What does 1 John 2:1 mean?
ESV: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
NIV: My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
NASB: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
CSB: My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father--Jesus Christ the righteous one.
NLT: My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.
KJV: My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
NKJV: My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Verse Commentary:
John begins by explaining why he is writing his letter. His goal is for the readers' maturity. However, John realized believers are still capable of sin. He makes this clear, but also notes that we have hope when this occurs. This is a great message of reassurance for Christians.

This hope in times of sin is through Jesus Christ, who serves as our advocate with the Father. Here, John refers to Jesus as "the righteous." The Greek word translated "advocate" is paraklēton, which is also used in the Gospel of John as a reference to the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). This word literally means one who pleads a case on someone else's behalf, or a close, helpful advisor.

In this verse, Jesus is called "advocate;" He is "with" God the Father; He is the "Christ," meaning "Anointed One;" and He is "the righteous" one. John heavily emphasizes the greatness of Jesus. He also highlights the sufficiency of Christ over sin and His role as advocate on our behalf before the Father. Other New Testament passages, such as Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25, also describe Jesus in the role of an advocate for believers.

Note that in 1 John 2:2, Jesus is described as the one who pays our debt of sin. Not only does He speak to God on our behalf, He also covers the cost of our sins.
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.
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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