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1 John 2

1 John 2:1-29 . THE ADVOCACY OF CHRIST IS OUR ANTIDOTE TO SIN WHILE WALKING IN THE LIGHT; FOR TO KNOW GOD, WE MUST KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS AND LOVE THE BRETHREN, AND NOT LOVE THE WORLD, NOR GIVE HEED TO ANTICHRISTS, AGAINST WHOM OUR SAFETY IS THROUGH THE INWARD ANOINTING OF GOD TO ABIDE IN GOD: SO AT CHRIST'S COMING WE SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED.

15. Love not the world--that lieth in the wicked one ( 1 John 5:19 ), whom ye young men have overcome. Having once for all, through faith, overcome the world ( 1 John 4:4 , 5:4 ), carry forward the conquest by not loving it. "The world" here means "man, and man's world" [ALFORD], in his and its state as fallen from God. "God loved [with the love of compassion] the world," and we should feel the same kind of love for the fallen world; but we are not to love the world with congeniality and sympathy in its alienation from God; we cannot have this latter kind of love for the God-estranged world, and yet have also "the love of the Father in" us.
neither--Greek, "nor yet." A man might deny in general that he loved the world, while keenly following some one of THE THINGS IN IT: its riches, honors, or pleasures; this clause prevents him escaping from conviction.
any man--therefore the warning, though primarily addressed to the young, applies to all.
love of--that is, towards "the Father." The two, God and the (sinful) world, are so opposed, that both cannot be congenially loved at once.

16. all that is in the world--can be classed under one or other of the three; the world contains these and no more.
lust of the flesh--that is, the lust which has its seat and source in our lower animal nature. Satan tried this temptation the first on Christ: Luke 4:3 , "Command this stone that it be made bread." Youth is especially liable to fleshly lusts.
lust of the eyes--the avenue through which outward things of the world, riches, pomp, and beauty, inflame us. Satan tried this temptation on Christ when he showed Him the kingdoms of the world in a moment. By the lust of the eyes David ( 2 Samuel 11:2 ) and Achan fell ( Joshua 7:21 ). Compare David's prayer, Psalms 119:37 ; Job's resolve, Psalms 31:1 , Matthew 5:28 . The only good of worldly riches to the possessor is the beholding them with the eyes. Compare Luke 14:18 , "I must go and SEE it."
pride of life--literally, "arrogant assumption": vainglorious display. Pride was Satan's sin whereby he fell and forms the link between the two foes of man, the world (answering to "the lust of the eyes") and the devil (as "the lust of the flesh" is the third foe). Satan tried this temptation on Christ in setting Him on the temple pinnacle that, in spiritual pride and presumption, on the ground of His Father's care, He should cast Himself down. The same three foes appear in the three classes of soil on which the divine seed falls: the wayside hearers, the devil; the thorns, the world; the rocky undersoil, the flesh ( Matthew 13:18-23 , 4:3-8 ). The world's awful antitrinity, the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life," similarly is presented in Satan's temptation of Eve: "When she saw that the tree was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise," Genesis 3:6 (one manifestation of "the pride of life," the desire to know above what God has revealed, Colossians 2:8 , the pride of unsanctified knowledge).
of--does not spring from "the Father" (used in relation to the preceding "little children," 1 John 2:12 , or "little sons"). He who is born of God alone turns to God; he who is of the world turns to the world; the sources of love to God and love to the world, are irreconcilably distinct.

17. the world--with all who are of the world worldly.
passeth away--Greek, "is passing away" even now.
the lust thereof--in its threefold manifestation ( 1 John 2:16 ).
he that doeth the will of God--not his own fleshly will, or the will of the world, but that of God ( 1 John 2:3 1 John 2:6 ), especially in respect to love.
abideth for ever--"even as God also abideth for ever" (with whom the godly is one; compare Psalms 55:19 , "God, even He that abideth of old): a true comment, which CYPRIAN and LUCIFER have added to the text without support of Greek manuscripts. In contrast to the three passing lusts of the world, the doer of God's will has three abiding goods, "riches, honor, and life" ( Proverbs 22:4 ).

