Thursday, March 21, 2024

2024.03.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 John 2:3–11

Read 1 John 2:3–11

Questions from the Scripture text: What can we know (1 John 2:3)? How? But what is a man if he says that he knows Him and does not keep His commandments (1 John 2:4)? And what is not in him (verse 4)? What is perfected in the one who keeps Christ’s Word (1 John 2:5)? What does he know by this? How does v6a describe one’s profession of faith? What does abiding in Christ produce in the life (1 John 2:6b)? What does the apostle call them in 1 John 2:7? What isn’t he writing to them? What is he writing to them? How long have they had it? What does he call the commandment now, in 1 John 2:8? In whom does this command come true? What is passing away? What is the true light already doing? What might one say (1 John 2:9), even though he does what? What is this one still in? But about whom does 1 John 2:10 speak? Where does he abide? What is not in him? About whom does 1 John 2:11 speak? What is he in? What does he walk in? What doesn’t he know? Why not?

What does walking in the light look like? 1 John 2:3–11 prepares us for the second serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these nine verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that walking in the light looks like loving the brethren.

True and false “knowers” of Christ1 John 2:3-4. There is nothing more important than to know Christ. To know Him is eternal life. Without this, we will perish. But there are those who say that they know Him but are liars (1 John 2:4), because their supposed knowledge of Him is not producing obedience to His commandments. So the apostle is writing that his readers might not sin (cf. 1 John 2:1), so that they might know that they have eternal life and continue believing (cf. 1 John 5:13). Dear reader, there is nothing more important for you to know than that you truly know Christ!

Obedience, by grace, is the evidence of knowing Christ, 1 John 2:5-6. It makes the author tremble to realize that he has known of so many churches that downplay obedience to God’s commandments. 1 John 2:5 tells us that the love of God finds its perfection (its goal, its end, its fullness) in the keeping of His Word. 

This is obedience is how we know that our location is in Christ! Why? Because there is nowhere else that such obedience can come from. There is only One Who has walked in perfect love of God, love of neighbor, and love of believers: Jesus Christ Himself. If we are keeping God’s commands out of love, then we know that we are in Jesus Christ (1 John 2:5). Only abiding in Him can produce this obedience. 

And abiding in Christ always produces Christ-likeness (1 John 2:6)! Christ is not only the giver of the commandment, and the giver of the grace by which we keep it, but He is the perfect example of what commandment-keeping looks like. It is true that the believer is justified only by the commandment-keeping of Christ. But it is also true that the believer is always made into a commandment-keeper who is like unto Christ. This is why God’s judgment about believers is always in accord with their works (cf. Romans 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 2:12–13). 

Love of the brethren is the highest obedience1 John 2:7-11. The apostle now moves on to that commandment which most follows Christ’s example and therefore most affirms that the believer is abiding in Christ: love of the brethren. When he says that it is “no new commandment” in 1 John 2:7a, he explains his by saying that it is an old commandment “which you have had from the beginning” (verse 7b). In other words, the church (“you”) is not continually receiving new tests for their faith. It is the same old one that Jesus gave on the night that He was betrayed. 

So, 1 John 2:8 is not contradicting 1 John 2:7 but referring to what the Lord Jesus said in John 13:34. His forming of the church, and of conscientious union with Him among believers, opened up an entire new aspect of God’s law, where the first great commandment (love God) and second great commandment (love men) meet: love one another as those who are in union with Christ, the God-Man! In the following verse (cf. John 13:35), Christ said that this is how all would know that they are His disciples. And now, in 1 John 2:7-11, Christ’s apostle emphasizes this love for the brethren as how we ourselves will know that we are truly His disciple.

The light that came into the world (cf. John 1:9) shines in the darkness (cf. John 1:5) so that the darkness is passing away (1 John 2:8b). He has made the greatest display of love by laying down His life for us (cf. 1 John 3:16; John 10:11, John 15:13). Of all the obedience that Christ rendered to God, this was the highest (cf. John 10:17–18). So the one who hates his brother has none of Christ’s light in him (1 John 2:9). And how great is that darkness (1 John 2:11)!  Let no man imagine himself obedient, if he lacks the obedience of loving the brethren. 

Following upon this language of light and darkness, 1 John 2:10 adds detail to 1 John 1:7. Now we know that “walking in the light” means loving the brethren; because the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses those who love their brothers, they may have confidence that this as-yet imperfect love will one day be perfected. 

What brethren do you have the hardest time loving? Why must you? How can you? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have loved us and laid down Your life for us. But we are often in danger of hating a brother. Deliver us, forgive us, and cleanse us! Make Your light to take away our darkness, and grant that, by abiding in You, we would walk as You walked, for we ask it in Your Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

No comments:

Post a Comment