Thursday, August 20, 2009

1 John 2:24-28

V24-28 – 24See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is what he promised us – even eternal life. 26I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit – just as it has taught you, remain in Him. 28And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming.

John has moved around quite a bit in this letter. He’s not like Paul going methodically from point to point. But we can make a pretty good outline nevertheless. In this chapter, John has laid out three tests of genuine Christianity – the moral test, do you strive to follow God’s commands; the relational test, do you love one another; and the doctrinal test, do you believe in the Jesus of the Bible. He has also paused to encourage his audience at their specific levels of understanding. And now John gives two commands to help his audience stand firm in the truth during divisive times and the presence of many differing false teachers.

First, in v24-26, John says that to avoid erroneous teachings, to avoid those trying to lead us astray, the teaching we heard at first must remain in us. In other words, we must cling to the original, simple gospel that we first received. The Holy Spirit ordained the original apostolic teaching, and having that abide in us, we remain united to the Father and Son, even unto eternal life. The teaching of the apostles, as recorded in Scripture, is what we must cherish and feed on and devour in order to be free from falsehood. We don’t simply acknowledge its truth and value; we embrace it as our life preserver in the raging seas of our fallen world, where the world, the flesh, and the devil try to make us fall away. Paul calls this lifestyle living by the Spirit, and the way we do it is to let the word of God dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16).

Second, in v27-28, John says that to avoid false teachings we, anointed by the Holy Spirit of Jesus, remain in the power of the Holy Spirit. We received the anointing from Jesus, and just as the Spirit’s teaching has taught us to do, we remain in Him. When John says, “You do not need anyone to teach you,” he’s not contradicting his own teaching. Rather, he’s contradicting the false teachers who are offering something not in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit can teach on that. We don’t need external help there. But we definitely do need expositors of Scripture, whom the Spirit uses to feed and grow us. That’s how we continue in Christ and gain confidence in Him in order to be unashamed before Him when He comes. John will talk more about the Spirit as his book continues. But for now, we avoid error by remaining in the word and having the Spirit remain in us to keep us in Christ. We'll pick up with the final verse of chapter two, which fits better with John's thought process moving into chapter three, in the next post.

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