1 JOHN CHAPTER 2
I) [1 Jn 2:1-2]:
(v. 1) "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous
(v. 2) He [Jesus Christ, (v. 1)] is the atoning sacrifice - the propitiation [= the satisfaction] for our [all believers', (v. 2:1)] sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."
"I am writing these things to you that you may not sin" = John is therefore writing this particular epistle to teach principles through the adherence of which one "may not sin". The subject therefore cannot be salvation for the gospel does not require one to not sin but simply to trust alone in Christ alone as Savior, (cp 1 Jn 5:9-13).
= Furthermore, since only believers are in a position to not sin, and unbelievers are hopelessly enslaved to sin, (Ro 6:17, 20), then the intended audience of this epistle must be believers.
"we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" = Since this is speaking in the present tense, and since believers only have an Advocate with the Father, then the "we" applies to believers only. Unbelievers first must become believers in order to then have an Advocate with the Father. It indicates that believers when they sin have Jesus Christ as their personal Advocate. Then follows verse 2 analyzed below which is the basis for His advocacy: that God is propitiated, i.e., satisfied as to the payment for the penalty for sins so that when a believer does sin our Lord will testify before the Father of even these sins being satisfactorily paid for at the cross.
The intended audience of believers is further established by the "ours" in verse 2:2 to whom John is addressing his letter. Christ died for our - believers' sins - but not only for ours but for the sins of the whole unbelieving world - to whom the letter is NOT addressed
"My little children" is a term that the Apostle John uses frequently to address believers only, (cp Jn 1:12-13, I Jn 2:18, 2:28; 3:1, 4:4, etc., etc.). Our Lord Himself used this term to describe believers, (cp Jn 13:33).
A) [Compare 1 Jn 3:1]:
"See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are...."
[Only believers are called "children of God", (cp Jn 1:12-13)]
B) [1 Jn 2:12]:
"I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake."
Only believers have the status wherein their sins are forgiven them relative to eternal life, (cp Acts 10:43).
The context of teaching and exhorting believers to a life of fellowship with God continues on throughout John's letter:
C) [1 Jn 2:3]:
"And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments."
D) [1 Jn 1:7]:
"...if we [believers] walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, [i.e., if we believers act as righteously as God is righteous, then] we have fellowship with one another [i.e., the righteous behaving believer is then in fellowship with God].."
Notice that the major subject of this passage is the exhortation to the born again believer to live a holy and righteous life resulting in fellowship with God. Again, this could not apply to salvation since acting righteously, i.e., keeping God's commandments are not part of receiving eternal life, (Eph 2:8-9). Rather, this is all about knowing God - having an intimate relationship with Him - a fellowship with Him. This is done by keeping God's commandments: the opposite of having unaccountable sins in one's life, i.e., the opposite of walking in darkness.
II) [1 Jn 2:2]:
"He [Jesus Christ, (v. 1)] is the atoning sacrifice - the propitiation [= the satisfaction] for our [all believers', (v. 2:1)] sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."
"propitiation" = "hilasmos" = satisfaction, satisfactory payment for.
[Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, (W. E. Vine, Fleming H. Revell Co., Old Tappan, N.J., 1981, p. 224)]:
"Hilasmos [is] akin to hileos (= merciful, propitious), [which] signifies an expiation, a means whereby sin is covered and remitted. It is used in the N.T. of Christ Himself as 'the propitiation,' in 1 John 2:2 and 4:10, signifying that He Himself, through the expiatory sacrifice of His Death, is the personal means by Whom God shows mercy to the sinner who believes on Christ as the One thus provided."
A) [Compare Col 2:13-14]:
(v. 13) "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
(v. 14) having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross."
B) [2 Cor 5:18-19]:
(v. 18) "All this is from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
(v. 19) that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
So verse 2 states that Christ paid the penalty for all the sins of the whole world:
"alla kai peri holou tou kosmou" =
"but also for whole the world"
The Greek word "kosmou" = world is never limited in Scripture to refer to just the elect. The test of this is to add in the phrase 'of the elect' in order to exclude non-elect from the possibility of salvation. This then produces false doctrines which conflict with proven teachings from Scripture. This action frequently results in contradictory statements. For example, 1 John 2:2 cannot be limited to the elect and still make any sense: 'For He, (Christ), is the propitiation for the sins of the elect and not only for the elect but also for those of the world of the elect.'
1 Jn 2:2 therefore states that Christ's sacrifice has covered the penalty for everybody's sins who has ever lived or whoever will live. A person is in Hades/Lake of Fire because of only one fracture: unbelief in Jesus Christ resulting in an unchanged unrighteous condition - and not because of any sin.
Chafer, op. cit., p.115:
"In 1 John 2:2 the point is made that Christ is not only the sacrifice for the sins of those who are saved but also for the sins of the world. 'He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.' It would be impossible to make it any clearer that the death of Christ provided for the entire world. Interpreting the word 'world' as referring only to the elect must ignore many passages in the Bible where the word 'world' is used in a universal sense..."
C) [Compare John 15:18-19]:
(v. 18) "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
(v. 19) If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
D) [Compare John 17:16]:
"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."
E) [Compare 1 John 5:19]:
"We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."
