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1: My beloved children - So the apostle frequently addresses
the whole body of Christians. It is a term of tenderness and
endearment, used by our Lord himself to his disciples,(Joh 13:33). And perhaps many to whom St. John now wrote
were converted by his ministry. It is a different word from
that which is translated "little children," in several parts of
the epistle, to distinguish it from which, it is here rendered
beloved children. I write these things to you, that ye may not
sin - Thus he guards them beforehand against abusing the doctrine
of reconciliation. All the words, institutions, and judgments
of God are levelled against sin, either that it may not be
committed, or that it may be abolished. But if any one sin - Let
him not lie in sin, despairing of help. We have an advocate - We
have for our advocate, not a mean person, but him of whom it was
said, "This is my beloved son." Not a guilty person, who stands
in need of pardon for himself; but Jesus Christ the righteous;
not a mere petitioner, who relies purely upon liberality, but
one that has merited, fully merited, whatever he asks.
2: And he is the propitiation - The atoning sacrifice by
which the wrath of God is appeased. For our sins - Who believe.
And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world
- Just as wide as sin extends, the propitiation extends also .
3: And hereby we know that we truly and savingly know him
- As he is the advocate, the righteous, the propitiation. If we
keep his commandments - Particularly those of faith and love.
5: But whoso keepeth his word - His commandments. Verily
in him the love of God - Reconciled to us through Christ. Is
perfected - Is perfectly known. Hereby - By our keeping his word.
We know that we are in him - So is the tree known by its fruits.
To "know him," to be "in him," to "abide in him," are nearly
synonymous terms; only with a gradation, - knowledge, communion,
6: He that saith he abideth in him - which implies a
durable state; a constant, lasting knowledge of, and communion
with, him. Ought himself - Otherwise they are vain words. So to
walk, even as he walked - In the world. As he, are words that
frequently occur in this epistle. Believers having their hearts
full of him, easily supply his name.
7: When I speak of keeping his word, I write not a
new commandment - I do not speak of any new one. But the old
commandment, which ye had - Even from your forefathers.
8: Again, I do write a new commandment to you - Namely,
with regard to loving one another. A commandment which, though
it also was given long ago, yet is truly new in him and in you.
It was exemplified in him, and is now fulfilled by you, in such
a manner as it never was before. For there is no comparison
between the state of the Old Testament believers, and that which
ye now enjoy: the darkness of that dispensation is passed away;
and Christ the true light now shineth in your hearts.
9: He that saith he is in the light - In Christ, united to
him. And hateth his brother - The very name shows the love due
to him. Is in darkness until now - Void of Christ, and of all
10: He that loveth his brother - For Christ's sake.
Abideth in the light - Of God. And there is no occasion of
stumbling in him - Whereas he that hates his brother is an
occasion of stumbling to himself. He stumbles against
himself, and against all things within and without; while
he that loves his brother, has a free, disencumbered journey.
11: He that hateth his brother - And he must hate, if he
does not love him: there is no medium. Is in darkness - In sin,
perplexity, entanglement. He walketh in darkness, and knoweth
not that he is in the high road to hell.
12: I have written to you, beloved children - Thus St. John
bespeaks all to whom he writes. But from the thirteenth to(1Jo 2:13-27)
the twentyseventh verse, he divides them particularly into
"fathers," "young men," and "little children." Because your
sins are forgiven you - As if he had said, This is the sum of
what I have now written. He then proceeds to other things,
which are built upon this foundation.
13: The address to spiritual fathers, young men, and
little children is first proposed in this verse, wherein he
says, I write to you, fathers: I write to you, young men: I
write to you, little children: and then enlarged upon; in doing
which he says, "I have written to you, fathers," (1Jo 2:14).
"I have written to you, young men," (1Jo 2:14-17). "I have
written to you, little children," (1Jo 2:18-27). Having
finished his address to each, he returns to all together, whom
he again terms, (as (1Jo 2:12),) "beloved children."
Fathers, ye have known him that is from the beginning - We have
known the eternal God, in a manner wherein no other, even true
believers, know him. Young men, ye have overcome the wicked one
- In many battles, by the power of faith. Little children, ye
have known the Father - As your Father, though ye have not yet
overcome, by the Spirit witnessing with your Spirit, that ye are
the children of God."
