”.  Those who pass the test find God’s love reaches its goal in their hearts, verse 5.
Second test, verses 8-9 He that saith he abideth in Him.  Those who pass this test walk as Christ walked, verse 6.
Third test, verses 9-11.  He that saith he is in the light.  Those who pass this test love their brothers, and do not stumble them, verse 10.

First test, verses 3-5.        He that saith “I know Him”.  Those who pass the test find God’s love reaches its goal in their hearts, verse 5. 

2:3  And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep his commandments.

And hereby we do know that we know Him- we learn from John 17:3 that life eternal consists in knowing the true God, and the one who came that He might be fully known, even Jesus Christ.  When a person is born of God, the life of God is imparted, and with it the capacity to know God.  So having applied tests to show whether his readers are true believers or not, the apostle now sets out to tell true believers how they may know for sure that they know God in a meaningful way.
If we keep His commandments- a very slight knowledge of God will tell us that He has claims over us, and genuine believers will want to submit to those claims.  In John 17:2 the Lord Jesus contrasted men in the flesh with those who have eternal life.  The life of men in the flesh is the expression of the life of Adam, whereas the life of true believers is the expression of the life of God as seen in Christ incarnate.  Now Adam transgressed God’s simple command to him.  God commanded him to not eat of the tree, and he did.  Disobedience brought death, and men demonstrate that they are spiritually dead  by constantly disobeying God; in fact the apostle Paul calls them children of disobedience in Ephesians 2:2.  The true believer will earnestly desire to comply with all that God commands.  After all, faith is an act of obedience, Romans 1:6; 16:26.

2:4  He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

He that saith, I know Him- up to 2:2 the apostle had used the formula “if we say”, involving anyone, including himself.  Now he is more specific, and thinks of those who profess to be true believers, and therefore claim to know God.
These people say various things in this section:
Verse 4        He that saith, I know Him.
Verse 6        He that saith he abideth on Him.
Verse 9        He that saith he is in the light.

And keepeth not His commandments- to John, not keeping God’s commands is a sign of the absence of spiritual life, for faith and obedience go together, as we have seen.  God cannot deny Himself, 2 Timothy 2:13, so the life we have from Him cannot deny itself by disobeying Him.

Is a liar, and the truth is not in him- not only is the statement “I know Him” a lie, but it demonstrates that the truth regarding God and His nature and demands has not penetrated within, and found its home in the soul.  The profession is on the lip, but the reality is not displayed in the life. 

2:5  But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.

But whoso keepeth His word- the word for keep involves preserving and not breaking.  The nation of Israel failed to keep God’s commandments.  Even whilst Moses was at the top of Sinai receiving the commandments, the nation was at the bottom of the mountain breaking them by worshipping the golden calf.  No wonder Moses broke the tables of stone, for thereby he illustrated what the people had done by their rebellion.
What is kept is His word, meaning the sum total of all God requires of us.  We are not to pick and choose what we obey, but are to abide by all God says.  This the Lord Jesus did, for He could say “I do always those things that please Him”, John 8:29, and He is our example, as the next verse will say.
In him verily is the love of God perfected- God loves His people so much that He desires them to be His obedient children.  When we obey all He commands us, then the love of God will have reached its goal, which is the idea behind the word “perfected”.
Hereby know we that we are in Him- not only is God gratified by us reaching the goal He has for us, but our hearts are assured too, for obedience is a sign that we are “in God”, as opposed to being in the world.  We are enfolded in God’s love and purpose, instead of being entangled in the world.  To be in Him means to have a vital life-relationship with God.

Second test, verses 6-8        He that saith he abideth in Him.  Those who pass this test walk as Christ walked, verse 6.

2:6  He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.

He that saith he abideth in Him- to abide in God is to consciously and willingly remain involved in all that God is and does.  It is the settled place that only a true believer can occupy.
Ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked- the walk of a person is the way they pass through life, whether as an unbeliever walking after the course of this world, Ephesians 2:2, or a believer walking with God.  We are under obligation to walk in a certain way, and it is described here as “as He walked”.  Notice first of all the way in which the apostle does not hesitate to use the pronouns “Him” and “He” both of God and Christ, without telling us to whom he is referring.  This is testimony to the Deity of Christ.  John was so convinced of the equality of the Son and the Father that he calls both, at times, simply “Him”, or as here, “He”.
The way in which the Lord Jesus passed through this world is the pattern for us.  As the apostle Peter wrote, “Christ also hath suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps; who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth”, 1 Peter 2:21,22.  John tells us of two of John the Baptist’s disciples who, when he exhorted them to look upon Jesus as He walked, immediately began to do so; but they did more than simply observe, for they began to follow Him, thus walking where He walked, John 1:36,37.  But we need to not only walk where He walked, (remembering that He did not walk after the counsel of the ungodly, not stand in the way of sinners, Psalm 1:1), but also walk as He walked, passing through this world in the same manner as He did.  In this way the inward reality of abiding in God is expressed in an outward way, to God’s glory.  This is only possible because we have the life of God within us.

