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Christ, Our Answer for Sin

You are my dear children, and I write these things to you so that you won’t sin. But if anyone does sin, we continually have a forgiving Redeemer[a] who is face-to-face with the Father:[b] Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice[c] for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.[d]

The New Commandment

Here’s how we can be sure that we’ve truly come to know God: if we keep his commands.[e] If someone claims, “I have come to know God by experience,” yet doesn’t keep God’s commands, he is a phony and the truth finds no place in him. But the love of God will be perfected within the one who obeys God’s Word.

We can be sure that we’ve truly come to live in intimacy with God, not just by saying, “I am intimate with God,” but by walking in the footsteps of Jesus.

Beloved, I’m not writing a new commandment to you, but an old one that you had from the beginning, and you’ve already heard it.[f] Yet, in a sense, it is a new commandment,[g] as its truth is made manifest both in Christ and in you, because the darkness is disappearing and the true light is already blazing.[h]

Anyone who says, “I am in the light,” while holding hatred in his heart toward a fellow believer is still in the darkness. 10 But the one who truly loves a fellow believer lives in the light, and there is nothing in him that will cause someone else to stumble.[i] 11 But whoever hates a fellow believer lives in the darkness—stumbling around in the dark with no clue where he is going, for he is blinded by the darkness.[j]

Three Stages of Spiritual Maturity

12 I remind you, dear children:[k] your sins have been permanently removed because of the power of his name.[l]

13 I remind you, fathers and mothers:[m] you have a relationship with the One who has existed from the beginning.[n]

And I remind you, young people: you have defeated the Evil One.[o]

14 I write these things to you, dear children, because you truly have a relationship with the Father. I write these things, fathers and mothers, because you have had a true relationship with him who is from the beginning. And I write these things, young people, because you are strong, the Word of God is treasured in your hearts, and you have defeated the Evil One.[p]

A Warning Not to Love the World

15 Don’t set the affections of your heart on this world[q] or in loving the things of the world. The love of the Father and the love of the world are incompatible.[r] 16 For all that the world can offer us—the gratification of our flesh, the allurement of the things of the world, and the obsession with status and importance[s]—none of these things come from the Father but from the world. 17 This world[t] and its desires are in the process of passing away, but those who love to[u] do the will of God live forever.[v]

Believing in Jesus

18 Dear children, the end of this age is near! You have heard that Antichrist is arising,[w] and in fact, many enemies of Christ have already appeared, and this is how we know that we are living in the closing hour of this age.[x] 19 For even though they were once a part of us, they withdrew from us because they were never really of our number. For if they had truly belonged to us they would have continued with us.[y] By leaving our community of believers they made it obvious that they never really belonged to us.[z]

20 But the Holy One has anointed you and you all know the truth.[aa] 21 So I’m writing to you not because you don’t know the truth, but because you do know it, and no lie belongs to the truth.[ab]

The Power of the Truth

22 Who is the real liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ. He is the real antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.[ac] 23 Whoever rejects the Son rejects the Father. Whoever embraces[ad] the Son embraces the Father also. 24 So you must be sure to keep the message burning[ae] in your hearts; that is, the message of life you heard from the beginning. If you do, you will always be living in close fellowship with the Son and with the Father. 25 And he himself has promised us the never-ending life of the ages to come!

26 I’ve written these things about those who are attempting to lead you astray. 27 But the wonderful anointing you have received from God[af] is so much greater than their deception and now lives in you. There’s no need for anyone to keep teaching you.[ag] His anointing teaches you all that you need to know, for it will lead you into truth, not a counterfeit. So just as the anointing has taught you, remain in him.[ah]

28 And now, dear children, remain in him, so that when he is revealed we may have joyful confidence and not be ashamed when we stand before him at his appearing.[ai]

29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who lives in righteousness has been divinely fathered by him.[aj]


