WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R. Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER TWO (Lesson LXVII) 06/24/21

2:25 And this is what the Son promised us, to live with Him forever.

And to Bishop Titus, Paul pointed out that as an apostle of Jesus the Anointed One, he was sent to proclaim faith to those God chose and help them know the truth that shows people how to serve God. This faith and knowledge make us sure that we have eternal life. Our heavenly Father promised that life to us before time began – and YAHWEH does not lie.[1] And the Lord had a similar message for Jude to share with his congregation as a sign of His never-ending love, grace, and mercy.[2]

COMMENTARY

Byzantine archbishop, Theophylact, comments on his interpretation of what eternal life means. He proposes that it means knowing the one true God and Jesus the Anointed One, whom He sent.[3] I would say that Theophylact’s definition is more of what contributes to eternal life, not eternal life itself. Eternal life is being in God’s presence for perpetuity.

Thomas Scott (1749-1821) assures us that the “unction” from the Holy One alone can teach that knowledge, will indeed preserve a person from all delusions. Thus, when they become firmly established in the great truths of the Gospel, we’ll know, “there is no lie in truth.” We will, therefore, disregard the eloquence, learning, ingenuity, and confidence of those who contradict the Bible; and be satisfied with opposing the express testimony of the truth itself to their well varnished and ably defended falsehoods.[4]

William Lincoln (1788-1844) illustrates how the Father and the Son may appear to some. He states, supposing two stars appear close together in the sky. If you take a telescope and look at the two, at first, they may seem to be next to each other; but if you zoom closer, you begin to see that they are not as near as they first appeared. Or, even if you are walking down the sidewalk and see two streetlights off in the distance. But as you draw nearer to them, they appear to separate, and you see that though they appeared next to each other, they are not. In other words, the more we know of anything in creation, the more we will perceive that it is complex and divisible.

Not so with God and the Anointed One. While we know little of God, we will not see the incredible, divine oneness between Father and Son. The more you learn about God, the increase in your experiential relationship brings you even nearer to God. And the more you find that as the Father is in the Anointed One, the Anointed One is in the Father. You will find that what He said to His disciples, “Have I been with you all this time, and you do not know Me yet? Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’[5] [6]

Robert Candlish (1760-1854) emphasizes what the Apostle John said: this is what you heard from the beginning, and have believed, and have found experientially to be true. So, “I pray that the Anointed One may live in your hearts by faith. I pray that you will be filled with love.[7] Otherwise, you cannot face the Light; you cannot meet the Light with a clear and open eye, the Light of that bright and open eye of God. You will tremble beneath its truth and love. If at any moment you lose union with the Anointed One, you lose both truth and love. Only truth and love are comfortable in the bright rays of the Light.

If you fall back into darkness again, says Candlish, you will come under its power, the force of its untrue and unloving ways. Then the old dark doubts and fears of guilt will descend on you. Also, those old dark shelters of lies will tempt you; the old mysterious devices of self-justification will return to haunt you. Then old dark habits of involvement with the world’s lusts, listening to their wooing, seduces you, and the threatening anxiety of an irritable and angry discontentment with yourselves, your God, and your fellow man. They will begin to rot in your being. Instead of the light of truth, there is contamination souring of your spirit. Instead of the light of love, there is the dark dungeon smell of suspicion, hostility, and alienation from God.[8] What Candlish says here does not qualify to be part of the look-good, feel-good self-help sermons you hear today. That’s because it is part of the double-edged sword of God’s Word.[9]

James Morgan (1859-1942) discusses the message the Apostle John places here in verse twenty-eight, “those who will be ashamed before Him at His coming.” It emerges from the revelation of a young Hebrew, named Daniel, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth will wake up. Some will have a life that lasts forever, but others will have shame and will suffer much forever.”[10] How awful, says Morgan, for anyone to be ashamed that day, embarrassed by their unbelief, humiliated by their sins, and distressed because of missed opportunities, neglected privileges, and uncaring attitude for lost souls!

