Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
WALKING IN THE
LIGHT; FOR TO
IS THROUGH THE
My little children--The diminutive expresses the tender
affection of an aged pastor and spiritual father. My own dear
children, that is, sons and daughters (see on
My purpose in writing what I have just written is not that you should
abuse them as giving a license to sin but, on the contrary, "in order
that ye may not sin at all" (the Greek aorist, implying the
absence not only of the habit, but of single acts of sin [ALFORD]). In order to "walk in the light"
(1Jo 1:5, 7),
the first step is confession of sin
is that we should forsake all sin. The divine purpose has for
its aim, either to prevent the commission of, or to destroy sin [BENGEL].
And, &c.--connected with the former; Furthermore, "if any
man sin," let him, while loathing and condemning it, not fear to go at
once to God, the Judge, confessing it, for "we have an Advocate with
Him." He is speaking of a BELIEVER'S
occasional sins of infirmity through Satan's fraud and malice.
The use of "we" immediately afterwards implies that we all are
liable to this, though not necessarily constrained to sin.
we have an advocate--Advocacy is God's family blessing; other
blessings He grants to good and bad alike, but justification,
sanctification, continued intercession, and peace, He grants to His
advocate--Greek, "paraclete," the same term as is
applied to the Holy Ghost, as the "other Comforter"; showing the unity
of the Second and Third Persons of the Trinity. Christ is the
Intercessor for us above; and, in His absence, here below the
Holy Ghost is the other Intercessor in us. Christ's
advocacy is inseparable from the Holy Spirit's comfort
and working in us, as the spirit of intercessory prayer.
righteous--As our "advocate," Christ is not a mere suppliant
petitioner. He pleads for us on the ground of justice, or
righteousness, as well as mercy. Though He can say nothing good
of us, He can say much for us. It is His
righteousness, or obedience to the law, and endurance of its
full penalty for us, on which He grounds His claim for our acquittal.
The sense therefore is, "in that He is righteous"; in contrast
to our sin ("if any man sin"). The Father, by raising
Him from the dead, and setting Him at His own right, has once for all
accepted Christ's claim for us. Therefore the accuser's charges against
God's children are vain. "The righteousness of Christ stands on our
side; for God's righteousness is, in Jesus Christ, ours" [LUTHER].
2. And he--Greek, "And Himself." He is our
all-prevailing Advocate, because He is Himself "the
propitiation"; abstract, as in
He is to us all that is needed for propitiation "in behalf of
our sins"; the propitiatory sacrifice, provided by the Father's
love, removing the estrangement, and appeasing the righteous wrath, on
God's part, against the sinner. "There is no incongruity that a father
should be offended with that son whom he loveth, and at that
time offended with him when he loveth him" [BISHOP PEARSON]. The only other
place in the New Testament where Greek "propitiation" occurs, is
it answers in the Septuagint to Hebrew, "caphar,"
to effect an atonement or reconciliation with God; and in
to the sin offering. In
Greek, it is "propitiatory," that is, the mercy seat, or lid of
the ark whereon God, represented by the Shekinah glory above it, met
His people, represented by the high priest who sprinkled the blood of
the sacrifice on it.
ours--believers: not Jews, in contrast to Gentiles; for
he is not writing to Jews
also for the sins of the whole world--Christ's "advocacy" is
limited to believers
His propitiation extends as widely as sin extends: see on
"denying the Lord that bought them." "The whole world" cannot be
restricted to the believing portion of the world (compare
and "the whole world,"
"Thou, too, art part of the world, so that thine heart cannot deceive
itself and think, The Lord died for Peter and Paul, but not for me"
3. hereby--Greek, "in this." "It is herein," and
herein only, that we know (present tense) that we have knowledge of
(perfect tense, once-for-all obtained and continuing knowledge
(1Jo 2:4, 13, 14).
Tokens whereby to discern grace are frequently given in this Epistle.
The Gnostics, by the Spirit's prescient forewarning, are refuted, who
boasted of knowledge, but set aside obedience. "Know
Him," namely, as "the righteous"
(1Jo 2:1, 29);
our "Advocate and Intercessor."
keep--John's favorite word, instead of "do," literally, "watch,"
"guard," and "keep safe" as a precious thing; observing so as to keep.
