April 2012


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Archive for April 17th, 2012

The Epistles of John: Living in Truth and Love. 1 John 2:28-3:1

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 by Elgin Hushbeck

Week 26: Apr 15, 2012

John expands on the concept of abiding in God, to once again bring it back to the underlying purpose, which is our relationship with God.


g. Expansion: Abide in him who loves you. (2:28-3:1)

i. To abide is to be Prepared (2:28)

28 – Even now, little children, abide in him. Then, when he appears, we will have confidence and will not turn away from him in shame when he comes.

– The use of “little children” here marks another transition. This is not at all unexpected given the very clear ending of the last section that was marked by the double inclusio in the last two verses and then the “Even now” at the beginning of this verse. Just as there was a main or starting section followed by two expansions, leading into the central section, John now finishes the first major part of the letter with two more expansions, and a concluding exhortation.

abide in him

– Picking up on this from the last verse, John begins to expand on abiding in Christ. This is parallel to section c which expanded on loving one another.

Then, when he appears.. when he comes

– John’s reference to the second coming of Christ here uses two Greek words: φανερωθῇ – (phanerōthē) to be reveals or become visible, and παρουσίᾳ – (parousia) – coming

we will have confidence and will not turn away from him in shame

– After the second coming there will be the judgment seat of Christ and we must stand before him. When this happened will we stand there with confidence (παρρησίαν – parrēsian) the Greek word referring to boldness, openness, or courage, knowing we have been faithful servants? Or will we stand there in shame (αἰσχυνθῶμεν – aischunthōmen) the word is passive and means to be ashamed or embarrassed with the sense of disappointment or disillusioned?

ii. The righteous are God’s Children(2:29-30)

29 – Since you know that he is righteous, you also know that everyone who practices righteousness has been fathered by God.[1]

– While some see a break at this verse (Barker) I see this as tying together the concepts of remaining in God to the primary theme of the letter, which is dealing with those who left.

Since you know that he is righteous

– John set forth his premise, that God is righteous, which is reminiscent of the starting premise of this section in 1:5 God is light, and in him there is no darkness—none at all!

everyone who practices righteousness

– The context here is very important to avoid misunderstanding. The context of this section has been a contrast between the faithful and those who left. What does it mean to “practices righteousness?” It means to love as John wrote in verse 2:10 (the parallel to this section) The person who loves his brother abides in the light.

What about the atheist who loves his brother? First, for John, Love and Truth are inseparably linked. In addition a major part of loving someone is sharing the truth and not leading them astray. Finally, it should be mentioned that there are, in fact, a number of studies that show that religious people give more to charity than secular people.

has been fathered by God

– John now recasts “abiding in him” in terms of spiritual birth as he will develop this more shortly. So just as he did earlier in the letter, John continues to contrast those who left with his readers, while he builds up their faith by reminding them of their position.

3:1 – See what kind of love the Father has given us: We are called God’s children—and that is what we are![2] For this reason the world does not recognize us, because it did not recognize him, either.

– John now continues encouraging them by stressing God’s love, and their position. God’s love not only removed our sin, it made us children of God. The mention of children here is important, for again John is pointing out that the purpose is not merely to follow the rules. Rather the purpose of all this is to have fellowship with God, the fellowship of a father and child.

and that is what we are!

– Note John’s changed to “we” in this verse. This is not just theology, this is reality! What does it mean to be a child of God? Is that how you think of yourself? Is it reflected in the way you live your life? If not, then perhaps the question to ask is, are you abiding in him, as verse 2:28 encourages us to do.

For this reason the world

– One effect of all of this is that the world does not recognize us. They not only will they not recognize us, they will hate us (John 15:18). It is very likely that this is a reference to the current situation that John’s readers found themselves in, and the church split also split friendships and families. There may even have been some persecution form the group that left.

– But even today this is a difficult message. It is so much easier to be loved by the world that we live in. But while it may be easier, it is not a good thing. This is why gathering together for fellowship with other Christians is so important.

If you have question or comments about the class, feel free to send me an email at elgin@hushbeck.com and be sure to put “Epistles of John” in the header.

See here for references and more background on the class.

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible: International Standard Version®. Copyright © 1996-2008 by The ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission. www.isv.org

Note: Some places I have modify the text from the ISV version. Passages that I have modified have been noted with and * by the verse number and the ISV text is included in a footnote.


[1] 2:29 Lit. by him
[2] 3:1 Other mss. lack And that is what we are!