Obey the commands of Jesus. A new commandment. Affirming the community. Do not love sin. Antichrists are here. You are anointed. Practice righteousness. [UPDATED]
VERSE 1. My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.
My little children. This is a term of endearment. John the Evangelist loves his people.
we have a Counselor with the Father. John portrays Jesus Christ as an attorney that pleads our case before the supreme judge of God the Father.
Jesus Christ, the righteous:
Acts 3:14. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
Acts 7:52. Which of the prophets didn’t your fathers persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of whom you have now become betrayers and murderers.
James 5:6. You have condemned and you have murdered the righteous one. He doesn’t resist you.
1 Peter 3:18. Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit,
1 John 2:1. My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.
VERSE 2. And he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.
for the whole world. Some people debate about whether the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is for “some” or for “all.”
This verse answers the question. His sacrifice was for the whole world!
This is how we know that we know him. In our day, many people insist that they know Jesus Christ. As proof, they cite their inner feelings.
John the Evangelist rejects such a claim. Instead, John says we know Jesus Christ if we obey his commandments:
if we keep his commandments. Does Jesus Christ command us to do any specific things? Sure, he commands us to love God and to love one another. But is there anything beyond that? We explore this very issue in Commands of Jesus Christ.
VERSE 4. One who says, “I know him,” and doesn’t keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth isn’t in him.
NIV translation: The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
doesn’t keep his commandments. Some Christians feel that their eternal salvation is a matter of feelings within. However, that is the wrong criteria. Instead, we are to obey the Commands of Jesus Christ.
is a liar, and the truth isn’t in him. This is a powerful statement.
VERSE 5. But God’s love has most certainly been perfected in whoever keeps his word. This is how we know that we are in him:
VERSE 6. he who says he remains in him ought himself also to walk just like he walked.
SUMMARY: The ideas in these verses keep coming up throughout the First Letter of John. The repetition underscores the urgency of the teaching.
VERSE 7. Brothers, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.
VERSE 8. Again, I write a new commandment to you, which is true in him and in you; because the darkness is passing away and the true light already shines.
a new commandment:
John 13:34-35. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
1 John 3:11. For this is the message which you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;
is true in him and in you. Literally “holds true in him and in you.”
VERSE 9. He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness even until now.
VERSE 10. He who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no occasion for stumbling in him.
loves his brother. How can you tell if you are living in the light of Jesus Christ? You can tell by whether you love your fellow believers or not. Would they say you love them?
VERSE 11. But he who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
I write to you. John addresses three groups:
- Know him who is from the beginning (verse 13)
- You have overcome the evil one (verse 13)
- You are strong (verse 14)
- The word of God remains in you ( verse 14)
- You have overcome the evil one (verse 14)
little children. The Greek word is τεκνία (“teknia”). It means a little child, someone deeply loved.
VERSE 13. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, little children, because you know the Father.
fathers. The Greek word is πατέρες (“pateres”). It means father, ancestor, elder, senior.
The Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to call no person “father.”
Matthew 23:9. Call no man on the earth your father, for one is your Father, he who is in heaven.
That verse prohibits us from using the word “father” to describe any man: our biological male parent, or male spiritual leader.
young men. The Greek word is νεανίσκοι (“neaniskoi”). It means a young man, youth, attendant.
VERSE 14. I have written to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
VERSE 15. Don’t love the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love isn’t in him.
Don’t love the world. What does it mean to not love the world? Some people interpret it that we should hate the planet.
However, in the next verse, John himself tells us what it means.
or the things that are in the world. Some people interpret this to mean that we should renounce possessions. We should live as simply as possible.
However, in the next verse, John himself tells us what it means.
VERSE 16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s, but is the world’s.
For all that is in the world. Now John tells us what he means when he says “the world.” It encompasses three things:
1. the lust of the flesh. That is, sensual lust, inordinate desire for physical gratification.
2. the lust of the eyes. That is, covetousness, avarice.
3. the pride of life. That is, arrogance or ostentation, a willful independence from God.
Isaiah 5:15. So man is brought low, mankind is humbled, and the eyes of the arrogant ones are humbled;
VERSE 17. The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever.
VERSE 18. Little children, these are the end times, and as you heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen. By this we know that it is the final hour.
the end times. That is, the period between the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his triumphal return in glory at the End of Time.
the Antichrist is coming. This is the capital “A” Antichrist. It is different than …
many antichrists have arisen. These are small “a” antichrists. What are they? The next verse tells us:
VERSE 19. They went out from us, but they didn’t belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have continued with us. But they left, that they might be revealed that none of them belong to us.
They went out from us. That is, they left the Christian faith. They are apostates.
In the previous verse, John refers to them as small “a” antichrists.
an anointing. In the Old Testament, select individuals such as the prophets would be given a super-abundant “anointing” of the Holy Spirit.
from the Holy One. This probably refers to Jesus Christ.
VERSE 21. I have not written to you because you don’t know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
VERSE 22. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
denies that Jesus is the Christ. The gnostics claimed that there was a difference between the earthly “Jesus” and the resurrected “Christ.”
VERSE 23. Whoever denies the Son doesn’t have the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.
VERSE 24. Therefore, as for you, let that remain in you which you heard from the beginning. If that which you heard from the beginning remains in you, you also will remain in the Son, and in the Father.
VERSE 25. This is the promise which he promised us, the eternal life.
VERSE 26. These things I have written to you concerning those who would lead you astray.
VERSE 27. As for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you don’t need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in him.
you don’t need for anyone to teach you. This is a puzzling statement.
The apostles spent all their time teaching believers. And for all of Christian history, pastors and preachers and teachers are busied with teaching the people in their congregations.
Yet this verse says we don’t need anyone to teach us.
VERSE 28. Now, little children, remain in him, that when he appears, we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
VERSE 29. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.