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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - 1JOHN 2
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    CHAPTER 2

    1Jo 2:1-29. THE ADVOCACY OF CHRIST IS OUR ANTIDOTE TO SIN WHILE WALKING IN THE LIGHT; FOR TO KNOW GOD, WE MUST KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS AND LOVE THE BRETHREN, AND NOT LOVE THE WORLD, NOR GIVE HEED TO ANTICHRISTS, AGAINST WHOM OUR SAFETY IS THROUGH THE INWARD ANOINTING OF GOD TO ABIDE IN GOD: SO AT CHRIST'S COMING WE SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED.

    1. (1Jo 5:18.)
    - My little children--The diminutive expresses the tender affection of an aged pastor and spiritual father. My own dear children, that is, sons and daughters (see on 1Jo 2:12).
    - these things-- (1Jo 1:6-10). My purpose in writing what I have just written is not that you should abuse them as giving a license to sin but, on the contrary, "in order that ye may not sin at all" (the Greek aorist, implying the absence not only of the habit, but of single acts of sin [ALFORD]). In order to "walk in the light" (1Jo 1:5, 7), the first step is confession of sin (1Jo 1:9), the next (1Jo 2:1) is that we should forsake all sin. The divine purpose has for its aim, either to prevent the commission of, or to destroy sin [BENGEL].
    - And, &c.--connected with the former; Furthermore, "if any man sin," let him, while loathing and condemning it, not fear to go at once to God, the Judge, confessing it, for "we have an Advocate with Him." He is speaking of a BELIEVER'S occasional sins of infirmity through Satan's fraud and malice. The use of "we" immediately afterwards implies that we all are liable to this, though not necessarily constrained to sin.
    - we have an advocate--Advocacy is God's family blessing; other blessings He grants to good and bad alike, but justification, sanctification, continued intercession, and peace, He grants to His children alone.
    - advocate--Greek, "paraclete," the same term as is applied to the Holy Ghost, as the "other Comforter"; showing the unity of the Second and Third Persons of the Trinity. Christ is the Intercessor for us above; and, in His absence, here below the Holy Ghost is the other Intercessor in us. Christ's advocacy is inseparable from the Holy Spirit's comfort and working in us, as the spirit of intercessory prayer.
    - righteous--As our "advocate," Christ is not a mere suppliant petitioner. He pleads for us on the ground of justice, or righteousness, as well as mercy. Though He can say nothing good of us, He can say much for us. It is His righteousness, or obedience to the law, and endurance of its full penalty for us, on which He grounds His claim for our acquittal. The sense therefore is, "in that He is righteous"; in contrast to our sin ("if any man sin"). The Father, by raising Him from the dead, and setting Him at His own right, has once for all accepted Christ's claim for us. Therefore the accuser's charges against God's children are vain. "The righteousness of Christ stands on our side; for God's righteousness is, in Jesus Christ, ours" [LUTHER].

    2. And he--Greek, "And Himself." He is our all-prevailing Advocate, because He is Himself "the propitiation"; abstract, as in 1Co 1:30: He is to us all that is needed for propitiation "in behalf of our sins"; the propitiatory sacrifice, provided by the Father's love, removing the estrangement, and appeasing the righteous wrath, on God's part, against the sinner. "There is no incongruity that a father should be offended with that son whom he loveth, and at that time offended with him when he loveth him" [BISHOP PEARSON]. The only other place in the New Testament where Greek "propitiation" occurs, is 1Jo 4:10; it answers in the Septuagint to Hebrew, "caphar," to effect an atonement or reconciliation with God; and in Eze 44:29, to the sin offering. In Ro 3:25, Greek, it is "propitiatory," that is, the mercy seat, or lid of the ark whereon God, represented by the Shekinah glory above it, met His people, represented by the high priest who sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on it.
    - and--Greek, "yet."
    - ours--believers: not Jews, in contrast to Gentiles; for he is not writing to Jews (1Jo 5:21).
    - also for the sins of the whole world--Christ's "advocacy" is limited to believers (1Jo 2:1; 1Jo 1:7): His propitiation extends as widely as sin extends: see on 2Pe 2:1, "denying the Lord that bought them." "The whole world" cannot be restricted to the believing portion of the world (compare 1Jo 4:14; and "the whole world," 1Jo 5:19). "Thou, too, art part of the world, so that thine heart cannot deceive itself and think, The Lord died for Peter and Paul, but not for me" [LUTHER].

