1 John 2
ONE WHO SPEAKS TO THE FATHER IN OUR DEFENSE:
"Parakletos" = "Comforter": Joh 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7. Cp same idea in 2Ti
4:16-18 and Act 7:55,56.
Vv 13,14: The drawing of lines, and the erecting of barriers
between the generations, can only injure Christ's body in the long run. We are
all "one family" and "one body" -- young, middle-aged, and old together. Each
class has a strength peculiarly its own, but each has its special weakness.
Young men are wise to seek the help of the old that they may guard against the
errors of inexperience. Old men are wise to listen to the young that they may
guard against a self-satisfied and crotchety prejudice. This distinction is
nicely made by the Apostle John: "I have written unto you, fathers, because ye
have known him (ie, Christ) from the beginning" (1Jo 2:13). (The words "that is"
are italicized in the AV; the sense is best when they are omitted.) The old have
a great wealth of experience. Their strength is that experience; but their
weakness can be a desire to live in the past, and to resist all change.
"I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong" --
strong and energetic in body, the envy of many older ones. But that strength is
a two-edged sword; what may be great strength to serve God may also be great
strength misdirected to satisfy natural desires.
"... and the word of God abideth in you" -- Youth has keener
wit and quicker intelligence; the memory is better; ideas may be grasped and
elaborated more readily by the young. But there is, again, the corresponding
danger, that the desire for some "new thing" or for notoriety may mean a greater
potential for harm.
"... and ye have overcome the wicked one" (1Jo 2:14).
But what may look like an easy battle, at the beginning,
against the lusts of the flesh, may only lull the "strong" young brother into a
pride and a complacency that can prove fatal. "Let not him that girdeth on his
harness boast himself as he that putteth it off" (1Ki 20:11).
The Christian is not ruined by living in the world, but by the
world living in him.
"One of the striking formal dissonances in the Johannine
corpus is the clash between the Gospel's assertion of the love of God for the
world (John 3:16) and the first epistle's prohibition of love for the world (1Jo
2:15–17). In brief, God loves the world, and Christians had better not.
The impression is rather strong that if people love the world, they remain under
God's wrath: the love of the Father is not in them. The dissonance, of course,
is merely formal. There is a ready explanation. But this formal dissonance
reminds us yet again that the ways the Bible speaks of something are diverse and
contextually controlled. God's love for the world is commendable because it
manifests itself in awesome self-sacrifice; our love for the world is repulsive
when it lusts for evil participation.
"God's love for the world is praiseworthy because it brings
the transforming gospel to it; our love for the world is ugly because we seek to
be conformed to the world. God's love for the world issues in certain
individuals being called out from the world and into the fellowship of Christ's
followers; our love for the world is sickening where we wish to be absorbed into
"So 'do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone
loves the world, the love of the Father [whether this love is understood in the
subjective or the objective sense] is not in him' (1Jo 2:15). But clearly
believers are to love the world in the sense that we are to go into every part
of it and bring the glorious gospel to every creature. In this sense we imitate
in small ways the wholly praiseworthy love of God for the world" (DA Carson,
"God's love and God's wrath").
Three basic sources of sin (cp Eve in garden, Christ in
The lust of the flesh: sensualism. The lust of the eyes:
materialism. The pride of life: egotism.
THEY WENT OUT FROM US: Ref Judas leaving the upper room
Note that the righteous are not held guilty whilst temporarily
associating with those who hold false doctrine.
ANTICHRIST: The word "antichrist" is a term referring
to false teachers who denied the fact that Jesus came "in the flesh", and who
eventually left the first-century church when their lies were exposed. Thus
"antichrist" describes men who taught a false doctrine; the word does not
specifically point to a particular powerful individual:
- The word "antichrist" appears only in the letters of the apostle John. And
John defines his term as meaning "he who denies that Jesus is the Christ", "he
who denies the Father and the Son", "men who will not acknowledge the coming of
Jesus in the flesh" (1Jo 2:22; 2Jo 1:7; cp 1Jo 4:2).
- John stated that "many
antichrists had come", and that they were trying to deceive the believers, but
that they "went out from" the true church "that it might be plain that they all
were not of us" (1Jo 2:18,19,26). Thus "antichrist" was/were deceitful men who
once belonged to the church, but who left it to "go out into the world" which
would listen to their error (2Jo 1:7; 1Jo 4:3-5).
- The issue was between "the
spirit of truth and the spirit of error" (1Jo 4:6). John urged the believers to
test the "spirits", ie teachers, to see whether they taught the truth about
Jesus (1Jo 4:1-3); believers were to reject any person who preached the
antichrist doctrine (2Jo 1:7-11).
- What did the antichrist deny? "...the
gospel of God which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy
scriptures, the gospel concerning His Son who was descended from David according
to the flesh and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of
holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord...." (Rom
1:1-4; cp 2Jo 1:7).
- The apostle Peter also warned about false teachers who
would arise up within the church and who would "secretly bring in destructive
heresies, even denying the Master who bought them...." (2Pe 2:1). By exploiting
believers with false words and enticing them to forsake the knowledge of truth
of Jesus Christ and the way of righteousness, the way of the truth would be
reviled (2Pe 2:2,3,20,21).
- Jude also wrote about the antichrist problem:
"For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for
this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into
licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (Jud
- Finally, the apostle Paul was constantly expressing grave concern over
a very real antichrist plot; in his letters, he exposed a deliberate
infiltration of the church by false brethren, men of counterfeit faith whose
pseudo-apostolic works had gained them credibility, and whose perverse teaching
was already having its effect, as believers were turning away from the truth to
follow the lies of the deceivers (Gal 2:4,5; 2Co 11:12,13; Act 20:29,30; 1Ti
4:1-3; 2Ti 4:3,4; 3:1-13; 2Th 2:7-12).
HIS COMING: See Lesson, "Parousia".