1 John 2:1-6
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; 2and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
3Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. 4Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; 5but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked.
The author has changed from first person plural, “we”, to first person singular, “I”. “I am writing” – and he addresses his readers by a term of endearment, “My little children” or in another translation, “dear children”. This says the readers are loved as family; these people are important to the author, and this writing is personal.
He gives the purpose of his writing, “so that you may not sin”. He writes so that they can understand, so that they can believe, and in the strength of the Spirit, avoid sinning. But, while the Spirit strengthens us to avoid sin, the author is wise enough to know that none of us is perfect, and so he adds, “But if anyone does sin” – just in case we might slip now and then – “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”. An advocate is, in this case, like an attorney, one who stands for us with the great judge of all, the Father; one who intercedes for us. He is righteous, and is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. In Christ’s death, he gave himself for us, so that we might be forgiven, and restored to relationship with God the Father.
But, do we know this advocate, this Jesus? The author says that the way we know that we know him is that we obey his commandments. If we say we know Christ, but do not obey his commandments, then we are liars – there again, a repetition of that word, liar, which we saw yesterday is contrasted to the truth we know in Jesus. But whoever obeys his word – in that person the love of God has reached perfection. OH! The obedience the author writes of is love! (We will see that more clearly as we continue this chapter.) This is how we can be sure who is with him and who is against him – if we say we abide in him, we ought to walk as he walked.
Those who had left the church to whom the author writes had not been obedient, had not obeyed the commandment to love. The author reassures his readers that they can be sure that they are with Christ, if they walk in love, as he walked. Let us think about this today – how do we respond to issues today? Do we abide in Christ? Do we love as he loved, and walk as he walked? When we consider how the church should respond, is it a response of love?