1 John 1:1 – 2:11

Introduction: Eternal Life and its Manifestation
1 John 1:1 – 2:11
1 John 1:1 – 2:11. The first chapter and a half of John’s first epistle serve as an introduction to the whole.1 All the elements of the epistle are contained in this section. It begins with the doctrine: the Eternal Life manifested in the Person of the Son, the communion of the Father and the Son, the nature of God as light and the place of the Christian as being in the light, of sin being still in the believer yet with the provision of forgiveness and advocacy. Then it continues with the practical outflow, the two great characteristics of those who have eternal life: obedience to God and love to one another.

Eternal Life: Its Manifestation and Fellowship (1:1-4)

1 That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes; that which we contemplated, and our hands handled, concerning the word of life; v.1 The Word of Life. The first word of the epistle, “that”, refers to eternal life in the Son manifested in the Person of the Lord Jesus. The word “that” is repeated over several times, each time referring to Eternal Life, and at the same time to the Person of Christ, showing they are one. The apostles were there at “the beginning” of the Lord’s public ministry. They personally experienced fellowship with Him, and through Him, fellowship with the Father. They heard His voice, they saw Him with their eyes, they observed and contemplated Him (to contemplate involves continued observation with reflection; e.g. John 1:36, “And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!”) and they physically handled Him with their hands. There is an increasing closeness in hearing, seeing, contemplating, handling the Lord Jesus. It makes it clear that there was a physical body in the case of our Lord, which is a rebuttal of Gnosticism; “handle me and see…” (Luke 24). It was a real Person, both God and man, that the apostles experienced first-hand. The Gnostics were not starting from the correct “beginning”. They were starting from their own human imagination, rather that the reality that the apostles witnessed. The “Word of life” is the Person of the Son of God. The Son is the revealer of the Father, so He is called the Word (John 1:1). The Son is the revealer of God in the aspect of judgment, so He is called the Word of God (Rev. 19:13). Here we find that the Son is also the revealer of Eternal Life, because He is the Eternal Life, so He is called the Word of Life (see notes on the Word and Words of God). If you want to see eternal life manifested or declared perfectly, it must be seen in the Lord Jesus Christ.2 Believers also manifest eternal life as this epistle explains, although they do so imperfectly. It would be blasphemy for any believer to claim to be “the word of life”.
Beginnings. There are seven uses of the word “beginning” in first three chapters (1 John 1:1, 2:7, 2:13, 2:14, 2:24, 3:8, 3:11). The Gnostics were bringing in “new” beginnings, but John brings them back to Christ.

There are a number of beginnings in scripture, but there are three notable beginnings. The beginning in John 1:1 is the beginning of anything that had a beginning; what existed at the furthest point in the past, i.e. from eternity. The beginning in Gen. 1:1 is the beginning of the material creation. The beginning in 1 John 1:1 is the beginning of the manifestation of eternal life in this world, and it corresponds with John 1:14; "the Word became flesh" (however, in the experience of the apostles it was the beginning of the Lord's public ministry). There is also a fourth beginning, mentioned in Rev. 3:14 and Col. 1:18, referring to the beginning of the New Creation.

2 (and the life has been manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and report to you the eternal life, which was with the Father, and has been manifested to us:) v.2 Eternal Life Manifested, Observed, and Reported. That eternal life – a life of communion with the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit – was eternally “with the Father” in that the Son Himself is that life, and that the life in “is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). The life was manifested when the Word became flesh and dwelt among men, and the apostles “saw” and “heard” that life in the Person of Christ as He walked here below. In their teaching they “bear witness” of that life, and in their inspired writings they “report” it to us!
Eternal Life.

The term "eternal life" is commonly translated “everlasting life” or “life eternal”. The term is used in two different ways in scripture. In the Old Testament (e.g. Psa. 133:3; Dan. 12:2) and the synoptic gospels (e.g. Mark 10:30) eternal life refers to the Millennial kingdom. But in the other New Testament books, and especially John's writings, "eternal life" refers to a life the Christian possesses now. The word “eternal” does not define the duration of the life, but it defines the character of the life; "the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18). It couldn’t be the idea of "living forever" because eternal life pertains to believers, and even the unsaved live forever in eternal fire. What is implied in "eternal life" is the possession of divine life in communion with the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit; "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3).3 Old Testament saints had divine life, but not in the character of "eternal life" because they did not know God as Father, since the death and resurrection of Christ was not complete (John 20:17). Eternal life is the highest character of life that one can ever know, because it is the same life that the Father and Son enjoy together (1 John 1:3), and which had existed from eternity to eternity (John 1:2). All that God is as light and love are enjoyed by the believer, who is brought into fellowship with Divine Persons through the indwelling Spirit, such that he enjoys common thoughts and feelings with God! In 1 John we find that Christ Himself personally is that eternal life. He is also the perfect expression of that life; the Word of Life. God purposed in His eternal counsels that the fellowship of the Father and the Son would be shared with the sons of men! Read John 14:18-20. We are brought into this fellowship through the gift of eternal life. It is the greatest blessing that God can bestow on man, as it is the very same life of Christ! This eternal life, which He shares with others, is "in His Son" (1 John 5:11) meaning it cannot be possessed apart from Him, and that "he that hath the Son hath life" (1 John 5:12).4