18. Little children--same Greek as 1 John 2:13 ; children in age. After the fathers and young men were gone, "the last time" with its "many Antichrists" was about to come suddenly on the children. "In this last hour we all even still live" [BENGEL]. Each successive age has had in it some of the signs of "the last time" which precedes Christ's coming, in order to keep the Church in continual waiting for the Lord. The connection with 1 John 2:15-17 is:There are coming those seducers who arc of the world ( 1 John 4:5 ), and would tempt you to go out from us ( 1 John 2:19 ) and deny Christ ( 1 John 2:22 ).
as ye have heard--from the apostles, preachers of the Gospel (for example, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10 ; and in the region of Ephesus, Acts 20:29 Acts 20:30 ).
shall come--Greek, "cometh," namely, out of his own place. Antichrist is interpreted in two ways: a false Christ ( Matthew 24:5 Matthew 24:24 ), literally, "instead of Christ"; or an adversary of Christ, literally, "against Christ." As John never uses pseudo-Christ, or "false Christ," for Antichrist, it is plain he means an adversary of Christ, claiming to himself what belongs to Christ, and wishing to substitute himself for Christ as the supreme object of worship. He denies the Son, not merely, like the pope, acts in the name of the Son, 2 Thessalonians 2:4 , "Who opposeth himself (Greek, "ANTI-keimenos") [to] all that is called God," decides this. For God's great truth, "God is man," he would substitute his own lie, "man is God" [TRENCH].
are there--Greek, "there have begun to be"; there have arisen. These "many Antichrists" answer to "the spirit of lawlessness (Greek) doth already work." The Antichristian principle appeared then, as now, in evil men and evil teachings and writings; but still "THE Antichrist" means a hostile person, even as "THE Christ" is a personal Saviour. As "cometh" is used of Christ, so here of Antichrist, the embodiment in his own person of all the Antichristian features and spirit of those "many Antichrists" which have been, and are, his forerunners. John uses the singular of him. No other New Testament writer uses the term. He probably answers to "the little horn having the eyes of a man, and speaking great things" ( Daniel 7:8 Daniel 7:20 ); "the man of sin, son of perdition" ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3 ); "the beast ascending out of the bottomless pit" ( Revelation 11:7 , 17:8 ), or rather, "the false prophet," the same as "the second beast coming up out of the earth" ( Revelation 13:11-18 , 16:13 ).

19. out from us--from our Christian communion. Not necessarily a formal secession or going out: thus Rome has spiritually gone out, though formally still of the Christian Church.
not of us--by spiritual fellowship ( 1 John 1:3 ). "They are like bad humors in the body of Christ, the Church: when they are vomited out, then the body is relieved; the body of Christ is now still under treatment, and has not yet attained the perfect soundness which it shall have only at the resurrection" [AUGUSTINE, Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Homily 3.4].
they would . . . have continued--implying the indefectibility of grace in the elect. "Where God's call is effectual, there will be sure perseverance" [CALVIN]. Still, it is no fatal necessity, but a "voluntary necessity" [DIDYMUS], which causes men to remain, or else go from the body of Christ. "We are either among the members, or else among the bad humors. It is of his own will that each is either an Antichrist, or in Christ" [AUGUSTINE]. Still God's actings in eternal election harmonize in a way inexplicable to us, with man's free agency and responsibility. It is men's own evil will that chooses the way to hell; it is God's free and sovereign grace that draws any to Himself and to heaven. To God the latter shall ascribe wholly their salvation from first to last: the former shall reproach themselves alone, and not God's decree, with their condemnation ( 1 John 3:9 , 5:18 ).
that they were not all of us--This translation would imply that some of the Antichrists are of us! Translate, therefore, "that all (who are for a time among us) are not of us." Compare 1 Corinthians 11:19 , "There must be heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." For "were" some of the oldest manuscripts read "are." Such occasions test who are, and who are not, the Lord's people.

