WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R. Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER TWO (Lesson LXXV) 07/06/21

2:29 Since we know that God is always good and only does what’s right, we may correctly assume that all those who do what is appropriate are His children.

In his devotional, Octavius Winslow (1808-1878) tells us that the Lord’s “anointed” is the expressive and appropriate designation of all God’s people. This anointing marks them as a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.”[1] It is the Lord’s unique mark upon those who it distinguishes and designates as His own. Strangers to this anointing are outsiders to the grace of God and the calling of the Holy Spirit even though there is spiritual light in the thinking of some people’s open profession before the world, along with King Jehu’s “zeal for the Lord,”[2] yet that anointing of the Holy Spirit is still lacking. Without that, all intellectual illumination, perceptible profession, and zealous zeal amount to nothing when earnestly searching for God.

Also, says Winslow, as significant as the endeared name, “Christ” is the Anointed One, so is the proper meaning of the honored title “Christian.” It points us to the anointing, of which all who have union with the Anointed One share. This truth is as sincere as it is true. Only in eternity will it be revealed just how much maliciousness sprang from those calling themselves Christians, without any valid qualification for such a high, holy, and distinguished designation. How lacking are people in their awareness of the profound, significant, spiritual importance of this term! They don’t realize because they don’t know that a Christian is a person who partakes in God’s renewing, sanctifying grace, of that same Divine Holy Spirit with which the Anointed One received His anointing from the Father for His great work.

The effects of this anointing, Winslow continues, are what might expect from a cause so glorious. It beautifies the soul. It is that anointing spoken of by the Psalmist: “And oil to make his face to shine.”[3] Therefore, it is called the “beauties of holiness.”[4] Oh, how a person’s face shines and countenance lights up when “the joy of the Lord is their strength,”[5] the spirit of adoption is in their soul when God “pours out His love into their heart!”[6] It also gladdens. Therefore, it is called the “oil of joy[7] and “the oil of gladness.”[8] It causes the heart to sing in its deep sorrows, imparts the “garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,”[9] and fills the soul with the glory of that “kingdom which consists not in foods and drinks, but in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”[10] Another effect springing from this anointing is the profound teaching it imparts – “You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.”[11] Such are some of the effects of this holy anointing. It beautifies, gladdens, and teaches.[12]

William E. Jelf (1811-1875) gives an excellent summary of this second chapter. As he looks at what is set before us here, we read of the pre-existence of the Anointed One; His manifestation on earth; the credibility of the Apostles in what they related; the nature of the bond of Christian unity – for example, the community of faith and holiness of life. Communion of the Christian with God the Father and God the Son; the essential and perfect sanctity of God; the absolute necessity of purity of heart and life; the twofold benefits of the Anointed One’s Passion to such as believe and comply with this condition – for example, forgiveness and sanctification. By living in the Light, they are made aware of sin, and confession comes as a benefit. It is a consequence of both original and actual sins revealed by God to all humanity.[13]

John James Lias (1834-1923) wants us to consider the connection of this verse with the Apostle John has said. He just advised his “children” to stay in union with the Anointed One, that they might appear with joy and not with grief, at His appearing. He now again knits the second part of the Epistle with the first. “In the first part,” the fellowship between God and man “comes into consideration as an internal habit;” in the second part, it is its “confirmation in works.” And as he commences the second part with the conclusion of the necessity of abiding in union with the Anointed One, he points out once more why he taught us to remain in Him because God is right. There can be no rightness apart from Him. It is to the acquirement of this Divine Rightness that he urges us, and he takes care, before doing so, to lead us to seek its source, not in ourselves, but God.[14]

Says Lias, our abiding in union with the Anointed One is the ground of our calm expectation of the Day of Judgment. The thought strengthens this calmness, anticipating what others dread, that we have received a new birth from God. And the proof of our having received that new birth is doing what God calls the right thing to do. If we can conscientiously feel that we are doing what’s right, it establishes our claim that we were born of God. We know that He is correct and has the power to make us right with Him. And had we not been born of God; we cannot do that of which He is the only source.[15]

Robert Cameron (1839-1904) has an interesting perspective on the antichrist and the return of the Anointed One. He notes that on the principle that “coming events cast their shadows before them,” these antichrists appeared as attestations of the coming climax of evil in church and world. There is no denying that in apostolic and post-apostolic days, the common belief of the Christians was that the antichrist would immediately precede the return of the Lord. We accept that between the days of John and our Lord’s second coming, no event in the world’s history has occurred or will occur compared to the coming notable appearance; therefore, this intervening time was naturally called “the last hour.” Accordingly, all through early Christian literature, we find the constant hope and expectation of the return of the Lord and a continual dread of the coming of the Antichrist.

Arno C. Gäbelien (1861-1945) says that verse twenty-nine mentions a test for righteousness. It is an acid test of verse twenty-nine. “Since we know that God is always good and does only right, we may rightly assume that all those who do right are His children.” But the purpose of it is not to question the reality of their salvation as being born again or make them doubt, but to test whether the claim they made it up is genuine or counterfeit.[16]

Current Baptist pastor, Brian Bill, notes that the closeness of the Anointed One’s coming should cause us to walk closer to Him today. First, we must appreciate our position. We need to anticipate the imminent return of Jesus the Anointed One, and secondly, we’re to value everything given to us. As the Apostle John puts it, since we know that God is always good and does only right, we may rightly assume that all those who do right are his children. See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for He allows us to be called His children – think of it – and we actually are! But since most people don’t know God, naturally, they don’t understand that we are His children. Yes, dear friends, we are already part of God’s family right now, and we can’t even imagine what it will be like later on. But we know this, that when He comes again, we will be like Him, resulting from seeing Him face to face. So, when we do what is right, we resemble our righteous Father. In a sense, we look like God when we live like He wants us to live. But we don’t always show a family resemblance, do we? I once heard that silent movie actor Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest and came in third place![17]

Yes, Jesus is coming again. He will not return in anonymity but in great glory, for all to see.[18] The Anointed One’s return is always imminent, an adjective which has an interesting derivation from the Latin word imminere, which means “suspended over.” Dr. Reginald Showers explains, “an imminent event is always hanging overhead, is constantly ready to fall or overtake a person, is always close at hand in the sense that it could happen at any moment. Other things may occur before the imminent event, but nothing else must take place before it happens. If something else must take place before an event can happen, that event is not imminent. In other words, from the instant you blink to close your eye to the opening of your eyelid, He could be here.

END OF CHAPTER TWO


[1] 1 Peter 2:9

[2] 2 Kings 10:16

[3] Psalm 104:15

[4] Ibid. 96:9

[5] Nehemiah 8:10

[6] Romans 5:5

[7] Isaiah 61:3

[8] Psalm 45:7

[9] Isaiah 61:3

[10] Romans 14:17

[11] 1 John 2:20

[12] Winslow, Octavius. Morning and Evening Thoughts, June 18, Monergism Books. Kindle Edition

[13] Jelf, W. E., Commentary on the First Epistle of St. John, op. cit., p. 13

[14] Lias, J. J., The First Epistle of John with Exposition, op. cit., pp. 184-185

[15] Ibid. The First Epistle of John with Homiletical Treatment, op. cit., pp. 186-187

[16] Gäbelein, Arno C: The Annotated Bible, op. cit., loc. cit.

[17] Bill, Brian: Living in Light of His Return, October 9, 2011

[18] See Daniel 7:13; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7

Let’s get ready for an exciting walk through eye-opening Chapter Three! Starting very soon.

About drbob76

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