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3 that which we have seen and heard we report to you, that “ye” also may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is indeed with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. v.3 The Apostles’ Fellowship. In God’s ineffable grace He reached outside of Himself to bring others into that circle of fellowship called “eternal life”. This He began to do when the Son was glorified at God’s right hand after the work of Calvary was complete; “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son… that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him” (John 17:1-2). The means of the Son giving others eternal life is through the instrumentality of the Word of God concerning Christ as spread by the apostles. What the apostles saw and heard of the manifested Eternal Life they reported to others. This is precisely what John does in his gospel, and what is summarized here in a few verses of his first epistle. The goal of it all is to bring others into the apostles’ fellowship, which was the same fellowship that they enjoyed with the Father and the Son! There are many claims to fellowship with God, but the only true fellowship is that of the apostles themselves.
4 And these things write we to you that your joy may be full. v.4 Joy, the Result of Eternal Life. The result of having eternal life, and therefore possessing fellowship with the Father and the Son, is fullness of joy! It is the Holy Spirit that allows us to enjoy this fellowship, because He indwells us and yet as a Divine person, He is the same in nature as they. Thus the believer has the privilege of being filled with the very thoughts of the Father and the Son; their feelings, their communion, their joy, is ours! In the conscious enjoyment of this communion, the believer has a fullness of joy that the world knows nothing about.

Light: God’s Nature and Our Fellowship in It (1:5-7)

5 And this is the message which we have heard from him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. v.5 The Revelation of God’s Nature. What is the message that the Word of Life communicated? It has to do with the nature of God. The Gnostics believed that Jehovah (the Demiurge, who created the material universe) was evil. No, John says, God is light, and in Him there is no darkness whatsoever. His nature is fixed. James says “with whom is no variation nor shadow of turning”. Even the sun experiences variations (eclipses) and casts shadows as the earth turns. Not so with our God. His character is that of light, and no darkness at all, and He is unchanging in His character. This has to do with His nature. An knowledge of the nature of God is a powerful safeguard against evil. God Himself is light; He is that which reveals all things as they truly are. In v.6 “in the light” is where the believer is: in the light of God revealed.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practise the truth. v.6 The Profession of Fellowship Tested. When we get the expressions “if we say” (v.6, v.8, v.10) it is a test of profession.5 Here it is a test of the profession of fellowship with God. To walk in darkness is to not walk in the light of God revealed. For one to make a profession of fellowship but walk characteristically in darkness, means that their life is a perpetual lie. They make a profession of the truth, but they “do not practice the truth”.
7 But if we walk in the light as “he” is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. v.7 Three Things That Characterize the Christian Position. First, believers are “in the light”. God is “in the light” in that the Son has revealed Him. Second, believers have fellowship with one another. It is the light of the revelation of God through the Son that we Christians have fellowship with one another. Third, believers are cleansed from their sins by the blood of Christ. The blood was applied once and secures us forever (Heb. 9:25-26; 10:10). This refers to all true believers, who are “in the light”. Whatever the light reveals, the blood has covered. Every sin is cleansed. This is a pure statement of fact.
The Light. A vast and important subject in scripture is that of light. The word has two primary meanings, which are closely related. Light as a character is moral purity, and as an agent is illumination.6 First, 'light' is a character or state of absolute moral purity. We read that "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). Light is the character of God's own nature. He is perfectly pure. Furthermore, all of God's associations are pure, and therefore He is unapproachable by man in the fallen condition; "dwelling in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen, nor is able to see" (1 Tim. 6:16). When, by God's action of quickening, a sinner is given divine life, they receive a nature that is holy, and therefore the believer is said to be "light in the Lord"; "For ye were once darkness, but now light in the Lord" (Eph 5:8). We have a nature that is perfectly pure. "Walking as children of light" is a matter of communion and obedience. The second way 'light' is used has to do with what light does. Light reveals things as they really are. The principle is given in Eph. 5:13; "But all things having their true character exposed by the light are made manifest; for that which makes everything manifest is light." When the Son of God came into this world, He became "the Light of the World". The light had an effect on men.

