17/01/21 – 1 John 2:24-29
John continues with his checklist of the genuine Christian Vs the pseudo-Christian. It is clear that his agenda has a lot to do with these 2 opposing groups in the church. John is advising on the differences between the two groups.
1 John 2:24 – Let that therefore abide (meno) in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain (meno) in you, ye also shall continue (meno) in the Son, and in the Father.
therefore – or “consequently” or “these things being so” or “accordingly”
abide – meno (remain; abide; sojourn; continue to be present; last; endure) Our word “remain” comes from this Greek term. (Also “mansion” and “manor”)
John uses “abide” 3 times in this passage today, but meno is also used in this passage for “abideth” (1 time), “shall remain” (1 time) and “shall continue” (1 time), a total of 6 times in all today.
In fact, meno is used in 1 John Ch.2 a total of 11 times, 3 of them in Vs 24 above. Twice in Vs 24 meno here refers to the truth that they already know (see 1 John 2:21 where “know” is in perfect tense). This would mainly refer to the gospel of Jesus Christ whom they would be denying (see 1 John 2:22) by teaching a Christ-less gospel, a salvation without Christ. And once in Vs 24 meno refers to continuing (abiding) in the Son and the Father.
It was the gospel of Jesus Christ that they would have heard in the first place (“in the beginning”) that would have saved them to the uttermost according to God’s promise (Hebrews 7:25). And it is this same gospel which they have heard from the beginning that must abide (remain, continue) in them (implying that it must be until the end). Vs 25 below defines that which must abide in them as being associated with the promise of eternal life, thus the gospel of Jesus Christ.
from the beginning – This is likely to refer to the beginning of that knowledge and understanding of the gospel in their lives. John has used “from the beginning” 9 times in 1 John, 6 of them in Ch.2 alone. Vs 24 above uses it twice.
It is clear that John does not use it for the same reason each time though. In 1 John 1:1 it has to relate to John’s use in John 1:1 & 2, speaking of Jesus as the Word of God – “In the beginning was the Word ….” (John 1:1)
Then it is used twice in 1 John 2:7 where it is compared with the old commandment (in the law) to love one another. John even clarifies this in 2 John 1:5-6 as referring to loving one another.
It is used twice in 1 John 2:13-14 where it appears to refer again to Christ as having been in existence from the beginning.
Although, if we leave out “that is” (which is not in the original text) in each of those verses, it is possible to see it as their knowing of Christ from the beginning of their salvation.
“ye have known him [that is] from the beginning” then becomes “ye have known (perfect tense) him from the beginning”.
However, in Vs 24 above, the context strongly suggests their understanding from the beginning of their knowledge of salvation in Christ.
John has already said (1 John 2:19) that there were those who had once been of them but were no longer with them because they had left (had not “continued with us”). At one stage they may have seemed to have been genuine Christians but the gospel of Jesus Christ had not remained in them obviously because it had never been there properly in the first place. It hadn’t been the truth but a lie that they had believed (1 John 2:21-23).
Thus the gospel had not abided (remained, continued) in the pseudo-Christians and therefore they had not continued “in the Son, and in the Father”.
But, says John, let that (the gospel of Jesus Christ) which you had heard (and acted upon) abide in you, for if it remains in you, then you shall continue in the Son and in the Father.
A major theme of 1 John 2 would be that the real Christian abides/remains/continues as per 1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
This is another of John’s dichotomies. John is contrasting those who persevere (“shall continue”) in their faith (the genuine Christians) with those who cannot stay the course (the pseudo-Christians, or antichrists as John appears to define them).
1 John 2:19 – They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued (meno) with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
John could be telling them to ensure that they have the true gospel (which they had heard in the beginning) in them, for then they will be of those who continue in the Son and the Father. On the other hand, he could be telling them to persevere in their faith, to not give up even in the face of persecution (which they no doubt would have been experiencing as Christians in a hostile world). (See Philippians 2:12; 2 Peter 1:10) While it is biblically true that God will never remove anyone from His hand, nor let anyone (or anything) else remove them from God’s hand (Romans 8:38-39), nor will God ever leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), the Bible nowhere takes away our free will once we are saved. But could that free will cause us to forsake our salvation (and God along with it)? Of course, why would anyone wish to give up so great salvation, yet possibly the lure of the world could entice. Could the world entice so much that someone would even give up salvation in order to gain the world? Is John cautioning against this here? Possibly, but probably not.
In fact, I think John is telling them that they should keep their focus on the gospel truth that they were told from the beginning. There were others whom John declared to be antichrists who would have been trying to change that focus from the truth to a lie, trying to divert their attention from Christ to another. John is telling them that if they are truly saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ, then they must act like it and not be led astray by the false teachings of antichrists. This does seem to be a major theme of 1 John: that if you are a genuine Christian, then you will act like it. You will live the life you claim to belong to. You will avoid worldly pleasures that would seek to lead you away from Christ. You will love your fellow Christian. You will try not to sin, yet because you will sin, you have to repent and confess your sin to be cleansed from all unrighteousness. Very importantly, you will not enjoy your sin. You will walk in the light and not the darkness of sin. You will walk even as Christ walked, and you will not be distracted from this. As one Christian said in Russia during the days of extreme persecution of the church: If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would they find enough evidence to convict you?
