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Thursday, June 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
1 John 2

Godbey's Commentary on the New TestamentGodbey's NT Commentary

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Verse 1

1. You must learn to read your Bible without the slightest reference to chapters and verses, so far as the truth is concerned. Here the chapter division breaks into the apostle’s antithesis, cutting off this verse, which is the counterpart of 1 John 2:10 in the preceding chapter. “My little children, I write these things unto you that you may not sin.” “Little children” are young converts, the weakest of all Christians. Even they have grace to keep them from committing any known or willing sin. Of course, it is pre- eminently true of all other Christians. “If any one may sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” All are liable to sin, so long as we are in this world. But if we have the misfortune to sin and thus get out of the kingdom, falling under condemnation, we should not give up in despair, because our Advocate still loves us, and is ready, waiting to deliver us out of all our troubles, restoring us again to divine favor. I have heard this beautiful passage shamefully perverted by Satan’s preachers, restricting the Advocate to the pales of their bogus organizations, called “the Church,” and vociferating it as an incentive to all the people to come and join them, so they would have an Advocate with the Father, at the same time positively asserting that no sinner has access to this Advocate. Of course, all such preaching is the very quintessence of Satan’s sectarianism, hatched in hell, having the impudence actually to take away the sinner’s Advocate, his only hope, and blasphemously subsidize Him to their own selfish aggrandizement.

Verses 1-6



5. “That God is light, and there is no darkness in Him.” From this beautiful scripture we see that light, like life, is original only in God, and imparted pursuant to His sovereign will. The light of the material world, illuminating irresponsible beings, both animate and inanimate, is a fixture of the divine administration. Meanwhile, with all responsible probationary intelligences, as in case of life, it is dependent on the divine presence, and determined by the free and untrammeled volition of the recipient.

6. Pursuant to these great cardinal facts of life and light, John here gives us a grand and convincing antithetical argument; 1 John 1:6; 1 John 1:8; 1 John 1:10 revealing the sin side of the antithesis, while 1 John 1:7 and 1 John 1:9 set forth the grace side, the two standing out in vivid contrast, sin and darkness, light and salvation being inseparable concomitants.

7. Of course all who are in the light are the children of God, having been truly regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and saved not only from condemnation, but from the commission of sin. Now if such will walk in all the light God gives them, revealing their inbred sin, pursuant to their humble, doubtless faith, the blood cleanseth them from all original sin, surviving justification. This is a glorious latitudinous truth, extending to every human being in heathendom as well as Christendom, promising not only pardon but purity to every human being walking in all the light God gives.

8. “If we may say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” This verse, with the sixth and tenth, has been appropriated by many foolish people as an apology for sin, to their own destruction; whereas it simply reveals the sin side of the antithesis, to the magnification of the grace side. You see this verse forever sweeps Zinzendorfianism from the field, anathematizing the man who says he has no remaining sin to be

removed by the cleansing blood after conversion, as a “liar,” deceiving himself and destitute of truth.

9. Here we have the whole plan of salvation focalized in a nutshell, the Holy Ghost promising us pardon and purity on the isolated condition of a full confession of our sins, actual and original. Such a confession involves repentance, faith, prevailing prayer and obedience.

10. This verse drops back on the sin side of the antithesis, convicting every human being who has reached responsibility unregenerated, and anathematizing all gainsayers as “liars,” destitute of God’s Word.

Verse 2

2. Here we have the glorious problem of universal atonement settled forever, beyond the possibility of controversy.

Verse 3

3. “In this we know that we do know Him if we may keep His commandments.” No one can keep His commandments and commit any sin, for they would be a flat contradiction, as committing sin is diametrically opposite to keeping the commandments. As these two states are irreconcilable antipodes, they can not possibly co-exist. The existence of one necessarily precludes the other.

Verse 4

4. “He that says, ‘I know Him,’ and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” This is a deadener against sinning religion.