Light is shown in scripture to acts in two ways. Negatively, the light exposes man’s true condition (John 1:9; 3:20-21). This is what is meant in John 1:9, that He (the Son), "coming into the world, lightens" or illuminates "every man". His life of perfect righteousness and grace here is this world exposed the evil hearts of men. This is pictured in John 8, where Jesus declared "I am the light of the world", after He exposed the true moral state of the Jewish leaders who brought to Him the woman taken in adultery. But the light acts in another way too. Positively, the light gives us the knowledge of God’s character revealed in the Person of the Son (John 1:5; 2 Cor. 4:6). This is pictured in John 9, where Jesus again declared "I am the light of the world", and proceeded to open a man's physical and spiritual eyesight. It is a type of spiritual illumination through new birth. Unless a man is born again (John 3:5), he cannot see the kingdom of God. In that sense, the Divine life in Christ was "the light of men" (John 1:5). 

In 1 John being "in the light" is a positional thing, where "we walk in the light as he [God] is in the light", and in that position "we have fellowship with one another" (1 John 1:7).
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. v.8 The Profession of Sinlessness Tested. Here it is helpful to understand the difference between sin (singular) and sins (plural). Here we have the test of the profession of sinlessness; i.e. the profession of having a nature that is free from corruption (c.p. v.10). The Gnostics thought they had escaped sin which was connected with the material world by greater knowledge. The were self-deceived. To say we have no sin is to show that the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. v.9 Confession and Restorative Forgiveness. John next speaks of the path to restoration after we sin. We must repent of our sins (plural), which will lead to confession of our sins to God, and then God will forgive and cleanse us. It isn’t a matter of our faithfulness or righteousness, but of God’s. “He is faithful and righteous” to the work of Christ, which is the basis of our forgiveness, and the means of our cleansing. We can see that this “forgiveness” is not what we sometimes call “eternal forgiveness” or “judicial forgiveness”. When it comes to the salvation of our soul, we believe the gospel once and thereafter receive once-for-all eternal forgiveness from our sins (Rom. 3:25-26; Acts 13:38-39). Here it is an ongoing thing. If v.7 is judicial cleansing “by blood” then v.9 is restorative cleansing “by water”. The blood is applied once, the water is applied over and over. Whenever we sin, we are to confess and then we are forgiven. This is what we call “restorative forgiveness”; i.e. forgiveness that is necessary to restore us to communion after we sin.  To cleanse us from all unrighteousness” goes deeper than the actions, it gets at the root of the sin, and it leads to preservation from further sin. It is extremely important to confess early and often, to keep short accounts with God, because unconfessed sin builds up and destroys communion.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. v.10 The Profession of Perfect Righteousness Tested. This is another test of profession. Here it is the act of sinning rather than the nature (c.p. v.8). Perhaps the consequence is even more severe because the error is more than delusion. We have a conscience that is on God’s side, so to claim that we have never sinned is not only to lie but to accuse God of lying, for He has said, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

Sin in the Believer’s Life, The Advocacy of Christ, and Its Basis (2:1-2)