2:7  Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you- John has nothing to add to what had already been given through the ministry of the Lord Jesus.  He does not set out some new and fresh way of pleasing God, for the way marked out by Christ never loses its relevance.
But an old commandment which ye had from the beginning- the latter expression can be taken in three ways.  The beginning either refers to the beginning of their Christian experience; or the beginning of the public manifestation of Christ as eternal life personified; or the beginning of Christ’s Upper Room ministry, in which He prepared His own for His absence, and exhorted them to love one another.  In practical terms all three ideas are true, for what they had from when they were first born again is what was from the beginning of Christ’s ministry as to its expression in Him, and from the upper room ministry as far as being formally required of them is concerned.  The commandment was therefore about sixty years old by the time the apostle wrote these words, hence the adjective old can be used of it.
The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning- this would refer to the words of the Lord Jesus when He said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another”, John 13:34.  It is true that the law of Moses commanded men to love their neighbours, but never before was the carrying out of that command given perfect expression, as has now happened in the life of Christ.  The standard is not now a command written in stone, but the living example of Christ in His life.  By “word” the apostle means a statement expressing a thought, in this case, that we should love.  Only because we have eternal life can we, in any measure, love one another as He has loved us.

2:8  Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

Again, a new commandment I write unto you- the word “again” would signify “on the other hand”.  On one hand the commandment is old because Christ gave it decades before, but on the other hand it is still fresh and new, as all His words are.  His words are “spirit and life”, and the Spirit quickens them, John 6:63.  The commandment has not lost its power and its point.
Which thing is true in Him and in you- there is a continuous line of believers who follow the example of Christ and obey His command to love one another; so what is true in Him, as a historical fact, (hence the “is”, not “was”), is still true, but in the children of God.  The command is true in Him, that is, is a reality with Him, and it is true in us, since the life of the God who is love is in us.
Because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth- the reason the commandment is a reality in both Christ and the people of God is that He has come to express all that God is, and through Him the light of the knowledge of the glory of God is seen.  As far as believers are concerned, and as far as God’s purpose is concerned, the darkness that Adam brought in by his disobedience is over, and the light of the person of Christ dispels the darkness of ignorance about God.
No doubt John is thinking back to the upper room scene, when Judas went out, and his comment in his gospel had been, “It was night”, John 13:30.  As soon as Judas went out, the spirit of Christ was free to speak of glory, verses 31 and 32.  Then in verse 34 comes the word alluded to in verse 7 of this chapter, about loving one another.  The glory of Christ is a great incentive to love one another, for part of His glory is the splendour of His love.

Third test, verse 9-11.      He that saith he is in the light.  Those who pass this test love their brothers, and do not stumble them, verse 10.

2:9  He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

He that saith he is in the light- the word brother is used here from the perspective of the false professor, who claims believers as his brothers.  By profession Judas was “in the light”, walking with Christ for those days of public ministry, no doubt enabled to work miracles, and to the other apostles apparently one of them.  When the Lord said “one of you shall betray Me” no disciple thought immediately of Judas, but rather looked within their own hearts, saying, “Is it I?”  John 13:22; Matthew 26:22.
And hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now- it is difficult for us to understand how Judas could stoop so low as to express his hatred of Christ by betraying Him, especially as he did it with a kiss, the sign of affection, but so it is.  It helps us a little to remember that the Lord said, “One of you is a devil”, John 70, and also that Satan entered into Judas after having put it into his heart to betray Him, John 13:2,27.  Just as love and light go together, so darkness and hatred do as well.  How solemn that Judas is in the darkness “even until now”, for nothing has changed since he plunged into perdition.  His state is eternal, as will be the state of all who go into eternity hating Christ.  But “even until now” does leave the door open for a change for them who are still upon the earth.  The hatred would stop the moment they believed.

2:10  He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

He that loveth his brother abideth in the light- those who truly love their fellow-believers with the sort of love Christ loved them with, (therefore a love that is neither sentimental nor emotional, but spiritual), can be said to be at home in the light of God’s presence.  That light does not expose them as traitors, but as believers.  They abide in the light for they find it congenial, and will never go into the blackness of darkness as Judas did, Jude 13.
And there is none occasion of stumbling in him- unlike Judas, who prepared a trap for Christ in the darkness of Gethsemane, the true believer will only do those things that encourage and strengthen their fellow-brethren in the family of God.

2:11  But 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.

But he that hateth his brother is in darkness- he who does this, but at the same time hates, shows that he is still in the darkness of ignorance about God.  The light that Christ came to bring has not affected him, and consequently, not possessing eternal life, he does not possess the knowledge of God, for to have eternal life is to know God, John 17:3.
And walketh in darkness- as he does not really follow Christ, who is the light of the life of the believer, John 8:12, he walks in the darkness that Adam plunged the world into when he sinned.  It is not just that there is hatred in the heart, but his ignorance of true love is expressed in the way he passes through this world.
And knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes- we are familiar with the idea of a light blinding, for it happened to Paul on the Damascus Road, Acts 9:18, 22:11.  But it is also possible to be blinded by darkness.  There are certain deep-sea fish which live in the darkness, and although they have eyes, they are blind; they do not need to see, for there is nothing to see in the darkness.  So men have become so used to living in the darkness that ignorance of God brings, that they have no capacity to see for themselves.  Of course, God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness in the beginning can shine in their hearts, 2 Corinthians 4:4,6.  Because of this blindness, men are neither aware of the way to walk with God now, nor are they aware of their destiny, which is the blackness of darkness for ever, Jude 13.  “But the path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more until the perfect day.  The way of the wicked is as darkness; they know not at what they stumble”, Proverbs 4:18,19.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN CHAPTER 2, VERSES 12-27

2:12  I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.