So Christ Himself. Not faultless conformity, but hearty acceptance of,
and willing subjection to, God's whole revealed will, is meant.
commandments--injunctions of faith, love, and obedience.
John never uses "the law" to express the rule of Christian obedience:
he uses it as the Mosaic law.
4. I know--Greek, "I have knowledge of (perfect)
Him." Compare with this verse
5. Not merely repeating the proposition,
or asserting the merely opposite alternative to
but expanding the "know Him" of
into "in Him, verily (not as a matter of vain boasting) is the love of
(that is towards) God perfected," and "we are in Him." Love here
answers to knowledge in
In proportion as we love God, in that same proportion we know
Him, and vice versa, until our love and knowledge shall attain
their full maturity of perfection.
his word--His word is one (see on
and comprises His "commandments," which are many
hereby--in our progressing towards this ideal of perfected love
and obedience. There is a gradation:
"we are in Him";
"abideth in Him"; respectively, knowledge, fellowship,
abiding constancy. [BENGEL].
6. abideth--implying a condition lasting, without intermission,
and without end.
He that saith . . . ought--so that his deeds may be
consistent with his words.
even as he--Believers readily supply the name, their hearts
being full of Him (compare
"Even as He walked" when on earth, especially in respect to
love. John delights in referring to Christ as the model man,
with the words, "Even as He," &c. "It is not Christ's walking on the
sea, but His ordinary walk, that we are called on to imitate" [LUTHER].
7. Brethren--The oldest manuscripts and versions read instead,
"Beloved," appropriate to the subject here, love.
no new commandment--namely, love, the main principle of
walking as Christ walked
and that commandment, of which one exemplification is presently given,
1Jo 2:9, 10,
the love of brethren.
ye had from the beginning--from the time that ye first heard the
Gospel word preached.
8. a new commandment--It was "old," in that Christians as
such had heard it from the first; but "new" (Greek,
"kaine," not "nea": new and different from the
old legal precept) in that it was first clearly
promulgated with Christianity; though the inner spirit of the
law was love even to enemies, yet it was enveloped in some
bitter precepts which caused it to be temporarily almost unrecognized,
till the Gospel came. Christianity first put love to brethren on
the new and highest MOTIVE, instinctive
love to Him who first loved us, constraining us to love all, even
enemies, thereby walking in the steps of Him who loved us when enemies.
So Jesus calls it "new,"
Joh 13:34, 35,
"Love one another as I have loved you" (the new motive);
which thing is true in him and in you--"In Christ all
things are always true, and were so from the beginning; but in
Christ and in us conjointly the commandment [the love of
brethren] is then true when we acknowledge the truth which is
in Him, and have the same flourishing in us" [BENGEL]. ALFORD explains, "Which
thing (the fact that the commandment is a new one) is true in
Him and in you because the darkness is passing away, and the
true light is now shining; that is, the commandment is a new
one, and this is true both in the case of Christ and in the case of
you; because in you the darkness is passing away, and in
Him the true light is shining; therefore, on both accounts, the
command is a new one: new as regards you, because you are newly
come from darkness into light; new as regards Him, because He uttered
it when He came into the world to lighten every man, and began that
shining which even now continues." I prefer, as BENGEL, to explain, The new commandment finds its
truth in its practical realization in the walk of
Christians in union with Christ. Compare the use of "verily,"
The repetition of "in" before "you," "in Him and in you," not "in Him
and you" implies that the love commandment finds its realization
separately: first it did so "in Him," and then it does so
"in us," in so far as we now "also walk even as He walked"; and yet it
finds its realization also conjointly, by the two being united
in one sentence, even as it is by virtue of the love commandment having
been first fulfilled in Him, that it is also now fulfilled in
us, through His Spirit in us: compare a similar case,
"My Father and your Father"; by virtue of His being
"My Father," He is also your Father.
darkness is past--rather, as in
"is passing away." It shall not be wholly "past" until "the Sun of
righteousness" shall arise visibly; "the light is now shining"
already, though but partially until the day bursts forth.