1 My children, these things I write to you in order that ye may not sin; and if any one sin, we have a patron with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; v.1 An Advocate with the Father. Sin is not characteristic of the believer, although it may happen. The Lord Jesus as our great High Priest helps us to not sin, but if we do sin He works to restore us as our Advocate. The Advocate is the divine administrator of all our affairs, one who pleads our cause in heaven. If something comes in to interrupt our communion with the Father, and it can be as small a thing as a foolish thought, the Son as our Advocate immediately begins a work to restore the enjoyment of that relationship. He does not wait for us to repent, but begins that work when we sin. He, the personally righteous One, stands before the Father as the foundation our relationship, and intercedes with the Father about the sin, and simultaneously He works in us to bring us to self-judgment. When a believer sins, the Devil begins to function as our accuser before God (Rev. 12:10), and Jesus begins to function as our Advocate. It says “an advocate with the Father”, showing that when we fail the family relationship is not broken, although communion may be broken. He, as personally righteous, brings before the Father the righteous basis for our forgiveness! Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died” (Rom. 8:34).
Two Patrons. The word paraclete literally means ‘one who draws alongside (para) to help (clete)’. It can be translated ‘comforter’ as in John 14 – 16 referring to the Holy Spirit. However, ‘comforter’ may not be the best translation. The other time the word is used is in 1 John 2:1, where it is better translated ‘advocate’ or ‘patron’. It is a reference to the system of patronage in ancient Rome. An older, wealthy citizen called a patron become a protector, benefactor, and advisor to a younger, less wealthy citizen called a client. This relationship was beneficial in the social, commercial, and judicial spheres especially. The patron-client relationship had been well established in Roman culture in the first century. Jesus was the disciples’ Patron, or Advocate while on earth, but He was going away to the Father. In heaven, He would still be an “advocate with the Father”. Yet God saw to it that they should have a Patron on earth. The Holy Spirit would be that second Advocate. It is “another” in the sense of addition, not replacement.
and “he” is the propitiation for our sins; but not for ours alone, but also for the whole world. v.2 Christ the Propitiation. Now we have the second thing that gives us perfect access to God: Christ as the propitiation before God is the righteous basis for our restoration.7 The propitiation of God was accomplished by Christ on the cross, and it involved the offering of His entire Person as a sacrifice to God. Propitiation

is required because of our sins, but it is the aspect of the sacrifice in which Christ has perfectly glorified and satisfied God according to His moral nature. The word ‘propitiation’ simply means ‘satisfaction’. All that God required and more was supplied when Christ offered Himself without spot to God. We read of both propitiation and substitution for sins (plural), but when the issue of sin (singular) is dealt with - the whole principle - it is always in the aspect of propitiation. God is satisfied as to our 'sins', and also as to the outrage of ‘sin’ in general, and because of the latter, propitiation is the grounds of God’s mercy to all mankind. As a result of this, the Gospel can go to the whole world, and anyone who comes to God in faith will be saved. “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2). See also 1 Tim. 2:3-6; Heb. 2:9, 17; Rom. 3:24-25.

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Practical Characteristics of Eternal Life: Obedience and Love (2:3-11)

