WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R. Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER TWO (Lesson LXVII) 06/23/21

2:24 Be sure that you continue to follow the teaching you heard from the beginning. If you do that, you will always be in the Son and the Father.

COMMENTARY

James Arminius (1560-1609) states that it is good when the Church’s is in union with the Anointed One. There, a dwelling place is promised without termination by the bounds of this life. It will continue forever, and finally, when this short life is transformed for heaven. Regarding this, the Apostle says, “I desire to depart and to be with the Anointed One,”[1] and the Anointed One says, “Father, I want My followers You gave Me to be with Me where I am.”[2] John says that the end of this Gospel is “that our fellowship may be with the Father and the Son.”[3]  Eternal life is not possible without such fellowship. In another place, he explains the same end in these words, “But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him, you will have life by the power of His name.”[4] But from the meaning of the same Apostle, it appears that this fellowship has a prior union. These are his words, here in verse twenty-four. Shall the marriage between the Anointed One and His Church ceases at a period when He presents His spouse, sanctified to Himself by His blood? Far be the idea from us! For the union, which had commenced here on earth, will then, at length, be accomplished and finished in heaven.[5]

Richard Rothe (1799-1867) points out that John is referring to the old original teaching. He phrases it as “that which you heard from the beginning.” John may not have intended it so but, in his Gospel, he explained that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So, we can see a play on words here by taking the word “beginning” and applying it to Jesus the Anointed One. In other words, what they heard from the “beginning” was from the “Beginning Himself.” Rothe says that experience teaches that deviation from this truth leads ultimately to the denial of the Anointed One and God. He warns that the more we add to the original teachings of Jesus, the greater the danger of deviating from that conception of the truth, which forms the basis for further Church teachings.[6]

John Stock (1817-1884) reminds us that Noah remained in his ark, which “just as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord closed the door behind them,[7] nor did Noah depart from this prepared refuge from the flood, which came upon and destroyed the world of the ungodly,[8] till God commanded him to do so. And so, the Church of the living God won and transformed by God’s truth, does not depart from it, continues to obey it still, and thereby reaps the unspeakable benefit of abiding in God, the Father, and the Son. Believers continue in the Son by being connected to Him as the Head of the body, [9] sustained by Him as the living bread of life,[10] drawing from Him as the inexhaustible fountain of living waters;[11] and anchored to Him as the Rock,[12] through His doctrine and fellowship.[13]

John James Lias (1834-1923) says that continued union with the Son and Father is the only possible means of salvation. The denial of this truth leads directly to the destruction of all moral principles. The ethical lives of unbelievers are due to their acceptance of the moral principles of their culture. These moral principles of Christians are contingent upon the holy Law-giver. Without His word, it is like a skyscraper without a foundation. And such a structure cannot stand long.[14] Denial of revelation, then, is ultimately a denial of all truth. And it also cuts away the only power that can enable us to “do the truth.” Thus, continuance in the Son and the Father is the only means whereby (1) error, the source of all evil, can be gradually dispelled, and (2) truth, the source of all holiness and goodness, enabled to take full possession of the heart.[15]

James Morgan (1859-1942) says this will become clearer while we read when we notice the Apostle John’s object for writing as he did. The three terms, “abide,” “remain,” and “continue,” are from the same Greek verb menō. The repetition is sufficient to show the extreme importance attached to the thought by the Apostle John. What, then, is it? We find it in the phrase, “The Truth is not in us,” John uses again and again throughout this epistle. So that the truth may be helpful, it must be in us. It is not some speculation in the head, but a practical principle in the heart. It must be food for our soul, as nutrition is for the body. But it is not mere knowledge of the truth. It is a system by which we operate. It is the golden chest, like the Ark of the Covenant, that contains the Jewel. And that Jewel is Jesus the Anointed One.[16]

Morgan goes on to say that this thought is proclaimed with tremendous power by more than one apostle. The Apostle Peter puts it this way: “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself through his marvelous glory and excellence.”[17] Peter believes that the promises of God should have such influence. That’s why the Apostle goes on to say, “But to obtain these gifts, you need more than faith; you must also work hard to be good, and even that is not enough. For then, you must learn to know God better and discover what he wants you to do. Next, learn to put aside your desires so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have his way with you. It will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally, you will grow to love them deeply. The more you go on in this way, the more you will grow strong spiritually and become fruitful and useful to our Lord Jesus the Anointed One.”[18]

