I John 2

To know God and the power of His love is impossible without practical observance of His Word, which means that we must seek to walk as Christ walked, in love toward our fellowmen and in separation from the things of the world. To profess to know God and yet deny Jesus as the Christ is to brand oneself as given up to the delusions of the devil.

1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.

13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

1 John 2:1-11 – Keeping His Commandment of Love

   It is clearly possible to be kept from known and presumptuous sin. We shall be tempted, for that is an inevitable experience of life in this world; but we may be perfectly kept by the indwelling Spirit. Yet if we should be overtaken by some sudden gust of temptation, let us not despair; our Advocate ever makes intercession for us. The evidence that we have a saving knowledge of our Savior is obtained, not by the memory of a rapturous experience, but because we are conscious of doing, for His sake, things which we should otherwise evade. Let us continue to do such things, because by the path of patient obedience we shall enter into the Paradise of perfect, love. The outer walk is the best evidence to ourselves and others that there is an abiding union between us and Jesus. Light involves love; and love, light. Love and you are in light. Indulge hatred or ill-will and you begin to grope in darkness. —Through the Bible Day by Day

1 John 2:12-17 – Transient Desires, Abiding Life

   There are gradations in Christian experience—the child, the father, the young man. The note of the child is the glad sense of forgiveness; of the father, a deep knowledge of God; of the young man, victory over the power of evil. With all these is growth. The child, through forgiveness, also comes to know the Father; the fathers can only go on to know God more profoundly; and as the young men become stronger they are more aware of the indwelling spirit of power.
   Distinguish between the world of nature and the world of appearance, which is an illusion, the vain dream of human imaginings and boastings. It is the sphere of sense as contrasted with the sphere of spirit. It is the sum of all that the flesh lusts after, the eyes feast on, and the soul takes pride in. The Preacher gathers the world into one phrase, “under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:3). The world is passing as a moving-picture film, and the power to enjoy it is vanishing also. Only that which is rooted in God abides. —Through the Bible Day by Day

1 John 2:15 – ​An eagle, flying over a valley of ice, discovered a carcass, upon which it descended, and feasted so long, that its wings became frozen to the ice. In vain it struggled to mount upward: a vivid emblem of worldly desires. (Moody)

1 John 2:15 – ​If you will go to the banks of a little stream, and watch the flies that come to bathe in it, you will notice, that, while they plunge their bodies in the water, they keep their wings high out of the water; and, after swimming about a little while, they fly away with their wings unwet through the sunny air. Now, that is a lesson for us. Here we are immersed in the cares and business of the world; but let us keep the wings of our soul, our faith, and our love, out of the world, that, with these unclogged, we may be ready to take our flight to heaven. (J. Inglis)

1 John 2:17 – ​See all things, not in the blinding and deceitful glare of the world’s noon, but as they will seem when the shadows of life are closing in. At evening the sun seems to loom large on the horizon, while the landscape gradually fades from view; and then the sunset reveals the infinitude of space crowded with unnumbered worlds, and the firmament glows with living sapphires. Even so, let the presence of God loom large upon the narrow horizon of your life, and the firmament of your souls glow with the living sapphires of holy thoughts. Ah! try now to look at the world and its allurements as they will seem in the last hour; to look at unlawful pleasure as it shall then seem, not only a disappointing, but a depraving and an envenomed thing; to look at the small aims of ambition as they shall seem when they have dwindled into their true paltriness. (Farrar)

​1 John 2:17 – In the age succeeding the flood, they piled old Babels tower, and said, “This shall last forever.” But God confounded their language: they finished it not. Old Pharaoh and the Egyptian monarchs heaped up their Pyramids, and they said, “They shall stand forever”: and so, indeed, they do stand; but the time is approaching when age shall devour even these. The most stable things have been evanescent as shadows and the bubbles of an hour, speedily destroyed at God’s bidding. Where is Nineveh? and where is Babylon? Where the cities of Persia? Where are the high places of Edom? Where are Moab and the princes of Ammon ? Where are the temples of the heroes of Greece ? Where the millions that passed from the gates of Thebes? Where are the hosts of Xerxes? or where the vast armies of the Roman emperors? Have they not passed away? And though in their pride they said, “This monarchy is an everlasting one, this queen of the seven hills shall be called the eternal city,” its pride is dimmed; and she who sat alone, and said, “I shall be no widow, but a queen forever,”—she hath fallen, hath fallen; and in a little while she shall sink like a millstone in the flood, her name being a curse and a byword, and her site the habitation of dragons and of owls. Man calls his works eternal: God calls them fleeting; man conceives that they are built of rock God says, “Nay, sand; or, worse than that, they are air.” Man says he erects them for eternity; God blows but for a moment, and where are they? Like baseless fabrics of a vision, they are passed and gone forever. (Spurgeon)

