NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY
By Dr. Robert R. Seyda
FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN
CHAPTER TWO (Lesson LXXI) 06/30/21
2:27 But you received the Holy Spirit, and now He lives within you, in your hearts, so that you don’t need anyone to teach you what is right. For He teaches you all things, and He tells you the Truth. He is not a liar. So, just as He has said, you must live in the Anointed One, never to depart from Him.
Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976) says that verses twenty-six and twenty-seven serve as a Homiletical reinforcement for all that John the Apostle said in this second chapter. John advises them to listen carefully and examine what he wrote to them about the people trying to deceive them. But as for them, he lets them know that the Messianic anointing received from the Father remains in them, so that they do not need anyone to teach them anything different. On the contrary, His Messianic anointing continues to teach them about all things and is genuine, not counterfeit. So, just as He taught them, remain united with Him. That is John’s greatest, hope that they will not lose what God gave them upon starting their journey for everlasting life. That same message and hope should be in the heart of every pastor and teacher of God’s Word in the Church today. Unfortunately, just like in John’s day, some pastors and teachers no longer have it in themselves.
Rudolf Schnackenburg (1914-2002) sees the Apostle John making a fresh start here in contrast to all he said about the heretics. “As for you,” John says, “you have the anointing of the Holy Spirit which you received from the Anointed One that is still yours.” His illumination and strength will help them stand firm against these deceivers. The purpose of this final encouragement is also to give them confidence in the future. Too often, Christians live their lives in ways that will help cover their past. Others remain faithful to God and the Anointed One to live a joyful and more abundant life. But John is saying we are to live our lives for the future. It is good we are no longer what we used to be, nor are we all that we want to be, but thank God we look forward to what we will be when He returns. All our blessings are down here, but our rewards are up ahead. Runners in a race want to distance themselves from the starting gate, and enjoy the cheers of the crowds lining the track, but their goal is the finish line.
Rudolph A. Culpepper (1930-2015) points out three emphatic addresses, “and you” (2:20, 24, 27), provide the structure for this section. Since some of those who remained may have considered joining the other faction, the elder assures them, “you have an anointing,” by which he probably meant the Holy Spirit. They already know the truth, but the Antichrist is the Liar, the one who denies the Anointed One. The opponents, however, were once part of the community, so the issue must be a specific confession of the Anointed One.
Yet, says Culpepper, the elder warns that those who do not confess the Son do not have the Father either. John appeals, therefore, for the community to abide in the same manner they had at the beginning. No one should depart from it, following those who deserted the community of believers. They already had, said Culpepper, the promise of eternal life. No one else was needed to pay attention to any new or novel teaching. They only needed to stay with the instruction received through the Holy Spirit, not alone in a mountain cave, as part of a monastic community.
Culpepper then rightly characterizes John’s debate with the antichrists as an expression of “the tension … between the conservative principle and the liberal, the need to preserve, and the need to adapt.” The Antichrists assumed that the Gospel was elastic and subject to expansion under the Spirit’s guidance. John, however, insists that we identify Christians by their adherence to core creeds about the Anointed One. In this section, the tests he offers make acceptance of these central tenets essential to a genuine relationship with God.
Stanley L. Derickson (1940-present) answers whether God is active in our lives? Says Derickson; He is involved in illuminating our foggy minds to the truth of the scriptures. He wants us to know more about Himself, as well as to know Him more. He is not the great mystery of the universe; instead, He is a great teacher. Later on, Derickson states that the key to understanding this is being born again. When you consider the status of great liberal theologians and their education, it has done nothing to increase their knowledge of God’s Word. They are not born again and do not have the Holy Spirit within them to teach spiritual truths. It is why there was this struggle with all sorts of falsehoods.
What John says here in verse twenty-seven, says Derickson, is a statement. He is not implying that the believer doesn’t need human teachers, but is to let the believers know that the truth of the preceding statements would be made evident to them through the Spirit. If the text were teaching that there was no need for human teachers, then we would not need Bible Institutes, Christian colleges, theological seminaries, or teachers at those learning institutions.
2:28a And now, my dear children, remain united with Christ so that when He returns, you won’t need to be afraid and turn away from Him in shame.
So, the key to John’s contention that they should stand up for Jesus as the Son of God in the flesh against those who would try to persuade them otherwise. He certainly had every reason to do so. He heard the Savior Himself say that if anyone is ashamed of Him or His message in this adulterous and sinful world, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when He returns in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
The Apostle Paul felt the same way. That’s why he encouraged the Colossians to remain faithful to the end because when the Messiah, who is the source of our spiritual life, appears, then you too will appear with Him in glory! It was also part of Paul’s message to Timothy. He encouraged him to do what the apostle commissioned him to do without fault or blame until the time when our Lord Jesus the Anointed One comes again. Also, Paul wanted Titus to know that everyone should live as Jesus wants them to while waiting for the coming of our great God and Savior Jesus the Anointed One. He is our great hope, and He will come with great glory.
So, it’s no wonder Paul reminded the scattered Hebrews that they all would die one day, and after that, will stand before God and be judged. It is the same with the Anointed One. He gave Himself once to take away the sins of many. When He comes the second time, it will not be to offer Himself again as a sacrifice for sin, but to save all those waiting for Him. The Apostle likens it to mined gold refined by fire to test its genuineness. And as such, faith will be proven to be worth more than gold. When your faith is confirmed to be pure, the result will be praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ comes.
John echoes the words of Isaiah, who prophesied that at that time, people would say, “Here is our God! He is the one for whom we have been waiting. He has come to save us. We have been waiting for our Lord.” So, we will rejoice and be happy when He saves us. But, Isaiah wasn’t the only one. Listen to what the prophet Malachi had to say: “Who will be able to endure it when He comes? Who will be able to stand and face Him when He appears? For He will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes.”
But we are not to just stand around waiting for His return. Paul told the Corinthians to use the spiritual gifts given to them as needed to promote God’s kingdom while they wait for the return of the Lord Jesus the Anointed One. Paul shared that everyone will be raised to life as the Anointed One arose for those already gone to their rest. Then, when the Anointed One comes again, those who belong to Him will be raised to life. So even the grave cannot hide us from His resurrecting power. So, as John says, let us all resist any tempter or temptation that may draw us away from our predestined goal arranged by our Father in heaven.
The way to do this is to remain steadfast in heart so that we will be holy and without fault before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones. Not only that, but may our God of peace set us apart for Himself. Let every part of us be set apart for God. May our spirit, soul, and body be kept safe and without fault. Might we be without blame when our Lord Jesus the Anointed One comes again.
 Bultmann, Rudolf: The Johannine Epistles, op. cit., pp. 40-41
 Schnackenburg, Rudolf, The Johannine Epistles, op. cit., p. 149
 1 John 4:2
 Culpepper, Rudolph, A., Mays, J. L. (Ed.). (1988). Harper’s Bible Commentary, op. cit., p. 1292
 Derickson, Stanley L. Notes on Theology, God is Active, p. 183
 Ibid. The Holy Spirit’s Ministries to the Believer, op. cit., p. 572
 Mark 8:38
 Colossians 3:4
 1 Timothy 6:14
 Titus 2:13
 Hebrews 9:27-28
 1 Peter 1:7; cf. 5:4
 Isaiah 25:9; See 45:17
 Malachi 3:2 – New Living Translation (NLT)
 1 Corinthians 1:7
 Ibid. 15:23
 1 Thessalonians 3:13
 Ibid. 5:23