9-11. There is no mean between light and darkness, love
and hatred, life and death, God and the world:
wherever spiritual life is, however weak, there darkness
and death no longer reign, and love supplants
holds good: wherever life is not, there death, darkness,
the flesh, the world, and hatred, however glossed over
and hidden from man's observation, prevail; and
holds good. "Where love is not, there hatred is; for the heart cannot
remain a void" [BENGEL].
in the light--as his proper element.
his brother--his neighbor, and especially those of the Christian
brotherhood. The very title "brother" is a reason why love should be
even until now--notwithstanding that "the true light already has
begun to shine"
10. Abiding in love is abiding in the
light; for the Gospel light not only illumines the understanding,
but warms the heart into love.
none occasion of stumbling--In contrast to, "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." "In him
who loves there is neither blindness nor occasion of stumbling
[to himself]: in him who does not love, there is both blindness
and occasion of stumbling. He who hates his brother, is both a
stumbling-block to himself, and stumbles against himself and everything
within and without; he who loves has an unimpeded path" [BENGEL]. John has in mind Jesus' words,
Joh 11:9, 10.
ALFORD well says, "The light and the darkness are
within ourselves; admitted into us by the eye, whose singleness fills
the whole body with light."
11. is in darkness . . . walketh--"is" marks his
continuing STATE: he has never come out of "the darkness" (so
Greek); "walketh" marks his OUTWARD WALK
whither--Greek, "where"; including not only the
destination to which, but the way whereby.
hath blinded--rather, as Greek aorist, "blinded" of old.
Darkness not only surrounds, but blinds him, and that a blindness of
12. little children--Greek, "little sons," or
"dear sons and daughters"; not the same Greek as in
"little children," "infants" (in age and standing). He calls
ALL to whom he writes, "little sons"
1Jo 2:28; 3:18; 4:4; 5:21);
but only in
1Jo 2:13, 18
he uses the term "little children," or "infants." Our Lord, whose
Spirit John so deeply drank into, used to His disciples
the term "little sons," or dear sons and daughters; but in
"little children." It is an undesigned coincidence with the Epistle
here, that in John's Gospel somewhat similarly the classification,
"lambs, sheep, sheep," occurs.
are forgiven--"have been, and are forgiven you":
ALL God's sons and daughters alike enjoy
13, 14. All three classes are first addressed in the present. "I
write"; then in the past (aorist) tense, "I wrote" (not "I have
written"; moreover, in the oldest manuscripts and versions, in the end
it is past, "I wrote," not as English Version, "I write"). Two
classes, "fathers" and "young men," are addressed with the same words
each time (except that the address to the young men has an
addition expressing the source and means of their victory); but the
"little sons" and "little children" are differently addressed.
have known--and do know: so the Greek perfect means. The
"I wrote" refers not to a former Epistle, but to this Epistle. It was
an idiom to put the past tense, regarding the time from the
reader's point of view; when he should receive the Epistle the
writing would be past. When he uses "I write," he speaks from
his own point of view.
him that is from the beginning--Christ: "that which was
from the beginning."
overcome--The fathers, appropriately to their age, are
characterized by knowledge. The young men, appropriately
to theirs, by activity in conflict. The fathers, too,
have conquered; but now their active service is past, and they
and the children alike are characterized by knowing (the
fathers know Christ, "Him that was from the beginning";
the children know the Father). The first thing that the
little children realize is that God is their Father;
answering in the parallel clause to "little sons . . . your
sins are forgiven you for His name's sake," the universal first
privilege of all those really-dear sons of God. Thus
this latter clause includes all, whereas the former clause
refers to those more especially who are in the first stage of
spiritual life, "little children." Of course, these can only know
the Father as theirs through the Son
It is beautiful to see how the fathers are characterized as
reverting back to the first great truths of spiritual childhood, and
the sum and ripest fruit of advanced experience, the knowledge of
Him that was from the beginning (twice repeated,
1Jo 2:13, 14).