2:13  I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

2:14  I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

2:17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

2:18  Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

2:19  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

2:20  But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

2:21  I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

2:22  Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

2:23  Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

2:24  Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

2:25  And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life.

2:26  These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

2:27  But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

3:12-27        The family of God is addressed according to maturity, after the general statement of verse 12.

THREE STAGES OF MATURITY IN THE FAMILY OF GOD:

Verse 13(a)  First word to fathers
Verse 13(b) First word to young men.
Verse 13(c) First word to infants.
   
Verse 14(a) Second word to fathers.
Verses 14(b)-17 Second word to young men.
Verses 18-27  Second word to infants.

GENERAL STATEMENT TO ALL IN THE FAMILY OF GOD:

2:12  I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.

I write unto you, little children- as he brings this section to an end, the apostle reassures those that he has tested in every way, and confidently writes to them as children in the family of God.  In the next verses he will distinguish between infants, young men and fathers in the family of God, but here all believers, whatever their stage of maturity, are classed as little or dear children in the family.  In this verse, what is true of one is true of them all.
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake- in chapter one sins were forgiven because of the blood of Christ.  Here, it is because of the value of His name to God.  By His name is meant all that He is in His character and person.  In tabernacle times, not only was the blood of propitiation sprinkled on the mercy seat each Day of Atonement, but some incense was laid up before the testimony so as to be in the presence of God, Exodus 30:36.  The incense represents the virtues and graces of Christ.  So both the work of Christ and the Person of Christ were prefigured there.  Now we have the reality of which these things were a foreshadowing, for the Son of God is in the presence of God in all the value of His work, and also in all the value of His sinless life down here.  And not just His sinless life, but His positive graces and virtues.  And it is for the sake of such a Person that our sins are forgiven.  We could never be forgiven on the basis of our person and work.  To be forgiven because of Him is the very best way to be forgiven.

Verse 13(a)        First word to fathers
Verse 13(b)        First word to young men.
Verse 13(c)        First word to infants.

2:13  I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning.  I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.  I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning- here is a remarkable testimony to the Deity of Christ.  He that is from the beginning is the Son of God, as chapter 1 has told us.  And it is the knowledge of this one that has enabled the fathers to grow to the state of maturity they have.  So He cannot be less than God in any sense, since the advance from immaturity to maturity comes about by knowing Him.  The little children in their immaturity know the Father; those who are mature know the Son.
I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one- these have advanced to the point where the wicked one has attacked them because they sought to know Christ better, (which thing the Devil hates), and they have overcome his wicked attempts to side-track them.  How they did it is told us in the second word to them in verse 14.
I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father- the apostle will have much more to say to the little children in verses 18-27, but he is content for now to record that they know the Father.  This is a blessed position to be in, for it shows they have eternal life, and that they are in the family of God, and have the potential to grow into young men, and then into fathers.

Verse 14(a)             Second word to fathers.
Verses 14(b)-17    Second word to young men.

2:14  I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning.  I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning- here is further testimony to the Deity of Christ, for once a person can be said to know Christ, there is nothing more advanced to know, hence what is said the first time is said again to the fathers, without addition.  In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Colossians 2:3.  No wonder the apostle Paul exclaimed, “That I may know Him”, Philippians 3:10.  It is well for us if we have the same desire.  The more we ponder the gospel records, the more we shall appreciate Him, and know Him in a deeper way.  The man who brought his meal offering was to take out a handful and it was placed on the altar for God.  The greater his grasp of the offering, the more there was for God.  So the greater our grasp of the One who is typified by the meal offering, the more we shall have to offer to God, the meal offering representing the life of Christ down here.
I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one- the secret of the growth of the young men is now told us.  It centres around the fact that they overcome the wicked one, hence the apostle mentions this again.  But how did they do it?  The answer is two-fold.  First, it was because they were strong.  They were spiritually fit and healthy.  The second answer tells us why this was so.  It was because the word of God abode in them.  The word of God had a settled place in their hearts and lives.  They did not relegate it to a small part of their lives, but allowed it to govern them in everything.  In this way the wicked one’s attempts to divert them from becoming fathers was thwarted. 