No one can keep the commandments and sin. The conclusion from this verse is irresistible. The man who claims to be a sinning Christian is here anathematized as a “liar,” and “the truth is not in him.” There is no possible evasion of the conclusion.

Verse 5

5. “Whosoever may keep His Word truly, the love of God has been perfected in him.” While regeneration saves us from committing sin, there are many commandments on the plane of entire sanctification which are not fulfilled in our time, e. g., “Be ye holy,” “Be perfect,” “Be filled with the Spirit,” which we do not verify. They are not the moral commandments alone, but they are the divine logos, which God requires, and must be satisfied if we are going up to Him in heaven. The divine agapee must be perfected by the thorough expurgation of the heart from all inbred sin. In regeneration God’s love is poured into a heart corrupted by the fall. That corruption must be eliminated by the cleansing blood and our love made perfect, i. e., pure from all antagonisms, before we go up to heaven.

Verse 6

6. “Christ Himself is our only exemplar.” Regeneration saves us from diabolical, and sanctification from human leadership, turning us over to God alone for time and eternity.

Verses 7-8



7, 8. Here is an apparent contradiction. 1 John 2:7 says, “I do not write unto you a new commandment, but an old one.” 1 John 2:8 says, “I write unto you a new commandment.” An infidel here finds a difference and rejects the Bible. These enigmas frequently occurring in Scripture are exceedingly helpful to our spiritual understanding, sharpening our wits, illuminating our perspicacity and intensifying our assiduity. What is this commandment which is not new but old, and still new and never old? It is, “Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself, with divine love.” Human love gets old and stale. Divine love is the nature of God and always new. “Old” means infirmity. God and angels never get old. When we receive transfiguration we will

never get old, but bloom in immortal youth forever. Divine love, like God, never gets old. Hence it is new through all eternity. How is it “old”? This commandment was given in the Old Testament, hence it is historically “old,” but experimentally “new,” and will always be new and fresh, like the manna in the golden pot in the sanctum sanctorum.

Verses 9-11

9-11. These verses follow a legitimate sequence from the definition of divine law in contradistinction to human. God loves His enemies enough to die for them. So do you when you have His nature unencumbered with depravity.

Verses 12-17



12. “I write unto you as infants,” i. e., newly converted people, the weakest of all Christians.

13. “I write unto you fathers,” i. e., spiritual fathers, soul-savers, who have never backslidden, but would go on into sanctification and still into the higher experiences. “I write unto you young men,” i. e., persons who have advanced out of spiritual infancy, i. e., been sanctified and grown into stalwarts, so that they have conquered the devil. “I write unto you lads and lasses,” i. e., persons intermediate between spiritual infancy and manhood, “because you know the fathers,” i. e., you have passed all the wilderness fogs and smoke and crossed over into Beulah land.

14. John congratulates the fathers in Israel, mighty in wisdom, and the young, i. e., spiritual stalwarts, redoubtable in conflict, because the “Word of God” abides in them, the old men are mighty in the Scriptures and the young men invincible on the battlefield. “You have conquered the wicked one,” i. e., the devil.

15. People in the enjoyment of divine love are here warned not to love the world. It did not mean the material, but the fallen world.

16. “All that which is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, are not of the Father but of this world.” This verse

forever settles the world problem. When the devil conquered the world in Eden, he turned it over to the unholy trinity:

(1) the lust of the flesh, i. e., all carnal appetites;

(2) the lust of the eyes, i. e., the admission of evil through the sense, and

(3) the pride of this life, i. e., ambition, selfish aggrandizement.