Many of them had probably known Jesus in person, as well as by
14. young men . . . strong--made so out
of natural weakness, hence enabled to overcome "the
strong man armed" through Him that is "stronger." Faith is the victory
that overcomes the world. This term "overcome" is peculiarly John's,
adopted from his loved Lord. It occurs sixteen times in the Apocalypse,
six times in the First Epistle, only thrice in the rest of the New
Testament. In order to overcome the world on the ground, and in the
strength, of the blood of the Saviour, we must be willing, like Christ,
to part with whatever of the world belongs to us: whence immediately
after "ye have overcome the wicked one (the prince of the world)," it
is added, "Love not the world, neither the things . . . in
and, &c.--the secret of the young men's strength: the
Gospel word, clothed with living power by the Spirit who
abideth permanently in them; this is "the sword of the Spirit"
wielded in prayerful waiting on God. Contrast the mere physical
strength of young men,
Isa 40:30, 31.
Oral teaching prepared these youths for the profitable use of
the word when written. "Antichrist cannot endanger you
nor Satan tear from you the word of God."
the wicked one--who, as "prince of this world," enthrals "the
(1Jo 2:15-17; 5:19,
Greek, "the wicked one"), especially the young. Christ came to
destroy this "prince of the world." Believers achieve the first grand
conquest over him when they pass from darkness to light, but afterwards
they need to maintain a continual keeping of themselves from his
assaults, looking to God by whom alone they are kept safe.
BENGEL thinks John refers specially to the
remarkable constancy exhibited by youths in Domitian's persecution.
Also to the young man whom John, after his return from Patmos, led with
gentle, loving persuasion to repentance. This youth had been commended
to the overseers of the Church by John, in one of his tours of
superintendency, as a promising disciple; he had been, therefore,
carefully watched up to baptism. But afterwards relying too much on
baptismal grace, he joined evil associates, and fell from step to step
down, till he became a captain of robbers. When John, some years after,
revisited that Church and heard of the youth's sad fall, he hastened to
the retreat of the robbers, suffered himself to be seized and taken
into the captain's presence. The youth, stung by conscience and the
remembrance of former years, fled away from the venerable apostle. Full
of love the aged father ran after him, called on him to take courage,
and announced to him forgiveness of his sins in the name of Christ. The
youth was recovered to the paths of Christianity, and was the means of
inducing many of his bad associates to repent and believe [CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA, Who Is the
Rich Man Who Shall Be Saved? 4.2; EUSEBIUS,
Ecclesiastical History, 3.20; CHRYSOSTOM,
First Exhortation to Theodore, 11].
15. Love not the world--that lieth in the wicked one
whom ye young men have overcome. Having once for all, through
faith, overcome the world
(1Jo 4:4; 5:4),
carry forward the conquest by not loving it. "The world" here means
"man, and man's world" [ALFORD], in his and its
state as fallen from God. "God loved [with the love of
compassion] the world," and we should feel the same kind of love
for the fallen world; but we are not to love the world
with congeniality and sympathy in its alienation from
God; we cannot have this latter kind of love for the God-estranged
world, and yet have also "the love of the Father in" us.
neither--Greek, "nor yet." A man might deny in general
that he loved the world, while keenly following some one of
THE THINGS IN IT: its riches, honors, or
pleasures; this clause prevents him escaping from conviction.
any man--therefore the warning, though primarily addressed to
the young, applies to all.
love of--that is, towards "the Father." The two, God and
the (sinful) world, are so opposed, that both cannot be congenially
loved at once.
16. all that is in the world--can be classed under one or other
of the three; the world contains these and no more.
lust of the flesh--that is, the lust which has its seat and
source in our lower animal nature. Satan tried this temptation the
first on Christ:
"Command this stone that it be made bread." Youth is especially
liable to fleshly lusts.
lust of the eyes--the avenue through which outward things of the
world, riches, pomp, and beauty, inflame us. Satan tried this
temptation on Christ when he showed Him the kingdoms of the world in a
moment. By the lust of the eyes David
and Achan fell
Compare David's prayer,
The only good of worldly riches to the possessor is the beholding them
with the eyes. Compare
"I must go and SEE it."
