On to 1 John 2:1-11
v1: My (little – this word does not appear in the original text) children: This speaks about a family relationship. John is writing to people who he considers close family, people he greatly loves and is concerned about. He wants only good for the people he is leading.
- You may not sin: This is how G-d expects believers to behave – it should be our normal behaviour. Those who have been brought into the family of G-d should not sin.
- If anyone sins: To be a true believer does not mean that we live a perfect life and never sin. There are times when we do sin. However, sin should not characterize our lives. Sin in our lives should be the exception rather than the norm.
- We: Believers; those who are in a new covenant relationship with G-d.
- Advocate: A word that refers to a lawyer; someone who represents us in a court of law.
- Messiah Yeshua: He is our defence attorney, but He is also the judge (John 5:22). Because of this, we can have confidence that our sins have been forgiven. If we should sin we have a righteous Advocate who will defend us before the Father.
- Yeshua… the righteous: In the same way that our sinfulness was placed upon Him, His righteousness was placed upon us (His righteousness has been imputed to us).
v2: Propitiation: Atonement covers up our sins but does not remove them -they are still there, and judgement remains in the equation. Propitiation, on the other hand, is better than atonement. It is a type of redemption. It means that our sins are not covered over (like with atonement) but they are erased, annihilated, destroyed! This means that there is no longer any sin that can be charged against us!
- (The sins) for the whole world: Messiah’s death is not a limited atonement. Some people teach that He only died for the elect. This is a false teaching. What He did at the cross was a work of redemption – a redemption that was complete and not limited in any way (John 3:16). The only criteria to receiving this redemption is confessing that Messiah Yeshua is L-rd and believing that the Father raised Him from the dead (Roms 10:9-10).
v3: Know that we know Him: This word for knowing something is repeated. It is also written in the perfect tense. This means that we have known Him in the past, we know Him today and that knowledge will continue into the future.
- If we keep His commandments: There is evidence, a testimony, when one knows Messiah. Those who know Messiah are going to want to keep His instructions, His revelation to us. In other words, as a new creation (2 Cor 5:17) our desire is to obey Him by keeping His commandments.
v4: “I know Him”: Written in the perfect tense. This means that they are claiming that they knew Him in the past, they know Him now and they will know Him forever.
- Does not keep: This one has no desire to keep the commandments. He is uninterested in them and is not committed to keeping them.
- The truth is not in him: There is a connection between receiving the truth and that truth giving us the desire to obey. If we do not want to obey G-d’s commandments, then we cannot say that we know Him. The truth of G-d brings about a G-dly change in our lives. That change is made evident through our obedience to the commandments (rooted in the Torah/Law) of G-d.
v5: The love of G-d is perfected in him: This means that the love of G-d works out, and brings to completion, His desires for that person who keeps His Word. Love and the commandments (Word) of G-d work hand in hand (John 14:15). The greatest commandments have to do with love (Luke 10:27, Gal 5:14)
- By this we know that we are in Him: The love of G-d being perfected in our lives, and evidence that we are obeying His instructions, confirms the fact that we are indeed in Him. It reveals the reality of our relationship with the Living G-d through Messiah.
v6: In Him: I.e. He says he has a covenant relationship with Messiah (He says he abides/lives/remains in Messiah).
- Him: Referring to Messiah.
- Walk just as He walked: There needs to be a similarity, a continuity, between how Yeshua lived and how we are to live. We need to imitate how He lived when He was in the flesh – fulfilling the law and steering clear of sin.
- Walk: Lifestyle is important. We are not saved by our obedience or lifestyle, but once we are saved the way we live is going to demonstrate our relationship with Him – whether we are in Him or not.
v7: Brethren: This includes men and women.
- I write no new commandment to you: Those who teach that we need to unhitch ourselves from the commandments of the Old Testament are teaching a false doctrine.
- The beginning: From when G-d’s revelation to man begun (at the creation of man).
- The Word: This revelation
- The beginning: John, in this epistle, has repeated and therefore placed emphasis on
- “the beginning”. The beginning speaks about G-d’s revelation to man, a revealing of His purpose. Before the preaching of the gospel, even before the earthly ministry of Messiah, the objective of G-d had already been clearly revealed.
v8: A new commandment: John has just told us (v7) that he is not writing about a new commandment but about an old one, one that has been around since the beginning of known time. This verse is not in conflict with verse 7. John’s intent in this verse is to reveal to us that it is only through the ministry of Messiah Yeshua that the old commandments can become new. It is only through being a new creation in Messiah, having His Holy Spirit dwelling in us, that the old laws can become new covenant realities. Those who walk in the Spirit have the power, the potential, to fulfil the righteousness of the law (Roms 8:4).
- True in Him: Only when we are in Him do we have the potential to take the Old Testament commandments and apply them, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, in order to make them into that which can manifest (through our behaviour) the righteousness of the Kingdom of G-d.
- The true light is already shining: Through salvation and through the receiving of the Holy Spirit it shines, through our behaviour, in our lives.
v9: In darkness: There has been no change in him.
v10: Light: Light brought order and a change into creation. If we do not accept and apply G-d’s light (revelation/illumination) into our lives we are going to continue to live in disordered darkness. There are only two possibilities: either we are going to be walking in the light (being led by the truth of G-d and being submissive to all of His instructions) or we are going to be stumbling in darkness.
- No cause for stumbling: The one who loves his brother and who remains in the light has nothing offensive or scandalous attached to him. He is not a stumbling block or a cause of offense to others.
v11: But: In contrast to the one who is loving his neighbour.
- Hates his brother: The old commandment spoke of loving our neighbours (Lev 19:18). John changes the word ‘neighbour’ to the word ‘brother’. This is simply a different way of saying the same thing. John adds a more personal dimension to the commandment.
- In darkness: This means that he is not utilizing truth or taking hold of the revelation of G-d. He is not acting in light of the message that has been revealed to us.
- Does not know where he is going: Darkness leads to confusion (physically, emotionally, and spiritually).