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Tuesday, May 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
1 John 2

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

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Verses 1-2

Christ's Propitiation and Its Influence upon the Life of the Christians.

Christ our Advocate and Propitiation:

v. 1. My little children, these thing's write I unto you that ye sin not. And it any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous;

v. 2. and He is the Propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

If there is any form of admonition which ought to make a deep impression, it is this form of affectionate and personal appeal which is here used by the apostle: My little children, this I am writing to you that you may not sin. This is the apostle's favorite form of address, that of an affectionate father to children whom he tenderly loves. He reminds them of the necessity of showing their new spiritual nature in resisting sin. He has already told them that their fellowship with Christ and God prevented their serving sin. He has given them the blessed comfort that God forgives the sins which come upon them unawares, as it were. The result must be, of course, that Christians desist from sinning, that they do not permit sin to rule them, as Luther writes, that they refuse to be willing servants of sin, Romans 6:12-14.

It is a statement with a world of comfort which the apostle adds: And if someone sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Just One; and He is the Propitiation for our sins, but not for ours alone, rather also for those of the whole world. If someone does sin, if, in spite of all his vigilance, it happens that he stumbles and falls, then it is not God's will that he should remain in his unfortunate condition and despair. He should remember, rather, that Jesus Christ, who in Himself is absolutely righteous and just, without a single sin, stain, or blemish, who also fulfilled the Law of God perfectly in our stead, is our Advocate, our Intercessor with the Father. He died for our offenses, but was raised again for our justification. He is at the right hand of God, He is making intercession for us, Romans 8:34. He can point to His perfect atonement, which has been earned for all men and is imputed to all believers. Jesus can truly be the Champion of our cause, because He is the Propitiation for our sins. "Our Advocate does not plead that we are innocent, or adduce extenuating circumstances. He acknowledges our gilt and presents His vicarious work as the ground for our acquittal. " He suffered the full penalty for the sins of the whole world. He Himself is the Propitiation, being both High Priest and Sacrifice. That one point cannot be emphasized too often or too strongly, namely, that the redemption of Christ was made for the whole world, for every single person that ever lived or is living today, that it is there without our merit and even without our faith, the latter being only the hand which accepts the salvation as it lies ready for all men. That is the great art of faith, to cling to Christ in the midst of temptation and sin, knowing that His satisfaction covers every conceivable case and was not confined to any individual case or class of people. He is my Advocate, my Intercessor, my Redeemer.

Verses 3-6

Keeping Christ's commandments:

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

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

v. 5. But whoso keepeth His Word, in him, verily, is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in Him.

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

Faith in Christ the Savior confirms, establishes, the fellowship which we have with Him and our heavenly Father. The result is a living knowledge of Christ: And in this we may find out that we know Him, if we keep His commands. A mere cold, external knowledge about God, a mere head knowledge of His essence and properties, is not true faith and will bring no fruit. A genuine conception of God is that which acknowledges God and trusts in Him as the heavenly Father reconciled to us in Christ and loving us for His sake. If we live in accordance with the commands of this heavenly Father, if we do what His holy will desires of us, then we may take this fact as evidence that we possess the proper knowledge of God. Our life as Christians is the mark of our fellowship with God.

Hypocrites, therefore, and believers in name only should beware: He that says, "I know him," and does not keep His commands, is a liar, and in this person the truth is not. God wants a genuine keeping of His will. He abhors sham and hypocrisy. A mere outward profession of faith, a mere crying, "Lord, Lord," may make the desired impression upon men, especially since genuine good works may be imitated. God examines the condition of the works very closely; He knows the motive which prompts every word and deed of every person. The hypocrite may deceive others, but he cannot really deceive himself, and his efforts to deceive God are vain and foolish. The hypocrite, the mere head- and mouth-Christian, is a liar, he does not really know what truth is; he has gotten away so far from honest Christianity that all his pretended efforts avail him nothing.