In one of his taped sermons, (#78 RO-44, side 2, 'The Effects of Justification Summarized'), Dr. John E Danish of Berean Memorial Church, Irving, Texas; quotes what John Calvin stated in his later more mature days relative to 1 John 2:2 and salvation, ('Systematic Theology' Vol. 2, by Dr. Augustus Strong on the subject: 'The Doctrine of Salvation, p.788):
II cont.) [1 Jn 2:2 cont.]:
" 'He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."...
[Then Calvin comments of this verse by saying]:
"...Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world and in the goodness of God is offered unto all men without distinction; His blood being shed not for a part of the world only but for the whole human race. For although in the world nothing is found worthy of the favor of God yet He holds out the propitiation to the whole world, since without exception He summons all to the faith of Christ which is nothing else than the door unto hope."
For example: "Behold the Lamb of God..takes sin..world" (Jn 1:29)
"This is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world" (Jn 4:42)
"The Father sent the Son...Savior...world." (1 Jn 4:14)
III) [1 Jn 2:3-4]:
(v. 3) "We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.
(v. 4) The man who says, 'I know Him,' but does not do what He commands is a liar, [notice that salvation is not in view], and the truth is not in him.
(v. 5) But if anyone obeys His word, God's love is truly made complete in Him. This is how we know we are in Him
[Notice that knowing we are in Him is in view not whether or not we are actually saved or not]:
(v. 6) Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.
[John tells us his purpose in the prologue of the book. In 1 John 1:3 John says,
A) [1 Jn 1:3]:
"That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ."
Notice that John did not say that he was writing to tell his readers how they might have assurance of their salvation. The word fellowship actually means sharing. Fellowship with God is a sharing of His character and nature in our experience. The more we obey Him, the more we share His character and nature in our experience. So the passage under consideration is not saying that all individuals who are saved must and can only walk in the perfection of Jesus otherwise they are not saved for that is impossible for any believer to do all the time, (1 Jn 1:8, 10). It can only be saying what it literally states: In order for a believer to claim to live in Christ meaning that their lives are being lived as if they are in Christ - then they must walk as Jesus did, otherwise their claim is not true. Thus if they do not walk as Jesus did then their claim to live in Christ is false, i.e., their lifestyle is not in Christ; yet as believers they are certainly in Christ relative to their position in heaven, although experientially they are not demonstrating that position. The verse simply teaches that an individual has come to know the Lord if he obeys the Lord's commands. Whether or not an individual is saved or not is NOT in view; but knowing the Lord, i.e., having an intimate fellowship with Him is. Believers can spend their entire lives not having much of an intimate fellowship with the Lord yet being secure in their salvation. Salvation is one thing, having fellowship with the Lord is another, (1 Jn 1). So no believer obeys the Lord 100% of the time yet he is secure in his salvation no matter what and the passages cited for this are good examples. So obeying the Lord is not definitive proof of being saved nor is disobeying the Lord definitive proof of not being saved. So on the basis of 1 Jn 2:3 or any passage in the bible one cannot conclude that one is not saved on the basis of whether or not one is obeying the Lord's commands.
III) [1 Jn 2:15-17]:
(v. 15) "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
(v. 16) For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world.
(v. 17) The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."
"the man who does the will of God lives forever." =
Possibilities to consider:
A) The man who in his experience today lives as holy as God is, thus he lives forever. This requires absolutely perfect holy living which is not possible with man.
B) The man who believes in Jesus as Savior unto eternal life which is the will of the Father lives forever.
1) [Compare Jn 6:27-29]:
(v. 27) "[Jesus answered] Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.
(v. 28) Then they asked Him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?'
(v. 29) Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent'"
C) Although not always possible a general pattern of doing the will of God and a man will live forever.
This does not fit the context, and doing the will of God is absolute - no exceptions - in order to live forever.
D) Those men who are born again children of God in their future resurrection bodies who will as a result of this always do the will of God and thus live forever.
This fits the context.
IV) [1 Jn 2:19]:
"They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us."
Loss of salvation is not in view in verse 19. This is an historical statement that a group of people went out from the Jerusalem Church because they did not fit doctrinally. It doesn't say whether those who went out were believers or unbelievers, though most likely they were unbelievers since John's denunciations of the antichrists include denials concerning the person and work of Christ. Yet this doesn't mean that all who go out from any church do so for doctrinal reasons, or that all who do so for doctrinal reasons are unsaved. Furthermore, the 'they' is portrayed as having left the 'us' and are classified as false teachers. But historically and according to Scripture, the Church will always have false teachers in it, increasing until the Rapture geometrically until the Second Coming. So this must be historical - a one time event - and not a doctrinal statement. Since clear passages do indicate that believers can act this way and in view of the parallel passage in Acts chapter 15 which indicates this very thing - this may well be an historical statement rather than a general doctrinal statement - pointing to the Jerusalem Church from whom apostate teachers left.
A) [Compare Acts 15:24]:
"We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said."
Consider a parallel type passage in 1 Jn 4:4-6 which also begins with You 'dear children' = believers, They = false teachers, us = believers and the Apostles' group:
B) [Compare 1 Jn 4:4-6]:
(v. 4) "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One Who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
(v. 5) They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.
(v. 6) We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood."