What does 1 John 2:29 mean?
ESV: If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
NIV: If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
NASB: If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness also has been born of Him.
CSB: If you know that he is righteous, you know this as well: Everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
NLT: Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.
KJV: If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
NKJV: If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
Verse Commentary:
John concludes this passage with a summary. Believers know Jesus Christ is righteous. When we see someone who lives a righteous life like Jesus, we can have confidence the person has fellowship with Him. This is a strong indicator that such a person is born again or saved. Whether or not the opposite is true is not as certain. That is, a struggle with sin cannot be taken as proof that one is unsaved—particularly when seen in other people. The context of this statement is purely positive: godly behavior is a sign of a close relationship with God. John is building towards a key point in 1 John 4:12–16, which is that when a person truly walks with God, God is working directly through them.

Righteous living does not provide salvation; righteous living is the result of salvation. All have sinned and fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). Salvation is not earned by works, but is the result of grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9). Good works should naturally result from the person who has become a believer (Ephesians 2:10). When they do, such righteous deeds offer evidence that a person has truly come to faith in Christ.
Verse Context:
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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