1 John 1-5 (9.16.23)
Grab your Bible, and let’s go deeper into 1 John 2.
Dr. John Stott says it so well describing the letters of John when saying, “Against this backdrop of the current uncertain, postmodern world, to read the letters of John is to enter another world altogether, for its marks are assurance, knowledge, confidence, and boldness.”
He goes on to say, “The author’s purpose in writing is known from his own definition of it. He wrote the Gospel for unbelievers in order to arouse their faith, and the letters for believers in order to deepen their assurance. His desire for the readers of the Gospel was that through faith they might receive life; for the readers of the letters that they might know they already had it.”
Certainty About Who We Are in Christ
1 John 2:12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
First of all, he is writing to the Church—to those showing evidence for salvation. He is saying, “Your sins are forgiven. You can be certain of this. Nothing more to prove, nothing more to accomplish; it has been done by Jesus.”
1 John 2:13a I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
Notice, he says, “You know”! “You know” is affirmation language. These are reminders of who we are. It is a plea for certainty. He is saying to those of us who are alive in Christ, “YOU KNOW.”
1 John 2:13b-14 I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
Don’t forget … You know! You have! You are! John is saying to his brothers and sisters in Christ, “Be certain! Remember, you overcame the evil one. You are strong in Christ, and the word of God abides in you!” John wants them to be certain, so he says two of these things twice: (1) “You know him who is from the beginning,” and (2) “You have overcome the evil one.”
Before we move on to verse 15, notice verse 14 more closely:
1 John 2:14b I write to you … because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
Notice 2 things: (1) the evidence of strength and (2) the evidence of victory over temptation and sin. Why do they have these evidences? Because the Word of God abides in them!
How does one navigate this uncertain world? How do you grow in maturity in faith and life in Christ? The word of God! Don’t minimize the crucial place of the word of God here. We need to receive it and need it to abide in us. When we do this, we abide in Christ, and we abide in His great accomplishment on the cross that defeats the accusations of the devil. We overcome the evil one by the word of God, because day by day this word is abiding in us.
It is living in us. The gospel—the great story of redemption, and the great Christ of redemption, and the great God of redemption, and the great process of redemption, and the great effects of redemption—this gospel, this word of God, is not something believed once and left behind. We believe the word of God and then it “abides” in us.
Some of you really need this. You need to stop trying to fight the evil one and all his lies and temptations against you on your own. John is saying, “Know who you are in Christ. Know that, in Christ, you have defeated the evil one. Don’t kind of know it; know it—claim it— live out of it—abide in it! Be certain in His victorious work on your behalf!”
Life in Certainty and the Good News
1 John 2:20-21 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
“You have …” Did you hear it again? This is John’s “be certain” language again! “You have” means you are possessors of … possessors of what? What do we have? God’s anointing–which is Christ’s victory over death on your behalf, the never-ending presence and counsel of the Holy Spirit, and the truth of God.
Notice, he didn’t say “you might have.” He says, “you have.” Look at verses 24 and 25:
1 John 2:24-25 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise [not might be the promise] that he made to us—eternal life.
Twice in verse 24, John stresses that the truth that should remain in them is truth that came to them through their ears at the beginning of their Christian walk: “what you heard from the beginning.” This was the preaching of the gospel by the apostles. Here, John makes an effort to avoid the saying that what the Church needs is new revelation. It does not. It needs to let the original apostolic, gospel-centered teaching about Christ abide in them.
Now verse 25 says, “And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.”
This is good news! Why? Because the promises of God bring certainty. God doesn’t go back on His promises! They are iron-clad. They are rooted in His very nature which is truth and faithfulness! This is cause for certainty in our lives!
1 John 2:27b But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
Beloved, you can be certain that if Christ alone is your Lord and Savior, the One to whom you trust your entire life, the One you desire more than any other, know that:
- You have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; abide in Him.
- Your certainty needs to be built on your new identity in Christ.
- Your power needs to come from your life in Christ.
- ● Your instruction needs to come from the word of God.
- Abide in Him! Be certain in Him as you live in this uncertain world!
By His grace and for His glory,
Pastor Joshua Kirstine