14: I have written to you, fathers - As if he had said,
Observe well what I but now wrote. He speaks very briefly and
modestly to these, who needed not much to be said to them, as
having that deep acquaintance with God which comprises all
necessary knowledge. Young men, ye are strong - In faith. And
the word of God abideth in you - Deeply rooted in your hearts,
whereby ye have often foiled your great adversary.
15: To you all, whether fathers, young men, or
little children, I say, Love not the world - Pursue your
victory by overcoming the world. If any man love the world
- Seek happiness in visible things, he does not love God.
16: The desire of the flesh - Of the pleasure of the
outward senses, whether of the taste, smell, or touch.
The desire of the eye - Of the pleasures of imagination,
to which the eye chiefly is subservient; of that internal sense
whereby we relish whatever is grand, new, or beautiful. The
pride of life - All that pomp in clothes, houses, furniture,
equipage, manner of living, which generally procure honour from
the bulk of mankind, and so gratify pride and vanity. It
therefore directly includes the desire of praise, and, remotely,
covetousness. All these desires are not from God, but from the
prince of this world.
17: The world passeth away, and the desire thereof - That
is, all that can gratify those desires passeth away with it.
But he that doeth the will of God - That loves God, not the world.
Abideth - In the enjoyment of what he loves, for ever.
18: My little children, it is the last time - The last
dispensation of grace, that which is to continue to the end
of time, is begun. Ye have heard that antichrist cometh - Under
the term antichrist, or the spirit of antichrist, he includes
all false teachers and enemies to the truth; yea, whatever
doctrines or men are contrary to Christ. It seems to have been
long after this that the name of antichrist was appropriated to
that grand adversary of Christ, "the man of sin," (2Th 2:3)
Antichrist, in St. John's sense, that is, antichristianism, has
been spreading from his time till now; and will do so, till that
great adversary arises, and is destroyed by Christ's coming.
19: They were not of us - When they went; their hearts were
before departed from God, otherwise, they would have continued
with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest
- That is, this was made manifest by their going out.
20: But ye have an anointing - A chrism; perhaps so termed
in opposition to the name of antichrist; an inward teaching
from the Holy Ghost, whereby ye know all things - Necessary for
your preservation from these seducers, and for your eternal
salvation. St. John here but just touches upon the Holy Ghost,
of whom he speaks more largely, (1Jo 3:24,4:13,5:6).
21: I have written - Namely,(1Jo 2:13).
To you because ye know the truth - That is, to confirm you in the
knowledge ye have already. Ye know that no lie is of the truth
- That all the doctrines of these antichrists are irreconcilable
22: Who is that liar - Who is guilty of that lying, but he
who denies that truth which is the sum of all Christianity?
That Jesus is the Christ; that he is the Son of God; that he
came in the flesh, is one undivided truth. and he that denies
any part of this, in effect denies the whole. He is antichrist
- And the spirit of antichrist, who in denying the Son denies
the Father also.
23: Whosoever denieth the eternal Son of God, he hath not
communion with the Father; but he that truly and believingly
acknowledgeth the Son, hath communion with the Father also.
24: If that truth concerning the Father and the Son,
which ye have heard from the beginning, abide fixed and rooted
in you, ye also shall abide in that happy communion with the
Son and the Father.
25: He - The Son. Hath promised us - If we abide in him.
26: These things - From(1Jo 2:21).
I have written to you - St. John, according to his custom,
begins and ends with the same form, and having finished a kind
of parenthesis, (1Jo 2:20-26), continues, (1Jo 2:2:27), what he said
in the twentieth verse, concerning them that would seduce you.
27: Ye need not that any should teach you, save as
that anointing teacheth you - Which is always the same, always
consistent with itself. But this does not exclude our need
of being taught by them who partake of the same anointing.
Of all things - Which it is necessary for you to know. And is
no lie - Like that which antichrist teaches. Ye shall abide in
him - This is added both by way of comfort and of exhortation.
The whole discourse, from verse 18 to this, (1Jo 2:18-27) is
peculiarly adapted to little children.
28: And now, beloved children - Having finished his address
to each, he now returns to all in general. Abide in him, that
we - A modest expression. May not be ashamed before him at his
coming - O how will ye, Jews, Socinians, nominal Christians, be
ashamed in that day!
29: Every one - And none else. Who practiseth
righteousness - From a believing, loving heart. Is born of
him - For all his children are like himself.