What does 1 John 2 mean?
Chapter Commentary:
Chapter 2 continues John's focus on fellowship with God, through five major points.

First, fellowship includes following Christ as our advocate (1 John 2:1–6). John does not want believers to sin (1 John 2:1). However, if and when they do, he wants them to know there is an advocate: Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1). Christ covered the sins of all the world (1 John 2:2). Those who keep His commandments are demonstrating that they truly know Christ (1 John 2:3). Those who do not keep His commands, but say they have fellowship with Him, are liars (1 John 2:4). Those who walk in Christ, as Christ walked, give evidence that they are "in" Him (1 John 2:5–6).

Second, believers are commanded to love one another (1 John 2:7–14). This was not a new commandment (1 John 2:7), but one given from the beginning by Christ. Hate for one's spiritual brother or sister is incompatible with fellowship with Christ (1 John 2:9). Love is often defined as the single most important sign which the world uses to identify a Christian. Those who love their fellow brother show they are "in the light" (1 John 2:10). John's writing includes an important poetic section in verses 12–14.

Third, believers are not to love the world (1 John 2:15–17). This refers to those who prefer worldly, non-spiritual things to godly things. "The world" is a phrase often used to refer to the sinful, material attitudes of mankind. Those who love the world more than Christ prove that the love of the Father is not in them (1 John 2:15). Such attitudes are not from the Father but the world (1 John 2:16).

Fourth, John calls his time the "last hour" (2:18). Believers are warned against teachings of "antichrists," or false teachers (2:18–27). These liars deny Jesus is the Christ (1 John 2:22).

Fifth, believers are called to remember their position as children of God (1 John 2:28–29). They are to abide in Him so they will not be ashamed when He returns (1 John 2:28). Those who do what is righteous, or right, are said to be born "of Him" (1 John 2:29).
Verse Context:
First John 2:1–6 both encourages and warns Christians about sin. John reassures his readers that when a saved believer sins, Christ will plead our case with God. Jesus is our substitute, taking the punishment for our sins. At the same time, John warns that those who claim to know Christ, yet disobey Him, are lying to themselves and others. Anyone who claims to have fellowship with Christ should live as if that is true.
First John 2:7–11 reminds the reader that these are not new commandments. From the very beginning of one’s faith, a Christian is taught that how they behave demonstrates their relationship with Christ. A powerful indicator of this relationship is how one thinks about, acts towards, and treats other professing believers. As with other tests mentioned in 1 John, these are markers of one’s intimacy with and knowledge of Christ.
First John 2:12–14 is a six-line poem where John addresses three different groups of believers. John speaks to new Christians, older Christians, and those in between, in that order. He then talks to each again, in the same order. New Christians are reminded of their forgiveness through Christ, older Christians of their faith in an eternal God, and other of their spiritual strength to overcome “the evil one.”
First John 2:15–17 is a warning from John about un-Christian attitudes. Other portions of this chapter discuss how behavior provides evidence of fellowship with God. Here, John explains that thoughts and desires do the same thing. Since these are temptations, it is possible for a true Christian to stumble into them. However, habitually displaying these is a cause for concern. Loving “the world” is defined here as physical lusts, lusts in one’s thoughts, and arrogant pride.
First John 2:18–27 warns against those who oppose Christ in their teachings. These ''anti-Christs'' deny that Jesus is God. They reject Him as part of the Trinity, or claim He did not appear in the flesh. John again makes reference to truth ''abiding'' in someone, encouraging his readers to hold to the gospel that saved them.
First John 2:28–29 summarizes this passage with another reference to ''abiding'' and Christian behavior. Believers ought to live in a way which shows the positive influence of Christ. Those who demonstrate godly behavior are giving good evidence that they truly know Christ. Such people will also be rewarded, rather than ashamed, when they finally meet Him.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 2 explains the fellowship Christians have with God. Christ is our advocate, even when we sin. Christians are not to love things of the world, or to love the world. Instead, we are to live, love, and act like Christ. False teachers, and those who deny Jesus are called ''liars.'' Those who demonstrate a Christ-like behavior are ''born of'' God.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 1 introduced the primary themes of John’s letter. Chapters 2 and 3 lay out a detailed description of how Christian conduct is meant to be marked by obedience to the truth. Christians are called to live like Christ. Therefore, those who do not (live that way) do not have ''the truth'' in them. Later chapters of this letter will fill in how Christian love and conduct give us confidence in our daily lives.
Book Summary:
First John seems to assume that the reader is familiar with the gospel. Rather than re-state these facts, John is concerned with building confidence in Christian believers. At the same time, his words encourage believers to examine their own lives for signs of their relationship with Christ. This letter also challenges false teachers and their incorrect claims about Jesus. Many themes are shared with the Gospel of John.
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