1 John 2:25 – And this is the promise that he hath promised us, [even] eternal life.
eternal (aionios) life (zoe) – Translated “eternal life” 26 times in the NT, yet also translated “everlasting life” 10 times in the NT. There does not appear to be any reason why they should not all be translated “eternal life”.
In some passages both forms are used. It is difficult to see why sometimes. For example, aionios + zoe is translated “eternal life” in John 3:15 yet “everlasting life” in the next verse. John 3:16 [For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting (aionios) life (zoe).]
And there’s that verse that calvinists claim somehow proves the unconditional election: Acts 13:48 (And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.) Yet only 2 verses before that, Paul tells the Jews that they have chosen to be unworthy of “everlasting life” (aionios + zoe). It should have been translated the same in both places: “eternal life”. What the Jews rejected, the Gentiles accepted. The Gentiles had come along to hear the gospel and finally, after the Jews rejected it, Paul turns to the Gentiles and tells them that the gospel is now for them too.
By the way, the KJV “ordained” in Acts 13:48 is incorrect. This wording came from the catholic Latin Vulgate Bible which actually had “fore-ordained”. The Greek word really means “appointed” and implies an appointment of some kind. The Jews rejected their appointment; the Gentiles were appointed to hear it instead.
The Gentiles wanted to hear it in order to respond favourably. If God fore-ordained the Gentiles to believe, then God also fore-ordained the unbelief of His chosen nation of Israel. So why choose a nation if you intend rejecting them one day? And would God then do likewise to the calvinist election?
1 John 2:25 sees John adding information to the previous verse. That which must abide in them is that which promises them eternal life. The two must go together. If the gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t abide, then there is no promise of eternal life. If there is no eternal life, then the gospel of Christ cannot be there.
Also note that “eternal” means without beginning or end, and effectively means not bound by time in any way. It is the opposite of “temporal” which means bound by (or enclosed in) time. The world we can see now is temporal while the eternal world cannot be seen (2 Corinthians 4:18).
1 John 2:26 – These [things] have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
seduce – or deceive; cause to go astray; lead into error. It is used of heretics, or those who present a heresy, such as John’s use of “antichrists”. Peter says similar in 2 Peter 2:18 – For when they (false teachers) speak great swelling [words] of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, [through much] wantonness, those (Christians) that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
Just as Paul wrote to the Galatians in an effort to keep the Christians there from being led astray by those who taught that circumcision was necessary for salvation, John is writing 1 John to warn the genuine Christians there of the heresies that are being used to try and seduce them from the gospel of Jesus Christ. He wants the readers to see that those who claim to be Christians must live accordingly; they must live their lives after the example of Jesus Christ. A key verse is 1 John 2:6 – He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
So far John has pointed out some of the behaviours which define the differences between genuine Christians and pseudo-Christians. It’s a bit like ticking the boxes on a check-list. If you are a genuine Christian you should tick all the right boxes. If you have some glaring omissions, then you cannot be a Christian at all.
For example, John has said that if you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you (1 John 2:15). This does not mean that you cannot ever enjoy anything in the world, or that even the slightest sin will get you kicked out of your salvation, but it does point out that a love of the world can deny the love of God. The word used for “love” is agapeo (verb) or agape (noun) which is used to describe God’s love for man, and our love for God in return. If we were to love the world in the same way we should love God, then we cannot actually really love God. Love for the world denies love for God; you cannot serve both God and mammon. In fact, we are not to love anything or anyone more than we love God.
Matthew 10:37 – He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
John not only wants them to see if they themselves tick all the right boxes; he also wants them to do the same checklist on others in their fellowship. See if they also tick all the right boxes, for if they don’t, then be careful concerning what you learn from such people – see next verse. We may not judge others; only God is judge. It is not for us to send people to heaven or to hell. That is God’s prerogative alone.
But John is making it clear that we are to assess the teachings and behaviours of others so that we may listen to and recommend those who tick the boxes for genuine Christians, and avoid the teachings of those who tick the boxes that define them as antichrist.
1 John 2:27 – But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
anointing (twice) – chrisma (ointment, usually prepared by the Hebrews from oil and aromatic herbs. Anointing was the inaugural ceremony for priests)
need not – or “have no necessity”
John has already assured them (the genuine Christians) that the anointing they have received from God for service is genuine.
1 John 2:20 – But ye have an unction (chrisma = anointing) from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
That is, he is assuring his readers that they are the genuine real-deal Christians. This assumes that either only genuine Christians were permitted to read his epistle (which does seem a bit difficult to ensure) or that what he is saying can only be applied to those who tick all the right boxes and therefore are genuine Christians. The latter option seems more likely.