    3. hereby--Greek, "in this." "It is herein," and herein only, that we know (present tense) that we have knowledge of (perfect tense, once-for-all obtained and continuing knowledge of) Him" (1Jo 2:4, 13, 14). Tokens whereby to discern grace are frequently given in this Epistle. The Gnostics, by the Spirit's prescient forewarning, are refuted, who boasted of knowledge, but set aside obedience. "Know Him," namely, as "the righteous" (1Jo 2:1, 29); our "Advocate and Intercessor."
    - keep--John's favorite word, instead of "do," literally, "watch," "guard," and "keep safe" as a precious thing; observing so as to keep. So Christ Himself. Not faultless conformity, but hearty acceptance of, and willing subjection to, God's whole revealed will, is meant.
    - commandments--injunctions of faith, love, and obedience. John never uses "the law" to express the rule of Christian obedience: he uses it as the Mosaic law.

    4. I know--Greek, "I have knowledge of (perfect) Him." Compare with this verse 1Jo 1:8.

    5. Not merely repeating the proposition, 1Jo 2:3, or asserting the merely opposite alternative to 1Jo 2:4, but expanding the "know Him" of 1Jo 2:3, into "in Him, verily (not as a matter of vain boasting) is the love of (that is towards) God perfected," and "we are in Him." Love here answers to knowledge in 1Jo 2:3. In proportion as we love God, in that same proportion we know Him, and vice versa, until our love and knowledge shall attain their full maturity of perfection.
    - his word--His word is one (see on 1Jo 1:5), and comprises His "commandments," which are many (1Jo 2:3).
    - hereby--in our progressing towards this ideal of perfected love and obedience. There is a gradation: 1Jo 2:3, "know Him"; 1Jo 2:5, "we are in Him"; 1Jo 2:6, "abideth in Him"; respectively, knowledge, fellowship, abiding constancy. [BENGEL].

    6. abideth--implying a condition lasting, without intermission, and without end.
    - He that saith . . . ought--so that his deeds may be consistent with his words.
    - even as he--Believers readily supply the name, their hearts being full of Him (compare Joh 20:15). "Even as He walked" when on earth, especially in respect to love. John delights in referring to Christ as the model man, with the words, "Even as He," &c. "It is not Christ's walking on the sea, but His ordinary walk, that we are called on to imitate" [LUTHER].

    7. Brethren--The oldest manuscripts and versions read instead, "Beloved," appropriate to the subject here, love.
    - no new commandment--namely, love, the main principle of walking as Christ walked (1Jo 2:6), and that commandment, of which one exemplification is presently given, 1Jo 2:9, 10, the love of brethren.
    - ye had from the beginning--from the time that ye first heard the Gospel word preached.

    8. a new commandment--It was "old," in that Christians as such had heard it from the first; but "new" (Greek, "kaine," not "nea": new and different from the old legal precept) in that it was first clearly promulgated with Christianity; though the inner spirit of the law was love even to enemies, yet it was enveloped in some bitter precepts which caused it to be temporarily almost unrecognized, till the Gospel came. Christianity first put love to brethren on the new and highest MOTIVE, instinctive love to Him who first loved us, constraining us to love all, even enemies, thereby walking in the steps of Him who loved us when enemies. So Jesus calls it "new," Joh 13:34, 35, "Love one another as I have loved you" (the new motive); Joh 15:12.
    - which thing is true in him and in you--"In Christ all things are always true, and were so from the beginning; but in Christ and in us conjointly the commandment [the love of brethren] is then true when we acknowledge the truth which is in Him, and have the same flourishing in us" [BENGEL]. ALFORD explains, "Which thing (the fact that the commandment is a new one) is true in Him and in you because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is now shining; that is, the commandment is a new one, and this is true both in the case of Christ and in the case of you; because in you the darkness is passing away, and in Him the true light is shining; therefore, on both accounts, the command is a new one: new as regards you, because you are newly come from darkness into light; new as regards Him, because He uttered it when He came into the world to lighten every man, and began that shining which even now continues." I prefer, as BENGEL, to explain, The new commandment finds its truth in its practical realization in the walk of Christians in union with Christ. Compare the use of "verily," 1Jo 2:5. Joh 4:42, "indeed"; Joh 6:55. The repetition of "in" before "you," "in Him and in you," not "in Him and you" implies that the love commandment finds its realization separately: first it did so "in Him," and then it does so "in us," in so far as we now "also walk even as He walked"; and yet it finds its realization also conjointly, by the two being united in one sentence, even as it is by virtue of the love commandment having been first fulfilled in Him, that it is also now fulfilled in us, through His Spirit in us: compare a similar case, Joh 20:17, "My Father and your Father"; by virtue of His being "My Father," He is also your Father.
    - darkness is past--rather, as in 1Jo 2:17, "is passing away." It shall not be wholly "past" until "the Sun of righteousness" shall arise visibly; "the light is now shining" already, though but partially until the day bursts forth.

    9-11. There is no mean between light and darkness, love and hatred, life and death, God and the world: wherever spiritual life is, however weak, there darkness and death no longer reign, and love supplants hatred; and Lu 9:50 holds good: wherever life is not, there death, darkness, the flesh, the world, and hatred, however glossed over and hidden from man's observa

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