Vital Signs: Obeying God's Commands
1 John 2:1-6
Pastor Ron Johnson
So far in 1 John, we’ve seen that those who have eternal life walk in the light and confess their sin. Next we’ll see in 2:1-6 that they also obey God’s commands.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Just to refresh our minds a bit… John’s actually been talking a lot about sin so far in his letter and we saw in him tell the letter’s recipients in 1:8 and 10 "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us... 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
However, when Chapter 2 opens, John wants to be sure
they realize that just because they’re born with a propensity to sin and have sinned, they shouldn’t be content with continuing in sin or thinking that sin’s really not a big deal. (now that they’re in Christ).
The truth of the matter is that John says I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin because he is convinced that those who have eternal life are no longer in ___________ to sin and are called by God to _____ _____ __ ________ in their lives by the power of the HS.
Check out: Rom 6:12-14; 8:12-14; 1 Cor 15:34; Tit 2:11-12
By the power of the Holy Spirit as the grace of God is at work within us, it’s not only possible for us to say no to sin, but as God enables, to actually live HOLY lives. Not _________ lives, but lives _____________ ____ holiness.
The truth is that God was gracious and merciful enough to save you right where you were, but He also loves you too much to leave you there. And if you belong to Jesus (if you HAVE eternal life) by the grace of God, the Holy Spirit will be at work within you and one of His primary objectives is to make you more like Christ (Not to make you __________, but to make you sin _____ _________).
John goes on to say Jesus is your perfect advocate before a holy and just God? The best defense attorney anywhere.
John then goes on to refer to our Lord and Savior in v 2 as the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
This passage DOES present some interpretive challenges and you’ll see why as we move forward.
Propitiation: Jesus Christ was the offering that turned the _______ ___ ______ directed toward you away (and when I say that, I’m referring to you who are in Christ).
In other words, the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross “appeased or satisfied” the demands of a holy God who is both holy and just, hates sin and must deal with it and require a penalty for it (death).
John says that Jesus Christ was the propitiation for our sins (and for the most part people seem to be able to grasp that), but he goes on to say “not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Now here comes the challenge. If Christ was truly the offering that turned the wrath of God directed (not only toward believers, but also toward the whole world away), and “the whole world” is understood to mean all of mankind (as it is by many), why will countless men and women who have died without Christ still be eternally condemned to hell and required to pay the penalty for their own sin?
Jesus was the propitiation for our sins (and by that I believe he’s referring to believers), but he then goes on to say… and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Note: 1 John 2:2 has been incorrectly used to teach universalism. The idea that ALL will be saved.
A few things to consider
What does John mean by “world” when he refers to the whole world?
Very briefly, John uses the word “world” many different ways in Scripture (and if we had more time, I’d show you), but my conviction is that this this is one of those times where John uses the word world in a more nonspecific way (meaning _________ ___ _________) and not every man and every woman.
Pastor Ron’s belief: Jesus died on the cross and paid the penalty for sin ___ __________ ___ of all who would turn from their sin and trust in His work on the cross for their salvation.
And at the same time, Jesus died ____ ______ _________ of every man and woman who has ever lived.
One benefit: God’s wrath toward sinners is temporarily softened/postponed.
Pastor Ron believes God has and will accomplish EXACTLY what He set out to accomplish in sending Jesus to the cross and raising Him from the dead.
In John 6:37 Jesus declared… All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
Both are true at the same time (all that the father gives me will come) and (whoever comes to Jesus will never be casted out) - tension
And while Christ’s death on the cross was ultimately on behalf of all who would believe, it was such an incredible offering that it benefits everyone who has ever lived.