2:1 My 1 little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an a advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
(1) It does not follow that we must give our wicked nature free rein, or sin much more freely, because our sins are cleansed by the blood of Christ, but we must rather much more diligently resist sin, and yet we must not despair because of our weakness, for we have an advocate and a purger, Christ Jesus the Just, and therefore acceptable to his Father. 2:2 And he is the b propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the c whole world.
(a) In that be names Christ, he eliminates all others.
(b) Reconciliation and intercession go together, to give us to understand that he is both advocate and high priest. 2:3 2 And hereby we do know that we e know him, e if we keep his commandments.
(c) For men of all sorts, of all ages, and all places, so that this benefit being not to the Jews only, of whom he speaks as appears in ( 1 John 2:7 ) but also to other nations.
(2) He returns to the testimony of our union with God, that is, to sanctification, declaring what it is to walk in the light, that is, to keep Gods commandments. By this it follows that holiness does not consist in those things which men have devised, neither in a vain profession of the gospel. 2:4 3 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
(d) This must be understood of such a knowledge as has faith with it, and not of a common knowledge.
(e) For the tree is known by the fruit.
(3) Holiness, that is, a life ordered according to the prescript of Gods commandments, however weak we are, is of necessity joined with faith, that is, with the true knowledge of the Father in the Son. 2:5 4 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the f love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in g him.
(4) He that keeps Gods commandments loves God indeed: He that loves God, is in God, or is joined together with God. Therefore he that keeps his commandments is in him. 2:6 5 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
(f) Wherewith we love God.
(g) He means our union with Christ.
(5) He that is one with Christ, must live his life, that is, must walk in his steps. 2:7 6 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.
(6) The apostle expounding the commandment of charity towards one another, tells first that when he urges holiness, he brings no new idea of life (as they use to do who devise traditions one after another) but reminds them of that same law which God gave in the beginning, that is, by Moses, at the time that God began to make laws for his people. 2:8 7 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, h which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
(7) He adds that the doctrine indeed is old, but it is in a way new, both in respect to Christ, and also to us: in whom he through the gospel, engraves his law effectually, not in tables of stone, but in our minds. h Which thing (that is, that the doctrine is new which I write to you) is true in him, and in you. 2:9 8 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
(8) Now he comes to the second table, that is, to charity towards one another, and denies that a man has true light in him, or is indeed regenerate and the son of God, who hates his brother: and such a one wanders miserably in darkness, may he never brag of great knowledge of God for he knowingly and willingly casts himself headlong into hell. 2:12 i I write unto you, 9 little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his k names sake.
(i) Therefore I write to you, because you are of their number whom God has reconciled to himself. (9) He returns again from the sanctification to remission of sins, because that free reconciliation in Christ is the ground of our salvation upon which afterwards sanctification must be built as upon a foundation. 2:13 10 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him [that is] from the beginning. 11 I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. 12 I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
(k) For his own sake: in that he names Christ he eliminates all others, whether they are in heaven or on earth.
2:14 13 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.
(10) He shows that this doctrine agrees to all ages, and first of all speaking to old men, he shows that Christ and his doctrine are ancient, and therefore if they enjoy with old things, nothing ought to be more acceptable to them.
(11) He advertises to young men, if they desire to show their strength, that they have a most glorious combat set here before them, that is, Satan the worst enemy, who must be overcome: willing them to be as sure of the victory, as if they had already gotten it.
(12) Finally, he shows to children, that the true Father from whom they have to look for all good things, is set before them in the gospel.
2:15 14 Love not the l world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the m love of the Father is not in him.
(13) He adds afterward in like order, as many exhortations: as if he should say, Remember, you Fathers, as I wrote even now, that the everlasting Son of God is revealed to us. Remember you young men, that that strength by which I said that you put Satan to flight, is given to you by the word of God which dwells in you.
2:17 15 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
(14) The world which is full of wicked desires, lusts or pleasures, and pride, is utterly hated by our heavenly Father. Therefore the Father and the world cannot be loved together: and this admonition is very necessary for young and growing youth.
(l) He speaks of the world, as it agrees not with the will of God, for otherwise God is said to love the world with an infinite love, ( John 3:16 ) that is to say, those whom he chose out of the world.
(m) Wherewith the Father is loved.
2:18 16 n Little children, 17 it is the last time: 18 and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
(15) He shows how much better it is to obey the Fathers will, than the lusts of the world, by both their natures and unlike event.
2:19 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, o they would [no doubt] have continued with us: 20 but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
(16) Now, he turns himself to little children, which nonetheless are well instructed in the sum of religion, and wills them by various reasons to shake off laziness, which is too familiar with that age.
(n) He uses this word "Little" not because he speaks to children, but to allure them the more by using such sweet words.
(17) First, because the last time is at hand, so that the matter suffers no delay.
(18) Secondly, because antichrists, that is, such as fall from God, are already come, even as they heard that they would come. And it was necessary to warn that careless and fearless age of the danger.
2:20 21 But ye have an p unction from the q Holy One, and ye know all things.
(19) A digression against certain offences and stumbling blocks at which that young age especially might stumble and be shaken, Therefore that they should not be terrified with the falling back of certain, first he makes plain to men that although those who fall from God and his religion had a place in the Church, yet they were never of the Church: because the Church is the company of the elect, who cannot perish, and therefore cannot fall from Christ.
(o) So then the elect can never fall from grace.
(20) Secondly, he shows that these things happen to the benefit of the Church, that hypocrites may be plainly known.
2:21 22 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.
(21) Thirdly, he comforts them, to make them stand fast, as they are anointed by the Holy Spirit with the true knowledge of salvation.
(p) The grace of the Holy Spirit, and this is a borrowed type of speech taken from the anointings used in the law.
(q) From Christ who is peculiarly called Holy.
2:22 23 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the r Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
(22) The taking away of an objection, He did not write these things to men who are ignorant of religion, but rather to those who know the truth well, yes so far that they are able to discern truth from falsehood.
2:23 s Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [
(23) He shows now plainly the false doctrine of the antichrists, that is, that either they fight against the person of Christ, or his office, or both together and at once. They who do so, boast and brag of God in vain, for in denying the Son, the Father also is denied.
(r) Is the true Messiah.
(but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also].
(s) They deceive themselves, and also deceive others, who say that the Moslems and other infidels worship the same God that we do. 2:24 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.
2:26 25 These [things] have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
(24) The whole preaching of the prophets and apostles is contrary to that doctrine, therefore it is utterly to be cast away, and this wholly to be held and kept, which leads us to seek eternal life in the free promise, that is to say, in Christ alone, who is given to us by the Father.
2:27 But the t anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye u need not that any man teach you: but as the same x 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.
(25) The same Spirit who endues the elect with the knowledge of the truth and sanctifies them, gives them the gift of perseverance, to continue to the end.
(t) The Spirit who you have received from Christ, and who has led you into all truth. 2:28 26 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.
(u) You are not ignorant of those things, and therefore I teach them not as things that were never heard of, but call them to your mind as things which you do know.
(x) He commends both the doctrine which they had embraced, and also highly praises their faith, and the diligence of those who taught them, yet so, that he takes nothing from the honour due to the Holy Spirit.
2:29 27 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
(26) The conclusion both of the whole exhortation, and also of the former treatise.
(27) A passing over to the treatise following, which tends to the same purpose, but yet is more ample, and handles the same matter in another way, for before he taught us to go from the effects to the cause, and in this that follows, he goes from the causes to the effects. This is the sum of the argument, God is the fountain of all righteousness, and therefore they that give themselves to righteousness, are known to be born of him, because they resemble God the Father.