Summary: John shows the necessity of a savior and advocate in being right with God, serving God and loving as God instructs.
The Difference A Savior Makes
Sheep and cows get lost easily while eating.
I. The payment for sins.
1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Verse 1 is a continuation of the thought in chapter 1. God has restored fellowship. We need Him to overcome sin in our lives. We need to live in continual dependence of Him to have victory over sin. When we fail and sin, we have a path of restoration.
John uses the diminutive phrase for children, little children. This expresses his love (little children) and authority (my). It can be translated "Little darlings of mine". It is rather unique in its usage here. It also highlights the importance of what he is about to say.
Verse one as two halves. First, John's desire is that we live on the higher road. He writes these things so that we can find victory over sin. However, he understood that living in a world filled with trials, temptation and subtle deception, we will sin.
His first goal is to strengthen us more and more against sin. Sin separates mankind from God.
And his second goal is for us to understand that after we sin, there is a proper route to return to God. Jesus has closed separation. When we fall, there is no need to run from the Father. John's desire is that when we sin, we respond by running TO the Father.
God is never pleased with our sins. He is neither pleased with our hiding from Him after sinning. When we fall, we have an advocate (parakletos; helper, advocate in the narrower sense) with the Father. This word is used to describe the Holy Spirit in many passages and is most commonly translated as comforter. It was also used as a legal representative to protect the interests of a citizen in a court of law.
This is the accepted application to the use of parakletos in this passage. Our advocate does not seek a loophole in the law to wiggle us out of separation from the Father. Our advocate insists on full payment of the law, with no loopholes.
However, our advocate has made the full payment, pending our acceptance. Please notice the distance references in Ephesians 2:13-16. "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. "
This is also expressed in our text......1 John 2:2 "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."
We don't just have an advocate begging the mercy of the judge. The word rendered "propitiation" is used in this form only here in the Bible. It is used in other forms of the word in other places, such as, Rom 3:25 "...whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins."
The corresponding Hebrew word means "atoning sacrifice". In pagan religions, man had to appease the gods to win favor. That is the reason for human sacrifices and offerings. These efforts to appease the gods were called hilaskomai, or propitiations.
However, in the Bible, this word is never used for an act of man to appease God. It is God's act of hilaskomai that brings peace between the one true God and man. Only in Christianity does a God offer Himself for a debt owned to Himself by mankind.
Our advocate calls for justice. He personally paid the debt of our sin in full. His payment was such that it is sufficient to cover the all sins of the whole world. But it is only offered to those who come to Him.
II. The Proof of sanctification.
1 John 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
John, without addressing the evils or perils of gnosticism, shatters the concept with these connecting thoughts. The gnostics taught that you could only know God and be known of Him by entering to His world of knowledge. The more you know about the world and its knowledge, the more you are like God. The more you are like God, the more you are known by God and know God, they concluded.