Yesterday we dug into chapter 1 of First John. Today we will start to dig into the second chapter of First John. Remember as we looked into the introduction into the epistle we learned that John speaks in simple words, but the truths relayed are profound. I will take the time to try and unwrap some of what John is saying for us as we dig in together.
1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. and if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
I love that he calls us little children here, in the NIV translation he calls them dear children. For those that are already parents you can understand the heart here, that of a mother to the child. You love your children and what to protect and warn against harm that could come their way. You warn, but also come alongside and teach that if they do fall short, if they do walk into harm they do not have to stay there. Maybe you, like me, are not a mother yet, but this concept is still within your grasp. Maybe you are a spiritual mother to someone. You love them and warn them of spiritual danger. Maybe you are neither, but have worked with kids before. Whatever your personal circumstances are understanding John as someone who is further down the road of walking with the Lord looking back and encouraging those younger than you, like a father would to his son, is a beautiful picture to behold.
1b And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only ours but also for the whole world.
John also lets us know his purpose in writing this to us, so that we will not sin. I see two major reasons why we have God’s word. The first is so that we can know Him for who He truly is and the other is so that we might not sin. Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. We live in such a blessed time, especially living in America. We have access to God’s word everywhere. The question for both you and me is this, are we taking the time to know it and apply it to our lives? Some of us who have grown up in Church may know the word very well, but are we applying it? Having access to the medicine that will heal us and make us right and knowing that the medicine will work that way, but then never taking it sounds utterly ridiculous. The truth is that is how many Christians approach the Bible. We know it is the word of God and in it are the answers to life, but then we seldom apply it to our own lives.
John also lets us know, again, that we are not perfect and when we sin we have an Advocate in Jesus Christ who goes and speaks to the Creator on our behalf.
- advocate in its primary sense, signifies, one who pleads the cause of another in a court of civil law.
That is just one of the things that Christ does for us. The perfect and spotless lamb goes before the Holy God and pleads our case for us. Anything that we should then be charged with He lays it upon His account and the payment was already made for us on Calvary.
He did not just pay this price for us, but for the whole world. The whole world has access to payment for their sins, but the whole world does not choose God. He is a gentlemen and will not force us to choose Him. He is the one that came up with the design of free will. He pleads with us and reasons with, us speaking truth into our lives, but ultimately He leaves the choice in our hands.
As we go out and minister to others we need to have the mindset of Christ. We love those that are lost around us and want them to know God, but the choice remains up to them. We live out our Christian walk in front of them. We are ready at all times to give an account for the hope that we have. We reason with them on the basis of scripture, but we always do so in love. Not in trying to win them to our side, but because we love them and do not want them to perish.
3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
John is only teaching what he has heard from Jesus. John 14:15 if you love Me, keep My commandments. Then again in John 14: 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. Obedience is what the Lord is after. If we say that we love someone than contradict what they tell us by our very actions, that is not love and our actions and words do not line up. In those cases it is our actions that speak what is truly in our hearts and our words are what we want to be true or think is what the other wants to hear. Again we are not going to be perfect, but what is our overall conduct say. Are we looking to please the Lord by holding to what He has said, or are we giving lip service to God and really just living our lives the way we want to and adding God to the mix when it is fitting for our lifestyle?
6 He who says he abides in HIm ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
Guys this is a calling. As we continue to walk with Christ we should look more and more like Him. To abide with Christ means to rest and dwell with Him. maybe this task seems to daunting for you. We can so easily look at all of our faults and think we can never look like Jesus, that we can never have a walk like He did. The truth of the matter is when we rely on our on strengths this is very true. John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. We need to be dependent on the Lord. aside from that we have no hope in walking out our faith and living for him. We cannot just muster up the strength and ability to do things right. It truly takes a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old command is the word which you heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
This commandment that John speaks of being both old and new is one in the same commandment. It is the commandment to love. Part of what makes it a new commandment is Jesus calling it new in John 13:34 and the reason that it is new is because of the intensity with which Jesus loved, an intensity never before seen. The love is the light that is shining, first through Jesus and then through all of us who carry His light out into our dark world.
9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
We are called to a high standard. We cannot say we walk in the light have free fellowship with God and then hate our brothers, whether that is flesh and blood brother of just fellow member of the body. In Matthew 5: 21-22 Jesus in the sermon on the mount let us know just how serious it is to have hatred, unjust hatred, in your heart for someone. He tells us that to hate someone is likened to murdering them. To have hatred in your heart puts you in danger of judgement. Now lets just be real for a minute, some of us have real hurts from the past inflicted on us from someone else. We may be tempted to then say but you do not know what was done to me I have every right to be angry with this person. In the standards of the world that may be true, but we are not called to live like the world, but to live like Christ. Just a few verses prior John said that our walk should look like His walk. God calls us to be holy as He is holy. We look at the example of Jesus on the cross. He was wrongfully convicted and the price with His life. We do not see Him sending curses down on them or speaking angrily to them. What we see is Jesus praying Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing. I am not trying to minimize what some might be going through. Simply trying to encourage you to look up to heaven and away from the circumstance and ask Him how He would have you respond in the situation that you are currently facing. When we walk around hating someone we will often find ourselves stumbling in other areas as well. Hatred puts blinders up in our lives and gets us tunnel visioned and we end up stumbling around and injuring others.
12 I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
Here this: Your sins are forgiven. Christ has forgive us on the cross. We need to forgive ourselves from this as well. I struggled for a long time with thinking I needed to punish myself for the sins that I have committed since God would not. That was such a lie and an arrogant statement. I needed to accept Christ’s forgiveness as He has laid in out for me rather than my own terms. Christ’s forgiveness is complete and free. How great it is to live forgiven!
13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. 14 I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.
This applies to us women just as much. There are three groups of people that John address here. The little Children, those that are young in their faith. Then there are the fathers, those that are seasoned in their faith, those who have a long spiritual walk with the Lord. The last group is the young men. These are those that are no longer fit in the child category but are not yet in the father’s category. The relationship the fathers have with Jesus is both true and deep. They know the one that that is from the beginning. The strength that the young men have to overcome the wicked one is founded in the word of God abiding in them.
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 for all that is in the world– the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life– is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Our lives are so much bigger than this world and temporary things. We need to love the Lord more than the world. The things of this world fall into one of three places. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. When Jesus was tempted on the mountain these were these three things. The lust of the flesh is when we think about those things that would satisfy our flesh, like eve looking at the tasty fruit in the garden of Eden. The lust of the eyes are the things that we see are are pleasant to our eyes. When see and then go after to obtain because it appealed to our eyes. The pride of life is when we go after those things which would make us desirable in life. Pride is those things that will puff us up and elevate us, at least in our own minds, above everyone else.
He who does the will of God abides forever. I do not want to fade away. I want to live for the Lord and bless and honor Him with my life.