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Bible Commentaries
1 John 2

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-17

1 The ministry of John is based upon his personal acquaintance with the Lord in the flesh.

Indeed, this was the prime qualification of all the twelve apostles ( Act_1:21 ). They were to bear witness to the evidence of their senses, both before and after His resurrection. They saw and handled Him, and heard His words of life. Paul, the one to whom the present secret administration of God's grace was revealed ( Eph_3:9 ), had no personal contact, and did not know Christ until after His ascension and glorification.

1 The first few verses are a condensed summary of John's account of our Lord's life. In it, as here, the Lord is presented under the figure of the divine Expression, or Word. In Paul's epistles He is set forth as the Image of God ( 2Co_4:4 ; Col_1:15 ). John appeals to our ears, Paul to our eyes. Job contrasts the two, when he says to God: "I heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, yet now my eye sees Thee" ( Job_42:5 ). As in nature sight is a much higher sensation than sound, so we have a much loftier revelation of God through Christ as His Image than as His Expression. The Expression, or Word, became flesh ( Joh_1:14 ) in order to declare God.

3 Jesus Christ is the title of our Lord's humiliation, the time to which John refers. Christ Jesus is the title of His exaltation, which, as viewed in John's writings, is still future, but which, for us, is His present place. So that our fellowship is not with Jesus Christ but with Christ Jesus.

5 God is Spirit. God is light. God is love. The first is a fact. The last two are figures, but they reveal His heart to our hearts.

6 The Circumcision evangel demands repentance, baptism ( Act_2:38 ) and works ( Jam_2:14 ), and good conduct, and conferred a probational pardon. calling for continual cleansing. They knew nothing of the justification by faith Which is ours in Christ Jesus ( Rom_8:1 ) , in which all possibility of condemnation vanishes and leads to an experience altogether above that here set forth by the apostle. We have sinned, but are justified or vindicated, without reference to our own conduct, which is based upon this favor.

8 Fellowship with God as the Light leads to the discovery of all that is of the darkness. Sin in the saint is made manifest by the light. Away from the light sin may not be detected; it may be unknown. The Circumcision have constant recourse to the pardoning and cleansing virtues of the blood. Under the present reign of grace sin is always submerged by God's favor, so that no pardon is required or possible. Some will say that this puts a premium on sin. This is the very objection which is discussed and refuted in the sixth chapter of the epistle to the Romans. But it works out the very opposite in practice. Man is a contradiction. When the law says "Thou shalt not" it awakens in him a desire to do the very thing that God prohibits. And it is a blessed fact that, when the sluice gates of grace are opened wide so that there is no condemnation no matter what he does, he loses the desire to sin and finds in the very grace which guarantees immunity a latent power which enables him to rise above it.

1 The rendering "Advocate", in the sense of an attorney before a judge, is not at all in keeping with the character God assumes here. An advocate does not practice before a Father. The Revisers recognized this, and put "Comforter", "Helper", and "Paraclete" in their margin as alternatives. It is rendered "Comforter" four times in John's evangel. The verb covers the territory which we assign to the two words "entreat" and "console". A paraclete is either an entreater or a consoler. The latter hardly seems possible in connection with sin. We have made it an Entreater in this passage and a Consoler in John's evangel.

2 The strong contrast indicated by the emphatic "ours" should be noted. It is between Israel, the favored nation, and the whole world. Under the law propitiation was confined to them, but in the great antitype it embraces all mankind.

15 John speaks of the world oftener than all other writers of the Greek Scriptures put together. It means to him the prevailing system lying in the wicked one ( 1Jn_5:19 ) which knows not God, hates His children, and is filled with lust and vanity. Fellowship with God is forfeited by' attachment to it, and the proof of evil is that it comes into competition with the love of God. In spirit on Patmos he has seen this world pass away and give place to one which will be in harmony with God.

Verses 18-29

18 The term "antichrist" occurs only in John's epistles. The prefix "anti" now has the meaning of "against" and antichrist signifies one who is against Christ. But "anti" originally meant "instead of", and this is its significance in "antichrist". An antichrist is one who takes Christ's place, a substitute or counterfeit christ. John speaks of them as coming out from amongst the circle of the saints. The indiscriminate use of this term for the coming prince of Daniel ( Dan_9:26 ), the lawless one of Paul ( 2Th_2:8 ), and the first wild beast of the Unveiling

( Rev_13:1 ) is to be deplored. No clear conceptions can come of confusing these titles. Antichrist, as a substitute for Christ, is probably to be identified with the second wild beast which had horns like a lambkin ( Rev_13:11 ). This one only has a likeness to Christ and deceives those dwelling on the earth. The antichrists are probably identical with the false christs which were foretold by our Lord ( Mat_24:24 ; Mar_13:22 ) who would deceive, if it were possible, the very elect. The spirit of antichrist is already in the world and may be known by certain definite characteristics. One is the denial that Jesus is the Christ. The second is the disowning of the Father as well as the Son. The third is the disavowal of the flesh of Christ, that He has come in flesh in the past ( 1Jn_4:3 ) and that He is coming in flesh in the future ( 2Jn_1:7 ). Only those who definitely deny these things are in reality possessed of the spirit of antichrist. It should not be applied to all who oppose Christ, or who teach false doctrine, but rather to those who deceive by pretending to take the place of Christ. The term is never associated with open opposition but rather with secret deception. Whoever, and whatever, displaces Christ is imbued with the spirit of antichrist. It will culminate in the future manifestation of one who will be received by Israel as their long desired Messiah.

25 The life eonian is life for the course of the eons. It will last during the millennial kingdom and the following eon, up to the consummation, when death is abolished. It would be of little import to promise "eternal" life, for this will become the portion of all when there is no death. The special portion of the saints is life up to the consummation, during the eons, for it is only during the times of the eons that death has any place in God's universe. Moreover, this eonian life is not for this eon, but for the last two eons. It does not commence now, or God's saints would never die. It is impossible to speak of being in present possession of "eternal" or "everlasting" life without claiming immunity from death. None of the saints who have died had "everlasting" life, or they would not now be dead. All had eonian life, which will be enjoyed by them in the resurrection at the presence of Christ.

1 Relationship to God is expressed by various figures of speech. The Father has children by regeneration and sons by the new creation. Entrance into the kingdom on earth for the Circumcision is aptly figured by a new begettal. They will go through a process corresponding to a birth to fit them for the millennial kingdom ( Joh_3:3 ). Such a change would not be radical enough to fit us for the heavenly realms, so Paul speaks of a secret connected with the resurrection, by which we are to be changed from terrestrial to celestial creatures ( 1Co_15:51 ). Hence we are not in the regeneration, but in anew creation in Christ ( 2Co_5:17 ). As in John three sixteen, John stresses the manner of God's love. It is not sons here, but children . It is the affection of the family circle. God is known as Father .

2 Christ in resurrection, before His ascension, is an index of what glory awaits the Circumcision in the kingdom. They shall see Him and be like Him. Christ in glory, after His ascension, as Paul beheld Him on the Damascus road, shows what surpassing glory awaits us when we are transfigured into the body of His glory ( Php_3:21 ).

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 John 2". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/1-john-2.html. 1968.
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