2:1 My 1
little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man
sin, we have an a advocate with the
Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
(1) It does not follow that we must give our
wicked nature free rein, or sin much more freely, because our sins are
cleansed by the blood of Christ, but we must rather much more diligently
resist sin, and yet we must not despair because of our weakness, for we have
an advocate and a purger, Christ Jesus the Just, and therefore acceptable to
(a) In that be names Christ, he eliminates all
2:2 And he is the b
propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the
c whole world.
(b) Reconciliation and intercession go together,
to give us to understand that he is both advocate and high priest.
(c) For men of all sorts, of all ages, and all
places, so that this benefit being not to the Jews only, of whom he speaks as
appears in (1 John
2:7) but also to other nations.
hereby we do know that we e know him, e
if we keep his commandments.
(2) He returns to the testimony of our union with
God, that is, to sanctification, declaring what it is to walk in the light,
that is, to keep God's commandments. By this it follows that holiness does
not consist in those things which men have devised, neither in a vain
profession of the gospel.
(d) This must be understood of such a knowledge
as has faith with it, and not of a common knowledge.
(e) For the tree is known by the fruit.
that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the
truth is not in him.
(3) Holiness, that is, a life ordered according
to the prescript of God's commandments, however weak we are, is of necessity
joined with faith, that is, with the true knowledge of the Father in the Son.
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the f
love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in g
(4) He that keeps God's commandments loves God
indeed: He that loves God, is in God, or is joined together with God.
Therefore he that keeps his commandments is in him.
(f) Wherewith we love God.
(g) He means our union with Christ.
that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
(5) He that is one with Christ, must live his
life, that is, must walk in his steps.
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
(6) The apostle expounding the commandment of
charity towards one another, tells first that when he urges holiness, he
brings no new idea of life (as they use to do who devise traditions one after
another) but reminds them of that same law which God gave in the beginning,
that is, by Moses, at the time that God began to make laws for his people.
Again, a new commandment I write unto you, h
which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the
true light now shineth.
(7) He adds that the doctrine indeed is old, but
it is in a way new, both in respect to Christ, and also to us: in whom he
through the gospel, engraves his law effectually, not in tables of stone, but
in our minds. h Which thing (that is,
that the doctrine is new which I write to you) is true in him, and in you.
that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until
(8) Now he comes to the second table, that is, to
charity towards one another, and denies that a man has true light in him, or
is indeed regenerate and the son of God, who hates his brother: and such a one
wanders miserably in darkness, may he never brag of great knowledge of God for
he knowingly and willingly casts himself headlong into hell.
2:12i I write unto you, 9
little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his k
(i) Therefore I write to you, because you are of
their number whom God has reconciled to himself. (9)
He returns again from the sanctification to remission of sins, because that
free reconciliation in Christ is the ground of our salvation upon which
afterwards sanctification must be built as upon a foundation.
(k) For his own sake: in that he names Christ he
eliminates all others, whether they are in heaven or on earth.
I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him [that is] from the
beginning. 11 I write unto you, young
men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. 12
I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
(10) He shows that this doctrine agrees to all
ages, and first of all speaking to old men, he shows that Christ and his
doctrine are ancient, and therefore if they enjoy with old things, nothing
ought to be more acceptable to them.
(11) He advertises to young men, if they desire
to show their strength, that they have a most glorious combat set here before
them, that is, Satan the worst enemy, who must be overcome: willing them to be
as sure of the victory, as if they had already gotten it.
(12) Finally, he shows to children, that the true
Father from whom they have to look for all good things, is set before them in
I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him [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.
(13) He adds afterward in like order, as many
exhortations: as if he should say, Remember, you Fathers, as I wrote even now,
that the everlasting Son of God is revealed to us. Remember you young men,
that that strength by which I said that you put Satan to flight, is given to
you by the word of God which dwells in you.
Love not the l world, neither the things
[that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the m
love of the Father is not in him.