20. But--Greek, "And." He here states the means which they as believers have wherewith to withstand. Antichrists ( 1 John 2:18 ), namely, the chrism (so the Greek: a play upon similar sounds), or "anointing unguent," namely, the Holy Spirit (more plainly mentioned further on, as in John's style, 1 John 3:24 , 4:13 , 5:6 ), which they ("ye" is emphatical in contrast to those apostates, 1 John 2:19 ) have "from the Holy One, Christ" ( John 1:33 , 3:34 , 15:26 , 16:14 ): "the righteous" ( 1 John 2:1 ), "pure" ( 1 John 3:3 ), "the Holy One" ( Acts 3:14 ) "of God"; Mark 1:24 . Those anointed of God in Christ alone can resist those anointed with the spirit of Satan, Antichrists, who would sever them from the Father and from the Son. Believers have the anointing Spirit from the Father also, as well as from the Son; even as the Son is anointed therewith by the Father. Hence the Spirit is the token that we are in the Father and in the Son; without it a man is none of Christ. The material unguent of costliest ingredients, poured on the head of priests and kings, typified this spiritual unguent, derived from Christ, the Head, to us, His members. We can have no share in Him as Jesus, except we become truly Christians, and so be in Him as Christ, anointed with that unction from the Holy One. The Spirit poured on Christ, the Head, is by Him diffused through all the members. "It appears that we all are the body of Christ, because we all are anointed: and we all in Him are both Christ's and Christ, because in some measure the whole Christ is Head and body."
and--therefore.
ye know all things--needful for acting aright against Antichrist's seductions, and for Christian life and godliness. In the same measure as one hath the Spirit, in that measure (no more and no less) he knows all these things.

21. but because ye know it, and that, &c.--Ye not only know what is the truth (concerning the Son and the Father, 1 John 2:13 ), but also are able to detect a lie as a thing opposed to the truth. For right (a straight line) is the index of itself and of what is crooked [ESTIUS]. The Greek is susceptible of ALFORD'S translation, "Because ye know it, and because no lie is of the truth" (literally, "every lie is excluded from being of the truth"). I therefore wrote (in this Epistle) to point out what the lie is, and who the liars are.

22. a liar--Greek, "Who is the liar?" namely, guilty of the lie just mentioned ( 1 John 2:21 ).
that Jesus is the Christ--the grand central truth.
He is Antichrist--Greek, "the Antichrist"; not however here personal, but in the abstract; the ideal of Antichrist is "he that denieth the Father and the Son." To deny the latter is virtually to deny the former. Again, the truth as to the Son must be held in its integrity; to deny that Jesus is the Christ, or that He is the Son of God, or that He came in the flesh, invalidates the whole ( Matthew 11:27 ).

23. Greek, "Every one who denieth the Son, hath not the Father either" ( 1 John 4:2 1 John 4:3 ): "inasmuch as God hath given Himself to us wholly to be enjoyed in Christ" [CALVIN].
he--that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. These words ought not to be in italics, as though they were not in the original: for the oldest Greek manuscripts have them.
hath--namely, in his abiding possession as his "portion"; by living personal "fellowship."
acknowledgeth--by open confession of Christ.

24. Let that--truth respecting the Father and the Son, regarded as a seed not merely dropped in, but having taken root ( 1 John 3:9 ).
ye--in the Greek standing emphatically at the beginning of the sentence. YE, therefore, acknowledge the Son, and so shall ye have the Father also ( 1 John 2:23 ).
from the beginning--from the time of your first hearing the Gospel.
remain--Translate as before, "abide."
ye also--in your turn, as distinguished from "that which ye have heard," the seed abiding in you. Compare 1 John 2:27 , "the anointing abideth in you . . . ye shall abide in Him." Having taken into us the living seed of the truth concerning the Father and the Son, we become transformed into the likeness of Him whose seed we have taken into us.

25. this is the promise--Eternal life shall be the permanent consummation of thus abiding in the Son and in the Father ( 1 John 2:24 ).
he--Greek, "Himself," Christ, "the Son" (compare 1 John 1:1 ).
promised--( John 3:15 John 3:36 , John 6:40 John 6:47 John 6:57 , John 17:2 John 17:3 ).