2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Love not the world- these young men should not become complacent, however.  If the Devil does not succeed by a frontal attack on the souls of these young men, he may seek to entice them by the allurements of the world, which they may think has nothing to do with him.  The world, however, as presently constituted, is geared to the advancement of the Devil’s interests, and not God’s.  Satan is the god of this world, religiously, 2 Corinthians 4:4, and the prince of this world politically, John 14:30.  He is working behind the scenes to frustrate the purpose of God, and one of God’s main purposes is to encourage believers in the knowledge of Himself and His Son.  The world is so constructed that it hinders that process; we should therefore be resolved not to love it, but to hate it for what it does and also what it represents.
Neither the things that are in the world- not only is the world in general and in principle opposed to God and His interests, but also the individual things in the world are also.  There is nothing good in the world, but there are, of course, many good things in the earth God made, even though they are spoiled by sin, Romans 8:20,21.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him- so opposed to God is the world that love of it becomes a test of Christian reality.  No true believer will say that he loves the world that cast out and crucified his Saviour.  He may hanker after and indulge in some of the things that the world contains, but in principle his life is opposed to the life of the world.  Since the Father and the world are opposed, especially because of what it did to His Son, so the love of the world and the love of the Father are opposed also.

2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

For all that is in the world- we now learn why the apostle is so forthright about the world.
The lust of the flesh- the world is full of people.  People, moreover, who have no Divine life in their souls.  The Lord Jesus contrasted them with those who eternal life, in His prayer to His Father, John 17:2.  Man in the flesh is weak, failing, and sinful, an easy prey to the Devil.  He supplies for them everything and anything they desire, for he knows this will keep them from considering God.
And the lust of the eyes- there are many in the world who are taken up with intellectual matters, who are concerned about ideas, philosophies, and suchlike, which could not be described as the lust of the eyes, but they are, nonetheless, sinful.  There are many others, however, who are absorbed with visible and tangible things.  They may not even be sinful in themselves, but they become sinful if they detract from interest in Divine things.  There are many whose parents went to church regularly on Sunday mornings, and took their children with them.  Those children are now grown up and have children of their own, and they take them for nature walks instead of seeking after God.  Thus seen things become sinful, and to go in for them to the exclusion of God is lustful.  Of course there are many other seen things which are sinful through and through.
And the pride of life- when Satan tempted Eve he held out to her the prospect of being as gods, Genesis 3:5.  He did not appear to try to drag her down, (although he did, in fact, do so), but present her with an opportunity to advance herself and rise higher.  Thus it was that pride played a part in the first sin committed by humans, and they have tended to pride ever since.  The world is geared to pander to this pride, and the desire to out-do one’s neighbour in some way is very prevalent.  Pride, in fact, was the sin of the Lucifer when he said, “I will be like the Most High”, Isaiah 14:12-14.  The apostle Paul makes it clear that pride is the reason why the Devil is condemned, 1 Timothy 3:6.
Is not of the Father, but is of the world- so this world system, with its lust and pride, is not sourced in the Father.  He is not responsible for the evils that are manifest in the world; they come from the one who, as the prince of this world, controls all that goes on, and as the god of this world, controls its opposition to God.  All that is in the world is of the world, so it is a closed system, self-generating, self-replicating, self-sufficient, and having no time for the things of heaven and Christ.

2:17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

And the world passeth away- the current world-system is destined to soon be swept away when the Lord Jesus comes to judge and make war.  He will be like the stone in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, which shall smite the whole of Gentile world-dominion at its base, and destroy it utterly, and replace it with His kingdom of righteousness, Daniel 2:44,45.
And the lust thereof- lust and pride will have no welcome place in Christ’s kingdom, and men will be occupied with better things as they serve the King.  The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.  Isaiah speaks of the Day of the Lord in terms of destroying all the high things that men think themselves to be, and all the high things they build in their pride.  His words were:

“For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty,
and upon every one that is lifted up;
and he shall be brought low:
And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,
And upon all the high mountains,
and upon all the hills that are lifted up,
And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,
And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.
And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down,
and the haughtiness of men shall be made low:
and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day”.
Isaiah 2:12-17.

But he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever- far from being swept away when Christ comes to judge, the true believer will abide, and continue into eternity.  The will of God rather than the lusts of the flesh will be his occupation for ever.  God has begotten His children by His own will, James 1:18, and they delight in that will, because the life they have from God enables them to do so.

Verses 18-27        Second word to infants.

2:18  Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

Little children- the apostle now turns from his word to the young men to addressing the infants in the family of God.  If they are going to mature into young men, they will need information and warning about the things that help and that hinder.  The first word to them assured them that as those who know the Father, they had eternal life.  Now they need to preserve that life and allow it to flourish.
It is the last time- John is justified in saying that it is the last time, (as opposed to the last times, the end days just prior to the return of Christ), because Satan has been deceiving men about God for thousands of years, and as the apostle Paul said, “the night is far spent, the day is at hand”, Romans 13:12, and also that “the mystery of iniquity doth already work”, 2 Thessalonians 2:7.  That this is so is evident from the presence of antichrists even in John’s day.
And as ye have heard that antichrist shall come- the Lord Jesus warned of false christs and false prophets, Matthew 24:24, and Paul taught the Thessalonians about the coming antichrist.  We must not think of antichrist as merely a prominent political figure of the end times. Satan knows that if he is going to gain universal homage he must pander to the religious side of man.  So it is that the primary object of antichrist will be to attract the worship of the world, for in so doing, since he will be Satan’s representative, worship will be given to Satan.  See Appendix 1 for more on the antichrist.
Even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time- since John’s definition of antichrist has to do with the denial of the Father and the Son, any false teacher who promotes the denial of Christian truth is antichristian in character, and merits the name antichrist.  Since there were many such teachers in John’s day, he was justified in saying that the features that will prevail when the Antichrist rules the world are seen already, and therefore, in principle, last-time conditions are already here.

