By William Y. Beasley
People today like people of the first century are interested in knowing that they have or do not have eternal life. John wrote that people might know: “These things have 1 written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13). To know, from a diligent study of 1 John and from an honest appraisal of one’s life, that one has eternal life is a great joy and comfort. To know, from a study of 1 John, that one does not have eternal life should be a great motivation for good.
Love Not The World (1 John 2:12-17)
Just as 1 John 5:13 tells why John wrote the entire epistle, this tells why he wrote to three groups within the church. All three groups are included in the expression “Little children” (Greek, teknon-“term of affection by a teacher to his disciples”-W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Vol. I, p. 187) of verse 12. This is not the same term used for “little children” in the next verse. Forgiveness is “for his name’s sake” (2:12); we are forgiven because of, by reason of the name of Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38; 4:12). To the Fathers, John says the same thing twice with the exception of “I wrote” (2:13) verses “I have written” (2:14). Knowing God is all important (John 17:3). The Fathers had known God for a long time-the “little children” (2:14) knew God at the present time. John wrote to the young men because: (1) they were “strong” (2:14)-the strong also need encouragement lest they become weak, discouraged, lest they decide that they have enough strength to do without God; (2) “the word of God abideth in you” (2:14)-this was the source of their strength (Col. 3:16; Heb. 4:2; Jas. 1:21-22) and (3) “ye have overcome the evil one” (2:13, 14)-our adversary, the Devil, can be overcome (Jas. 4:7-8).
The message to all of John’s “little children” was that they “love not the world” (2:15). It is interesting to note that “John uses . . . the love that indicates direction of the will and intelligent, purposeful choice, and not (the love) which is used to denote natural, friendly affection” (R. C. H. Lenski, Interpretation of Peter, John, Jude, p. 423). John is not speaking of love for the physical world (God’s creation), but of the love of wickedness, evil that is in the world. If one decides (by thought or action) to love the world, “the love of the Father is not in hire” (2:15). God still loves us (John 3:16), but His love is not returned. All sin is of the world and is the result of one or more of “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life” (2:16). An exercise in futility is to try to come up with an exception. Christ was tempted in these exact three areas (Matt. 4:1-11). The important thing is not the world, the pleasures of the world, but the doing of the will of God. One will pass away (2 Pet. 3:10-12) but the other shall abide (1 Thess. 4:17).
Concerning Anti-Christ (1 John 2:18-23)
John warns his “little children” that this is the “last hour” (2:18), i.e., the last dispensation or mercy God would vouchsafe to the world. In John 4:21-23, we find another such use of the word “hour.” Anti-Christ is an apostate (2:19) who denies by word or action that Jesus is the Christ (2:22): Many in the church are not truly converted. Troubles have a cleansing influence (separate wheat from chaff). This is not teaching that doctrine of the Devil, “Once saved, always saved” (see Acts 1:25; Gal. 5:4), which originated in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:4). Weever stand in need of reminders, encouragement lest we deny the Son, which is to deny the Father (2:22-23).
Abide In Him (1 John 2:24-28)
Six times in these verses, we find the word “abide.” If we abide in the word and the word abides in us, we will also “abide in the Son, and in the Father” (2:24; see also Col. 1:27; 2 Cor. 5:17). With death as the constant enemy of mankind, think of the beauty of the promise of “eternal life” (2:25) if we abide in Him. The abiding ones have boldness before God (2:28) while the non-abiding will “be ashamed” (2:28). Notice that “doeth righteousness” is equal to being “begotten of him” (2:29). This, too, carries the idea of abiding-it is not speaking of a person who does one act of righteousness or even acts of righteousness, but of the one who abides therein (see Psa. 119:172).
The epistle of 1 John was written “that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Do you know? Where is your affection (love) in the world or in Him? Do you know the Father? Have you overcome the Evil One? Does the word abide in you? Are you abiding in the Father and Son?
Truth Magazine XXII: 47, pp. 760-761
November 30, 1978