The Epistle of I JOHN
(Chapter Two -- Part One)
1. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not [that you do not break fellowship]. And [but] if any man sin [breaks fellowship], we have an advocate [a defense attorney] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous [one]:
As the verse clearly states, it is obviously never God's Will that we break fellowship. But if we do sin, we have a defense attorney or more clearly, a mediator between us and God. That mediator who is our defender is Jesus Christ. That is why when we pray and confess our broken fellowship to God that we should always close our prayer "in the name of Jesus Christ." He is our advocate with God our Father.
Now, we're going to talk about a term or word that has been wrongly used for centuries. I am quite sure that you will be familiar with this term. How often have you heard the term "backsliding" being used?
I would like to teach you something here that you may have never been taught before. Nowhere in the New Testament is the term "backsliding" mentioned. It is only used by teachers and ministers who wrongly divide the Word of God. To understand why this is true, you need to apply the Biblical principle "to whom is the book written?" The reason the word "backsliding" does not exist in the Church epistles is because a son cannot backslide. He can get out of fellowship with God and he can walk in darkness but a son cannot backslide to the point where he is no longer a son of God. The seed of God implanted in a born again believer is permanent. Can you imagine how much fear and worry the improper use of this term "backslide" can cause a believer? You can get out of fellowship and stay there if you so choose, but you cannot backslide.
The term "backslide" is used in a number of situations in the Old Testament. The reason for this is because in the Old Testament the believers were referred to as servants of God -- not sons because seed was not available until Jesus Christ came. Abraham and Moses were servants of God because sonship was not yet available. A servant can backslide. You may have a servant in your home that can slide back so far that you may fire him, but you cannot fire your son. He is still your son. We have always stressed the importance of the teaching called "The Seven Administrations" which is available to you. Backsliding was possible during the Law Administration, but it is not possible during the Church of Grace Administration. I pray that this point is now clear to you once and for all. We cannot backslide, but the servants of the Old Testament could backslide. It's that simple. That's what the Word of God teaches when you understand the different administrations and to whom the book is written.
2. And he [Jesus Christ] is the propitiation [payment] for our sins [broken fellowship]: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Jesus Christ is the propitiation/payment for our sins, meaning that he not only paid for them but he also wins us back into favor with God when we break fellowship. Our confession of sin brings forgiveness of our broken fellowship. God can remit our sin only once and that is at the time of salvation. Remission of sins is for the unsaved sinner; forgiveness of sin is for the saved sinner who is out of fellowship with God. Understanding this distinction is very important if you are going to be able to understand God's Word. When we are born again, our sins are remitted -- completely washed away. After we are born again, our sins are forgiven when we break fellowship.
3. And hereby we do know that we know him [God], if we keep his [God's] commandments.
We are to prove to ourselves that we know God. The two Greek forms for "know" in verse 3 are used with precision as follows: "We do know [present tense -- by being well-acquainted personally] that we know [perfect tense -- by an initial meeting, salvation, with God]". What are His commandments? To do those things which He has just instructed -- to walk in the light. We are to hold forth The Word after our minds have been illuminated by it. We have heard time and time again that we must do all things with the love of God. I want to share with you a definition of the love of God from God's Word.
I John 5: 3 -- For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous [oppressive].
Remember, when we walk with the love of God according to His Word, we should be having fun -- we should be enjoying life. There should be no sweat, stress or strain. How can we worry about anything when God Almighty is our Heavenly Father and is taking care of all our needs? Worry is a trick put upon us by Satan who controls this present evil world which is getting worse every day. Don't fall for his tricks and his lies -- substitute those negative life-destroying thoughts with God's thoughts from God's Word. To know God's Word is to know Him and the only way to know Him is to study His Word. Studying God's Word is enjoyable -- ask God to teach you how to study. I am enjoying putting this teaching together. I am preparing it willingly with the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. This is how God originally intended man to live -- by keeping God first. Keeping anything else first [idolatry] leads only to self-destruction and misery.
4. He [the man] that saith, I know [by a personal acquaintance] him [God], and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him [the man].
If a person is not born again, the truth is not in him spiritually. But if a born-again believer says that he knows God intimately and does not observe the commandment to walk in the light, the truth of the Word is not in that man's mind. The truth remains in the believer's spiritual being, but that person has not put on the truth in his mind.
5. But whoso keepeth his [God's] word, in him [the man] verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him [God by Jesus Christ].
To keep God's Word is to live according to His Will. We do the keeping of His Word, and in the keeping of it, the love of God is perfected in us. Love, agape in Greek, comes with spiritual birth. The love of God is outwardly manifested by us when we walk in the light by staying in fellowship. Having the spirit from God in us plus walking in His love, walking by His commandments, makes this fellowship possible.
6. He [the man] that saith he abideth in him [God by Christ Jesus] ought himself also so to walk, even as he [Jesus Christ] walked.