2:19  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

They went out from us, but they were not of us- it is startling to learn that these antichrists had once been amongst the people of God, and even companying with the apostles.  But then, so had Judas, and he is characterised by the fact that he went out of the Upper Room to betray the Lord, thus showing he was not in sympathy with what was being taught in that room.
For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us- John sees continuance in Divine things in company with the apostles as the test of genuineness.  His characteristic words are “abide”, “continue” and “remain”, all translations of the same word.  At the beginning, those who believed “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship”, Acts 2:42, and John will later say that “he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us”, 1 John 4:6.
But they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us- Adam was driven out from the presence of God, but Cain went of his own will.  The word “all” refers to the total number of those who went out, who were not “of us”, had no sympathy with what the apostles taught.  All that went out were not of us, declares the apostle.  It was not that some who went out were in sympathy with the apostles, and some were not.  Rather, all who went out were not “of us”.

2:20  But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

But ye have an unction from the Holy One- the word unction is the same as anointing, and this anointing is said to be from the Holy One, namely God Himself.  Just as Jesus of Nazareth was anointed on the banks of the Jordan, marking Him out as the Christ, or Messiah, (see Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38), so every believer, without exception, has been anointed with the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion.  The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians and said, “Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who also hath sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts”, 2 Corinthians 1:21,22.  We read in Isaiah 11:1-3 that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the Messiah, and by this power He would show wisdom, understanding, and discernment.  So it is with the children of God, for they have been anointed so that they might know the things of God, as the apostle goes on to explain.  It is important to notice that it is the infants in the family of God who are being addressed here, not the mature fathers.  The anointing of the Spirit is not something that comes only after maturity is reached.  On the contrary, it is one of the principal means whereby that maturity is attained.  It is encouraging, but also sobering, to notice that the believer is anointed by the same One as anointed Christ, and with the same Spirit.
And ye know all things- this is a relative statement.  It is not that the infants knew everything there was to know about the faith, because then they would be fathers and not simply infants.  The point is that they knew all things it was necessary to know so as to be able to recognise the teaching of the antichrists for what it was, namely, false and therefore misleading.  The knowledge that is needed to come to faith in Christ is also the knowledge that enables a new believer to recognise error, for the Spirit gives discernment.
Notice how two ideas are being brought together here.  First, the antichrists are “anti-Christ”, meaning they are hostile to the fact that He is God’s anointed.  Second, God, who anointed Christ, also anoints His children, in order that the effect of the antichrists might be neutralised.

2:21  I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth- John wrote his gospel so that sinners might know the truth about the Lord Jesus, John 20:30,31, but he is now writing to believers, and does not need to repeat the truth he set out in his gospel.  They have come to know and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the very truth that the antichrists deny.
But because ye know it- having said why he did not write, John now gives two reasons why he does.  First, because they know the truth; that is, they are true believers, and therefore have an interest in the truth, not only to continue believing it, but to defend it.
And that no lie is of the truth- the second reason John writes is because these infants in the family of God know that truth and lies are mutually exclusive; they can never be combined.  Truth is that which corresponds to reality, and lies are a denial of that reality; in this context, the reality of the person of Christ.  They also know that no lie can issue forth out of the truth; the lies the antichrists spread abroad in their teaching have not come from within the body of Christian doctrine, for their source is elsewhere.  That source is Satan himself, for “he is a liar, and the father of it”, as the Lord Jesus said, John 8:44.

2:22  Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?  He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?  John is very direct here, and highlights the main lie that the antichrists promote.  The truth about the anointing of the Lord Jesus, and what it signifies, is the deciding factor for John.  He will tell us why this is so in the rest of the verse.
He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son- John does not record the baptism of the Lord Jesus.  What he does do, however, is record the effect it had on John the Baptist, as is told us in the following passage:

“And I knew Him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel therefore am I come baptising with water.  And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him.  And I knew Him not:  but He that sent me to baptise with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He that baptiseth with the Holy Spirit.  And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God”, John 1:31-34. 

So for the apostle John, and for John the Baptist, the descent of the Spirit upon the Lord Jesus was a sure sign that He is the Son of God.  To be “anti-anointing” therefore, is to contradict the significance of Christ’s anointing, and thereby deny the Father who did it, and the Son who is marked out by it.  This results in a denial of His Deity, and the special relationship He has with the Father.  This is to deny the proper relationship between the Father and the Son, and is contrary to the faith.

