August 29, 2012-I John 2:7-29
John is writing to them a commandment that is not new at all in fact it has been there from the start. In another way it is a new command which is in Him and in us. The reality is the command has been there all along, but now in light of who Christ is, it takes on a slightly new meaning and context. It is also new in another sense that the command be faithful understood and lived out in the world that each community of faith finds itself in. This community may be defined by geography or by time in history, but the old command remains to be lived out in the present age of darkness anew as the light of the world.
We worship a relational God who sent His Son into human history to relate to each of us and ultimately to save us. It is this relational triune God that desires for His own to live in loving relationship with one another. It is important to note here that the term is brother. If we that claim to be His can’t or won’t love each other, then it speaks to the evidence of the fruits of God in our lives. A hateful attitude toward our brother stands as act of rebellion to God. Being blinded to God by our hate we then stumble in darkness and cause others to stumble as well.
Verses 12-14 the sequence of children, fathers, and young men is repeated twice but also for emphasis in a poetic context. This section regards both the fathers and the young men as children of God because their sins are forgiven on account of his name and because they have known the Father. The fathers have known him who is from the beginning and the young men of their strength and the word of God living in them, and overcoming the evil one. It is important whether young or young at heart to know that God sees us all as His children and has a place for us. We need to be cautious that the community remains a community under the heavenly Father.
Do not love the world, or the things in the world. Here John is not speaking of the physical world per se, but rather the love of anything God created to the point of misuse or abuse. It is this love that produces sin in us and separates us from the will of God for our lives and the purposes of God for us as His lights in the world. John mentions a few of those things, lust of the flesh and eyes, and boastful pride. These are short-lived temporary things that make us feel good or make everything about us. However, just as the world is created and therefore temporary, so too are the desires of this world.
The last hours or days will produce those that are not in accordance with the will of God and by that definition they are antichrists. They are those that come claiming a false doctrine but yet try to masquerade as one of His. These are attacks that are coming on and against the body from within. People who claim they are from God but are not acknowledging the Jesus as God’s Son. This can be subtle in some cases and more direct in others. Either way it becomes a new threat to the church. Before most of the problems came from outside, but now they are also forming inside the community. These people are no longer physically part of the community and John deduces that they never really were apart because they denied that Jesus was the Son of God. It is false also in the sense that if God acknowledges Jesus as His Son it would be calling God a liar and His truth is not in our hearts.
The promise of God is eternal life. John is reminding the community of this because there are those antichrists who are trying to deceive them. His anointing was received and remains in you. You do not need anyone to teach you. The ultimate source of authority in this matter is the Lord Himself. Some commentators also mention that this teaching or knowledge may be part of a larger movement during the later years of the first century known as Gnosticism. The Gnostics claimed special knowledge (gnosis) that had to be obtained to move forward in faith. In doing so where adding to the tradition of scripture, and the witnesses of the truth revealed in Jesus Christ. John simply states it this way, you have received it not them, it remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you, it is real and not false, and abide in it.
The community is encouraged to continue in him, so that when he appears they can be confident and unashamed before him. If you know that he is righteous then the evidence of that righteousness will be found in those that are his.