Reading through the Bible together
The second chapter of 1 John sets forth more of the claims of the “sinless” liars of chapter 1 who were causing trouble in the church.
But before he gets to their claims John gives a bit more pure gospel; some of the best in the New Testament. “My little children,” he pastorally notes, “I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin [aorist tense, implying an act of sin], we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation [‘propitiation,’ NASB; ‘atoning sacrifice,’ NIV] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (verses 1, 2). Gospel statements don’t get much better than that.
But John needs to move back to the “sinless” liars. Chapter 2 puts forth two more lies to add to the problem of the “holy ones.” First, they claim to be in the light, but are not truly walking in God’s commandments. Here the apostle is dealing with something more serious than breaking the Ten Commandments. He puts his finger on their core problem in verses 7-17. In verse 9 John gets to the heart of the problem: “He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still.” One of the sad facts of church history is that there are all too many who think they can love God without loving their fellow beings.
The second half of John 2 deals with a lie connected to the Trinity. They were denying that Jesus was the divine Christ and were thus also denying the Father (verses 22, 23).
These were difficult church members. But once again the apostle has a gospel solution: “Abide in him, so that when he comes we may have confidence” (v. 28). John closes the chapter with the thought that everyone who is truly righteous will get their act together “in him.”
Abiding in the divine Christ will not only find us forgiven (1 John 1:9) but also walking in the light of God’s commands (2:3-6), especially the command to love our brothers and sisters (2:9). In fact, abiding in Him will transform our lives in every way.
George R. Knight