1 John 2:17 – ​I saw a temple reared by the hands of man, standing with its high pinnacle in the distant plain. The streams beat about it, the God of Nature hurled His thunder-bolts against it; yet it stood as firm as adamant. Revelry was in the hall; the gay, the happy, the young, the beautiful, were there. I returned, and, lo! the temple was no more. Its high walls lay in scattered ruin; moss and grass grew rankly there; and, at the midnight hour, the owl’s long cry added to the solitude. The young and gay who had revelled there had passed away. I saw a child rejoicing in his youth, the idol of his mother, and the pride of his father. I returned, and that child had become old. Trembling with the weight of years, he stood, the last of his generation, a stranger amidst all the desolation around him. I saw an old oak standing in all its pride upon the mountain: the birds were carolling in its boughs. I returned, and saw the oak was leafless and sapless: the winds were playing at their pastime through the branches. “Who is the destroyer?” said I to my guardian angel. “It is Time,” said he. “When the morning-stars sang together for joy over the new-made world, he commenced his course, and when he has destroyed all that is beautiful on the earth, plucked the sun in his sphere, veiled the moon in blood; yea, when he shall have rolled the heavens and the earth away as a scroll, then shall an angel from the throne of God come forth, and, with one foot upon the land, lift up his hand toward heaven, and swear by heaven’s Eternal, time was, but time shall be no more.” (Paulding)

I John 2:17—The world passeth away, and the lust thereof.

   The world stands for the entire system of human interests by which we are surrounded. It does not refer to what God made by his creative fiat and moulding hands, but to the shows, fashions, and pursuits of men. It is used here in the sense in which the devil took Jesus into an exceeding high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said (Luke 4:6), “For that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.”
   The word used of its evanescence is a remarkably interesting one. It is that employed of the rapid change in some scenic display or performance. A moment ago the stage was full of life and colour; but it is suddenly deserted, and the actors and actresses have put off their splendid dresses, and are habited in mean and common attire. Or we might compare the passing away of the world to the dying colour of the sunset. The tempter offers us some bait, some outward object which appeals to the eye of the body or the mind, and we reach out towards it; but as we gasp it, it is gone. We have caught at a soapbubble, have journeyed after a mirage, have hunted the will-o’-the-wisp. So unsubstantial and fleeting are the things with which the men of this world try to appease their immortal appetite.
   But it is to be noticed that the desire for these things is even more evanescent than the things themselves. The apostle says that the lust thereof passeth away. The power of enjoyment dies away. The eye is sated with spectacles; the mind with constant change.
   How great the contrast!—“He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” —Our Daily Homily

1 John 2:18-29 – Loyalty to Truth

   The Holy One is surely the risen Savior, who has passed into the heavens, whence He bestows the Holy Spirit as a sacred chrism on meek and trustful souls. We can say with the psalmist (Psalm 23:5), “Thou anointest my head with oil.” Let us seek fresh anointing. “I shall be anointed with fresh oil” (Psalm 92:10). Whenever we attempt to do God’s work, we should be able to say, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me” (Luke 4:18). The anointed soul understands things hidden from the wise and prudent, I John 2:27.
   We must hold the Word of Christ by perpetual reiteration and meditation; only so shall we be able to abide in Him. This abiding life involves not merely that we shall work for God, but that God will work through us. The abiding branch bears much fruit, because the energy of the vine is set free to work its will through its yielded channels. A life of abiding communion with Christ will never be ashamed in this or in any other world. —Through the Bible Day by Day

1 John 2:19 – ​One evening I went out with a shepherd to collect his sheep. After they had been gathered together, and were being driven off the moor, I observed that there were some among them who did not belong to his flock. I particularly noticed, also, that he paid no attention whatever to these wandering strangers, urged forward, though they were, by the barking dog, further and further from their rightful companions. At last, thinking I must have been mistaken in supposing they were not his, I pointed to one or two of them, and said, “Are those your sheep?” And he answered, “No.” I said unto him, “Why, then, do you not separate them from the flock?” And he answered, and said, “They will find out directly they are not of us, and then they will go away of themselves.” And immediately I remembered the words of John, and how he had said, “They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (Moody)