26. These things--( 1 John 2:18-25 ).
have I written--resumed from 1 John 2:21 and 1 John 2:14 .
seduce you--that is, are trying to seduce or lead you into error.

27. But--Greek, "And you (contrasting the believing readers with the seducers; the words 'and you' stand prominent, the construction of the sentence following being altered, and no verb agreeing with 'and you' until 'need not') . . . the anointing," &c. (resumed from 1 John 2:20 ).
received of him--( John 1:16 ). So we "are unto God a sweet savor of Christ."
abideth in you--He tacitly thus admonishes them to say, when tempted by seducers, "The anointing abideth in us; we do not need a teacher [for we have the Holy Spirit as our teacher, Jeremiah 31:34 , John 6:45 , 16:13 ]; it teaches us the truth; in that teaching we will abide" [BENGEL].
and--and therefore. God is sufficient for them who are taught of Him; they are independent of all others, though, of course, not declining the Christian counsel of faithful ministers. "Mutual communication is not set aside, but approved of, in the case of those who are partakers of the anointing in one body" [BENGEL].
the same anointing--which ye once for all received, and which now still abides in you.
of--"concerning."
all things--essential to salvation; the point under discussion. Not that the believer is made infallible, for no believer here receives the Spirit in all its fulness, but only the measure needful for keeping him from soul-destroying error. So the Church, though having the Spirit in her, is not infallible (for many fallible members can never make an infallible whole), but is kept from ever wholly losing the saving truth.
no lie--as Antichristian teaching.
ye shall abide in him--( 1 John 2:24 , end); even as "the anointing abideth in you." The oldest manuscripts read the imperative, "abide in Him."

28. little children--Greek, "little sons," as in 1 John 2:12 ; believers of every stage and age.
abide in him--Christ. John repeats his monition with a loving appellation, as a father addressing dear children.
when--literally, "if"; the uncertainty is not as to the fact, but the time.
appear--Greek, "be manifested."
we--both writer and readers.
ashamed before him--literally, "from Him"; shrink back from Him ashamed. Contrast "boldness in the day of judgment," 1 John 4:17 ; compare 1 John 3:21 , 5:14 . In the Apocalypse (written, therefore, BENGEL thinks, subsequently), Christ's coming is represented as put off to a greater distance.

29. The heading of the second division of the Epistle: "God is righteous; therefore, every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him." Love is the grand feature and principle of "righteousness" selected for discussion, 1 John 2:29-3:3'.
If ye know . . . ye know--distinct Greek verbs: "if ye are aware (are in possession of the knowledge) . . . ye discern or apprehend also that," &c. Ye are already aware that God ("He" includes both "the Father," of whom the believer is born (end of this verse, and 1 John 3:1 ), and "the Son," 1 John 2:1 1 John 2:23 ) is righteous, ye must necessarily, thereby, perceive also the consequence of that truth, namely, "that everyone that doeth righteousness (and he alone; literally, the righteousness such as the righteous God approves) is born of Him." The righteous produceth the righteous. We are never said to be born again of Christ, but of God, with whom Christ is one. HOLLAZ in ALFORD defines the righteousness of God, "It is the divine energy by whose power God wills and does all things which are conformable to His eternal law, prescribes suitable laws to His creatures, fulfils His promises to men, rewards the good, and punishes the ungodly."
doeth--"For the graces (virtues) are practical, and have their being in being produced (in being exercised); for when they have ceased to act, or are only about to act, they have not even being" [ÆCUMENIUS]. "God is righteous, and therefore the source of righteousness; when then a man doeth righteousness, we know that the source of his righteousness is God, that consequently he has acquired by new birth from God that righteousness which he had not by nature. We argue from his doing righteousness, to his being born of God. The error of Pelagians is to conclude that doing righteousness is a condition of becoming a child of God" [ALFORD most truly]. Compare Luke 7:47 Luke 7:50 : Her much love evinced that her sins were already forgiven; not, were the condition of her sins being forgiven.

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