Of the true, honest Christian St. John writes: But whoever keeps His Word, in this person the love of God is truly completed; in this we know that we are in Him. Out of the knowledge of God in faith there flows the true love of God. This love finds its expression in this, that the Christian keeps the Word of God, that we do what we know to be His will, that we refrain from everything that is contrary to His will. If this is our attitude, if this is brought out in our entire conduct, in our whole life, then our love toward God is really perfected, gives a proper, live account of itself, presents unmistakable proof of the right condition of our heart. A real Christian life is the mark of fellowship with God, it shows that our life is bound up with Him, that we obtain all our strength from Him.

It follows, then, as St. John puts it: He that says he abides in Him is also under obligation to conduct himself just as He conducted Himself. The fellowship with God into which we enter by faith is not a matter of a few hours or days, but is a living, permanent power in the life of the Christian. The Christian wants to remain in fellowship with God, of whose wonderful influence he has had a taste. For this reason he takes the life and conduct of Christ as his example and tries with all the power granted him by faith to follow in His steps. Christ's life is the pattern, the model; ours must at least be close imitations of His exemplary mode of living and conducting Himself. Thus the entire Christian life is obedience to God's command. This obedience results from true fellowship with God and is its mark and evidence. And all is based upon the certainty of the forgiveness of sins.

Verses 7-11

Abiding in the light:

v. 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.

v. 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.

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

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

v. 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.

The chief factor in the life of believers is love toward the brethren, and therefore the apostle devotes a special paragraph to its discussion: Beloved, not a new commandment do I write to you, but an old commandment, which you had from the beginning; the old commandment is the Word which you heard. As the apostle of love John addresses his readers in the affectionate manner which gives token of his love. It is not a new, novel, strange, unheard-of commandment that he is writing about, such as would set them all a-wondering as to his motive in speaking to them in this manner. It was an old precept, one which they had heard from the beginning of their Christian life. He was, in other words, expounding to them the Word of God as they had heard it always, from all their teachers; for all the apostles and their assistants preached the same truth.

In spite of the fact, however, that it was the old, old truth which he was proclaiming, he could nevertheless write: Again, a new commandment I am writing to you, what is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is even now shining. The truth does not change, it remains the same always. But the apostle says that, from another angle, from another point of view, his doctrine and the special precept which he has in mind is a new commandment. The form in which he is presenting it, the vehemence with which he is insisting upon it, gives it a tang of novelty, arouses new interest for it. The precept is contained in the revelation of Jesus Christ, has been fulfilled in Him, and is proved in the experience of believers. Christ truly loved His brethren and thereby left us an example of true brotherly love. In Him there was never any darkness in this respect or in any other. But in the case of us Christians also it is true that the former darkness of sin and selfishness is passing away, and the true light from God is shining, is illuminating us. Our hearts have been enlightened by the beauty and the power of the grace of God in Christ Jesus, and in this power we are beginning to renew the image of God in our hearts. And although the shadows are still frequent by reason of our sinful nature, we know that they will be fully and finally driven away when the sun of eternal life will arise upon us.

The apostle here inserts a serious warning: He that says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in darkness until now. He that loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in it; but he that hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. The distinction which the apostle makes is very clear. If a person professes to be a Christian, men have a right to expect a corresponding conduct from him, one which agrees with the will and character of Christ, one which is conspicuous for its show of brotherly love. If brotherly love, therefore, is absent, if there is evidence of hatred, it shows that such a person, in spite of all his protestations, is still in darkness; he is not yet truly converted, faith and hope have no place in his heart. Where a person has and shows real brotherly love, not the cheap imitation which is so often hailed as the genuine thing in our days, such a person is and remains in the light of God's grace, with faith and love in his heart. Being in the light, he is not in danger of stumbling into pitfalls which the guile of the devil and of evil persons may place for him, such as participation in false charity of our days, especially that practiced by the many anti-Christian societies. The Lord cannot bear pretense, deceit, hypocrisy. If any person has hatred toward his brother in his heart, his entire life, all that he does and undertakes, is in the darkness of unbelief and of a false charity. He may attempt to do what genuine Christians are doing, but because the light of faith has not arisen in his heart, because the eyes of his understanding are not yet enlightened, because he has no judgment in spiritual matters, therefore all his efforts are futile, they lead him nowhere so far as real Christianity is concerned, they have no worth in the sight of God so far as true sanctification is demanded. What a powerful appeal to all Christians to strive for purity of brotherly love on the basis of justifying and sanctifying faith!