2:23  Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father- there might be some who would protest at this, and resent John’s forthright assessment of the situation.  He is adamant, however, that to deny the Son, (the word deny meaning to contradict), by denying the significance of His anointing, is to not be a true believer.  There is no middle ground, where a person may claim to be a child of God, and therefore have Him as Father, and yet deny the Son, for the Son has a unique relationship with the Father, and this is acknowledged by those who are genuine believers.  The Father will not enter into a relationship with those who deny His Son His proper place.
He that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also- the reverse is the case, for to recognise the Son for who He is, as set out in the Word of God, is to be born of God, and therefore to have God as Father.  It is God’s will that all should honour the Son as they honour the Father, John 5:23, and this either happens willingly at conversion, or unwillingly at the Great White Throne, Philippians 2:9-11.

2:24  Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning.  If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning- the truth as to the person of Christ, which initially was set out by Himself as recorded in the gospel of John, (see especially chapter 5), will know no development.  Whether we think that the beginning mentioned here is the beginning of Christ’s ministry, or the beginning of the Christian life, the exhortation is the same.  We are to abide in the truth about His person.  The rest of the epistle is written to encourage us in this in various ways.
If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father- this is virtually a definition of what it means to abide in the Son and the Father, for the words “abide”, “remain”, and “continue”, as used in this verse, mean the same.  So if the truth abides in the sense that it has a settled place in our hearts, then we ourselves are said to abide in the one to whom the truth relates. 

2:25  And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life.

And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life- this sentence tells us several things.  First, that when the Lord Jesus announced, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life”, John 5:24, He was making a promise.  Second, because that promise is made by the Son of God, it is certain to be honoured, therefore to possess eternal life is to be secure for eternity, hence John is justified in saying that the true believer will abide.  Third, that those who have eternal life have the life of God, and therefore cannot deny the truth about God, or else it would be possible for God to deny Himself, and this He cannot do, 2 Timothy 2:13.  The apostle hints at these things in this verse so that we may be assured of the things we have believed, because we live in a world that is hostile and antagonistic towards them, and against those who believe them.

2:26  These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you- to seduce means to lead astray.  The antichrists that abound in the world are false shepherds, and they seek to lead believers astray from the path of loyalty to Christ.  One of the titles of Antichrist is idol shepherd, Zechariah 11:17, so it is no surprise that his minions have the same character.
To change the figure of speech, the word “seduce” comes from the verb “planoo, to wander”, from which we derive the word planet.  The wise seaman plots his course by the “fixed” stars.  It is only foolish sea-goers who go by the planets, which wander through the sky.  The apostate antichrists are “wandering stars”, Jude 13, and to be guided by them is to be in danger of spiritual shipwreck.

2:27  But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.

But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you- the promise of the Lord Jesus was that the Holy Spirit would abide with the believer for ever, John 14:16.  It is significant that the word “abide” was used in that statement, since it is the theme the apostle is pursuing here.  Since the Spirit abides, the believer abides, and since only believers have the Spirit, this becomes a mark of the genuine believer.  So that there is no such person as a believer who does not abide in Christ.  Nonetheless all need to be exhorted to abide, so as to be in the good of the place God has given us.  Note that the Spirit is said to abide in the believer, despite the fact that the believer is said to be anointed in this passage.  We might think that He is simply upon the believer, but the apostle assures us here that He is within as well.
And ye need not that any man teach you- since the Spirit abides, the believer will never need any other teacher than He.  By “any man” the apostle means any false teacher, for the Spirit does distribute the genuine teaching gift to men, but only believing men.  There will never be a time when a false teacher will be able to come along and advance the believer in Christian things, for he is Divinely provided for in this area.
But as the same anointing teacheth you of all things- we shall never have a different Spirit within us to the one we received when we were born of God.  Because He is a person of the Godhead, He is able to enlighten us with regard to all Divine things. 

The Lord Jesus said, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth:  for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.  He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.  All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you”, John 16:13-15. 

So the persons of the Godhead all move in their respective ways to ensure that the children of God are fully informed.
And is truth- God calls Himself the God of truth, Isaiah 65:16, and the word for God is Elohim, a plural word.  Each person of the Godhead therefore can be said to be truth.  Not just truthful, although that is the case, but rather, truth finds its full expression in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  In this place the emphasis is on the Holy Spirit, since it is He that teaches the believer.
And is no lie- we may rest assured that Divine persons will never lie to us, for God cannot lie, as the apostle Paul assures us in 2 Timothy 2:13.  As the source and standard of truth, God cannot deny Himself by uttering a lie.  So the Lord Jesus described the Spirit as the Spirit of truth, not only because He imparts truth, but also because He is incapable of telling a lie.  Of course this is in stark contrast to the antichrists, who lie to men as they deny Christian things.  John has already written, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?” verse 22.
And even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him- the word for “even as” in this place is kathos, which means “in the degree that”.  So we are not to be complacent in this matter.  The apostle has not been assuring the believers of Divine help in the advance into Divine things so that we may sit back and not apply ourselves.  After all, eternal life has been given to us not only that we might initially know God and Jesus Christ, John 17:3, but in order that we might get to know them better.  And this is what the apostle is encouraging by his use of this particular word.  It is not that we can only be said to abide after a certain stage of maturity has been reached, but rather that the degree to which we consciously abide in Him is linked to the degree we progress in Divine things.

