What a week we have had studying a portion of 1 John 2! Are you benefitting from all that you’re learning? The book of 1 John contains many keywords and we have already been introduced to a few in this study. This past week in our lessons, Kelly Minter highlighted the keyword: know. Did you happen to notice the emphasis and repetition of the word? I find repetition or specific emphasis placed on a word in scripture helps me to know that the word is key to understanding the passage. A keyword.
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense -Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1,2
John reminds the reader of three important points about Jesus. We recorded and highlighted these points in the lesson. The first point about Jesus is that he is our advocate, the one who speaks to the Father in our defense. The word transliterated from the Greek is parakletos defined as an intercessor, an advocate, a comforter, one who is called alongside to help, or one who pleads another’s case. John wanted his readers to know that Jesus as our Advocate, who is seated at the Father’s right hand in heaven (Hebrews 4:14-16, 8:1), speaks on our behalf to God the Father. The second point that we considered in these two verses is that Jesus is the Righteous One. We have confidence to trust Jesus as our Advocate because He is righteous. He is just, fair, and trustworthy. The third point we looked at is that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice, the propitiation, for our sins. God’s wrath is turned away by the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf so that we are able to have fellowship with God and His Son.
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says’ I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:3-6
How would you sum up these verses? What theme do you think they present? For me, I choose obedience is the response to love. The more I love God, the more I desire to walk like Jesus. My love for Him grows by knowing Him and the more I know God the more I want to follow His commands. Kelly Minter introduced a belief that was gaining in popularity during the time of this letter. She suggests that John was giving his readers a tangible way to distinguish between those who believed truth and those who were following the belief of a secret knowledge, “gnosis“. John highlights these three characteristics that he believes determine a true believer, they are obeying God’s commands, obeying God’s word, and walking as Jesus walked.
“Beloved, I am not writing to you about a new law, but about an old one, which has been yours from the beginning. This old law is the message that you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing to you about a new law and this is realized in him and also in you because the darkness is fading, and the real light is already shining.” 1 John 2:7,8
When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, he replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.(Matthew 22:36-38) This answer that Jesus spoke is the command that John is referring to as the old law. Jesus continues in his response to the question posed by expanding the Law and adding a twist. He says, “ And the second is like it:’Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:39-40) Later, Jesus gives a new command telling his disciples;
“A new command, I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34,35
We’re to love like Jesus loved. In fact, this new law of love should be realized in us as it is in Him. John straightforwardly gives his readers a very clear picture of how this new law of love should be lived.
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.” 1 John 2:9-11
John opens the next portion of 1 John 2 with an appeal of encouragement, an exhortation to hold to what they knew. John wanted to give these early Christians, and us through his writings, the confidence in the assurance of what they knew and believed.
“I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” 1 John 2:12-14
John states they can rest in the assurance that their sins have been forgiven, that they have overcome the evil one, and that they have known Him, who is from the beginning. They and we can know these things by having the word of God living in us.
We concluded our Week 2 lessons with these verses.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world, the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
The world offers temptations to the flesh, to the eyes, and to one’s self. Through personal reflection, we considered examples in our own everyday lives where we are missing the mark and seeking what the world offers. As the title for this day’s lesson states, we need to live for what lasts. And as an aside, offering a recipe for Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies at the end of Week 2’s lessons is definitely a lust to my flesh! Not fair, Kelly! Not fair!
Questions to Consider
- How do I show love to others like Jesus loved others?
- How has learning that Jesus is my Advocate made my trust and love for Him grow?
- To achieve victory over the temptations of the world to the flesh, eyes and even my own pridefulness, what practices do I need to incorporate in my life?
- Do I show to others the evidence that I am a true believer in God?
- Do I rest confidently in the assurance of what I know and believe by faith?
Another week in our study done! You’re awesome!
Week 3 is the assignment for this week – You can do it!