Reflections on 1st John 2:12-17

NET: 2:12 I am writing to you, little children, that your sins have been forgiven because of his name. 2:13 I am writing to you, fathers, that you have known him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young people, that you have conquered the evil one. 2:14 I have written to you, children, that you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, that you have known him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young people, that you are strong, and the word of God resides in you, and you have conquered the evil one. 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, 2:16 because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. 2:17 And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever. The Reality of Redemption: John reminds his beloved children of their new reality in Christ – that their sins are forgiven, that they know their Father, and have overcome the evil one because God abides in them – and then admonishes them not to love the darkness of this world because it is alienated from God and is passing away.

The Christian message of redemption centers on God’s forgiveness of our sins – your sins, my sins – in the sacrifice of Christ:

1st John 2:2 (CSB) He himself is the atoning sacrifice, for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.

The centrality of God forgiving our sins in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is rapidly being forgotten in a world that no longer believes in sin, but this is the heartbeat of the Christian gospel; we were pierced by death through sin and separated from the One who gives life to all living beings, provoking his wrath and indignation by our wickedness, but God’s faithful-love took on flesh to reconcile the world to their creator so that we might live again in the new life of the resurrection. The atoning sacrifice of Christ makes possible our renewed relationship with God so that we who were once alienated from him can now know him and walk with him in the communion of the saints and fellowship of the Holy Spirit who lives and abides in us who live and abide in the word of Christ.

The Exclusivity of Light and Darkness: the love of God and the love of this world are mutually exclusive to one another. We cannot love both. The exclusivity of Christ is one of the most offensive stumbling blocks today, but it is one of the core building blocks of the gospel that confronts the world with their love of sin and demands that we repent by the grace of God.

There should be no mistake about it; love of the world is the world’s chief problem:

John 3:19 (CSB) This is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.

Eternal Life: those who have been reconciled to God through Christ and walk with him in the word will not perish with this world:

John 17:3 (CSB) This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent—Jesus Christ.

1st John 2:3-6 (CSB) This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commands. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and yet doesn’t keep his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps his word, truly in him the love of God is made complete. This is how we know we are in him: 6 The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked.

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