The apostle now returns to addressing the whole of the family of God.  The rest of the epistle is taken up with the development of various themes that have been introduced during his word to the infants in the family.  If they are going to grow, and if young men are going to become fathers, and if fathers are going to continue to be a help to those less mature in the faith, then there are other things the apostle must write.  The themes he has mentioned in verses 18-27 are as follows:
1.    The coming of antichrist.
2.    The presence of many antichrists already.
3.    The anointing of believers by the Holy Spirit.
4.    The denial of the Father and the Son by evil teachers.
5.    The need to abide in Him.

The first theme is developed in 2:28-3:6.  The manifestation of Christ, by which He will destroy the antichrist, is brought in by the apostle to emphasise three features that were found in Christ, and which need to be found in us, in view of the fact that we shall be manifested with Him.

Antichrist shall come, as stated in 2:18, but so shall Christ come- to destroy him.

THREE FEATURES OF CHRIST TO IMITATE IN VIEW OF HIS COMING:

First feature  Verses 28-29  He is righteous. We should practice righteousness.
Second feature Verses 3:1-3 He is pure.  We should purify ourselves.
Third feature Verses 4-6  He is sinless. We should not sin.

If we strive to display these features, the apostles will not be embarrassed by us as we all come with Christ at His manifestation.  He is coming to be glorified in His saints, 2 Thessalonians 1:10.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN CHAPTER 2, VERSES 28-29.

2:28  And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

2:29  If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him. 

2:28  And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

And now, little children- the apostle now reverts back to the general word for children in the family.  Having addressed the infants from verses 18-27, he is now speaking of all the members of the family of God.  No matter how they have progressed, whether they are young men or fathers, or just infants, they all need the instruction of the rest of the epistle.
Abide in Him- this is the vital need of every child of God, for the antichrists abroad will seek to unsettle and move him away from the truth.  This is to be counteracted by a conscious, active and spiritual resolve to remain true to Christ and the doctrines concerning Him.  The rest of the epistle is constructed around this need to abide.
That, when He shall appear- there is reference here to the coming of the Lord Jesus to earth, for the word translated “appear” has to do with a person being manifested.  There are two other main words used for the coming of Christ.  One is “parousia”, which simply means He is going to be present after a period of absence.  That presence may be in the air to meet His saints as they rise to meet Him, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, or His presence as He descends to the earth to judge and set up His kingdom.  The context must decide in each case, for He is not only absent from His people but also absent from the earth.  Then there is the word “apokalupsis”, which means an unveiling after having been hidden from sight.  This is His coming to earth, as described in the Book of Revelation, (hence that book is sometimes called “The Apocalypse”).
We may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming- John has spoken of the Antichrist in verse 18, but by His manifestation the Lord Jesus will destroy him, as is described in 2 Thessalonians 2:8.  When He thus comes to reign, the saints shall come with Him, the apostles included, of course.  The apostle now gives one of the reasons why he is anxious that we abide in Christ.  He and his fellow-apostles do not wish to be embarrassed when they come with Christ, when they find that the children of God they sought to teach had not made progress in Divine things, and hence were not so honoured in that day as they might have been.  The apostle Paul expressed a similar thought, but from the other side, in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?  Are not even ye in the presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?  For ye are our glory and joy.”  And in his second epistle to them he said of Christ that “He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, (for our testimony among you was believed), in that day”, 2 Thessalonians 1:10.  That day being a reference to the coming of Christ to earth to judge.  How embarrassing for the apostle John if some of his pupils had been led astray by the spirit of antichrist, and had not made so much progress in Divine things as they might have done.  The apostle had no greater joy than to hear that his children walk in truth, 3 John 4, so he was sensitive to lack of progress on their part.

2:29  If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him. 

If ye know that He is righteous- the apostle highlights three features that marked the Lord Jesus at His first coming, and they are, “He is righteous”, “He is pure”, 3:3, and “In Him is no sin”, 3:5.  Those who have the life of God will appreciate these features of Christ and will wish to display it also, so that they may be a credit to Him when He comes.
Ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him- if a person knows and believes these things about Christ, then he will also know that the life He gives in the new birth is able to imitate the righteous life of Christ.  He will also be able to recognise others who are born again, because they seek to be righteous like Christ too.  In this way he will be able to avoid the influence of antichristian teachers, who are marked by unrighteousness, impurity, and sinfulness.

APPENDIX 1

Truths about the coming antichrist as set out in Daniel chapter 8:

