Walking in the Light

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R. Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER TWO (Lesson VI) 03/31/21

Daniel Steele (1824-1914) says that the Apostle John implies that neither sin nor sinning is necessary. Under the dispensation of grace, the believer may always be victorious over temptation. We see that John addresses those who profess to be Christians as, “My little children.” Also, the fact that in the Final Covenant, God is called Father, it is a relationship purely spiritual and belonging only to those who have been born of the Spirit. As evident as the cloudless midday sun, John does not regard sin as a natural element of the Christian life.

In aiming to produce complete and constant victory over sin, says Steele, John was not endeavoring to create an unusual character. An “un-sinning Christian” was in Steele’s estimation neither an impossibility nor an abnormality. John was not visionary but clearheaded in his endeavor to enlighten and purify the church. He asserts that sinlessness is the aim of John’s teaching, and it is not gained by efforts on the level of natural ability, but by the grace of our Lord Jesus, who sends the Paraclete to “cleanse from all unrighteousness.”[1]

Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889) talks about the last sermon of the Anointed One and His consecration prayer as found in John’s Gospel[2] and how He meant them as tools to teach and comfort His disciples. While He had been with them, they had one Paraclete, or “Advocate,” who pleaded with them the cause of God, explained and promoted the truth, and guarded and guided them. Upon reaching the point where our Lord was soon to leave earth for heaven as their Paraclete or Advocate. He knew it would leave them leaderless, so His first act was praying to the Father to send another Paraclete or Advocate, who would continue with them forever.

Edersheim says that we can trust this Advocate’s guidance and pleadings to God. He was “the Spirit of Truth.” The world, indeed, would not listen to His pleadings nor accept Him as their Guide, for the only evidence by which they judged was that of outward sight and material results. But theirs would be false notions of this world experience, not another world and spiritual. As a result, they will not know the reality of His existence and truth behind His pleading by His continual presence. As part of this Paraclete body, His presence is with them by His Spirit dwelling in them individually.[3]

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), in his daily devotions, to be used in the evening on October 4th, says that John uses the words here in verse one as the basis for his narrative. All the sin that a believer ever did, or can be allowed to commit, cannot destroy their interest in the Lord Jesus the Anointed One as their advocate. The name given in this verse to our Lord is suggestive – “Jesus.” So then, He is the advocate we need, for Jesus is the name of One whose ministry and delight it is to save. His sweet name implies His success. Next, it is “Jesus the Anointed One.” It shows His authority to plead, for He is the Father’s appointed advocate and elected priest. If we were to ones who chose our advocate, He might have failed. But since God chose Him and gave Him power and authority to do the job, we can safely bring our troubles to where God placed His support. He is the Anointed One and, therefore, authorized to do so.

He is the Anointed One, writes Spurgeon, and consequently qualified, for the anointing has outfitted Him for His work. As the Paraclete, He can plead to move the heart of God and prevail. What words of tenderness, what sentences of persuasion will the Anointed One use when He stands up to mediate for me! One more letter of His name remains, “Jesus Christ the righteous Anointed One.” It is not only His character but His plea. If the Righteous One is my advocate, then my cause is safe, or He would not have championed it. It is His plea to the Father, for He challenges the charge of unrighteousness against us by claiming that we are righteous because of His righteousness. He declares Himself, our substitute, and credits His obedience to our account. Oh My soul, you have a friend well qualified to be your advocate. He cannot but succeed. So, place yourself entirely in His nail-scarred hands.[4]

James John Lias (1834-1923) makes a convincing statement when we say that John wants his readers to know that “The confession of sin is to turn and take a step in the direction of forsaking it.” The Apostle shows how this is to be the case, namely, by the tendency of the sense of weakness and sin to lead us to One on whom we rely (1) for forgiveness, and (2) for that change which will destroy sin in us.[5] We see this illustrated in a person attempting to break an addiction, be it food, liquor, tobacco, or drugs. The therapist tells them that continued abuse of these items would end up killing them sooner than later. But each time they see their therapist, tests show that the level of these lethal substances has not diminished. So, when asked why, the person says, “I just can’t stop!” The same with sin and sinning. Many are on the edge of dropping from the Light of spiritual union with God back into the darkness of spiritual separation. If they want things to change for the better, they must crucify those desires on the cross and pledge never, never to turn back. The Holy Spirit will assist in that decision so that the person can be victorious.

