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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

July 31, 2013

1 John 2:1-11

  1. Verses 1-3. John is writing this letter to remind the people that the God who loves us is a holy God and wants us to live Holy as well. John says he writes this letter not that we will begin sin but to sin less. Notice how John says but if you do sin. He knew we would not be perfect, but we should be striving to be better and better each day. John’s thought here is that we need to realize that God graciously has forgiven us completely in Jesus Christ. He is at the right hand of the Father; pleading our case, even when we sin. Our standing before God does not depend on your performance, but rather on Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Properly understanding that truth will not lead you to sin more; but rather, to sin less. John uses three terms to describe Christ’s sacrifice for our sins: (1) He is our Advocate/one who speaks on our behalf with the Father; (2) He is Jesus Christ the Righteous One; and, (3) He is the propitiation/atoning sacrifice for our sins. Then John adds (2:2), “and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

    1. “Advocate” is from the Greek Word that is transliterated, “Paraclete.” It is used of Jesus Christ only in our text. Jesus uses it of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). It refers to one who is called alongside to help, especially in a court of law. If you have been accused of a crime, you need an attorney to come to your aid by pleading your case before the bench. John says that Jesus is our Advocate in heaven, “with the Father.” “With” is the same word used in John 1:1, “the Word was with God.” It means that Jesus is one with the Father. Whenever we need Him (which is always!), He is there, coming to our aid. When we sin, Satan, the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10; Zech. 3:1-5), charges us as guilty before God. Jesus Christ, our defense attorney, steps to the bench, but He does not enter a plea of “not guilty.” That would not be true. We have sinned. Rather, He enters a plea of guilty, but pardoned. And, although we should confess our sins (1:9), John does not say, “If we confess our sins, we have an Advocate.” Rather, he says, “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate.” Our forgiveness and our standing With God do not depend on anything we do, but rather on the finished work of Christ. If we are His children through the new birth, He is there before the Father on our behalf, pleading His blood, even before we confess our sins!

    2. He is Jesus Christ the righteous one. Jesus had to be “a lamb unblemished and spotless” (1 Peter 1:19). If He had sinned, He would have had to die for His own sins; But He fully kept God’s law, in dependence on the Father. His righteousness is freely imputed to the one who trusts in Him. As Paul wrote (2 Cor. 5:21), “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This means that Jesus Christ alone is an adequate Savior. He is all that we need to stand before the holy God, not in a righteousness of our own, “derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (Phil. 3:9). We can add nothing to what Christ has done.

    3. The Propitiation. This Word that John uses (also in 4:10; a similar word is used in Rom. 3:25 & Heb. 2:17) was used in ancient pagan writings to refer to the appeasing of an angry god, usually by a sacrifice or offering. If you had done something to make one of the gods mad, you had to do something to placate him and get in his good graces. The difference between the pagan and the biblical concepts is that in the Bible, it is never man that takes the initiative to placate God. Rather, God took the initiative to satisfy His own wrath so that His love may now be shown to the guilty sinner. Rather than man piling up good works or sacrifices to placate God’s Wrath, the Bible says that God did what all our good works or efforts could never do. He sent His own Son as the righteous substitute to bear His wrath on the cross.

    4. The last part of the verse reminds us of the totality and completeness of the work of Christ. When Christ died it was a complete work that opened the doors of heaven to all who believe. Jesus’ sacrifice did not just cover the sins of the Jews but the sins of the world. God was showing the world his love was not just for a few. John intended to “counter the heretics, who claimed that the knowledge of salvation was exclusive, and secret. They restricted it to the enlightened few. Instead John throws open the door to the entire world, as if to say, “God’s grace is far more extensive than you imagine! Christ’s sacrifice is not just for the enlightened few; it is not just for the Jews; it’s for the entire world!” Anyone, anywhere who trusts in Christ’s sacrifices for his sin will be saved.

  2. Verse 3-6. John begins to teach us that to have genuine faith in Christ as Savior is to know him. To know him is not to just know about him, but to be in a growing relationship with Christ that transforms one to the image of Christ. If one is getting to know Christ (which is what happens when you really put your trust in him), they are fellowshipping with him on a regular basis. This fellowship in the Light will undoubtedly have an effect on the believer. One cannot walk in the Light and the Light not shine in and through them. If you know Him you know the Light and if you know the light you know what the light highlights. The Light highlights our sins and His ways. The Light shows us the right and the wrong, and gives us power to follow the right. The Light of Christ points us to the right and shows us that following Christ will lead us in a righteous path. One cannot be following Christ and not walking in the path of righteousness. The sign of the person with a real faith is that they are walking with Christ in his path and his way. John will know show us the acid test for walking in the light.

  3. Verses 7-11. John shares that he is reminding them of an old and new command. It is old because God has always had this command, to love Him. It is new because the believers could only walk in it fully through Christ. The new command is for those walking in the light and that is to love one another. If you love your brother you are in the light if you hate your brother you are still in darkness and blind because you do not really have the light. Jesus loved, so whoever is walking with him in the light will love as well, even their enemies.

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