Paul views the subject in the same light. He says, “Since we have these great promises, dear friends, let us turn away from every sin of the body or of the spirit. Let us honor God with love and fear by giving ourselves to Him in every way.”[19] Surely this ought to be the effect of God’s promises, says Morgan. Gratitude to Him who gifted them for that purpose. The conscious happiness with which their enjoyment inspires us should have a good effect on us. And above all, the hope they set before us should transport us beyond the world, sin, and self and elevate us to heaven with its anticipated holiness, blessedness, and glory. It will be the same with all who truly receive the doctrine of the text, “this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life.”[20]

Stephen S. Smalley (1931-2018) believes that we must keep in mind that the believer who lives in the Light and dwells in harmony with God the Son and Father is not an automatic spiritual condition. Remaining in the Light and union with God rests exclusively upon the continuous appropriation of the blessings and responsibilities of the Christian Gospel. We cannot take for granted that such fellowship is ours because we are good church members or belong to a Bible study group. They must make sure that what they heard, which drew them to the Anointed One for salvation, is still echoing in them.[21]

2:25a And this is what the Son promised to us – never-ending life.

EXPOSITION

Is John revealing something that was never heard before by the children of Israel? While he was in exile in Babylon, Daniel was given this word: “There are many who are dead and buried. Some of them will wake up and live forever, but others will wake up to everlasting shame and disgrace.” Could this be the Scripture Jesus told His Jewish critics to lookup? Not so. It was certainly something the Apostle Paul preached; his final pronouncement was that when people knowingly sin, they earn what sin pays – death. But God gives His people a gift they cannot buy or merit – eternal life in Jesus, our Lord the Anointed One.[22]

After the Apostle Paul called the Galatians foolish for going back under the iron hand of the Law, he then told them not to be made fools of again, thinking they can hide anything from God. A person will harvest whatever they plant! If they do things to satisfy their sinful tendencies, they will end up losing everything. However, if a person does those things that please the Holy Spirit, they will have a life that lasts forever.[23] But, says Paul, God does not erase from His loving mind those who insist on doing things their way. Paul testifies that God had loving-kindness for him. Jesus the Anointed One used him to show that He has patience without limit. Jesus wanted him to be an example for those who would believe in and have eternal life.[24] That’s why he tells young Timothy to try as hard as he could to win his fight against Satan and the world for Jesus’ sake. Take hold of eternal life. It is the life you were chosen to have when you confessed your faith in Jesus – that wonderful truth that you preached so openly and that so many people heard.[25]


[1] Philippians 1:23

[2] John 17:24

[3] 1 John 1:3

[4] John 20:31

[5] Arminius, James: Oration 3, The Author and the End of Theology, p. 87

[6] Rothe, Richard: The Expository Times, op. cit., September 1892, pp. 551-552

[7] Genesis 7:16

[8] See 2 Peter 2:5

[9] Colossians 1:18

[10] John 6:35

[11] Ibid. 4:14; 7:38; cf. Jeremiah 17:13; Zechariah 14:8-9

[12] Matthew 7:24; 1 Corinthians 3:11; 1 Peter 2:6;

[13] Stock, John: An Exposition of the First Epistle General of St. John, op. cit., p. 197

[14] See Luke 6:48; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20, et. al.

[15] Lias, J. J., The First Epistle of John with Homiletical Treatment, op. cit., pp. 163-164

[16] Morgan, James: Biblical Illustrator, First Epistle of John, op. cit., p. 138

[17] 2 Peter 1:3

[18] Ibid. 1:5-8

[19] 2 Corinthians 7:1

[20] Morgan, James: An Exposition of the First Epistle of John, op. cit. pp. 148–149

[21] Smalley, Stephen S., Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 51, op. cit., p. 117

[22] Ibid. 6:23

[23] Galatians 6:7-8

[24] 1 Timothy 1:16

[25] Ibid. 6:12

About drbob76

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