Summary: Bible Study
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN -CHAPTER 2
I JOHN 2:1 - A FRIEND OF THE ACCUSED
"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"
John uses the family term "my little children" to warn us that the grace and mercy of God, does not give us license to sin. Rather, he has written "these things ... that ye sin not". Paul says it this way; "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? ...Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through
Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom 6:1-3,11)
God’s provision of cleansing and Sacrifice is crowned by the gift of an Advocate a pleader, intercessor, a friend of the accused who is called to speak in his favor. These names have the meaning of one who pleads, convinces, convicts in a great controversy, who strengthens on the one hand and defends on the other. Scofield’s footnote says "Advocacy is that work of Jesus Christ for sinning saints, which He carries on with the Father whereby, because of the eternal efficacy of His own sacrifice, He restores them to fellowship"
In Romans 8:34 Paul states the truth explicitly: Christ "at the right hand of God......He intercedes for us". In Hebrews it says Christ has "entered into heaven. to appear in the presence of God on our behalf", a merciful and faithful High Priest, ever living to make intercession for us. The emphasis in Hebrews upon the qualifying sinlessness of the High Priest is echoed in John’s title for the Advocate, "the Righteous One".
What it means is that Jesus "represents us" before the Father. Advocacy is a comfort to the family, just as mother used to intercede for us some times to our earthly father when we had done wrong. We made a mistake if we thought mother’s intercession meant we could then continue to do wrong and not be punished.
vs 2 - GOD’S APPEASEMENT
"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world"
Jesus is the means of appeasement, of propitiation, or expiation, concerning our sin. John’s language here is plainly sacrificial, the expiatory offerings of Judaism, illumine the meaning, and it reflects the idea in John’s gospel "the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29) and Jesus "appeared to take away sin (I John 3:5). This is the third part of god’s threefold provision for our sin. The first two parts we have already discussed; Cleansing and Advocacy. Presently John will add love as the source of expiation. God’s purpose
is not to just forgive and leave us were we are, His discipline, His light bearing upon our newly sensitive minds and hearts, and above all the constant experience of fellowship with Him, produce a cumulative and unceasing refinement of conscience and sanctification of character that makes sinners into saints.
vs 3 - WHO ARE THE REAL CHRISTIANS ?
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments"
The Church was becoming confused -- Who are the real Christians ? Many of their best friends had separated themselves from the Apostolic fellowship.
Who should they fellowship with? John answers their questions by writing "They went out from us, but they were not of us" (I John 2:19). John states in this verse the real Christians are those who keep His commandments (His Word). Later he adds that the real Christians, also "have the witness of the Spirit" (I John 3:24 and 5:10) and "love the Brethren" (I John 3:14 and 4:20,21).
Since Christianity can be counterfeited, what real proof do we have that we are fellowshipping with real Christians? John says that real Christians will walk as Christ walked. Ye shall know them by their fruits. The real test of what you know is how you live. Professed insights that do not control behavior are exposed as mere theoretic opinions, and not convictions. Only by obedience to the truth we say we have, can we be ourselves be sure we are not misled. The test we usually apply to ourselves is that of feeling: the feeling of sincerity, of joy and peace and confidence. John affirms that we know whether we have truly arrived at an understanding of the gospel, and the knowledge of the Lord, by its practical effect upon ourselves to desire to do God’s will and the creation in us of the will to obey His Word. If Christ is in us, we will do what He would have done. Let’s name some things Jesus did when He was here on earth: