1 John 2 (New Living Translation)
1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
“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.”
A human defense lawyer argues for the innocence of his client. But our Advocate, Jesus Christ, admits our guilt — and then enters His plea on our behalf, as the one who has made an atoning sacrifice for our sinful guilt.
for the sins of all the world — “It is a patent fact that thou too are part of the whole world: so that thine heart cannot deceive itself and think, The Lord died for Peter and Paul, but not for me.”
3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. 4 If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
A simple, loving obedience is a natural result of fellowship with God.
A New Commandment
7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. 8 Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it.
It is new because Jesus displayed a new kind of love. The cross points in four directions to show that the love of Jesus is:
- Wide enough to include every human being.
- Long enough to last through all eternity.
- Deep enough to reach the most guilty sinner.
- High enough to take us to heaven.
This is a new love, a love the world had never really seen before the work of Jesus on the cross.
For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.
Isaiah 2:5 (NIV)
Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the LORD.
9 If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness. 10 Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble.
from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
–1 John 2:10
“What an emphasis gets on kindness as life goes on,” said Bishop Paget (the “architect of the Church in Central Africa” who lived from 1886 to 1971). Writing to someone in a Nursing Home, he said how he hoped the patient was “not too ill or weary to enjoy the happiness of feeling kindness all around you, and Goodness all above you.”
As we watch the lives of those who have hearts “at leisure from themselves” and live for others, we cannot help seeing that there is “none occasion of stumbling” in them. They don’t stumble people, they help them. They clear hindrances out of the path and make it much easier for those who do not know Him to find their Savior.
Let us more and more earnestly ask for this kindness of heart that shows itself in loving thoughts and deeds. Let us begin with ourselves. The Lord make us sensitive to the merest whisper of unlove in our hearts. “He that loveth . . . abideth.”
11 But anyone who hates another brother or sister is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.
John now addresses his readers according to their measure of spiritual maturity:
12 I am writing to you who are God’s children
because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.
13 I am writing to you who are mature in the faith
because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.
I am writing to you who are young in the faith
because you have won your battle with the evil one.
14 I have written to you who are God’s children
because you know the Father.
I have written to you who are mature in the faith
because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.
I have written to you who are young in the faith
because you are strong.
God’s word lives in your hearts,
and you have won your battle with the evil one.
“You are God’s children . . . your sins are forgiven . . . you know the Father . . . you know Christ . . . ” — such grace to us from the Lord!
Il Divo is a group of four male singers: Spanish baritone Carlos Marin, Swiss tenor Urs Buhler, American tenor David Miller, and French pop singer Sebastien Izambard. HERE they sing (oh, so beautifully!) John Newton’s hymn “Amazing Grace.”
Do Not Love This World
15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
“One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
–Antoine deSaint-Exupery, in The Little Prince
Warning about Antichrists
18 Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared.
The name Antichrist is important to understand. The prefix anti can mean “the opposite of” or “instead of.” The Antichrist is the “opposite Jesus”; he is the “instead of” Jesus. Most people have focused on the idea of the “opposite Jesus.” This has made them think that the Antichrist will appear as a supremely evil person. They think that as much as Jesus went around doing good, the Antichrist will go around doing bad. As much as Jesus’ character and personality was beautiful and attractive, the Antichrist’s character and personality will be ugly and repulsive. As much as Jesus spoke only truth, the Antichrist will speak only lies. This emphasizes the idea of the “opposite Jesus” too much. The Antichrist will instead be more of an “instead of Jesus.” He will look wonderful, be charming and successful. He will be the ultimate winner, and appear as an angel of light.
From this we know that the last hour has come. 19 These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.
20 But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth. 21 So I am writing to you not because you don’t know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies. 22 And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. 23 Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
Often times it is said, “We all worship the same God. You have one name for Him and I have another. But that doesn’t matter. We are just talking about different roads to the same God because we all have the same God.” Here is the question to ask in response: “Was your God perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ?” If your God was, then you have the same God. If your God wasn’t perfectly revealed in Jesus, then you do not have the same God as in the Bible.
24 So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. 25 And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.
“This is faith: a renouncing of everything we are apt to call our own and relying wholly upon the blood, righteousness and intercession of Jesus.”
26 I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. 27 But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.
Living as Children of God
28 And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame.
29 Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.
I find in this chapter three petitions for daily prayer: Help me, Lord, that I know Him (1 John 2:4), that I may abide in Him (1 John 2:6), and I may be in the light (1 John 2:9). Let my relationships with others show that you, Jesus, are living your life in me.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.