1 John 2English Standard Version (ESV)
Christ Our Advocate
2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
The New Commandment
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because[a] the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
12 I am writing to you, little children,
Do Not Love the World
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Warning Concerning Antichrists
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[d] 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us[e]—eternal life.
26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
Children of God
28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
1 John 2The Voice (VOICE)
The word “sin” has virtually disappeared from modern conversation. Afraid of sounding judgmental, we call sin something else—a mistake, an addiction, a tendency, a bad decision—and ignore it as normal and natural behavior. But John is calling the church to a radical holiness where those in the church will regularly remember their sins and seek God’s forgiveness. Each sin, small and large, injures us or someone else; it imprints on our soul, makes us imperfect, and separates us from the perfect God. If we confess our sins to God each day, then He will purify our hearts and draw us closer to Him.
2 You are my little children, so I am writing these things to help you avoid sin. If, however, any believer does sin, we have a high-powered defense lawyer—Jesus the Anointed, the righteous—arguing on our behalf before the Father. 2 It was through His sacrificial death that our sins were atoned. But He did not stop there—He died for the sins of the whole world.
John is affectionately addressing this letter to his “little children,” and he is writing to help them avoid sin and the pain and guilt that come with it. The glamour of decadent lifestyles devoid of God is often advertised as the epitome of joy and freedom. But what are often conveniently left out of these portrayals are the agonizing consequences of such destructive lifestyles. Meaningful pleasure comes not when we are enslaved by the empty promises of the world, but when we are living in loving obedience to God.
3 We know we have joined Him in an intimate relationship because we live out His commands. 4 If someone claims, “I am in an intimate relationship with Him,” but this big talker doesn’t live out His commands, then this individual is a liar and a stranger to the truth. 5 But if someone responds to and obeys His word, then God’s love has truly taken root and filled him. This is how we know we are in an intimate relationship with Him: 6 anyone who says, “I live in intimacy with Him,” should walk the path Jesus walked.
7 My loved ones, in one sense, I am not writing a new command for you. I am only reminding you of the old command. It’s a word you already know, a word that has existed from the beginning. 8 However, in another sense, I am writing a new command for you. The new command is the truth that He lived; and now you are living it, too, because the darkness is fading and the true light is already shining among you.
9 Anyone who says, “I live in the light,” but hates his brother or sister is still living in the shadows. 10 Anyone who loves his brother or sister lives in the light and will not trip because his conscience is clear. 11 But anyone who hates his brother is in the darkness, stumbling around with no idea where he is going, blinded by the darkness.
We are deeply loved by God. When we turn and love those members of our faith family whom God loves, we are set apart and different from the world.
12 I am writing to you, my children, because your sins have been forgiven by the authority of His name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers and mothers, because you have known Him as the Creator, as the One who started everything.
I am writing to you, young people, because He has given you the power to conquer the evil one.
14 I have written to you, my children, because you have known the Father.
I have written to you, fathers and mothers, because you have known Him, the Creator.
I have written to you, young people, because the voice of God remains and is heard among you. Remember that you have conquered the evil one.
15 Don’t fall in love with this corrupt world or worship the things it can offer. Those who love its corrupt ways don’t have the Father’s love living within them. 16 All the things the world can offer to you—the allure of pleasure, the passion to have things, and the pompous sense of superiority—do not come from the Father. These are the rotten fruits of this world. 17 This corrupt world is already wasting away, as are its selfish desires. But the person really doing God’s will—that person will never cease to be.
18 My children, this is the final hour. You have heard that the antiChrist, the greatest enemy to His kingdom, is coming, but in fact, many antiChrists are already here. This development tells us how late it really is. 19 A group has left us, but they were not part of our family. If they were truly our brothers and sisters, they would have remained for the duration with us. When they left, they made it ever so obvious that they were not part of us.
20 You have been given an anointing, a special touch from the Holy One. You know the truth.[a] 21 I am not writing to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it. You know that no lie belongs to the truth. 22 The liar is the one who says, “Jesus is not really the Anointed One.” This is the antiChrist, the one denying both the Father and the Son. 23 Anyone who denies the Son does not know the Father. The one affirming the Son enjoys an intimate relationship with the Father as well.
24 Let the good news, the story you have heard from the beginning of your journey, live in and take hold of you. If that happens and you focus on the good news, then you will always remain in a relationship with the Son and the Father. 25 This is what He promised us: eternal life.
26 I also am writing to warn you about some who are attempting to deceive you. 27 You have an anointing. You received it from Him, and His anointing remains on you. You do not need any other teacher. But as His anointing instructs you in all the essentials (all the truth uncontaminated by darkness and lies), it teaches you this: “Remain connected to Him.”
28 So now, my little children, live in Him, so that whenever He is revealed, we will have confidence and not have to hang our heads in shame before Him when He comes. 29 If you know that He is just and faithful, then you also know that everyone who lives faithfully and acts justly has been born into a new life through Him.