1 John 2
by Philip Layton
The link between faith and obedience, and a warning against false teachers
- Is it possible to love the world and God at the same time (vv 15-17)?
- How does verse 23 sit with the theory that all religions worship the same God?
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Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
In chapter 2 John builds on what he said about sin and forgiveness at the end of the previous chapter. Some might be tempted to think about sin flippantly since it permeates humanity and God’s forgiveness is so readily available. So in a pastoral, fatherly tone John says he’s writing that followers of Christ may not sin. If we know the Lord, we should want to obey him. If we are united to him, we should want to be like him.
But, says John, if we succumb to sin, we have an advocate (parakletos) with God – Jesus Christ. Jesus stands beside us and represents us to God as one fully equipped to plead a case in court. John uses the same word in his Gospel when he records that Jesus promises ‘another advocate’, meaning one like himself. He refers to the Holy Spirit (John 14:16) who counsels and advises us of a right course and the true way of thinking, the Jesus way.
Besides being our advocate with God, Jesus, the righteous one, is the atonement for our sins, the basis of our reconciliation to God. Out of great love for humanity, God sends Christ to redeem us, to provide the way of our return to the waiting Father, to offer forgiveness is we are penitent and willing.
John adds that God’s remedy for restoring believers is the same as the provision that brought us pardon and salvation – the blood of Christ – and is on offer to the whole world to accept or reject.
John says that the evidence of knowing fellowship with God is our obedience to his word. We may admire those with great intellect. The Greeks who esteemed rational thought as the path to spiritual illumination might speak of solving the problem of God. Others tried to become one with divinity through emotional, mystical experiences. But John makes it clear that for Christians, knowing God comes through obeying God’s revealed truth and in emulating Christ. Our intellect and emotions can then serve God through our loving, Christlike actions.
Evelyn MerriamTags: 1 John