John sets the world and the gospel in opposition to each other. You can’t serve them both. You have to choose and his exhortation is don’t choose the world.
1 John 1:1-4 — is his preface where he emphasizes the apostles are the only reliable source of information about the way to gain eternal life because they were intimate eye-witnesses to the life, ministry and teaching of Jesus.
1 John 1:5-2:2 – John makes the point that God is completely & utterly good. Therefore genuine believers will be marked by 3 things:
- 1 John 1:6-7 – Genuine believers will not pursue sin. Instead, they will pursue holiness (righteousness, goodness).
- 1 John 1:8-9 – Genuine believers will not deny their sinfulness. Instead, they will recognize their sinfulness.
- 1 John 1:10 – Genuine believers will not call their sinful actions right. (1:10); Instead, they will call sin, sin.
- 1 John 2:1-2 -John reiterates that while believers are still sinful, genuine believers are forgiven on account of Jesus.
1 John 2:3-6 – John expands on this principals he stated in chapter 1. Genuine believers will pursue righteousness (holiness).
1 John 2:7-11 – Genuine believers will love the things of God, including His people.
- I think “I am writing” (2:12) refers forward to 2:15-17 and “have written” (2:14) refers backward to 1:1-2:11.
- 1 John 2:12-13 – I am about to give an exhortation because I know you’re believers.
- 1John 2: 14 – I wrote the earlier warnings (what I just finished writing about how to tell true believers from false) not because I doubt your faith but because I’m confident you are believers and will heed the warnings.
- Children are those who are babes in Christ. Fathers are those who are spiritually mature and young men are somewhere in the middle. John points to their faith in each case.
- Like a baby who knows little else but who her mother and her father are, young believers know their spiritual Father (1 John 2:12-13).
- Fathers who are spiritually mature know and understand the teaching of Jesus and such that it changes their actions and choices (1 John 2:13-14).
- Young men have overcome the evil one (Satan) by persevering in faith (1John 2:13-14).
- In 1 John 2:1-11 he claimed that we have come to know Jesus if we keep his commandments — that is a sign of our faith is our desire for righteousness.
- In 1 John 2:15-17 – John adds, not only do Christians long for righteousness, the reverse is also true: they do not long for the things of this world.
- In this context, “love” is not an uncontrollable emotion but a steady devotion of the will. We are not to choose and value the things of this world over the things of God, in the sense of serving a different master
- This first exhortation –love the Father, not the world — sets the foundation and sets the table for the rest of the letter.
- In 1 John 2:16 “lusts of the flesh” means any/all physical, bodily desires: food, pleasure, emotions, romance, beauty, etc. “lusts of the eyes” = that which pleases the mind; “boastful pride of life” = putting undue importance on our daily pursuits.
- All the pleasures of this world are not the ultimate blessing God has in store for us, they are simply natural gifts that God built in to the created world.
- 1 John 2: 12-14 – John reassures his readers that if they persevere in the faith they are believers and reminds them that the battle in this life is staying strong in your faith.
- 1 John 2: 15-17 – The things of this age (no matter how wonderful) are nothing when compared to what’s to come. Put your trust in God, not in this created world.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.
Next: 05 1 John 2:18-28: Who is the liar?
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Series: 1 John: Discerning the True Gospel
Study Resources: 1 John Study Guide, Maps & Resources