WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R. Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER TWO (Lesson XXXVIII) 05/14/21

2:13 I am writing to you who are mature in your faith because you know the Anointed One who existed before the beginning. I am writing to you who are young in your faith because you won your battle by defeating Evil Satan.

EXPOSITION

John was anxious that the elders in the congregation would lead the way to encourage the younger members as they fought a good fight against Satan’s temptations every day.[1] As Moses learned, the Lord says, “If someone trusts Me, I will save them. I will protect My followers who call out to Me for help.[2] Getting advice from the older and more mature believers was mentioned by Solomon in that the young pride themselves on their strength to endure. Yet, they find the dignity of maturity in years of experience.[3]

But to show that God did not favor one over the other, He told the prophet Joel that He will send His Spirit on all humanity in the last days. Then their sons and daughters will speak God’s Word. Their old men will dream dreams. Their young men will have extraordinary visions, [4] not as something to brag about, but as rays of light to help them through a dark world to the City of Light.

And the Apostle Paul said that to stay on course and not be misled, they must remain spiritually healthy with the Lord’s strength. To put on the things God provided with which to fight. Then they will not fall into the traps of the devil. After all, their fight is not with people. It is against the leaders and the powers and the spirits of darkness in this world. It is against the demonic world that works among those who sit in power.[5]

John knew from hearing the Light speak when He was here on earth that if we honor ourselves, such praise is worth nothing. The one who provides recognition of our work is our Father in heaven. And when others brag over their actions by saying that He is also their God, the truth is they don’t know Him. Believers should openly confess that they know Him and not be like others who pretend they do when they don’t. To prove that they know Him, they must obey what He says.[6]

The secret is, once you get to know the Anointed One personally, you will also come to know the Father.[7] And the purpose of getting to know the Anointed One is to be united With God through Him.[8] No wonder the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians that God once said, “Let the light shine out of the darkness!” It is the same God who made His light shine in our hearts by letting us know His glory that is in the face of the Anointed One.[9]

When speaking about maturity and immaturity in faith, Andreas (seventh-century monk) states: we should understand the Apostle John’s different ages here in spiritual terms. They refer to our maturity in the faith. First, you must become a child and weaned off sinful tendencies. It is in this state that you must put off the weight of your old sins.[10] Once you have done this, you can progress to the status of adolescents, where you must struggle against sinful temptations. Finally, you will be deemed worthy of the in-depth knowledge of God which characterizes parents. It is the best and most dependable order of growth toward acceptance by the Father.[11]

George Swinnock (1627-1673) refers to where John said that God-born children could overcome worldly influence.[12] How can the Anointed One get along with the devil? How can one who has put their trust in the Anointed One get along with one who has not set their faith in Him?[13] God must put such an individual in chains. And like a dog without teeth, they may bark, yet they can never bite or hurt God’s children. However, no one should ever exercise their willpower to give up their portion of God’s protection. Since we are joint-heirs and co-heirs with the Anointed One, we cannot sell any of God’s blessings of protection unless He agrees to the sale. The Anointed One knows the worth of this inheritance too well to part with it for anything this wretched world can offer.[14] [15]

Methodist preacher Joseph Benson (1759-1836) sees the Apostle John placing the whole body of the Anointed One – “the Church,” into three classes, according to their different standings in the faith and their proficiency in Christian knowledge and holiness; namely, fathers, adolescents, and children. The fathers were mature believers who made the most significant progress in their faith’s knowledge, experience, and practice. Young people are those with the most robust commitment to maintaining their healthy spiritual life and are considered by the Elder John as soldiers fighting under the banner of the Anointed One against the powers of darkness. Little or young children were the newly converted, who are under instruction.[16]

But the fathers were the ones who knew this the longest – they attained to a more perfect and intimate acquaintance with the Ancient of Days, the One Daniel describes: “As I kept looking, thrones were put in their places, and the Ancient King sat on His throne.”[17] So the One John describes in his Gospel, [18] he found in his revelation: “Standing in the middle of the lamp stands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across His chest. His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And His eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and His voice thundered like mighty ocean waves.”[19] It is hard to separate them.[20]

D. Edmond Hiebert (1928-1995) does not interpret the Apostle John’s prohibition “Do not marvel” as condemnation. Especially when innocent believers are subjected to unprovoked hatred. This negative statement as something to be done immediately, such as “stop being amazed,” call on them not to give way to a feeling of astonishment and self-pity. The prohibition is a direct echo of John’s words in his Gospel.[21] Matthew gave similar warnings, [22] as did Peter in his first Epistle.[23] The most important thing for victory when a Christian is subjected to the world’s hatred is recognizing that such hatred is the natural response of the sinful world toward righteousness. That response assures believers of their moral identity and the evil character of those hating them.[24]

2:14 I’m writing to you who are God’s children because you are acquainted with the Father. I’ve written to those who are mature in the faith because you have a close relationship with the Anointed One, who existed before the beginning. I’ve written to you who are young believers because you are committed to Him. God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the devil.

Since we do not have the original manuscript of John’s letter, we can assume that John emphasizes the reason and purpose for writing this letter by repeating what he just said in verse thirteen. He wants to impress both young and old that they can do all that is needed to survive because the Anointed One gives them strength.[25] And John, like Paul, was praying for them that God’s magnificent power would make them secure, so they will have joy as they patiently wait for the Anointed One’s return and not give up.[26] John wanted them to be just like Timothy, who remained strong through the grace God gave to him because of his union with Jesus the Anointed One.[27]

It all begins by treasuring up God’s Word in our heart so that we do not yield to sinful tendencies.[28] As Jesus warned the Pharisees that although His Father in heaven sent Him with enough proof that He is the Messiah, no matter what He taught, it would not live and grow within them because they did not trust what He said nor that the Father sent Him.[29] And no doubt, John remembered what the Master said to those who did believe and trust Him, “If you continue to obey my teaching, you are truly my followers.”[30] So, the key is to remain in Him and put His teachings into practice. By doing this, says the Lord, “You may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted to you!”[31]


[1] Cf. 1 Timothy 5:1

[2] Psalm 91:14

[3] See Proverbs 20:29

[4] Joel 2:28

[5] Cf. Ephesians 6:10-12; See 1 Peter 5:8-9

[6] See John 8:54-55

[7] Ibid. 14:7

[8] Ibid. 17:21

[9] 2 Corinthians 4:6

[10] Hebrews 12:1

[11] Andreas, Bray, G. (Ed.), 1-3 John, op. cit., p. 182

[12] 1 John 5:4

[13] 2 Corinthians 6:15

[14] Romans 8:17

[15] George Swinnock: Nichol’s Series of Standard Divines, op. cit., Ch. 19, Vol. 4, p. 43

[16] Benson, Joseph: Commentary on the New and Old Testaments, op. cit., (Kindle location

[17] Daniel 7:9

[18] 1 John 1:1

[19] Revelation 1:13-15

[20] Benson, Joseph. Joseph Benson’s Commentary of the Old and New Testaments, Kindle Edition, (p. 11071)

[21] John 15:18-21

[22] Matthew 5:11-12

[23] I Peter 4:13

[24] Hiebert, D. Edmond: 1 John, Bibliotheca Sacra, July-September 1989, p. 302

[25] See Philippians 4:13

[26] Colossians 1:11

[27] See 2 Timothy 2:1

[28] Psalm 119:11

[29] See John 5:37-38

[30] Ibid 8:31

[31] Ibid. 15:7

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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