1John 2:1-6 My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that says, I know him, and keep not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keeps his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that says he abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
‘Little children’ a term used nine times in this epistle (2:1, 12, 13, 18, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4, 21). It is used elsewhere only in John 13:33 and Galatians 4:19. There are four stages of Christian experience: infants; newborn (1Jn. 2:12); little children; those able to walk and talk (1Jn. 2:13); young men; those grown to the prime of life and no longer tossed about like children by fallacies (1Jn. 2:13-14); fathers; those who are matured in the Lord (1Jn. 2:13-14).
‘You sin not’ this is the purpose and demand of the gospel (Matt. 1:21; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:1-13; Gal. 5:16-26; Col. 3:5-10; Tit. 2:11-12). Even though man was born into sin, he has no excuse to continue therein. For those who claim ‘we are all sinners,’ the Word calls those who chose to follow Christ, as the Word commands (1Pet 2:21-23) ‘saints,’ ‘holy,’ ‘children of God,’ ‘brethren,’ ‘children of obedience’ and ‘… of righteousness,’ etc.
‘If any man sin’ we do not sin if we walk in the light (1Jn. 1:7, 1:9), but if one does fall into sin he still has hope: he can confess sin and be cleansed again (1Jn. 1:9; Gal. 4:19).
‘Advocate with the Father’ Christ is three things to believers: a Helper; Advocate (note, John 14:26); the Righteous One, having suffered, the just for the unjust (1Jn. 2:1; 1Pet. 3:18; 1Cor. 1:30; 2Cor. 5:14-21); the atoning sacrifice for sins (1Jn. 2:2; 4:10).
‘Not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world’ not for the apostles or the Jews only, but also for Gentiles (Eph. 2:11-18; 2Cor. 5:14-21; John 3:16).
‘Hereby we do know that we know him’ the ‘hereby’ reasons ‘we do know that we know Him’ can be summarized as follows: By personal fellowship (1:3-7; 2:13); in fullness of joy in the heart (1:4); in keeping His commandments (2:3; 3:22); when walking even as He walked (2:6; 1Pet. 2:21-23); in love of the brethren (2:9-11; 3:10-19, 23; 4:7-21; 5:1); overcoming the world and satan (2:13-14; 5:4, 18); in the hatred of the world (2:15-17); being one with Christians (2:19); in Holy Spirit anointing (2:20-27); knowing the truth that sets free (2:21; John 8:32-36); acknowledging God and Christ (2:22-25); doing righteousness (2:29; 3:7-10; 5:1-4, 18); by purifying ourselves (3:3); being born again (2:29; 3:9; 5:1-18); cleansing from sin (1:7-9; 3:5-10); in freedom from condemnation (3:20-24); the indwelling Spirit (3:24; 4:4, 13); in faith (2:23; 5:1, 10); by confessing Christ (4:14-15); and receiving Him (5:10-13; John 1:12); through answered prayer (3:21-22; 5:14-15).
‘If we keep his commandments’ to be saved one must keep His commandments; not merely start keeping them, but continue in keeping them. If the condition is to keep them, then upon this basis only will God bless and save people (Rom. 1:5; Jas. 1:22-25; 1Pet. 1:2).
‘He that says, I know him, and keep not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him’ if any man professing to be saved does not keep the commandments he is a liar (2:4-5). This is a death blow to the claim of those who live in sin and say the blood of Christ covers their ungodliness.
‘He that says he abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked’ everyone who makes a Christian profession ought to walk as Christ did (2:6; 3:1-10; 4:17; 1Pet. 2:21-23). To be in Christ means that one is a new creature and that affections and lusts of the flesh have been crucified (2Cor. 5:17; Gal. 5:16-26; Rom. 8:12-13; Col. 3:5-10).
‘Abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked’ there are many proofs given in 1John of abiding in Christ: to walk as Christ walked (2:6; 1Pet. 2:21-23); love of the brethren (2:10; 3:14-15); God’s Word abiding within (2:14); doing the will of God (2:17); permission of the individual (2:24-25); continued anointing (2:27); freedom from sin (3:6); keeping commandments (3:24; John 15:10); the indwelling Spirit (3:24) and fruit-bearing (John 15:4, 7).