Because they are genuine Christians, says John,, then the anointing they have received (from God) abides or remains in them. (If they are not genuine Christians then these words do not apply!) It can also be assumed that this anointing is genuine because it abides in them, and, if that anointing is genuine, then there is no necessity for anyone to teach them that which they have already understood according to John (“ye know all things” Perfect tense 1 John 2:20). This teaching is from the Holy One = Christ (1 John 2:20) as opposed to the many antichrists of the pseudo-Christians. This teaching is a consequence of this anointing from Christ.
the anointing …. abideth in you – This anointing would not apply to just the process of their initial act of salvation, for that would then preclude any such learning after that. Therefore this anointing commences with their salvation and continues in them as long as they should abide in the One (Christ) who teaches them.
the same anointing – It is the same anointing that they “have received of him” that teaches them “of all things, and is truth, and is no lie”.
the same anointing teacheth you of all things – Clearly this cannot mean that we know all things, but instead would have to mean that we may understand all things that we know about. (see 1 John 2:20 – “ye know all things”)
But – With this word John again introduces a dichotomy: those who seduce the Christian (Vs 26 above) Vs the genuine Christian who should know better anyway because he has been called and taught by God.
1 John 2:28 – And now, little children, abide (meno) in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
little children – teknion (little children; in the NT used as a term of kindly address by teachers to their disciples) It would refer to all of the readers of this epistle.
John uses teknion for 7 of his 9 “little children” statements in 1 John.
shall appear – phaneroo (reveal; manifest; make visible; be made known; expose to view; appear) John uses phaneroo 8 times in 1 John, translated 5 times as “manifest”/”manifested” and 3 times as “appear”.
confidence – or “boldness” (“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace ….” – Hebrews 4:16)
Cambridge says that it “means literally ‘freedom in speaking, readiness to say anything, frankness, intrepidity’. In this Epistle and that to the Hebrews it means especially the fearless trust with which the faithful soul meets God”
be ashamed – aischunomai (to disfigure; dishonour; suffuse with shame; be ashamed) derived from aischos (disgrace as result of disfigurement)
we may have confidence, and not be ashamed – They would have no fear of reprisals, not fearing the disfigurement of unholy sin when facing holy Christ, for they would know that they have been forgiven. They are no longer disfigured by sin because they are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
They would know that there was no more condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
Not so, though, for those who have not abided in Christ, for they will face the great white throne of judgment of Revelation 20:11-15, those who will be disfigured by their sin and feeling disgrace because of that disfigurement. When John uses the term “little children” he is referring to those born-again genuine Christians and not those in that church who only pretend to be such: pseudo-Christians.
(at his) coming – parousia (presence; the coming; arrival; advent; the future visible return from heaven of Jesus Christ) It generally refers to the second coming of Christ. In Matthew 24, Jesus taught about the end-times associated with His second coming.
Matthew 24:3 – And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign of thy coming (parousia), and of the end of the world?
parousia is used 3 more times in Matthew 24 (27, 37 & 39) where each time it refers to the coming (parousia) of the Son of man.
Therefore its use here in 1 John 2:28 would refer to that same event: the second coming of Christ. In this sense we understand the anguish of Israel when they Christ returning to set up His millennial reign.
Zechariah 12:10 – And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn.
1 John 2:29 – If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
know (1) – oida (to have understanding) Perfect tense
know (2) – ginosko (to have knowledge) Present tense
born – gennao (to be born) Thus we get “generate” from this word, and “regenerate” (to make new again or to be born again)
doeth righteousness – rather “does the righteousness” or “does His righteousness”
Thus, if you have already understood (as an event in the past) that He is righteous (and you will only if you are one of His), then you will know (by your experience as a genuine Christian) that everyone who does righteous acts is born of Him (Christ).
John 14:15 – If ye love me, keep my commandments.
And, because you know and understand the righteousness of Christ, then you will also know and understand that all who are obedient to all Christ’s righteous commandments can only do so because they have been born of Him (in salvation through His gospel).
All who are genuine Christians will behave like genuine Christians.
1 John 2:6 – He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Of course, Jesus taught (in Matthew 13) that there would be tares (wicked ones) among the wheat (Christians). An effective tare had to look like a genuine Christian, had to tick as many boxes as possible, in order to deceive the very elect. Often a tare may appear to be one of the better Christians in the church. Some might only be revealed in the judgment. A tare’s job was to be a traitor in their midst, to oppose the work of the church while appearing to fully support it. It is their fruit that is their undoing. My understanding is that Christians who test all things biblically should be able to discern the fruit that may indicate a tare, and be cautious regarding whom they permit to teach. Note, though, that Jesus also taught (Matthew 13:28-30) that Christians should not judge too abruptly here “lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.” (Matthew 13:29) Because Christians are not perfect, we all make mistakes which others might be quick to use to label us as non-Christian. If through ignorance or lack of testing all things, a genuine Christian has a close relationship with a tare, it is possible to assess that Christian (wrongfully) as a tare also, and destroy a genuine life along with the removal of the tare. However, this does not permit us to accept biblical laxness as the norm. We must still continually assess biblically all those (especially the teachers) in the church with regard to the doctrines they teach; we must be good Bereans, searching the Scriptures to see if what we are told is actually so (Acts 17:11).