pride of life--literally, "arrogant assumption": vainglorious
display. Pride was Satan's sin whereby he fell and forms the
link between the two foes of man, the world (answering to "the
lust of the eyes") and the devil (as "the lust of the flesh" is
the third foe). Satan tried this temptation on Christ in setting Him on
the temple pinnacle that, in spiritual pride and
presumption, on the ground of His Father's care, He should cast
Himself down. The same three foes appear in the three classes of soil
on which the divine seed falls: the wayside hearers, the devil;
the thorns, the world; the rocky undersoil, the flesh
The world's awful antitrinity, the "lust of the flesh, the lust
of the eyes, and the pride of life," similarly is presented in Satan's
temptation of Eve: "When she saw that the tree was good for
food, pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to
make one wise,"
(one manifestation of "the pride of life," the desire to know above
what God has revealed,
the pride of unsanctified knowledge).
of--does not spring from "the Father" (used in relation
to the preceding "little children,"
or "little sons"). He who is born of God alone turns to
God; he who is of the world turns to the world; the sources of love to
God and love to the world, are irreconcilably distinct.
17. the world--with all who are of the world worldly.
passeth away--Greek, "is passing away" even now.
the lust thereof--in its threefold manifestation
he that doeth the will of God--not his own fleshly will,
or the will of the world, but that of God
(1Jo 2:3, 6),
especially in respect to love.
abideth for ever--"even as God also abideth for ever" (with whom
the godly is one; compare
"God, even He that abideth of old): a true comment, which
CYPRIAN and LUCIFER have
added to the text without support of Greek manuscripts.
In contrast to the three passing lusts of the world, the doer of
God's will has three abiding goods, "riches, honor, and life"
18. Little children--same Greek as
children in age. After the fathers and young men
were gone, "the last time" with its "many Antichrists" was about to
come suddenly on the children. "In this last hour we all
even still live" [BENGEL]. Each successive age
has had in it some of the signs of "the last time" which precedes
Christ's coming, in order to keep the Church in continual waiting for
the Lord. The connection with
is: There are coming those seducers who are of the world
and would tempt you to go out from us
and deny Christ
as ye have heard--from the apostles, preachers of the Gospel
and in the region of Ephesus,
Ac 20:29, 30).
shall come--Greek, "cometh," namely, out of his own
place. Antichrist is interpreted in two ways: a false Christ
(Mt 24:5, 24),
literally, "instead of Christ"; or an adversary of
Christ, literally, "against Christ." As John never uses
pseudo-Christ, or "false Christ," for Antichrist, it is
plain he means an adversary of Christ, claiming to himself what
belongs to Christ, and wishing to substitute himself for Christ as the
supreme object of worship. He denies the Son, not merely, like
the pope, acts in the name of the Son,
"Who opposeth himself (Greek, "
ANTI-keimenos") [to] all that is called
God," decides this. For God's great truth, "God is man," he would
substitute his own lie, "man is God" [TRENCH].
are there--Greek, "there have begun to be"; there have
arisen. These "many Antichrists" answer to "the spirit of lawlessness
(Greek) doth already work." The Antichristian principle appeared
then, as now, in evil men and evil teachings and writings; but still
"THE Antichrist" means a hostile person,
even as "THE Christ" is a personal Saviour. As
"cometh" is used of Christ, so here of Antichrist, the
embodiment in his own person of all the Antichristian features and
spirit of those "many Antichrists" which have been, and are, his
forerunners. John uses the singular of him. No other New Testament
writer uses the term. He probably answers to "the little horn having
the eyes of a man, and speaking great things"
(Da 7:8, 20);
"the man of sin, son of perdition"
"the beast ascending out of the bottomless pit"
(Re 11:7; 17:8),
or rather, "the false prophet," the same as "the second beast coming up
out of the earth"
(Re 13:11-18; 16:13).
19. out from us--from our Christian communion. Not necessarily a
formal secession or going out: thus Rome has spiritually gone
out, though formally still of the Christian Church.
not of us--by spiritual fellowship
"They are like bad humors in the body of Christ, the Church: when they
are vomited out, then the body is relieved; the body of Christ is now
still under treatment, and has not yet attained the perfect soundness
which it shall have only at the resurrection" [AUGUSTINE, Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of
John, Homily 3.4].