1. He waxes great even to the extent of being able to influence the host of heaven, meaning the angel hosts, verse 10.  As we learn later, this king is energised by Satanic power, and hence it is no surprise that he can control spirit-beings.  In chapter 10 we learn that there is conflict in heaven between holy and evil angel-representatives of the nations, and that victory is not easily achieved by the holy angels, such is the power of evil.  So successful is this king in verse 10, that he is able to cast some of the host of heaven and the stars, meaning, presumably, angels, to the ground and triumph over them.  This is awesome power, and reminds us we should not underestimate the power of the Devil.  We take comfort from the fact, however, that the eventual triumph of Christ is assured, (for “He shall send forth truth to victory”, Matthew 12:20), and meanwhile, “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world”, 1 John 4:4.
2. He so exalts himself that he aspires to attack Christ Himself, verse 11.  We read the armies of the Antichrist make war with the Lamb in Revelation 19:19, and this statement is to the same effect.  Not only is he antichrist in the sense of “instead of” Christ, but also in the sense of “against Christ”, for the Greek word “anti” has both these meanings.
3. He interferes with the sacrifices offered on the altar in the rebuilt temple at Jerusalem, verse 11.  Chapter 9:27 tells of a covenant with the majority in Israel to allow them to resume their temple worship.  This covenant he breaks after three and a half years, and this signals the commencement of the Great Tribulation, Matthew 24:15,21.
4. A host is given him.  A host is a multitude, especially when organised for war.  The fact that a host is given him against the daily sacrifice suggests Satan allots some of his demon-forces to allow him to do this without God’s angels, and in particular Michael, preventing him.  Michael does not seem to be as strong as the Devil, as is seen in Jude 9, and Daniel 10:13 indicates that Gabriel was no match for the angel-prince of Persia until Michael came to assist him.  In verse 11 he magnifies himself against the prince of the host, which from 12:1 we learn is Michael, the prince that stands for the children of Israel.
5. He casts down the truth to the ground.  This word “cast down”, is used in verses 7,11,12.  The idea is of throwing out, down, or away.  Here the little horn attacks the truth, and succeeds in casting it down, meaning that he persuades many to apostatise, especially in Israel, where the majority of the nation have sided with him, and only a remnant remains true to God.  John tells us that one of the main features of the antichrist is that he denies both the Father and the Son, 1 John 2:22; 4:3.  In other words, he totally rejects Christianity, with its emphasis on the revelation of the Father by the Son.
6. He practises and prospers, for evil is having its final attempt to overthrow the things of God, verse 12.  It will be said that “all the world wondered after the beast”, and no-one is able to make war with him, Revelation 13:3,4.
7. He has a fierce countenance, for he will act with unimaginable cruelty, such is the nature of man, verse 23.  It is no coincidence that he is likened to a wild beast, unmerciful and untamed.  All the  features of the bear, (relentless attack), the lion (fierce attack with strength), and the leopard, (swift decisive attack), will combine in him.  In this he is like the one who empowers him, who is responsible for the misery and heartache experienced by men through the ages.
8. Understanding dark sentences indicates that Satan gives him insight into the mysteries that have been hidden from the mass of men down the centuries.  These secrets enable him to gain and keep hold of the minds of men.
9. His power is mighty, but he owes it to another, for he will have succumbed to the temptation of the Devil, verse 24.  He had offered the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them to Christ, if He would bow down to worship him.  This the Lord refused to do, but this man will have done it, so that “the dragon gave him his power, his seat, and great authority, Revelation 13:2.
10. He destroys wonderfully, for all the world shall wonder after the beast, such is the impressive nature of the things he is able to do by Satanic power.  He shall prosper, but God is in control, allowing the Devil to overreach himself so that he may be finally and decisively defeated.
11. He shall destroy the mighty and holy people, (literally “the people of the holy ones”, the ones spoken of in chapter 7:27), that part of the nation of Israel which refuses to renounce God.  Such is the intensity of his onslaught against them that only a third pass through the fire to enter the kingdom age.  Zechariah 13:9 had spoken of this, and it is interesting that Christ took a third of His apostles onto the Mount of Olives to tell them of these things, as recorded in Matthew 24.  They represent the faithful remnant of Israel in that chapter, whereas in John 13-17 they represent the church.
12. Through his policy he causes craft to prosper under his control, verse 25.  Satan used the serpent in the Garden because it was more subtle or crafty than all other beasts of the field.  Of course, before sin entered this simply meant that the serpent was crafty or skilful in the best sense.  The devil used that characteristic to his own ends with the serpent at the beginning, and now is using it with the antichrist at the end.
13. Magnifying of self is a feature of the devil, and the antichrist shares it.  Pride is the condemnation of the devil, 1 Timothy 3:6, who sought in pride to be like the Most High, Isaiah 14:14.  We learn that this pride on the part of the antichrist is the same, for he will magnify himself even above gods that are worshipped.  Satan is using him to try to gain the goal he sought at the beginning when he tried to usurp the throne of God.  He still has the five-point plan he had then, see Isaiah 14:13,14.
14. By peace he destroys many, peace having the sense of “ease”, freedom from anxiety, freedom from stress.  Those who worship him will be rewarded by him.  They will be called “them that dwell upon the earth” in Revelation 13:8, who are content with earth, have no thought of heaven, and deny the existence of hell.
15. He will be so bold as to stand up against Christ, the Prince over the angel-princes.  He will no doubt attempt this by the devilish power Satan has given him.  We little appreciate the power the Devil still wields, even though he is a defeated foe.
He will be broken “without hand”, meaning without any coming to “give him a hand”, in other words, utterly defeated.  Such were the tremendous issues involved in this vision, and in particular the events concerning the little horn, that Daniel fainted, and was sick.  He was astonished at what the vision indicated, but no-one understood the precise meaning of it.