These three hellish demons have ruled the world ever since the fall. The Holy Spirit everywhere anathematizes the world, i. e., the unholy trinity of carnal and sensual lust and pride, as utterly and hopelessly irreconcilable to God. Then what is to be done? These lusts are to be utterly consumed with Holy Ghost fire. God’s method with sin is destruction. Romans 6:6. Hagiazoo, to sanctify, is from alpha, not, and gee, the world. Hence it means to take the world out of you, Ecclesia, church, is from ek, out, and kaleo, to call. Hence it means the called, i. e., the souls who have hard the call of the Holy Ghost and came out of the world and separated themselves to God. Oh, how plain and simple is visible truth? You see from these facts regeneration takes you out of the world. Sanctification takes the world out of you. The Church and the world are irreconcilable antipodes. You can not be in both at the same time. The world is Satan’s passport to hell. The Church is God’s balloon to waft you to heaven.

17. “The world passeth away and its lusts; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” The devil’s world, i. e., all the sin in this world, with its effects will be utterly consumed in the fiery baptism destined to come on this world to sanctify it. Meanwhile the renewed and celestialized earth will survive (Romans 11:1), the celestial abode of saints and angels constituting a constituent member of the glorious heavenly universe, through the flight of eternal ages.

Verses 18-28



18. “Little children, it is the last hour, and as ye have heard that Antichrist cometh, and now many Antichrists are here; then we know that it is the last hour.” On the dark eclipse of the bright Eden day Satan’s dark night set in.

Romans 13:12. As the Gentile age is the last of Satan’s night of ten thousand years, symbolized by the six days of toil preceding the glorious millennial Sabbath. If John was in the last hour of Satan’s night eighteen hundred years ago, surely we are in the last minute! Glory to God! I believe it, and hail with rapture the millennial dawn! Antichrist means a counterfeit Christ, or an opponent of Christ, as anti means instead of and also means against. As the Jewish element was still in the leadership of the Church, doubtless the Antichrists in John’s day were Jews, who either claimed to be Christ themselves, or because they were unconverted were the practical opponents of Christ. At the present day the Pope is the great Antichrist who, doubtless, during the Tribulation will usurp the throne of Christ, both political and ecclesiastical, raising the floodgate of persecution. The present age is literally flooded with Antichrists, i. e., counterfeit preachers unacquainted with God, preaching a sinning religion, which is Satan’s, arrogating to themselves the power to have sins remitted in baptism, and teaching salvation by human works, ecclesiastical tyrants usurping the throne of Christ, claiming the right to rule a church, which belongs to Christ alone. The Holy Ghost is the spiritual successor of the personal Christ (John 16:7), and has the sole right to rule the Church of Christ, all His rivals occupying the attitude of Antichrist.

19. The great trouble with this multitude of Antichrist, i. e., counterfeit, preachers is their personal ignorance of experimental salvation.

20. “Truly you have an unction from the Holy One, and you all know.” The common reading of the English, “You know all things,” has led to fanaticism, discarding human teachers.

21. The Bible is the grand thesaurus of inspired truth, containing all things essential to life and godliness.

22, 23. There is but one God, with three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. As these three persons are all identical in the divine unity, yet separate and distinct in their offices, perfecting the plan of salvation, radical heresy relative to either person apostatizes into the Antichristhood. Some of the Antichrists of the present day reject the divinity of Christ;

but most of them reject the office and works of the Holy Ghost. Satan is now in his last ditch, prosecuting his final campaign against God. Having

been defeated both in the dispensation of the Father and Son, he is now using all of his artillery, laying under contribution earth and hell against the divine personality, office, work and administration of the Holy Ghost, leading forth his millions of Antichristian preachers, who are doing their utmost to usurp the throne of the Holy Ghost, take the Church into hand and rule over it.

24-26. The great salient fact of Gospel grace is the eternal divine life, imparted by the Holy Ghost in regeneration and made to abound in sanctification.