  1. 2:1 Or “Advocate.” The Aramaic can be translated “the Redeemer who ends the curse.” See John 14:16 and the second footnote.
  2. 2:1 He is still our Father even when we sin.
  3. 2:2 Or “satisfaction for our sins,” or “mercy seat.”
  4. 2:2 In these two verses we find three things that Christ is to us: (1) our forgiving Redeemer/Intercessor, (2) the Righteous One who suffered in our place, and (3) the atoning sacrifice for our sins, which cleanses and shelters us.
  5. 2:3 Keeping God’s commands is the proof and evidence of coming to know God, not the means of knowing God.
  6. 2:7 See John 13:34–35.
  7. 2:8 This commandment to love one another is both old and new. It is found in the Old Testament (Lev. 19:18), but it is made radically new and fresh by the teaching of Christ and its application through our lives.
  8. 2:8 See John 1:5, 9; 8:12. The true light is the revelation of God that shines through Christ. The Aramaic can be translated “The new commandment I write to you became realized in him [Christ] and is in you, destroying the darkness and revealing the light of truth anew.”
  9. 2:10 Or “no fear of stumbling haunts him” or “there is no trap laid for him.”
  10. 2:11 John is equating darkness with the absence of love. To love is to walk in God’s light. To hate is to walk in darkness.
  11. 2:12 The Greek word for “child,” teknion, is a child still in training (under instruction), with an implication of servanthood.
  12. 2:12 That is, through faith in who Christ is and what he has done to redeem us through the blood of his sacrifice.
  13. 2:13 Fathers and mothers (parents) are not necessarily “old men” and “old women,” but those who reproduce and raise children.
  14. 2:13 That is, Christ. See John 1:1; 1 John 1:1–3. Nothing more is said about fathers and mothers other than knowing Christ, for what could be more important than that?
  15. 2:13 Our enemy, Satan, is defeated through our union with Christ as we share in the triumphs of his cross and resurrection, the word of our testimony, the blood of the Lamb, and by not loving our own lives. See Rev. 12:10.
  16. 2:14 John gives young people (in Hebrew culture this would be anyone under forty) the three main components of spiritual growth: (1) courageous faith, (2) loving the Word of God, and (3) defeating the Evil One through our union with Christ.
  17. 2:15 Or “Stop loving the world system” (the ways of the world).
  18. 2:15 Or “If anyone persists in loving the world, there is no love for the Father in him.”
  19. 2:16 These are the three areas of temptation that the serpent used with Adam and Eve in the garden to pull them away from the Father and what the devil used to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. He is an expert at using these cravings to dilute our love for the Father and cause us to turn our affections to the things of this life. See Gen. 3:6; Matt. 4:1–11. But the values of the kingdom of God are setting our affections on things above, living in the fruit of the Spirit (self-control), and humility, which always waits for God’s timing for promotion.
  20. 2:17 That is, the world system and the desire to be in a world system that leaves God out of the picture are disappearing. Planet earth is not fading away here, but the systems, structure, and world order are.
  21. 2:17 Implied in the Greek present-tense verb, which means “to continually [habitually] do the will of God.”
  22. 2:17 There is an interesting word play in the Aramaic in this verse. The Aramaic word for “world” is alma, and the word for “forever” is alam.
  23. 2:18 The Greek verb erchomai can be translated “to come,” “to become known,” “to be established,” “to appear,” “to show oneself,” “to arise.”
  24. 2:18 The final hour is John’s description of what Paul describes as the “last days.” The final hour or last days began at Pentecost (Acts 2:16–17; Heb. 1:2). We have been living in the last days for more than two thousand years. In these last days many antichrists will come. They oppose the teachings of Christ, lead people astray, and separate from the true community of Christ followers. There is no one individual named “the antichrist” (or enemy of Christ) in the Bible. (The definite article the is never used in connection to antichrist [or “anti-anointing”].) John tells us that the “spirit of antichrist” has already been in the world (1 John 4:3) and that many antichrists (false teachers who oppose the truth of Christ and have a following) have already come. John’s warning is that we must set our hearts firmly on the truths of Jesus Christ and his Word as protection from the multiple lies that will increasingly try to deceive believers. The words antichrist and antichrists are not found in the book of Revelation but only in 1 and 2 John.
  25. 2:19 The Aramaic can be translated “they would have clung to us” or “remained tied to us.”
  26. 2:19 Or “all of them do not belong to us.” Apparently they were not thrown out of the church or excommunicated but left of their own accord. See also 1 John 4:5.
  27. 2:20 Or “you [have the capacity to] know all things.”
  28. 2:21 Jesus is the new reality and the truth. See John 14:6.
  29. 2:22 We have here the definition of “antichrist.” It is anyone who denies the Son (or denies that Jesus is the anointed Messiah). To deny Christ is to reject the Father, who gave him to us to reveal who the Father truly is. The Father and the Son are one; you cannot receive one and reject the other.
  30. 2:23 Or “confesses.”
  31. 2:24 Or “residing in you.”
  32. 2:27 Although absent in the Greek, the words “from God” are found in the Aramaic manuscripts. It is clear from the context that the “anointing” is the Holy Spirit poured into us, bringing life, illumination, wisdom, fruit, and power from the indwelling life of Christ.
  33. 2:27 Or “There is no need for anyone to keep teaching you his opinions [deceptions].” John is not telling them not to continue to be taught the Word of God, for God has placed teachers in the church to instruct us and equip us and bring us into the fullness of Christ (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11; Heb. 13:7, 17). John’s warning concerns those who lead us astray by the false doctrines of men. The bride of Christ will always need Holy Spirit-filled teachers who illuminate us in the ways of Christ.
  34. 2:27 The Greek can be translated “remain in it” (the anointing).
  35. 2:28 See also Luke 16:3; 2 Cor. 10:8; Phil. 1:20; 1 Peter 4:16.
  36. 2:29 Or “born of him.” Living in righteousness, or doing what is right before God, is the proof that we have been fathered by God himself.