Verses 12-14

An appeal to young and old:

v. 12. I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake.

v. 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.

v. 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.

The apostle is about to insert an earnest warning against the temptations and perils of the love of the world. It is by way of introduction to this warning that he reminds the Christians of various ages of their station and the duty which they owe themselves: I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake. It is the affectionate tone and address of the spiritual father addressing such as were united with him in the fellowship of Christian love. His appeal rests upon their having been made partakers of God's most wonderful gift, the forgiveness of sins for the sake of Christ's name. It is because Christ obtained a perfect satisfaction for the sins of all mankind, because He took upon Himself both their guilt and their penalty and reconciled God to the whole world, that we are united with the Father in that wonderful mystical union which makes it self-evident for us to walk in the ways of His will.

St. John now distinguishes between the various classes of Christians to whom he is writing: I am writing to you, fathers, because you have known Him who was from the beginning; I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the Wicked One. To the fathers, to the older Christians, John is addressing himself, because they have learned to know and to put their trust in Him who was from the beginning, namely, in the eternal Son of God, because their faith rests in Him as their Lord and Savior. To the younger Christians he says that he is making this appeal to them because they have already renounced and overcome the Evil One, the devil, with all his temptations to evil. Though the battle is still continuing, the believers always have the advantage over the wiles and tricks of Satan, they are able effectually to check all his advances.

This point is so important that the apostle varies his appeal: I have written to you, children, because you have known the Father; I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him that is from the beginning; I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the Evil One. Here also the word children is to indicate the intimate relationship which obtained between the readers of this letter and the writer, but still more between the Christians and their heavenly Father. For he writes that they have known the Father, they have learned to believe that He is their Father for the sake of Christ, they are united with Him by such fellowship of faith. The fathers, the older Christians, should never forget that they have the proper understanding of the person and office of Christ, as of the eternal Son of God who came into this world to become the Savior of all mankind. And the younger men, whose victorious fight against the devil the apostle has just mentioned, are never to lose sight of the fact that their strength is not from themselves, but is imparted to them by the Word of God. It is through the Gospel that the Holy Ghost gives us the power to withstand all the attacks of the devil and to remain victorious unto the end. Thus St. John reminds us of the blessings which we enjoy in our station as Christians, of the glory which is ours in this relationship to God, in order to work and confirm in us the unwavering resolution to be true to Christ and not let anyone take our crown.

Verses 15-17

Warning against the love of the world:

v. 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.

v. 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.

v. 17. And the world passeth away and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.

On the fact that he is dealing with believers who have a large experience of the mercy of the Father and of the grace of Christ, the apostle bases his warning appeal: Do not love the world nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. It is true, on the one hand, that we should make all men, regardless of their attitude toward the Gospel, the object of our merciful and benevolent regard, Galatians 6:9-10. Above all, we should try to bring them all the wonderful news of the grace of God in Christ Jesus, Matthew 28:19-20. But an entirely different matter is that of fraternizing with them while the unbelievers persist in rejecting the Word of God and in remaining in their spiritual darkness and condemnation. In this sense we cannot and should not love the world, the unbelievers. We should shun and detest the things in which the unbelievers find their enjoyment, with which they are exclusively concerned the avaricious love of money, the pleasures of sin, particularly transgressions of the Sixth Commandment, ambition for honor before men, business schemes and practices which are at variance with the law of love. If a person professes to be a Christian and yet seeks the company of the world, of the children of the world, and takes part in the sinful pleasures, pastimes, and practices in which they indulge, he thereby convicts himself as not being a genuine disciple of the Lord, and shows that the love toward God, his heavenly Father, is not living in his heart. For how can a person be united with the enemies of God in the bonds of a true friendship? Where love for the world and its ways begins, there begins also the hatred of God. Where love of the world gains the ascendancy, there is nothing but spiritual death.