27. “The unction which you receive from Him abideth in you, and you have no need that any one may teach you, but as this unction teacheth you concerning all things, and is true and no falsehood, and as He has taught you, abide in Him.” Oh, the grandeur and the majesty of the redemptive scheme! Fortifying us at every point of Satan’s compass, giving us complete victory throughout, making us safe in life’s probation, as in heaven, if we faithfully utilize the means of grace. He first gives us His own eternal life in regeneration. Then He destroys all of our inward enemies in entire sanctification, filling us with the Holy Ghost, our infallible Guide in all things. This heavenly unction is our fortification against these Antichrists, i. e., the devil’s preachers, who will do their utmost to get us to follow and obey them instead of the Holy Ghost. Verily, they are almost sure to succeed with all who are not fortified and guided by the unction of the infallible One. Worldly ones follow Satan down to hell, while church members follow these Antichrists to the same dismal doom. It is not understood that this holy unction precludes human teaching by speech and pen. On the contrary, the Holy Ghost pursuant to this wonderful unction utilizes holy men, women and babes as His faithful teachers. Two hundred millions of martyrs have sealed their faith with their blood. Guided by the infallible unction they shouted in the fire and triumphed over the grim monster.

28. “And now, little children, abide in Him, in order that if He may appear we may have holiness and not shrink with embarrassment from Him in His presence.” The true attitude of New Testament saintship is entire sanctification, the fullness of the Spirit and constant expectancy of the personal Jesus. When He went away He left the Holy Ghost in charge to

prepare His people for His glorious return and millennial reign. When we are really emptied of sin and filled with the divine unction, we are ready to go forth to meet Him with a shout. “Coming,” in this verse, is parousia, and means presence, corroborating the prophecies of His coming to stay and reign forever; doubtless, as in His former presence on the earth, anon appearing and disappearing in different parts of the world.

Verse 29



29. “If you know that He is righteous you know that every one who doeth righteousness has been born of Him.” This verse sweeps Antichristianity, i. e., salvation by human works, forever from the field. True religion is the work of God; and false, that of men. You see from this verse that is utterly impossible for an unregenerated person to do righteousness. You must receive righteousness from the Holy Ghost before you can possibly do it.

1. “Behold what wondrous divine love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we may be called the children of God, and we are.” This world is wiser than we think. They generally call things what they are. It is a significant fact that the people who believe and profess entire sanctification by a second work of grace after regeneration, are alone in all the world this day called “holy” by the people of the world. Others claim to be holy, and to have received it in conversion. But the world does not so recognize them, nor call them holy.

2. John had witnessed our Savior’s transfiguration and beheld His glory on the mount. He here assures us that when our Lord shall appear His saints who fill the above description, i. e., emptied of sin and endued with the holy unction, so they will not “shrink with embarrassment in His presence,” shall all be transfigured like our Lord when he saw Him on the mount and when He ascended up to heaven.

3. “Every one having this hope on Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” Certainly all the truly regenerate entertain the hope of seeing Jesus in His glory. John makes no compromise with a bogus Christianity, but assures us that all true Christians do press forward into entire sanctification, i. e., “purify themselves, even as Christ is pure.” This is certainly a high standard of Christian purity. Holiness is original in God and imparted to us, so that we actually have the holiness of our Savior. Hence we see that the popular churchism which fights the doctrine of purity can not be God’s regeneration, but it is Satan’s counterfeit. Every time Christian takes the purity of Christ as his standard, and presses unto it at every conceivable sacrifice. “Let God be true and every man a liar.”

4. John gives two clear definitions of sin, i. e., a “transgression of the law,” which is actual sin, and must be removed by pardon, and “unrighteousness,” which is inbred sin, and must be expurgated by the cleansing blood.

5. The great mission for which Christ came into the world was to take away sin.

6. “Every one abiding in Him sinneth not; every one sinning doth not see Him nor know Him.” This verse forever refutes the nonsensical heresy of Satan’s preachers, who stand in the pulpit and preach a sinning religion to the people. If you are not in Christ, you are in Satan. No one can possibly abide in Christ and commit a known and willing sin. Criminals find dark places in which to perpetrate their crimes. Here it says positively that no one who sees or knows God commits any sin. All sin belongs to Satan’s darkness. It is never committed in the light of the Divine Presence.

Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 John 2". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ges/1-john-2.html.
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