How blessed it will be not to be distraught at His coming, says Morgan, not stand contrite before Him who now appears in His glory, not disappointed by the hope we had in Him! Not forlorn by the realization of that blessedness for which we long looked and prayed! Oh, brothers and sisters, calls out Morgan, be in the Anointed One now, stay put in Him, and so you “will have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”[11]

Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976) notes that “life” and “eternal life” appear in the same sense. So, it is proper to ask whether “eternal” has a chronological meaning and not merely a quality designation.[12] Since there is no time in eternity, quality is a better interpretation than quantity.

Donald W. Burdick (1917-1996) says three facts are true of the person whose profession of saving fellowship is genuine. First, the truth will remain in the believer (verse 24). Second, the anointing of the Holy Spirit dwells in the believer (verse 27). And third, the believer continues in a vital relationship with God and His Son. (verses 24, 27-28).[13] Notice, the subject here is “fellowship,” not salvation. You may ask why? You see, your redemption did not occur when you were born again. Only after you rise from the grave or are transformed to meet the Lord in the air will the seal be applied to you. However, unless you continue your fellowship with God, His Son, the Holy Spirit, and each other, you will not be walking in the Light when He returns. You will be stumbling around in the darkness and be left behind. Do you remember the foolish bridesmaids who forgot their oil?[14]

2:26a That’s why I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you down the wrong path.

EXPOSITION

Here the Apostle John adds another layer of truth to fortify his cause and purpose for writing this letter. He knows the religious charlatans are already at work, trying to divide and weaken the churches. So, in the words of Solomon, the apostle is only trying to give them good advice and keep them from falling into the hands of those whose intent is to lead them astray from the truth.[15] It was something that the Apostle Paul feared would happen in Ephesus after he showed up in Jerusalem to face his ultimate destiny.[16] His apprehension may have been fueled by what he warned the Corinthians about.[17] But they were not the only ones; Paul expressed concerns about such scoundrels coming to Colossae to cause discord with their empty philosophy.[18]

In fact, Paul was so concerned about this false prophet plague spreading that he wrote to Timothy and told him that the Holy Spirit had given a message that such imitators of the true prophets would do their dirty work by following the teachings and lies spread by demons.[19] But Paul and John were not alone; the Apostle Peter also sent out such a warning to his constituents. [20] If they can get any believer to doubt that Jesus, the man from Galilee, was the incarnate Son of God, they would have accomplished their task. Deceit was and has always been poisonous to the congregations of the Anointed One.[21]

In this verse, the Apostle John, for a moment, resumes and concludes his writing respecting antichrists. When he says, “I am writing these things…,” he refers to what precedes, especially verses eighteen to twenty-three, as distinct from what is about to follow. When John mentions, “Those trying to seduce you,” the present Greek participle “those” indicates the continual attempt of these false teachers to lead John’s “little children” astray. It certainly puts a frame around all the word pictures he has penned until now.


[1] Titus 1:1-2; 3:7

[2] Jude 1:21

[3] Theophylact, Bray, G. (Ed.), op. cit., 1-3 John, p. 190

[4] Thomas Scott: First Epistle of John, op. cit., p. 487

[5] John 14:9

[6] William Lincoln, Lectures on the Epistles of St. John, pp. 55-56

[7] Ephesians 3:17

[8] Candlish, R. S., The First Epistle of John Expounded in a Series of Lectures, op. cit., p. 196

[9] Hebrews 4:12

[10] Daniel 12:2

[11] Morgan, J., An Exposition of the First Epistle of John, op. cit., pp. 158-159

[12] Bultmann, Rudolf: The Johannine Epistles, op. cit., p. 40

[13] Burdick, Donald W., The Epistles of John, op. cit., p. 44

[14] Matthew 25

[15] Proverbs 12:26

[16] Acts of the Apostles 20:29-30

[17] 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

[18] Colossians 2:8, 18

[19] 1 Timothy 4:1

[20] 2 Peter 2:1-3

[21] 2 John 1:7

About drbob76

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