How this condition is brought about the apostle explains: For everything that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the proud ostentation of life, not are they of the Father, but they are of the world. That is the entire imagination, the sole object of the children of this world: the lust of the flesh, the desire to have and enjoy that which pleases their corrupt nature, the evil inclination of their hearts, whether this be in eating and drinking or in sensual delights; the lust of the eyes, when people seek to gratify the sensuality of their hearts by such sights as are intended to satisfy this desire, as in impure, lewd pictures and filthy theatrical exhibitions; the pride, the braggart boasting, the conspicuous ostentation of this life, when people make it a point to show off their wealth, very often ill-gotten gains. All these things are not in agreement with the new spiritual mind which should be found in the believers, in the children of God; they do not come from above, from the Father of Lights, but from below, from the kingdom of darkness. Those sins are the sphere in which the children of the world live and move, and from which the believers should always be far removed.

With warning emphasis the apostle therefore adds: And the world passes away and its lust;

but he that does the will of God remains to eternity. This world with all its sinful lusts and desires is passing away; the sentence of condemnation has been spoken, and the final destruction is inevitable. The thought is not only that the world and all its so-called pleasures are transient, but also that they are corrupt and subject to eternal damnation. Only he that does the will of God, that walks and conducts himself always in conformity with the will of the heavenly Father, whose fellowship with the Lord expresses itself in a behavior which always meets with His approval, only lie will obtain eternal life, for only he will have given that evidence in love which proves the presence of faith in the heart. Thus we Christians must never forget that our faith will bear the fruit of a Christian conduct, of true brotherly love, and of denial of the world and its lusts.

Verses 17-20

A warning against anti-Christian teaching:

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

v. 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

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

With all its seriousness, this warning is couched in affectionate terms: Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that Anti-Christ is coming, and now many antichrists have appeared; whence we know that it is the last hour. The apostle opens also this paragraph with a reminder of our fellowship with God, of our sonship toward God. The last period of the world was ushered in with the coming of the Savior in the flesh, and St. John, in using the terminology of God, fitly calls this period the last hour, for it is a short, a very brief time until the Lord will return in glory to judge the quick and the dead. It is the period of the world's existence in which, as St. Paul had taught and the Christians had heard from all their teachers, the great Anti-Christ was to make his appearance, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-7. And even as the mystery of iniquity was already at work, preparing the way for the rise of the one great Anti-Christ, the Pope of Rome, so the Christians of those days saw, and were brought into contact with, many small antichrists, many false teachers whose doctrines were at variance with the eternal truths of the Gospel. All these factors were, even to the Christians of the early Church, signs of the end. Note: The great Anti-Christ as been revealed as such by the work of Martin Luther, whence we have evidence that we are living in the last days of the world.. This impression, moreover, is made an absolute certainty when we contemplate the number of small antichrists, minor false teachers, that are denying the truth of Scriptures and thus aiding the Pope in his destruction of souls.

Of the anti-Christian teachers St. John says: Out from us they went, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but in order that it might be shown that they are not all of us. There are numerous passages to show that the most dangerous enemies and opponents of the Christian congregations in the early days were those men that were members and then apostatized from the truth, going astray from the sound doctrine which they had been taught, whereupon they promptly attempted to lead others, too, away with them into error. Of course, they could not remain members under such circumstances, they were excommunicated, they had to leave; in a majority of cases they probably went of their own accord. In any event, their becoming manifest as enemies of the Lord by their leaving the congregation made the great contrast between them and the true Christians apparent. Mark: Also in our days there are a great many antichrists, false believers, false teachers in the very midst of Christendom, within the ranks of those that profess to be members of the Christian Church. And in many places the outward organization of the Church is so badly degenerated that these anti-Christian forces are at work practically without hindrance, as just at present the exponents of social Christianity. Our duty is to expose such antichrists by means of the Word of God, and to keep ourselves strictly uncontaminated with their vile activity.