3 And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that says, I know him, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him verily the love of God is perfected. Hereby we know that we are in him. vv.3-5 The Profession of Knowing Christ and Obedience to His Commandments and Word. Obedience and love are two great marks of eternal life, and they are the outward proofs of reality. The believer is assured that he knows the Son because he keeps the commandments of Jesus. The profession of knowing Christ is tested by obedience; one who professes Christ by does not keep His commandments is “a liar, and the truth is not in him”. In v.5 “his commandments” are exchanged for “his word”. His commandments are specific instructions, while His word is more broad; the desires of Christ which the believer gathers from the words of Christ, including an intelligence of the mind of God. One who merely keeps the commandments of Christ will have the assurance that he knows Christ, but one who keeps the word of Christ has the love of God perfected in him. Love is a powerful motivator. We desire to please those we love. The love of God is perfected or fully matured in those who keep not only Christ’s commandments but also His word! In addition, the believe who keeps the word of Christ will have the assurance that he is “in Him”. To be “in him” requires first the possession of eternal life, and then the maintenance of communion such that we abide in him (v.6). Obedience to the word manifests that we (1) have life in the Son, and (2) are abiding in communion with the Son!
6 He that says he abides in him ought, even as “he” walked, himself also so to walk. v.6 The Profession of Communion and Our Walk. The profession that one is abiding in Christ is confirmed by their practical conduct, spoken of as our “walk”. The standard in Christianity is this: to walk as Christ walked. It is far higher than the standard of the law! It goes beyond mere obedience to commandments. Abiding in Him does not refer to the possession of eternal life; i.e. from the position of being in the Son. Rather, to “abide in him” is to remain in communion with Him. When we abide in communion with Christ, we will reflect His moral beauties in our lives. Walking as Christ walked is the manifestation of the life of Christ in us. But how can any of us really walk as He walked? We so easily slip out of communion, and slide into conduct that is not suitable to the name of Christ. But John (as always) speaks in the absolute, giving what is characteristic. Even though no individual believer perfectly walks as Christ walked, nevertheless it is characteristically true of the believer. Therefore, John simply leaves this abstract truth to have its effect on our consciences. None of us could every claim to walk as Christ did, but we can recognize that Christ is the standard, and seek in humility the grace to walk as He did.8
7 Beloved, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment, which ye have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye heard. 8 Again, I write a new commandment to you, which thing is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light already shines. vv.7-8 The Old and New Commandment. The old commandment is not the law, but rather that which Christ patterned for the disciples; eternal life manifested in the Person of the Lord Jesus on earth (John 12:50). This is confirmed by the expression, “which ye have had from the beginning” (see 1 John 1:1).9 John would not give believers another pattern, other than to walk as Christ walked. In this sense, John was writing “no new commandment to you, but an old commandment”. The pattern that Christ set before the disciples in His lifetime culminated in the commandment to “love one another” which He called “a new commandment” (John 13:34). John alludes to this here. The new commandment when Jesus spoke in John 13 had become old by the time John wrote the epistle! What made it old was that it was given before Jesus died and rose again, and before the disciples had been given eternal life.10 Because the disciples were still Jews under law at that time, the commandment could only be said at that time to be “true in him”. Now John writes from the other side of the tomb, and gives that same commandment to believers, but now, because they had eternal life, it was “true in him and in you”. As to the substance of the command, to love one another, it had not changed, such that John could say “I write no new commandment to you”. Eternal life is the same in believers today as it was in Christ in His pathway. There is no improvement or advance upon that life. However, the commandment is new in the sense that the same life is manifested in us now, by the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling us. It is old in that it was given before the cross, and new in that it is renewed afterward, when we can carry it out in “life more abundant”. As the commandment is true in each believer that the Father draws to Christ, the darkness is said to be “passing”. It is not yet past, because there is still much evil in the world. But as every new believer comes to Christ, the manifestation of eternal life multiplies, and thus the true light shines and displaces more of the darkness. The darkness will be totally vanquished in the day of God, when everything is according to God, who Himself is Light.11
9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in the darkness until now. 10 He that loves his brother abides in light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and knows not where he goes, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. vv.9-11 The Profession of Being in the Light Tested: Love Brought In. Having spoken of the true light shining in believers, John now gives a word on the profession of being “in the light”. He gives the relationship between light and love, and between darkness and hatred. One who makes a profession of being in the light of God, but who hates his brother, is actually in the darkness. In this epistle, “doing” or “practicing” speaks far louder than “saying”. In fact, John always presents the true Christian as “knowing” he is in the light, and the false as boasting, claiming, or “saying” that he is. John shows that light and love cannot be separated.12 What does being in the light reveal about God? As John will later develop, it reveals that God is love. The life of Christ which is true in the believer is incapable of hatred. One who hates his brother cannot be in the light. This shows the folly of those who would be try to turn light and love against each other. By contrast one who loves his brother abides in the light; i.e. he is already in the light, loving doesn’t make him so, but shows where he is. Further, there is no occasion of stumbling in him. Because we are in the light, and because we have a nature that loves our brother, we have nothing in us which could stumble ourselves or our brother.13 One who hates his brother is positionally in the darkness, and is blind because he is ignorant of God.
Summary of Principles. From ch.1 through ch.2 and v.11 we have an introduction to the epistle, bringing out all the main points which will later be developed in the epistle. Here are some of those points:
  • Eternal life was manifested on earth in the Person of the Lord Jesus, witnessed by the apostles, and reported by them to the saints (1:1-3).
  • Eternal life is a circle of fellowship that, at its center is that of the Father and Son, into which the apostles and all who believe their report are included (1:3-4).
