1 John 2* The apostle directs to the atonement of Christ for helpagainst sinful infirmities. (1,2) The effects of savingknowledge in producing obedience, and love to the brethren.(3-11) Christians addressed as little children, young men, andfathers. (12-14) All are cautioned against the love of thisworld, and against errors. (15-23) They are encouraged to standfast in faith and holiness. (24-29)1,2 When have an Advocate with the Father; one who hasundertaken, and is fully able, to plead in behalf of every onewho applies for pardon and salvation in his name, depending onhis pleading for them. He is "Jesus," the Saviour, and "Christ,"the Messiah, the Anointed. He alone is "the Righteous One," whoreceived his nature pure from sin, and as our Surety perfectlyobeyed the law of God, and so fulfilled all righteousness. Allmen, in every land, and through successive generations, areinvited to come to God through this all-sufficient atonement,and by this new and living way. The gospel, when rightlyunderstood and received, sets the heart against all sin, andstops the allowed practice of it; at the same time it givesblessed relief to the wounded consciences of those who havesinned. 3-11 What knowledge of Christ can that be, which sees not thathe is most worthy of our entire obedience? And a disobedientlife shows there is neither religion nor honesty in theprofessor. The love of God is perfected in him that keeps hiscommandments. God's grace in him attains its true mark, andproduces its sovereign effect as far as may be in this world,and this is man's regeneration; though never absolutely perfecthere. Yet this observing Christ's commands, has holiness andexcellency which, if universal, would make the earth resembleheaven itself. The command to love one another had been in forcefrom the beginning of the world; but it might be called a newcommand as given to Christians. It was new in them, as theirsituation was new in respect of its motives, rules, andobligations. And those who walk in hatred and enmity tobelievers, remain in a dark state. Christian love teaches us tovalue our brother's soul, and to dread every thing hurtful tohis purity and peace. Where spiritual darkness dwells, in mind,the judgment, and the conscience will be darkened, and willmistake the way to heavenly life. These things demand seriousself-examination; and earnest prayer, that God would show uswhat we are, and whither we are going. 12-14 As Christians have their peculiar states, so they havepeculiar duties; but there are precepts and obedience common toall, particularly mutual love, and contempt of the world. Theyoungest sincere disciple is pardoned: the communion of saintsis attended with the forgiveness of sins. Those of the longeststanding in Christ's school need further advice and instruction.Even fathers must be written unto, and preached unto; none aretoo old to learn. But especially young men in Christ Jesus,though they are arrived at strength of spirit and sound sense,and have successfully resisted first trials and temptations,breaking off bad habits and connexions, and entered in at thestrait gate of true conversion. The different descriptions ofChristians are again addressed. Children in Christ know that Godis their Father; it is wisdom. Those advanced believers, whoknow Him that was from the beginning, before this world wasmade, may well be led thereby to give up this world. It will bethe glory of young persons to be strong in Christ, and hisgrace. By the word of God they overcome the wicked one. 15-17 The things of the world may be desired and possessed forthe uses and purposes which God intended, and they are to beused by his grace, and to his glory; but believers must not seekor value them for those purposes to which sin abuses them. Theworld draws the heart from God; and the more the love of theworld prevails, the more the love of God decays. The things ofthe world are classed according to the three ruling inclinationsof depraved nature. 1. The lust of the flesh, of the body: wrongdesires of the heart, the appetite of indulging all things thatexcite and inflame sensual pleasures. 2. The lust of the eyes:the eyes are delighted with riches and rich possessions; this isthe lust of covetousness. 3. The pride of life: a vain mancraves the grandeur and pomp of a vain-glorious life; thisincludes thirst after honour and applause. The things of theworld quickly fade and die away; desire itself will ere longfail and cease, but holy affection is not like the lust thatpasses away. The love of God shall never fail. Many vain effortshave been made to evade the force of this passage bylimitations, distinctions, or exceptions. Many have tried toshow how far we may be carnally-minded, and love the world; butthe plain meaning of these verses cannot easily be mistaken.Unless this victory over the world is begun in the heart, a manhas no root in himself, but will fall away, or at most remain anunfruitful professor. Yet these vanities are so alluring to thecorruption in our hearts, that without constant watching andprayer, we cannot escape the world, or obtain victory over thegod and prince of it. 18-23 Every man is an antichrist, who denies the Person, or anyof the offices of Christ; and in denying the Son, he denies theFather also, and has no part in his favour while he rejects hisgreat salvation. Let this prophecy that seducers would rise inthe Christian world, keep us from being seduced. The churchknows not well who are its true members, and who are not, butthus true Christians were proved, and rendered more watchful andhumble. True Christians are anointed ones; their names expressesthis: they are anointed with grace, with gifts and spiritualprivileges, by the Holy Spirit of grace. The great and mosthurtful lies that the father of lies spreads in the world,usually are falsehoods and errors relating to the person ofChrist. The unction from the Holy One, alone can keep us fromdelusions. While we judge favourably of all who trust in Christas the Divine Saviour, and obey his word, and seek to live inunion with them, let us pity and pray for those who deny theGodhead of Christ, or his atonement, and the new-creating workof the Holy Ghost. Let us protest against such antichristiandoctrine, and keep from them as much as we may. 24-29 The truth of Christ, abiding in us, is a means to severfrom sin, and unites us to the Son of God, #Joh 15:3,4|. Whatvalue should we put upon gospel truth! Thereby the promise ofeternal life is made sure. The promise God makes, is suitable tohis own greatness, power, and goodness; it is eternal life. TheSpirit of truth will not lie; and he teaches all things in thepresent dispensation, all things necessary to our knowledge ofGod in Christ, and their glory in the gospel. The apostlerepeats the kind words, "little children;" which denotes hisaffection. He would persuade by love. Gospel privileges obligeto gospel duties; and those anointed by the Lord Jesus abidewith him. The new spiritual nature is from the Lord Christ. Hethat is constant to the practice of religion in trying times,shows that he is born from above, from the Lord Christ. Then,let us beware of holding the truth in unrighteousness,remembering that those only are born of God, who bear his holyimage, and walk in his most righteous ways.
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