This is possible for us, since the apostle writes: And you have received the anointing from the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge. This is an expression of confidence in the Christians which may well serve as an encouragement to them not to be led astray. They have received the enlightening grace of the Holy Spirit, through faith they are the anointed of the Lord, Christians in the literal sense of the word. This same faith also gives to all believers not merely an outward knowledge, a mere understanding of the mind, but a true inward certainty of the divine and saving truth, based upon the Word of the Gospel. That is the advantage which every Christian has over against the powers of darkness that are trying to overwhelm him.

Verses 21-25

Anti-Christian characteristics and the Christian's attitude:

v. 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.

v. 22. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is anti-Christ, that denieth the Father and the Son.

v. 23. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

v. 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.

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

St. John here writes in almost an apologetic manner, both to avoid a misunderstanding and to urge the Christians forward in knowledge: Not have I written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is connected with the truth. The complete and careful instruction which the apostle was here giving was not intended to convey to them any mistrust on his part, as though they had not yet come to the proper knowledge of the truth. They had learned what all Christians should know with regard to the divine and saving doctrines. He knew that the truth of God's Word was the force which governed and controlled their lives. Truth has nothing in common with lying, with falsehood. Therefore all true Christians are well able to recognize, to detect, all teaching and living that is not in agreement with the truth. This knowledge they should utilize in keeping falsehood from gaining a foothold in their midst.

In one respect particularly the Christians must use all vigilance: Who is a liar if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the anti-Christ, that denies the Father and the Son. Even in those days certain false teachers very carefully distinguished between Jesus and the Christ, saying that Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary, and that the Christ was a supernatural power which was given Him at His baptism, which, however, forsook Him again when He suffered and died. Similar doctrines are being held by false teachers in our days. St. John, therefore, firmly maintains that the human and the divine nature were united in the person of Jesus Christ, and calls every one, in an expression which certainly is not lacking in force and clearness, a liar, if he denies that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the promised Messiah and Savior, the only-begotten Son of God, who was made man in the fullness of time. He that denies this truth thereby reveals his anti-Christian character, rejects all that God has revealed for our salvation, and denies all true knowledge of God. For he that denies the Son also denies the Father and can claim no fellowship with the Father.

This the apostle repeats with emphasis: Every one that denies the Son has also not the Father; he that confesses the Son has also the Father. To deny the Son as the Christ, as the Savior of the world, just as He revealed Himself in Scriptures, is to reject the Father as well, for the two persons are inseparably united; the Son is in the Father, and the Father is in the Son, John 14:10. On the other hand, every person that confesses Jesus as He is revealed to us in the Scriptures, as the eternal Son of the eternal Father, as Jesus the Christ, has the Father, has fellowship with the Father, is united with the Father through the bond of true faith.

It follows from this discussion, so far as all true Christians are involved: So far as you are concerned, what you have heard from the beginning, let it remain in you; if that remains in you which you heard from the beginning, you, on your part, will remain in the Son and in the Father. To make his appeal emphatic, the apostle places the pronoun ahead: You at least; at any rate, so far as you are concerned, cling firmly to that which you heard from the beginning, let that Gospel-truth remain in you which you were taught at the time of your conversion. At that time they had accepted the truth concerning the person and office of Christ. This certainty was to continue a power in their hearts and in their lives. And if the unadulterated Gospel, as they had heard it from the mouths of the apostles, would remain the one basis of their faith, then they, on their part, would be sure to remain in the true fellowship with the Son and with the Father. As the Father and the Son entered into our hearts by faith in the Word, so they will remain in us by that same faith. If we but continue in His Word, then our discipleship will remain certain, then He will abide in us, John 15:1-6.

