1 John 2:12-28
The Whole Family: Sins Forgiven (2:12)
The Outstanding Characteristics of Fathers, Young Men, and Little Children (2:13-27)
1 John 2:13-27. In this portion of the chapter, John uses the relationships of natural life to represent believers in various stages of development. He addresses fathers, young men, and little children twice. First he addresses that which characterizes the level of maturity that each one has reached in their spiritual growth (v.13). Second, he goes over the same characteristics again, and expands on young men and little children a little more, giving more explanation and considering the challenges the each face in their pathway. Overall, only a small amount is said to the fathers, a little more to the young men, and much to the little children. Note that these terms such as “young men” apply to both men and women, young and old. An eighty-year-old man could be a “little child” in the family of God, and a young mother could be a “father”, as John speaks of them.
Fathers, Young Men, Little Children (v.13)
Young Men (vv.14b-17)
- “The lust of the flesh” is that desire to gratify carnal wants; e.g. Amnon lusting after his sister. The world encourages this kind of lust my making it permissible thorough corrupted social standards and degenerate moral philosophy. The lust of the flesh originates from within the soul, where the fallen human nature resides. The lust of the flesh begins with self, but is excused, enticed, and encouraged by the world.
- ‘The lust of the eyes” is the the desire to have what we see with our eyes; e.g. Ahab lusting after Naboth’s vineyard. The world presents various objects of lust before man, and the desires of the fallen nature attach to it. The lust of the flesh begins inside man, the lust of the eyes begins outside of man. Another word for this might be covetousness.
- “The pride of life” is the desire to be something great in the eyes of man; e.g. Nebuchadnezzar boasting in his works.
Little Children (vv.18-27)
The Anointing (Unction) of the Spirit (1 John 2:20; 27; 2 Cor. 1:21). The "anointing" or "unction" of the Spirit is the ability of the Spirit of God in the believer to give intelligence of the truth of God. This is necessary for service, worship, direction, and discerning error. When the Spirit of God comes to indwell a person, no matter how young or inexperienced they are, they receive Divine help to discern between truth and error; "ye have not need that any one should teach you; but as the same unction teaches you as to all things" (1 John 2:27). This follows what Jesus taught about "the Comforter, the Holy Spirit... he shall teach you all things, and will bring to your remembrance all the things which I have said to you" (John 14:26). It is by one Spirit that we have access to the Father in prayer (Eph. 2:18). Furthermore, the Spirit is like a "fountain of living water" inside a believer, "springing up" in the enjoyment of eternal life (John 4:14), enabling us to worship the Father (Phil. 3:3). The Spirit is also like "rivers of living water" flowing out to this world with the refreshing testimony of Christ (John 7:38). We also find that the sons of God "are led by the Spirit of God", who guides and direct our steps (Rom. 8:14). We could summarize the anointing of the Spirit as that which enables the believer to understand God's thoughts.
The Whole Family: To Abide in Communion (2:28)
- J.N. Darby. What the World is; and how a Christian can live in it.
- This falling away of individuals later progressed into “the last days”, wherein widespread false profession and blatant denial of the Lordship of Christ came in (2 Tim. 3:1-9; 4:3; 2 Pet. 3:3).
- But there is something more. These antichrists came out from among the Christians. There was apostasy. Not that they were really Christians, but they had been among the Christians and had come out from them. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
- The indwelling of the Holy Ghost as an unction and spiritual intelligence in them, and the truth which they had received at the beginning — the perfect revelation of Christ — these were the safeguards against seducers and seductions. All heresy and all error and corruption will be found to strike at the first and divine revelation of the truth, if the unction of the Holy One is in us to judge them. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.