they would . . . have continued--implying the
indefectibility of grace in the elect. "Where God's call is effectual,
there will be sure perseverance" [CALVIN]. Still,
it is no fatal necessity, but a "voluntary necessity" [DIDYMUS], which causes men to remain, or else go from the
body of Christ. "We are either among the members, or else among the bad
humors. It is of his own will that each is either an Antichrist, or in
Christ" [AUGUSTINE]. Still God's actings in
eternal election harmonize in a way inexplicable to us, with
man's free agency and responsibility. It is men's own evil will that
chooses the way to hell; it is God's free and sovereign grace that
draws any to Himself and to heaven. To God the latter shall ascribe
wholly their salvation from first to last: the former shall reproach
themselves alone, and not God's decree, with their condemnation
(1Jo 3:9; 5:18).
that they were not all of us--This translation would imply
that some of the Antichrists are of us! Translate, therefore,
"that all (who are for a time among us) are not of us." Compare
"There must be heresies among you, that they which are approved may be
made manifest among you." For "were" some of the oldest manuscripts
read "are." Such occasions test who are, and who are not, the Lord's
20. But--Greek, "And." He here states the means which
they as believers have wherewith to withstand. Antichrists
namely, the chrism (so the Greek: a play upon similar
sounds), or "anointing unguent," namely, the Holy Spirit (more plainly
mentioned further on, as in John's style,
1Jo 3:24; 4:13; 5:6),
which they ("ye" is emphatical in contrast to those apostates,
have "from the Holy One, Christ"
(Joh 1:33; 3:34; 15:26; 16:14):
"the Holy One"
Those anointed of God in Christ alone can resist those anointed
with the spirit of Satan, Antichrists, who would sever them from
the Father and from the Son. Believers have the anointing Spirit from
the Father also, as well as from the Son; even as the Son is
anointed therewith by the Father. Hence the Spirit is the token that we
are in the Father and in the Son; without it a man is none of Christ.
The material unguent of costliest ingredients, poured on the head of
priests and kings, typified this spiritual unguent, derived from
Christ, the Head, to us, His members. We can have no share in Him as
Jesus, except we become truly Christians, and so be in
Him as Christ, anointed with that unction from the Holy One. The
Spirit poured on Christ, the Head, is by Him diffused through all the
members. "It appears that we all are the body of Christ, because
we all are anointed: and we all in Him are both Christ's and
Christ, because in some measure the whole Christ is Head
ye know all things--needful for acting aright against
Antichrist's seductions, and for Christian life and godliness. In the
same measure as one hath the Spirit, in that measure (no more
and no less) he knows all these things.
21. but because ye know it, and that, &c.--Ye not only
know what is the truth (concerning the Son and the Father,
but also are able to detect a lie as a thing opposed to the truth. For
right (a straight line) is the index of itself and of what is crooked
[ESTIUS]. The Greek is susceptible of
ALFORD'S translation, "Because ye know it, and
because no lie is of the truth" (literally, "every lie is
excluded from being of the truth"). I therefore wrote (in this Epistle)
to point out what the lie is, and who the liars are.
22. a liar--Greek, "Who is the liar?" namely, guilty of
the lie just mentioned
that Jesus is the Christ--the grand central truth.
He is Antichrist--Greek, "the Antichrist"; not
however here personal, but in the abstract; the ideal of
Antichrist is "he that denieth the Father and the Son." To deny the
latter is virtually to deny the former. Again, the truth as to the Son
must be held in its integrity; to deny that Jesus is the Christ, or
that He is the Son of God, or that He came in the flesh, invalidates
23. Greek, "Every one who denieth the Son, hath not the
(1Jo 4:2, 3):
"inasmuch as God hath given Himself to us wholly to be enjoyed in
he--that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
These words ought not to be in italics, as though they were not in the
original: for the oldest Greek manuscripts have them.
hath--namely, in his abiding possession as his "portion"; by
living personal "fellowship."
acknowledgeth--by open confession of Christ.
24. Let that--truth respecting the Father and the Son, regarded
as a seed not merely dropped in, but having taken root
ye--in the Greek standing emphatically at the beginning
of the sentence. YE, therefore, acknowledge the Son, and so
shall ye have the Father also
from the beginning--from the time of your first hearing the
remain--Translate as before, "abide."
ye also--in your turn, as distinguished from "that which ye have
heard," the seed abiding in you. Compare
"the anointing abideth in you . . . ye shall abide
in Him." Having taken into us the living seed of the truth
concerning the Father and the Son, we become transformed into the
likeness of Him whose seed we have taken into us.