(14) The world which is full of wicked desires,
lusts or pleasures, and pride, is utterly hated by our heavenly Father.
Therefore the Father and the world cannot be loved together: and this
admonition is very necessary for young and growing youth.
(l) He speaks of the world, as it agrees not with
the will of God, for otherwise God is said to love the world with an infinite
3:16) that is to say, those whom he chose out of the world.
(m) Wherewith the Father is loved.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of
God abideth for ever.
(15) He shows how much better it is to obey the
Father's will, than the lusts of the world, by both their natures and unlike
2:1816n Little children, 17
it is the last time: 18 and as ye have
heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby
we know that it is the last time.
(16) Now, he turns himself to little children,
which nonetheless are well instructed in the sum of religion, and wills them
by various reasons to shake off laziness, which is too familiar with that age.
(n) He uses this word "Little" not
because he speaks to children, but to allure them the more by using such sweet
(17) First, because the last time is at hand, so
that the matter suffers no delay.
(18) Secondly, because antichrists, that is, such
as fall from God, are already come, even as they heard that they would come.
And it was necessary to warn that careless and fearless age of the danger.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, o
they would [no doubt] have continued with us: 20
but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of
(19) A digression against certain offences and
stumbling blocks at which that young age especially might stumble and be
shaken, Therefore that they should not be terrified with the falling back of
certain, first he makes plain to men that although those who fall from God and
his religion had a place in the Church, yet they were never of the Church:
because the Church is the company of the elect, who cannot perish, and
therefore cannot fall from Christ.
(o) So then the elect can never fall from grace.
(20) Secondly, he shows that these things happen
to the benefit of the Church, that hypocrites may be plainly known.
But ye have an p unction from the q
Holy One, and ye know all things.
(21) Thirdly, he comforts them, to make them
stand fast, as they are anointed by the Holy Spirit with the true knowledge of
(p) The grace of the Holy Spirit, and this is a
borrowed type of speech taken from the anointings used in the law.
(q) From Christ who is peculiarly called Holy.
I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know
it, and that no lie is of the truth.
(22) The taking away of an objection, He did not
write these things to men who are ignorant of religion, but rather to those
who know the truth well, yes so far that they are able to discern truth from
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the r
Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
(23) He shows now plainly the false doctrine of
the antichrist's, that is, that either they fight against the person of
Christ, or his office, or both together and at once. They who do so, boast and
brag of God in vain, for in denying the Son, the Father also is denied.
(r) Is the true Messiah.
Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [
(but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father
(s) They deceive themselves, and also deceive
others, who say that the Moslems and other infidels worship the same God that
Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that
which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall
continue in the Son, and in the Father.
(24) The whole preaching of the prophets and
apostles is contrary to that doctrine, therefore it is utterly to be cast
away, and this wholly to be held and kept, which leads us to seek eternal life
in the free promise, that is to say, in Christ alone, who is given to us by
These [things] have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
(25) The same Spirit who endues the elect with
the knowledge of the truth and sanctifies them, gives them the gift of
perseverance, to continue to the end.
2:27 But the t
anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye u
need not that any man teach you: but as the same x
anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as
it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
(t) The Spirit who you have received from Christ,
and who has led you into all truth.
(u) You are not ignorant of those things, and
therefore I teach them not as things that were never heard of, but call them
to your mind as things which you do know.
(x) He commends both the doctrine which they had
embraced, and also highly praises their faith, and the diligence of those who
taught them, yet so, that he takes nothing from the honour due to the Holy
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have
confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
(26) The conclusion both of the whole
exhortation, and also of the former treatise.
If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness
is born of him.
(27) A passing over to the treatise following,
which tends to the same purpose, but yet is more ample, and handles the same
matter in another way, for before he taught us to go from the effects to the
cause, and in this that follows, he goes from the causes to the effects. This
is the sum of the argument, God is the fountain of all righteousness, and
therefore they that give themselves to righteousness, are known to be born of
him, because they resemble God the Father.