From the blessing of the sacred unction the apostle proceeds in his advice and exhortation to constancy in and with Christ: And now, little children, abide in him, 1 John 2:28. The apostle repeats his kind appellation, little children, which I suppose does not so much denote their diminutiveness as his affection, and therefore, I judge, may be rendered dear children. He would persuade by love, and prevail by endearment as well as by reason. “Not only the love of Christ, but the love of you, constrains us to inculcate your perseverance, and that you would abide in him, in the truth relating to his person, and in your union with him and allegiance to him.” Evangelical privileges are obligatory to evangelical duties; and those that are anointed by the Lord Jesus are highly obliged to abide with him in opposition to all adversaries whatever. This duty of perseverance and constancy in trying times is strongly urged by the two following considerations:—1. From the consideration of his return at the great day of account: That when he shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming, 1 John 2:28. It is here taken for granted that the Lord Jesus will come again. This was part of that truth they had heart from the beginning. And, when he shall come again, he will publicly appear, be manifested to all. When he was here before, he came privately, in comparison. He proceeded from a womb, and was introduced into a stable: but, when he shall come again, he will come from the opened heavens, and every eye shall see him; and then those who have continued with him throughout all their temptations shall have confidence, assurance, and joy, in the sight of him. They shall lift up their heads with unspeakable triumph, as knowing that their complete redemption comes along with him. On the contrary, those that have deserted him shall be ashamed before him; they shall be ashamed of themselves, ashamed of their unbelief, their cowardice, ingratitude, temerity, and folly, in forsaking so glorious a Redeemer. They shall be ashamed of their hopes, expectations, and pretences, and ashamed of all the wages of unrighteousness, by which they were induced to desert him: That we may have confidence, and may not be ashamed. The apostle includes himself in the number. “Let not us be ashamed of you,” as well as, “you will not be ashamed of yourselves.” Or me aischynthomen ap autou—that we be not ashamed (made ashamed, or put to shame) by him at his coming. At his public appearance he will shame all those who have abandoned him, he will disclaim all acquaintance with them, will cover them with shame and confusion, will abandon them to darkness, devils, and endless despair, by professing before men and angels that he is ashamed of them, Mark 8:38. To the same advice and exhortation he proceeds, 2. From the consideration of the dignity of those who still adhere to Christ and his religion: If you know that he is righteous, you know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him, 1 John 2:29. The particle here rendered if seems not to be vox dubitantis, but concedentis; not so much a conditional particle, as a suppositional one, if I may call it so, a note of allowance or concession, and so seems to be of the same import with our English inasmuch, or whereas, or since. So the sense runs more clearly: Since you know that he is righteous, you know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. He that doeth righteousness may here be justly enough assumed as another name for him that abideth in Christ. For he that abideth in Christ abideth in the law and love of Christ, and consequently in his allegiance and obedience to him; and so must do, or work, or practise, righteousness, or the parts of gospel holiness. Now such a one must needs be born of him. He is renewed by the Spirit of Christ, after the image of Christ, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath fore-ordained that he should walk in them, Eph. 2:10. “Since then you know that the Lord Christ is righteous (righteous in his quality and capacity, the Lord our righteousness, and the Lord our sanctifier or our sanctification, as 1 Cor. 1:30), you cannot but know thereupon” (or know you, it is for your consideration and regard) “that he who by the continued practice of Christianity abideth in him is born of him.” The new spiritual nature is derived from the Lord Christ. He that is constant to the practice of religion in trying times gives good evidence that he is born from above, from the Lord Christ. The Lord Christ is an everlasting Father. It is a great privilege and dignity to be born of him. Those that are so are the children of God. To as many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God, John 1:12. And this introduces the context of the following chapter.
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