New Defender's Study Bible Notes
2:1 sin not. Lest anyone regard the promises of I John 1:7,9, as a license to sin, John stresses that these very promises should keep them from a life style of sin! That is, the sacrificial love of their Savior, providing full forgiveness and free salvation, should by all rights lead them to hate sin and constrain them to a life of holiness.
2:1 if any man sin. This refers to a specific sin. This provision is not applicable to a life of habitual sin. The latter would indicate that the sinner has not yet truly been born again (see note on I John 3:6).
2:1 advocate. “Advocate” is the Greek paraclete, meaning “one called alongside.” It is translated “Comforter” in John 14:16.
2:2 propitiation. See also I John 4:10. “Propitiation” in this context means “sacrifice” or “satisfaction.”
2:2 sins of the whole world. The value of Christ’s blood was infinite, sufficient to cover all the sins of all the men and women of every age of history. The fact that it is efficacious unto eternal salvation only for the elect (a term that includes all and only those who believe on Him) is no argument that its value was thereby limited.
2:3 know. This is the first of at least thirty-seven occurrences of “know” (Greek ginosko or eido) in I John. One of the prominent themes in this epistle is the assurance we have in Christ. This first test of how we know our salvation is real is that we desire to keep His commandments just because they are His commandments, and we desire to please Him.
2:5 keepeth his word. This is the second test of life in I John (note I John 2:3). If we are truly in Christ, we will keep (that is, guard) His Word.
2:6 even as he walked. For the genuine believer in Christ, the standard of thoughts (Philippians 2:5), deeds (I Peter 2:21), love (John 13:35) and of life itself (I John 2:6), is nothing less than Jesus Himself, as manifest in His perfect humanity.
2:7 from the beginning. Note I John 3:11. The commandment to love one another is not a new revelation, for Jesus had repeatedly taught this in His earthly ministry. The “beginning” referred to is not only the beginning of the world, although the primeval union of Adam and Eve presupposed marital love as the foundation of God’s initial command to “multiply” (Genesis 1:28), nor the beginning of Israel, though the commandment to love one’s neighbor was foundational in the Mosaic law (Romans 13:8-10), but especially the beginning of Christianity, based on the sacrificial example of love by the Lord Jesus Himself (John 15:12-14).
2:8 new commandment. Although the commandment to love one another is not new (I John 2:7), in so far as knowledge and awareness are concerned, it becomes new when made a part of life, when the old spiritual darkness is banished by the true light shining in one’s soul. Compare II Corinthians 4:6.
2:12 little children. The aged apostle, in I John 2:12-14, is addressing three special groups. “Little children,” in I John 2:12, is from the Greek word meaning “infants,” thus referring to spiritual babes in Christ (same as in I John 2:1). However, “little children,” in I John 2:13, is from a Greek word meaning “young child,” evidently referring to half-grown Christians (same in I John 2:18). “Young men” (I John 2:13-14) apparently refers to strong Christians, active and mature in the faith, but not yet ready for full leadership. Finally, “fathers” (I John 2:13-14) must mean those who, like John himself, were Christians “from the beginning,” dating from the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, and thus presumably older Christians both physiologically and spiritually.
2:15 Love not the world. Note that this command is absolute, not relative. It does not say: “Don’t love the world too much,” but “not at all!” See also Romans 12:2; Galatians 1:4; James 4:4. The “world” here does not mean the earth or its people (God Himself so loved the world that He gave His Son to save its people) but rather the world as a “system,” with its possessions, positions and pleasures (contrast II Corinthians 6:10.
2:16 pride of life. These three classes of temptations correspond to the three ways in which Satan deceived Eve (Genesis 3:6) and the three ways in which he unsuccessfully tried to deceive Christ (Luke 4:2-12). Note:
|I John 2:16||Genesis 3:6||James 3:15||Luke 4:2-12|
|Lust of flesh (body)||Good to eat||Earthly||Victory over appetite.|
|Lust of eyes (soul)||Good to see||Sensual||Victory over covetousness.|
|Pride of life (spirit)||Good to know||Devilish||Victory over pride|
2:17 passeth away. Literally, “is passing away.” Under the domain of God’s curse because of sin, the “whole creation” is “in pain” (Romans 8:21), under its “bondage of corruption” (that is, “decay”—Romans 8:20), and is literally disintegrating back into the “dust”—the basic elements from which it was formed. Scientifically, this is essentially what is known as the universal law of increasing entropy, a law squarely negating the imaginary evolutionary progress of the world. See also such Scriptures as Matthew 24:35; I Peter 1:24-25; Hebrews 1:11-12; and Hebrews 12:27. There are many others of like import.
