Saturday, January 7, 2012

First John Chapter Two, Part Six

2:12-14 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. 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. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. 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. John first addresses his audience as little children. It may be that he is addressing babes in Christ, mature believers and those between, or it may be that John is refreshing them by reminding them that they have the faith of small children, the wisdom of older men, and the strength of young men. Either way, there is a progression of what John reminds them, and why he is writing to them.

Their sins are forgiven them for Jesus’ sake. We know that not be any act of righteousness, but by God’s singular mercy are we saved, Titus 3:5. It is Jesus who saved us from our sins and God’s coming wrath, Hebrews 7:25; 1st Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9. It is imperative to be reminded that our sins are forgiven us and we have a right relationship with God because of Jesus Christ. It provides clarity in our Christian walk and grants proper insight when dividing God’s word. Is a grasp of having our sins forgiven in Christ really so important? Of course. Without it we have no comfort or assurance. Salvation is still something “out there” we’re working toward or looking for. Security is lost as Scripture becomes a key to ensure that we don’t displease God so much that He casts us away though at one time we might have been saved. God provides eternal security, and He wishes to impart this comfort to every saint willing to receive it from Him.

These saints have known Him who is from the beginning. That would be God (Genesis 1:1) and Jesus (John 1:1). Going beyond an assurance of forgiven sins, the saints have matured and entered into a relationship with the One who forgave them. Forgiveness of sins brings reconciliation; and the saints John is addressing have taken advantage of this fact and moved into an intimate relationship with their Savior.

They have overcome the wicked one. The wicked one without doubt is Satan, the accuser of the brethren who stands before God day and night to malign us, Revelation 12:10; Job 1:9-11. Peter counsels that we must stand firm in our faith (in Christ) and resist the Devil, who prowls like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, 1st Peter 5:8-9. This only makes sense; the closer we stand to our Shepherd, the safer we are from the jaws of the lion. When the lion takes hold of you (as he is wont to do) you know that you have strayed from Christ and made yourself an easy prey. James joins in the counsel and commands that we submit to God, and draw near to Him; the result is that God will also draw near to us, James 4:7-8; Leviticus 26:3-13. The second result of drawing near to God in humble submission is that it gives us power to resist the Devil, and he will flee from us.

They have known the Father. Again John calls them little children in reference to their relationship with God as their Heavenly Father. Christ taught that we may call God “Abba” which is essentially Aramaic for “Daddy;” a term of endearment for small children when addressing their fathers. He who is from the beginning—God Almighty, Jehovah—is also our Father. Christians have one Father and we are all brethren, Matthew 23:8-9.

John follows the reminder to children with the same address he gave the fathers the first time. They have known Him who is from the beginning. The Greek word for “know” is “ginosko” and can mean “come to know, recognize, understand, or even to have sexual relations.” Paul writes: “What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit,” 1st Corinthians 6:16-17. The comparison is simple. Just as committing fornication with a prostitute makes you “one flesh” with her (in other words, you’re married to her in God’s eyes) so too the one that is joined to Christ by faith is one spirit. We are joined by the Holy Spirit and may in this fashion intimately know God, for the Holy Spirit is uniquely qualified to reveal Him to us. As the apostle writes elsewhere, “But God hath revealed them (the things prepared by God for us) unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God,” 1st Corinthians 2:10-11.

The final declaration John makes might read that the saints are strong BECAUSE the word of God abides in them and for this reason they have overcome the wicked one. A saint overcomes the world and the Devil by his faith, 1st John 5:4. But faith must be fueled by God’s word, Romans 10:17. Faith must have substance to feed off of, or like a poorly fed fire faith will flicker and die and be good for nothing. It is written in the Revelation that the saints overcame Satan (personified at this point by the Antichrist) by the blood of Christ, the word of their testimony and their willingness to adhere to it, Revelation 12:11. The NASB translates Revelation 1:5 “[Jesus] released us from our sins by His blood.”

This is the cardinal point of being an overcomer; faith in the Lamb. This faith is brought to us by the word of another’s testimony. I’m sure everyone can recall where they first heard the gospel given to them, and at what time the Holy Spirit so moved on them that they believed and were saved. For me it was my mother when I was a child, planting seeds by letting me know who Jesus was and what He had done for me. In Revelation 12:11 those who did not love their lives to the death (Literally: to death) were martyrs who chose death over rejection of their Savior. Christians are to be “in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God,” Philippians 1:28. If we have been released by Christ’s blood and abide in His doctrine rest assured that we too have power (in Christ) to overcome the wicked one.

2 comments:

  1. Dear Ian,
    Excellent post, full of Scriptural truth about salvation, faith, forgiveness of sins, eternal security. We are so blessed to be able to approach our God as we would a loving, perfect Father.
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  2. Great post, Ian.

    So many are trying to keep their salvation by their own good works. Galatians 3:2-3 asks, "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? If you couldn't save yourself, how can you keep yourself saved.

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