Remember to get your pronouns correct. By misunderstanding who a pronoun is referring to, you get error and private interpretation.
Anyone who says that he is abiding or continuing in the presence of God, must have his mind renewed according to the Word and walk with this renewed mind as Jesus Christ did. The born-again believer can, because of freedom of will, choose to live according to this world; but to be in fellowship, a believer must choose to renew his mind and act according to the Word of God. Remember only Jesus Christ walked perfectly -- he never sinned. God's Word does encourage us to strive for and make our best attempt to imitate the perfection of Jesus Christ's walk.
The more we get into the Word by renewing our minds and applying it in our life, the richer and fuller becomes our fellowship with God. Fellowship is our continued relationship with God. Sonship is God's permanent relationship with us. We must renew our mind to be in fellowship. [See Romans 12: 2; Philippians 2: 5; and Colossians 3: 16].
7. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
8. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing [entire transaction of word and deed] is true in him [God] and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
A newly-made precept is now given. The whole transaction of God was made genuine and applicable, and therefore is, and can be manifested in the senses world. The darkness is past because God in Christ in us is light. This light cannot be seen by others, however, unless we manifest it, show it forth by our walk -- by our renewed mind manifesting the love of God. God makes His Will known to everyone in His Word, while the god of this world acts in secrecy.
9. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
Hate is possible only when someone is born of the seed of the devil, just as agape love is possible only when someone is born of God's seed. The two Greek words for "hate," miseo and sturgetos, must be understood by their usage in the context. They may mean "dislike," or "dislike issuing in the absolute hate of the devil." This hate, the opposite of agape, is a spiritual quality brought into a person when he is born of the seed of the serpent. This subject will be covered in a later teaching. However, we should know and understand that born again believers cannot actually 'hate' anything or anybody -- we can 'dislike' something to a great extent but we cannot 'hate'.
10. He [the man] that loveth his brother abideth in the light [walking in the renewed mind according to the Word], and there is none occasion of stumbling in him [the man].
The word 'stumbling' is interesting in that it means "a trap-stick, a crooked stick on which the bait is fastened, which the animal strikes against and so springs the trap". -- A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament. Always keep in mind that the devil moves in secrecy and he will try to make a believer stumble by springing a subtle trap. Staying in fellowship and loving our brothers and sisters in Christ is assurance that this will not happen.
11. But he that hateth [dislikes] his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
Notice again that the word 'hate' should be 'dislike'. If we keep our minds renewed on God's Word, the love of God is perfected in our minds, and we give no opportunity to the flesh to dislike or slight a brother in Christ. He who slights or dislikes his brother has not renewed his mind to God's Word. Doing wrong to a brother or sister in Christ can bring serious consequences to a person's life. It's something that you never want to do. Satan constantly tries to dissuade us from walking in the truth of the light of God's Word. In order to continue steadfast in the light, a believer must have a knowledge of God's Word. Without such knowledge, a believer is uprooted and is easily swayed into darkness because of ignorance. We can overcome this by simply studying God's Word.
12. I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his [God's] name's sake.
A person cannot be a child of God until he is born again of God's seed. A man's sin, broken fellowship, is forgiven on account of God's name's sake, because the man is in God's family. Literally, all sins were laid on Jesus Christ when he made his sacrifice. But remember again, we can and do sin after we are born again. Never let anyone tell you that because you are a Christian, you cannot sin. Your spirit cannot sin, but your soul and flesh can sin.
13. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one [Satan]. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
God is from the beginning and we get to know Him only through His Word. We overcome the wicked one by staying in fellowship and applying the Word in our life day after day. As was mentioned in Chapter One, the Bible is written to those who know the Father -- to those who are born again and are doing their best to walk with God. In many ways, the verse is self-explanatory and interprets itself right in the verse where it is written. Remember, there are three ways the Word of God interprets itself: 1) Right where it is written, 2) In the context, 3) Where it is used before. This verse falls into the first category.
14. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him [God] that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one [Satan].
The Word of God can only dwell in men after they are born again and have eternal life. Believers abide in the Word as they renew their mind according to that Word. That is the only way to be strong and overcome the wicked one -- by having the Word of God abide in you. That is truly the only way to be victorious in this life. Fame and fortune does not necessarily bring peace and joy but sometimes brings misery and much unhappiness to a person's life. How often have you heard of a famous athlete, musician, or movie star who has a problem with drugs, alcohol and even commits suicide? Why? Because only the Word of God brings GENUINE peace and joy into a person's life.
15. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
If the love of the Father is not in a person, that person does not have eternal life. If a man truly loves the things of the world (which refers to Satan who rules and legally owns the world), the love of the Father cannot be in him. Actually, you should be in conflict with the system of the world and all of its devices. It actually is not possible for a person to believe and act upon God's Word and actually be in harmony with the world at the same time. What God's Word teaches and what the world teaches are in direct conflict with each other.
James 4: 4 -- Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
This concludes Part One of I John Chapter Two.