2:17 abideth for ever. In contrast to the law of physical decay, God does not change (James 1:17), nor does His Word (Psalm 119:89). Even though their physical bodies are now under the curse, those who do God’s will in accepting Christ will receive new bodies, eternal in character, when Christ returns (Philippians 3:20-21; Revelation 21:4; 22:3-5).
2:18 antichrist. This is actually recorded as a personal name, Antichrist. This is the only place in the Bible where he is called by this name, but that such a person is coming had long been known by the early Christians. Christ had called him “the abomination of desolation” (Matthew 24:15), Paul had called him “the man of sin” and “the son of perdition” (II Thessalonians 2:3), and John would later call him “the Beast” (Revelation 13:4). When he does come, he will—like his master, Satan—oppose and blaspheme God and briefly obtain dominion over the world.
2:18 the last time. This phrase actually reads “a last hour.” When the ultimate Antichrist comes, it will indeed be the last hour for this present world order. In John’s time, however, and in every generation since, many have arisen—even in the professing church—who manifest the spirit of “antichrist.” That is, they deny that God is Creator and that Jesus Christ is Savior, rejecting God’s Word and seeking to undermine and destroy every true church. When a particular church (or any Christian organization) allows such teaching to gain a secure foothold, it becomes a last hour for that church. Such antichrists are not “false Christs” (e.g., Matthew 24:24), pretending to be the returning Christ or a new manifestation of Christ (these are dangerous also, and are apparently proliferating in the New Age movement), but men openly opposing God, Christ, the Scriptures, and all they represent.
2:19 were not of us. Those who once professed to believe in Christ and the doctrines of Christianity, but then renounced the faith and began to manifest the spirit of antichrist, are thereby proved never to have had true saving faith in Christ at all. All who truly believe and are saved will continue in the faith forever.
2:20 unction. “Unction” is actually “anointing.” When he accepts Christ, each believer is anointed as a priest (I Peter 2:9) by the Holy Spirit. See I John 2:27.
2:20 ye know all. This could be read as “ye all know” things, as needed, in Christ.
2:22 antichrist. Anyone who denies the Father, the Son, or that Jesus is the promised Messiah is an antichrist. This would include the doctrines of special creation by God as Creator and His special incarnation in His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
2:27 anointing. See I John 2:20. The anointing we have received from the Holy Spirit never needs to be repeated, for it abides in us and we shall abide in Him.
2:27 teach you. This in no way denigrates the value of God-called teachers (note Ephesians 4:11; Acts 13:1), but does indicate that each believer is capable and responsible to study the Word for himself or herself. The Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures, and has anointed and indwells each believer, who therefore does not need other believers to tell him what to believe. He can certainly request and receive help from others, but in the last analysis he is able and responsible to know and believe the truth himself. Otherwise, he may not end up as a “workman that needeth not to be ashamed” (II Timothy 2:15) when the Lord comes (I John 2:28).
2:28 little children. This exhortation is addressed specifically to new Christians, but it surely applies just as urgently to all Christians.
2:28 when he shall appear. If we “love His appearing” (II Timothy 4:8) and are “looking for Him” to “appear the second time” (Hebrews 9:28), then we will naturally be careful to seek to please Him daily in our thoughts, words and deeds, as well as being diligent in studying His Word.
2:28 ashamed before him. It will not mean loss of salvation, but rather shame and loss of confidence if we are behaving inconsistently when Christ returns. Note also Matthew 24:42-46; II Peter 3:11.
2:29 born of Him. This is the first of seven occurrences of the phrase “born of God” or “born of Him” in I John, each giving a descriptor of those who are truly born again. The others are I John 3:9 (twice); 4:7; 5:1,4,18.