Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 John 2:23-4:6

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The Father - 1 John 2:23

the Father. See notes on Jn. 5:23; 14:6-7; 15:23

What you heard from the beginning - 1 John 2:24

what you heard from the beginning. John uses this phrase several times (1:1; 2:7, 13, 14; 3:8, 11, 2 Jn. 5-6) to describe his teaching, which gives eyewitness testimony to Jesus' historical ministry (see notes 1:1-3), a teaching that has formed and nourished their fellowship over the years

Eternal life - 1 John 2:25

eternal life. John points to God promise to undo what happened to Adam and Eve (see note on Gen. 3:22), which Jesus won because of his obedience (see note on Jn. 12:46) and experienced in his resurrection. Eternal life is identified with Jesus elsewhere (5:20), or it is found in him (5:11). This is the eternal life that was with God at the beginning (1:2), and those who are in the Son experience it from the first moment of faith into eternity as a gift from God (5:12-13). Indeed, John says believers have already passed from death to life (see notes on Jn. 5:24-29)

You do not need anyone to teach you - 1 John 2:27

to teach you. See WCF 1.5; 17.2; WLC 4, 79; HC 32. The Holy Spirit enlivens the minds of believers and helps them understand God's word. The Spirit also gives discernment. This does not mean Christians do not need teaching, however. Because all believers have the indwelling Spirit and its gifts, they should listen to each other, but test what they here by what the Spirit says through the Scriptures. Those who departed may have claimed special knowledge or insight from the Spirit, but John reminds his readers they have the same Spirit who has given them true knowledge and understanding about Jesus.

The Witness Repeats Three Marks of Eternal Life - 1 John 2:28-4:6

Having recalled the tragic departure of those who hold a false, anti-Christ confession about Jesus, John now begins a second review of the three marks of true Christian identity. He describes his readers as "children of God" (see notes on 2:13, 18; Jn. 1:12; 11:52). Because children bear their Father's likeness together as a family, they obey his wishes and they love one another. Family likeness demonstrates their relationship.

God's Children Practice Righteous - 1 John 2:28-3:10

God's Children Practice Righteous. Because believers are children of God, they must practice righteousness. Christians must abide in Christ, so they will not be ashamed when he returns. John is not trying to frighten his readers with news about Christ's return, rather he reminds them of the lavish love of God the Father in order to motivate them to act as his children

When he appears - 1 John 2:28

when he appears… at his coming . John urges persevering obedience in anticipation of Jesus' second coming. On Jesus' parousia or arrival as king, see notes on Matt. 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1, 8; Jas. 5:7-8. This is the only time John uses this word for Jesus' second coming, which evokes an image of an arriving dignitary or king who is welcomed by the local people. The word ashamed has to do with the disgrace God's enemies feel at judgment (see notes on Ps. 6:10; Zech. 9:5). Like Jesus, Peter and Paul, John taught that Christians will give an account of their deeds on the day of judgment (see notes on Matt 25:14-30, 31-46; Rom. 14:12; 1 Cor 12-15; 2 Pet 3:10-14). For God's enemies, the Day of the LORD is a day of terror (see notes on Amos 5:18-20). But those who abide in Christ (1 Jn. 2:24) will not be condemned (see notes on Jn. 3:17-18)

Has been born from him - 1 John 2:29

has been born from him. John consistently describes those who know God as those who practice righteousness (2:29-3:10). As we saw in 1:10, he is not describing complete sinless, but a lifestyle characterized by justice, mercy and peace. The word born (gennao¯) is used ten times in John's letter, and this is the first occurrence (2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18). When used with a masculine noun as its subject, gennao¯ means sired or fathered. Because of this intimate relationship and a lifestyle of righteousness, Christians can approach God with boldness in prayer (see notes on 3:21; 5:14; Heb. 4:16).

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