1 John 1:1-2:17 raised the question whose voice should you listen to and which voice should carry weight. 1 John 2:18-28 tackles a related question: how do you know what is essential and what is non-essential? From 1 John, we learn two critically important questions fundamental to faith and belief: John says that the one who claims to know Jesus will have a certain view of sin (1 John 1:5-2:11); and from this passage: genuine believers will confess Jesus is the Messiah and false teachers will not.
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 God is completely completely good. Therefore genuine believers will:
- 1 John 1:6-7 not pursue sin. Instead, they will pursue holiness (righteousness, goodness).
- 1 John 1:8-9 not deny their sinfulness. Instead, they will recognize their sinfulness.
- 1 John 1:10 not call their sinful actions right. Instead, they will call sin, sin.
In 1 John 2:1-2, John reiterates that while believers are still sinful, genuine believers are forgiven on account of Jesus.
- In 1 John 2:3-6, he says those who claim to know Jesus will value the same things Jesus did.
- In 1 John 2:7-11, he says that means those who claim to follow Jesus will love righteousness and will love others who also love righteousness.
- In 1 John 2:12-14, he 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.
- In 1 John 2:15-17, he reminds them that the things of this age — no matter how wonderful — are nothing when compared to what’s to come.
In 1 John 2:18-28, John tells us that genuine believers will confess Jesus is the Messiah and false teachers will not.
2:18Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. – 1 John 2:18-21 NASB
- 1 John 2:18 – by “the last hour” John means the time span from the ascension of Jesus to his second coming.
- “you heard the antichrist is coming” – where would they hear this? Perhaps 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
- While John could have one particular “antichrist” in mind, I think he is referring to many deceivers. John’s emphasis here is you’ve heard about this figure who’s coming and will deceive you, but I tell you there are many deceivers here already.
- 1 John 2:19 – “us” = apostles & those who believe them; “they” – false teachers and those deceived by them. If they had truly been seeking the truth, they would not have departed from the gospel. John is not talking about church membership. He’s talking about abandoning the truth for lies.
- 1 John 2:20 – Both the false teachers & the believers heard the apostolic teaching, but they responded to it differently. The response of faith is a sign of God at work in your life.
- 1 John 2:21 – When it comes to the gospel, you know the truth. You know all the truth you need to know. Embrace it and don’t waste time on other gospels.
22Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. 26These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. 28Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. – 1 John 2:12-28 NASB
- In this context, the liar is the one who denies Jesus is the Christ.
- The Father revealed Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. If you reject Jesus as the Messiah, as the Son of God who came to pay the penalty for our sins and to be an atoning sacrifice in our place, you have rejected the Father.
- August 1, 2013 The World and Everything In It podcast about the PCUSA and the hymn “In Christ alone.”
- 1 John 2:24 – “abide in you” – remain faithful and persevere in the faith.
- 1 John 2:18-2:25 – makes the point that those who accept the teaching of Jesus are true believers. Those who reject Jesus’ teaching are not believers and do not represent what God revealed.
- 2 John 2:26-28 – are an exhortation to pursue righteousness, because this is what it means to remain faithful to Jesus’ teaching.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.