  • The nature of God has been declared: He is light (1:5).
  • The believer is positionally in the light of God revealed, and in that light that we have fellowship with other Christian (1:6-7).
  • The blood of Christ has made us fit for that position, by cleansing us of sin (1:7).
  • Claims made by some of sinlessness or perfect righteousness expose false profession (1:8,10).
  • God has made provision for restoration when a believer sins (1:9; 2:1-2).
  • As the first of two characteristics, life in the believer is manifested by obedience to Christ’s commandments and words (2:3-5).
  • Communion with Christ is manifested by walking as He walked (2:6).
  • Eternal life is true in Christ and in the believer, and as more are saved, the darkness is passing and the true light is shining more and more (2:7-8).
  • As the second of two characteristics, life in the believer is manifested by love to one’s brother.
We can reduce this to three key points:
  1. The believer has eternal life, the life of Christ, as a present possession.
  2. The believer is positionally in the light of God revealed.
  3. Life in the believer is manifested practically by obedience to Christ and by love to the brethren.
On these three key points the entire epistle is based. In the remainder of the epistle, a number of digressions are entered into, expanding on these subjects.
  1. This closes as an introductory statement the first part of the epistle. It contains in the former half, the privileged place of Christians, the message giving us the truth of our state here, and the provision for failure: that ends with 1 John 2:2; in the second half, the proofs the Christian has of the true possession of the privilege according to the message: obedience, and love of the brethren, knowing Christ, being in Christ, enjoying the perfect love of God, abiding in Him, being in the light, forming the condition which is thus proved. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  2. Now, inasmuch as that life was the Son, it could not be known without knowing the Son; that is, that which He was, entering into His thoughts, His feelings: otherwise He is not really known. It was thus they had communion with Him — with the Son. Precious fact! to enter into the thoughts (all the thoughts), and into the feelings, of the Son of God come down in grace: to do this in fellowship with Him; that is to say, not only knowing them, but sharing these thoughts and feelings with Him. In effect, it is the life. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  3. Another has stated that eternal life is... "the possession of divine life in fellowship with the Father and the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit." - Anstey, B. The First Epistle of John.
  4. A deeper blessing it is impossible for God to bestow or for man to receive; for it is exactly what characterised the Lord Himself, Who is the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested unto us. Only Christ could be said to be that life; we as believers are not, but we have it in Him; and as by faith alone it is received, so in faith it is exercised, sustained, and strengthened. - Kelly, W. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
  5. “Saying” has a bad character in this Epistle. – Kelly, W. Addresses on the Epistles of John.
  6. Now God was light, perfect purity, which makes manifest at the same time all that is pure, and all that is not so. To have communion with light, one must oneself be light, be of its nature, and fit to be seen in the perfect light. It can only be linked with that which is of itself. If there is anything else that mingles with it, light is no longer light. It is absolute in its nature, so as to exclude all that is not itself. - Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  7. “The righteous” and “propitiation” (1 John 2:1, 2) intimate to us the double character of perfectness – actual state, and work – of Christ, as the basis on which advocacy is carried on to restore the soul. If any man sin, there is an unchangeable and accepted righteousness in Christ, and a perfect work which has been presented to God for our sins, and indeed in view of the whole world. So that neither the ground of our acceptance nor the putting away of our sins are in question for our access to God. – J.N. Darby
  8. It is not the blessedness of knowing that I am in Him, but that I profess to make Him the home of my soul for every joy and sorrow, for every danger and difficulty. For this is to abide in Him. If it be verily thus with me, I ought to walk as He walked. But is it so in deed and in truth? The failure in real abiding in Him is shown in the shortcoming of our walk. But as Christians, we own Christ as our true standard, however it may humble us. Nor do we pretend that one ever walks in the measure of Christ’s walk, but seeks by grace to walk after that manner. – Kelly, W. Addresses on the Epistles of John.
  9. That is what is applied here in the Epistle. The Lord gave a commandment which John had already made known in the Gospel. It was given by our Lord when here. Thus we see the ample confirmation of what was said in expounding the first words of the Epistle, that “from the beginning” is altogether distinct from “in the beginning.” – Kelly, W. Addresses on the Epistles of John.
  10. Here then it is shown that what was the old commandment when He was there is now a new commandment, because now it is true not only in Him but in them. And what was it that made it to be true in them? The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This it is that makes all things new. – Kelly, W. Addresses on the Epistles of John
  11. The darkness then is not past, indeed far from it; but it is passing. Where? In every added Christian… But wherever grace acts, and no matter where, if there be fresh saints of God, the darkness so far passes away. It passes effectually in every Christian. The apostle here too looks at the principle. He is not examining how far it has been realised; for this is not his work. He looks at things as they ought to be in the Christian, acting and carrying out the divine principle that his soul has received… The important point here to remark is that this comes in after Christ’s death and resurrection. Did not the world quench that light in His death? As far as it could, so it sought. But His resurrection gave the lie to the world’s effort; for the light shines more powerfully than ever. “The true light already shineth.” The saints, so weak before, become strong, and forget themselves and their follies in their joy at the risen Saviour. The Spirit given thereon is one of power and love and sobriety. Hence we may see how true the command to love is in Him and in them… Christ banishes the darkness for each Christian, and Christ is already shining for and in them all more than ever. – Kelly, W. Addresses on the Epistles of John.
  12. The hatred toward his brother is incompatible, not only with love, but with light and life. For these all go together and cannot be separated. The life is shown in obedience, but so it is in love; and the true light which already shines makes such darkness visible. – Kelly, W. Addresses on the Epistles of John.
  13. Moreover, there is no occasion of stumbling in one who loves, for he walks according to divine light. There is nothing in him which causes another to stumble, for the revelation of the nature of God in grace will assuredly not do so: and it is this which is manifested in him who loves his brother. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.