25. this is the promise--Eternal life shall be the
permanent consummation of thus abiding in the Son and in the
he--Greek, "Himself," Christ, "the Son" (compare
(Joh 3:15, 36;
6:40, 47, 57; 17:2, 3).
26. These things--
have I written--resumed from
and 1Jo 2:14.
seduce you--that is, are trying to seduce or lead you into
27. But--Greek, "And you (contrasting the believing
readers with the seducers; the words 'and you' stand prominent,
the construction of the sentence following being altered, and no verb
agreeing with 'and you' until 'need not') . . . the
anointing," &c. (resumed from
received of him--
So we "are unto God a sweet savor of Christ."
abideth in you--He tacitly thus admonishes them to say, when
tempted by seducers, "The anointing abideth in us; we do not need a
teacher [for we have the Holy Spirit as our teacher,
Joh 6:45; 16:13];
it teaches us the truth; in that teaching we will abide"
and--and therefore. God is sufficient for them who are taught of
Him; they are independent of all others, though, of course, not
declining the Christian counsel of faithful ministers. "Mutual
communication is not set aside, but approved of, in the case of those
who are partakers of the anointing in one body" [BENGEL].
the same anointing--which ye once for all received, and which
now still abides in you.
all things--essential to salvation; the point under discussion.
Not that the believer is made infallible, for no believer here receives
the Spirit in all its fulness, but only the measure needful for keeping
him from soul-destroying error. So the Church, though having the Spirit
in her, is not infallible (for many fallible members can never make an
infallible whole), but is kept from ever wholly losing the saving
no lie--as Antichristian teaching.
ye shall abide in him--
end); even as "the anointing abideth in you." The oldest manuscripts
read the imperative, "abide in Him."
28. little children--Greek, "little sons," as in
believers of every stage and age.
abide in him--Christ. John repeats his monition with a loving
appellation, as a father addressing dear children.
when--literally, "if"; the uncertainty is not as to the fact,
but the time.
appear--Greek, "be manifested."
we--both writer and readers.
ashamed before him--literally, "from Him"; shrink back
from Him ashamed. Contrast "boldness in the day of judgment,"
1Jo 3:21; 5:14.
In the Apocalypse (written, therefore, BENGEL
thinks, subsequently), Christ's coming is represented as put off to a
29. The heading of the second division of the Epistle:
"God is righteous; therefore, every one that doeth righteousness is
born of Him." Love is the grand feature and principle of
"righteousness" selected for discussion,
If ye know . . . ye know--distinct Greek verbs:
"if ye are aware (are in possession of the knowledge)
. . . ye discern or apprehend also that," &c. Ye are
already aware that God ("He" includes both "the Father,"
of whom the believer is born (end of this verse, and
and "the Son,"
1Jo 2:1, 23)
is righteous, ye must necessarily, thereby, perceive also the
consequence of that truth, namely, "that everyone that doeth
righteousness (and he alone; literally, the righteousness such
as the righteous God approves) is born of Him." The righteous produceth
the righteous. We are never said to be born again of
Christ, but of God, with whom Christ is one. HOLLAZ in ALFORD defines the
righteousness of God, "It is the divine energy by whose power God
wills and does all things which are conformable to His eternal law,
prescribes suitable laws to His creatures, fulfils His promises to men,
rewards the good, and punishes the ungodly."
doeth--"For the graces (virtues) are practical, and have their
being in being produced (in being exercised); for when they have ceased
to act, or are only about to act, they have not even being"
[ŒCUMENIUS]. "God is righteous, and
therefore the source of righteousness; when then a man doeth
righteousness, we know that the source of his righteousness is God,
that consequently he has acquired by new birth from God that
righteousness which he had not by nature. We argue from his doing
righteousness, to his being born of God. The error of
Pelagians is to conclude that doing righteousness is a condition
of becoming a child of God" [ALFORD most
Lu 7:47, 50:
Her much love evinced that her sins were already
forgiven; not, were the condition of her sins being