Then, also, we have the further certainty: And this is the promise which He Himself promised to us, eternal life. This is a promise which Jesus made time and again in the days of His flesh, that those that believe on Him should have everlasting life, John 3:15-16; John 6:24; John 6:40-47. If we keep that faith in the Father and in the Son, as in those that worked our salvation for us and in us, then He, as a reward of mercy, will take us up to the eternal home, to the blessings of salvation, to the bliss of heaven. Even though we are not yet enjoying the delights of this life with God, we are nevertheless possessors of its glory and bliss, and we know that He is able to keep that which we have committed unto Him until that day, Php_1:6 ; 2 Timothy 1:12. What a powerful incentive to faithfulness!

Verses 26-29

Abiding in Christ:

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

v. 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.

v. 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'.

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

The entire discussion as it had been carried on by the apostle in the last paragraphs had been in the interest of his readers: These things I wrote to you concerning those that lead you into error. That was his solicitude; he knew that there were men always on the lookout to lead souls astray from the truth in Christ, and therefore he lifted up his voice in such solemn warning. For in spite of all the scorn that is affected by the false teachers as they sneer about orthodoxy, we know that everyone who forsakes the Word of the Gospel concerning Christ, the Son of God, will not remain in the fellowship of God. and cannot inherit eternal life.

As for the Christians, the apostle expresses his confidence: And as for you, the anointing which you have received from Him remains in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you; rather, as His anointing teaches you about everything, and it is true and is no lie; and even as it taught you, abide in Him. The believers whom St. John addresses have received and experienced the enlightening grace of the Holy Spirit. This anointing was not a mere temporary experience, whose effects might soon have worn off. By virtue of it, as it was applied to them in the Word of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit exerted His power in them. It was but necessary for them to follow His leading in the Word. This anointing, this enlightening work of the Spirit in the Word gave them all the information which they needed in any situation in life, and thus, in just that form it was true, without the slightest bit of falsehood or lying. Therefore they should heed the teaching of the Gospel at all times, in all circumstances, and thus abide in Him, in their Savior Jesus Christ. To genuine believers the mere suggestion that Christ should not be considered the eternal Son of God, the Savior of the world, is so blasphemous that they turn from its very breath with loathing and disgust. Jesus Christ is the everlasting foundation of our faith.

This being true, the appeal of the apostle strikes us with full force: And now, little children, abide in Him, in order that, when He is manifested, we may have boldness and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. St. John has enumerated every reason which ought to induce us to cling with all our heart to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His urgent admonition, therefore, comes as the climax of the chapter. To abide in Him, firm, steadfast, unwavering; that is our glorious privilege. Moreover, it is a necessity, for although the manifestation of the Lord on the last day is certain, the time of His coming is not known. By remaining steadfastly in His Word and faith unto the end we acquire that boldness, fearlessness, confidence which will cause us to hail His coming with all joy. There will be no hanging of our heads in shame if we have followed the apostle's injunction, but we shall look up, lifting up our heads with joy, since our salvation is certain. His coming will be the signal for the culmination of our redemption.

And another point must not be overlooked by the Christians: If you know that He is just, you understand also that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. The coming of the Lord to Judgment reminds the Christians of His justice, of His righteousness. With this thought in mind, the Christian will not foolishly depend upon the mercy of God and in the mean time lead a life as it suits his old evil nature. Because he knows Christ to be righteous and just, therefore he will arrange his entire life so as to be found in works of righteousness. That is the certain result of the righteousness of faith, namely, righteousness of life. Being born of Him, being regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Word, a believer is bound to be engaged in thinking and speaking and doing that which pleases the Lord. These facts cannot be taught too often or learned too well.

Summary. In discussing Christ's propitiation and its influence upon the life of the 'believers, the apostle shows what the keeping of His commandments includes, namely, abiding in the light of His power; he appeals to all classes among the Christians in warning against the love of the world and of antichristian doctrines and practices; in concluding, he once more shows the need of abiding in Christ.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 1 John 2". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/1-john-2.html. 1921-23.
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