WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R. Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER TWO (Lesson LXVI) 06/22/21

2:23 For a person who doesn’t believe in the Anointed One, God’s Son, cannot call God their Father. But they who have the Anointed One, God’s Son, also have God as their Father.

Rudolf Bultmann (1874-1976) says the question that has arisen is, in what sense do the heretical teachers deny that Jesus is the Anointed One? Since they claim to belong to the Christian congregation, they must believe God sent the Anointed One to bring salvation. So, does the dispute seem to center on to what degree we acknowledge Him as the Son of God? We must examine the fact that He came in the flesh as a human being[1] to find out how His incarnation took place. It boiled down to two choices: He came in Spirit and was incarnated in human flesh through His birth by Mary. Or, one can assume that Jesus already existed as a just and holy man, and God chose to put the Spirit of the Messiah in Him, as seen at His Baptism by John the Baptizer.[2]

The Orthodox Church, of which John as an elder and Apostle, took view number one. Jesus was both man and God in one human form. It was the only way He could become both our Savior and Advocate before the Father. The heretics responded that this man Jesus died in the flesh as a human, but God raised His Spirit of the Messiah after the flesh died to live on forever.[3]

Paul W. Hoon (1910-2000) says that the dissenters in the congregation had issues beyond Jesus’ divinity. They understood the idea of a crucified Messiah, but they could not stand the concept of a humanized God. They no doubt accepted Jesus of Nazareth as the Anointed One, but they could not tolerate the doctrine that Jesus of Nazareth was “God.” They might have believed in the God likeness of the Anointed One, but it was impossible to believe in the Christ likeness of God. Even in his day, says Hoon, the world strikes back at the proclamation that Jesus is both man and God.[4]

D. Edmond Hiebert (1928-1995) says that those who deny the Son of God do not have God as their Father. Their denial of the Son also means that they have no personal relationship with God as “the Father.” They do not stand in any child-parent relationship with Him. By their denial of the Son, they excommunicate themselves from the great Christian family in which the Anointed One is the Brother, and God is the Father of all believers. “Whoever denies” (John is not referencing the deniers as a group, but individually), which serves as a warning to all deniers of the Son universally.[5]

Karen H. Jobes (1968) makes it clear that when you take Jesus as your Savior, you get God as your Father. But if you say “no” to Jesus, you are also saying “no” to the Father who sent Him. John further explains that one cannot have fellowship with God the Father and deny that Jesus is the Anointed One. Therefore, the proper understanding of who Jesus is, is a necessary element of true friendship with the Father, which is the only solid basis of assurance of eternal life.[6]

Christian Jewish writer David Stern sees that what the Apostle John says in verses twenty-two and twenty-three invites comparison with Yeshua’s statements — “If you knew me, you would know my Father too.[7]The Father and I are one,[8] and “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.”[9] All these verses refute the Two-Covenant theory, which says that Jews and Christians each have their independent but equally valid covenants with God so that Jews do not need to relate to the Final Covenant or Yeshua.[10] Even some Final Covenant believers feel that the First Covenant is of no value to them.

2:24a So, you must continue to follow what you were taught from the beginning of your conversion. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father.

EXPOSITION

The Apostle John just said that it would prove so effective a guard against the antichrist to those who received the Spirit of God. Furthermore, those who receive it would remain in union with the Anointed One since, being taught of God, they would not be deceived by any pretenses of antichrist doctrines. However unbelievable I may seem, John now guards against any abuse by balancing his statement concerning a believer’s obligation to others, which reminds him of his responsibility and duty by saying, “Keep on believing what you were taught from the beginning. If you do, you will always be in close fellowship with both God the Father and His Son.” Hence, John’s topic – “Abiding in the Anointed One is our duty,” occupied His thoughts, which should be our primary obligation as well.

There is no alternate route to salvation and heaven, says John. You can’t exit the highway of holiness to take a shortcut. That’s why the wise young Psalmist told God that he took His words to heart as a treasure so that he would not go the wrong way.[11] Perhaps this smart young man took what the wise king Solomon said about truth and wisdom from God being something to  treasure.[12] And it stands to reason that John was inspired by what the Messiah said about wanting us to have union with Him and His Word.[13]

Indeed, the Apostle Paul was convinced of this principle because he told the Colossians to let the Word of the Anointed One live in them as a rich source of wisdom and counsel.[14] A wise believer will ensure that such teachings are followed and used to keep them from going astray.[15] That will ensure that they will share in all that the Anointed One provides from beginning to end.[16] Having this truth and union with each other will guarantee that grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and from His Son, Jesus the Anointed One, will be around as long as they live in truth and love.[17] John was so happy when told of his constituent’s faithfulness to the Gospel.[18] So, it was also in a message John sent to the Church in the city of Sardis.[19]

John was there when Jesus told the skeptics that they saw things from an earthly perspective, while He saw them from a heavenly perspective. He came expressly to inform them that if they didn’t change and believe His message, they would die in their sins. Incredibly, they asked Jesus, “Who do you think you are saying such a thing?” Jesus responded that He has been telling them from the beginning who He is, the Messiah, the Son of God.[20] So, He is not going to change now or in eternity; they are the ones who need to be transformed to have everlasting life. Oddly enough, the Apostle Paul ran into the same type of question in Philippi.[21] The Apostle John also dealt with a similar situation in his second letter.[22]

Jesus could not emphasize it more clearly than He did when He talked about how all His teachings should be followed out of love, not as an obligation to Torah. It assures them the Son and the Father will be in daily union with them.[23] And what did they have to lose? Our Lord told them with all sincerity that He loved you as the Father loved me. Remain steadfast in my love. I obeyed my Father’s commands, and He continues to love me. In the same way, if you follow my commands, I will continue to love you.[24]

The Lord did this for a specific reason. That was so that all who believe in Him can be one. They are all in Him, and He is in them. That’s why He prayed to the Father that they could also be one in us. Then the world will believe that He was the one who sent Him. Jesus goes on to tell the Father; “I gave them the splendor that You gave me. I gave them this magnificence so that they can be one with us, just as you and I are one with each other. I will be in them, and you will be in me. So, they will be undivided as one. Then the world will know that You sent Me and that You loved them just as you loved me.” The Master finishes by telling the Father that He wants these people given to Him to be every place where He is. He wants them to see Him in His full splendor – the splendor the Father gave Him because before He created the world, He loved Him.[25]


[1] See 1 John 4:2

[2] Matthew 3:17

[3] Bultmann, Rudolf: The Johannine Epistles, op. cit., pp. 38-39

[4] Hoon, Paul W., The Interpreter’s Bible, op. cit., Vol. XII, p. 246

[5] Hiebert, D. Edmond, 1 John, Bibliotheca Sacra, op. cit., p. 87

[6] Jobes, Karen H., 1, 2, and 3 John, op. cit., p. 130

[7] John 8:19

[8] Ibid. 10:30

[9] Ibid. 14:6

[10] Stern, David H., Jewish New Testament Commentary, op. cit., (Kindle Locations 21725-21729)

[11] Psalm 119:11

[12] Proverbs 23:23

[13] John 15:7

[14] Colossians 3:16

[15] Hebrews 2:1

[16] Ibid. 3:14

[17] 2 John 1:2-3

[18] 3 John 1:3

[19] Revelation 3:3

[20] John 8:23-25

[21] Philippians 4:15

[22] 2 John 1:5-6

[23] John 14:23

[24] Ibid. 15:9-10

[25] Ibid. 17:21-24

About drbob76

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