SUMMARY.--The Advocate with the Father. The Propitiation. The Old and the New Commandment. The Love of the World and the Love of the Father Inconsistent. The Unction of the Holy Spirit. Antichrist. The Anointing Which Teacheth All Things.
12-14. I write unto you, little children. John calls all the saints "little children." Then he divides them into three classes, "fathers," "young men," and "little children" ( verse 13 ), but the Greek word rendered "little children" in verse 13 , is a different one from that of 1 John 2:1 1 John 2:12 . 13. I write unto you, fathers. These father have known him. Not known Christ in the flesh but have walked with him long and realized his presence. Young men. The special excellence of these Christian young men is that they have overcome the temptations of the evil one. Little children. These have known the Father, and can say, "Our Father who art in heaven." 14. I have written. This verse, imitating the Hebrew parallelism, repeats 1 John 2:12 1 John 2:13 with slight variations.
15-17. Love not the world. An exhortation to all three classes just named. The love of the world and of God are not reconcilable. See notes on James 4:4. By "the world" is meant the ways of the world, its passions, pleasures and pursuits. 16. For all that is in the world. This sinful world is comprehended under three heads. The lust of the flesh. The desires which spring from the appetites and passions. The lust of the eyes. The desires that are aroused by appeals made to our eyes. The pride of life. The vain glory of the world; its foolish display. Sensuality, avarice and pride, nearly, but not quite, illustrate what is meant. 17. And the world passeth away. All things are transient, but he who does the will of God builds on eternal foundations.
18-25. Little children, it is the last time. We are in the last dispensation. Ye have heard that antichrist shall come. False Christs and those opposed to Christ. See Matt. 24:4. Anti-Christ is Anti-Christianity. Whereby we know that it is the last time. Their appearance is a part of the series of events which leads to the final consummation. 19. They went out from us. This implies that these antichrists were apostates. The worst men are often those who were once outwardly religious and have fallen away. If they had been of us. Had they been true and genuine Christians they could hardly have fallen into such a state of enmity. Their going away and bitter opposition show that they were not real converts. 20. But ye have an unction. Ye are anointed with the Holy Spirit. Christian means an anointed one; Anti-Christ would mean against the Anointed. Hence John reminds them that they have been anointed by the Holy One. Know all things. All things needful to guard against these opposers and seducing teachers. It is the privilege of those who have this anointing to know Christ experimentally ( John 14:22 John 14:23 ). 21. I have not written, etc. John writes to them as those who know the truth, and know how to discern between the truth and lies. 22. Who is a liar, etc.? Hence they will know how to reject these antichrists who lyingly deny Jesus Christ. 23. Whosoever denieth the Son. All who deny the Father and the Son are antichrist; so also those who reject the Son cannot have the Father. 24. Let that therefore abide in you. The truth concerning the Father and the Son which Anti-Christ denies. Ye shall continue. He who remains steadfast in this faith will continue in the Son, etc. 25. And this is the promise. This promise is made to all who abide in the Son and in the Father.
26-29. These things have I written, etc. All these words about Anti-Christ; all from verse 18 to the end of the chapter is to put them on their guard against false teachers. 27. But the anointing which ye have received. See verse 20 . This anointing is spoken of because it furnishes them a means of guarding against the false teachers and seducers. The passage does not teach a continuous revelation, or that we are to be led by the inner light, but that God has given us means of knowing whether men speak the truth. Ye need not that any man should teach you. There is another fountain of knowledge so that ye need not the aid of these opposing teachers. As the same anointing teacheth you all things. The Holy Spirit bestowed upon you. It was the promise of Christ that the Spirit should guide you into all truth ( John 16:13 ). The Holy Spirit was thus imparted to the apostles and through them spiritual gifts were imparted everywhere in the early church. Among these gifts were wisdom, knowledge, prophecy, and discerning of spirits. These extraordinary gifts continued until the Holy Spirit had prepared the New Testament to guide the church ( 1 Cor. 13:8 ). Now we have the Word of God, which the Holy Spirit has given us, and the presence of the Spirit with us to fit us for understanding. The word and the unction still "teach us all things." 28. Abide in him. By continuing in the truth taught of God. 29. If ye know that he is righteous. A life of righteousness shows that we have the life of Christ, and hence is proof that we have been born of him.