Lias then gives three points that are crucial for a person to understand in making such a decision. He says I. We have an Advocate. “That you do not sin, and even if you do sin.” There is no contradiction here. The way to holiness is not in ourselves but another. We do not run the Christian course alone. One stands beside us to help, to cheer, to console, to plead for us. II. With the Father. The Greek preposition pros implies a double sense: (1) He is eternal with the Father, just as He is with us. He dwells in us, yet is of one in mind and will with Him with whom He pleads. However, (2) He stands before Him as man petitioning our cause. Yes, the Head of the Church, the Head of the whole human race, is united by faith. He continuously presents Himself at the eternal throne offering the one sacrifice of His dedicated life, consummated and brought to a point, as it were, in His most blessed death. III. Righteous. It refers to the Greek adjective dikaios translated as “just” in verse nine. God is right in forgiving us of our sins because Jesus did what was right in atoning for them. His righteousness was to satisfy the debt of our unrighteousness, His obedience for our disobedience. His holiness and sinlessness were the only evidence on which He could offer atonement for our sin.[6]

On the Holy Spirit’s subject being our paraclete, Augustus Strong (1836-1921) states that this title means more than a standard form of “comfort,” or taken as the name of invisible influence. The Comforter, Instructor, Patron, Guide, Advocate, whom this term brings before us, must be a person. It is evident from its application to the Anointed One here in verse one – “we have an Advocate – with the Father, Jesus the righteous Anointed One.”[7] Dr. Strong also points out that we should not perceive the essence of the Anointed One’s mediation as an external and vocal petitioning or as a mere figure of speech as some claim. Instead, think of this as the Anointed One’s unique sacrificial activity in securing whatever blessings come to humanity, whether that blessing is physical, material, or spiritual.[8]

Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) quotes John’s words here in verse two and then comments that some will say, “Well, I believe all that, but I have sinned since becoming a Christian.” The question is, can you find a man or woman on the face of the earth who has not sinned since becoming a Christian? Not one There never has been, and never will be, a soul who has not sinned, or who will not sin, at some time of their Christian experience. But God made provision for believers’ sins. We are not to make provision for them, but God has. Here in verse one, John is writing to the righteous. “If any man sins, we” — John included himself — “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus the righteous Anointed One” What an Advocate! He attends to our interests at the very best place — the throne of God. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away.”[9] He went away to become our High Priest and also our Advocate. He has had some complex cases to plead, but He has never lost a case: and if you entrust your immortal interests to Him, He will “present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”[10] [11]

Alfred Plummer (1841-1926) agrees with others who suggest that chapter one should not have ended where it did, but only after verse two here in chapter two. He says that anyone who desires to grow in sanctification, yet conscious of their frailty, must continuously have recourse to the Advocate and His cleansing blood. It will enable them to obey God more and more perfectly. Therefore, wayward believers need not use the Advocate as a convenient source for forgiveness due to constant sinning; Plummer sees the Advocate as a fortress to prevent sin from invading the believer due to their faith’s weakness. Otherwise, why would God sacrifice His only Son as a payment for sin and meeting the Law’s demand of death for sinners?[12]

Erich Haupt (1841-1926) explores the idea of the Lord being our Paraclete (Advocate) and says that it is not the Father, for the accusative sense means towards the Father. His advocacy turns towards the Father and has to do with Him. According to the Gospel, remains our Paraclete. That’s because He stands by the Christian during all their conflicts with the world and themselves. He serves them as a Counselor, Advocate, and Helper. But toward God who is Light and a righteous Judge, says Haupt, our Paraclete functions as a merciful Mediator. But that occurs only under a twofold belief: First, He must be well-pleasing to God through His ethical qualification. Secondly, He must represent a cause that commends itself to God as coming from the Holy One. And Jesus does all that.[13]


[1] Steele, Daniel: Half-Hours with John, p.

[2] John 14-17

[3] Alfred Edersheim: The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Vol. 2, Ch. 11, pp. 396-399

[4] Charles Spurgeon: Morning and Evening Devotions, p. 559

[5] Lias, J. J., The First Epistle of John with Exposition, op. cit., p. 55

[6] Ibid. The First Epistle of John with Homiletical Treatment, op. cit., pp. 61–63

[7] Strong, Augustus H. Systematic Theology, op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 585

[8] Ibid. Vol. 2, p. 716

[9] John 16:7

[10] Jude 1:24

[11] Dwight L. Moody: Way to God, Ch. 2, pp. 23-24, 84

[12] Alfred E. Plummer: First Epistle of John, op. cit., pp.85-89

[13] Haupt, E., The First Epistle of St. John, op. cit., p. 57

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s