This month's Series looks at I John verse by verse.
Yesterday's post covered I John 2:8-11, with John introducing a new commandment. Here is the summary from the previous post:
John has introduced a new commandment with two hints:
-It is something that is TRUE in Him AND in you
-The TRUE LIGHT is already shining
John states that people who detest/persecute believers are NOT in Fellowship with God and do NOT have this TRUE LIGHT in them.
John states that people who love believers are in Fellowship with God and have this TRUE LIGHT in them.
John equates having the TRUE LIGHT with Fellowship with God.
John has made a statement and then built on his model by taking this statement through three IF/THEN statements.
Today, we will see that John shares more of his objective before...what else?...continuing to build on his model by making a statement and then taking it through IF/THEN statements.
I JOHN 2:12-14
"12 I write unto you, my little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye know him who is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the evil one. I have written unto you, little children, because ye know the Father.
14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye know him who is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the evil one."
John says this letter is written to three group for three different reasons (because). However, the first time through the group, John is stating WHY (because) "I WRITE". The second time through he states WHY (because) "I HAVE WRITTEN".
The first set of reasons focus on the new commandment. The second set of reason focus on the old commandment. Let's look at the old commandment first...
Remember, the old commandment refers to what believers already knew BEFORE Jesus. Yesterday, Joel Swokowski posted an excellent comment. Here is an excerpt:
"I have been reading the Book of Proverbs recently and noticed it too is a philosophical book. Solomon makes arguments using causality and if/then statements. A passage that stood out to me was Proverb 4:18,19:"
"18 But the path of the righteous is as the dawning light, That shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: They know not at what they stumble."
"Compare these to 1 John 2:10,11:"
"10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him.
11 But he that hateth his brother is in the darkness, and walketh in the darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because the darkness hath blinded his eyes."
Joel did a great job of showing how I John is the New Testament version of Proverbs. Both books are philosophical and built on Cause to Effect (IF/THEN's). Joel also shows an example of old commandment (from Proverbs) that John is specifically referencing.
When we see John reference old commandment, remind yourself that he is speaking of the scriptures that existed before Jesus came to earth. Now, let's look at the three groups John writes to and how each relates to the old commandment...
Little children - you KNOW the Father
John refers to new believers as "little children". John is stating that according to the old commandment, the new believers PROVED they were believers because they KNOW the Father. They are at Fellowship with God.
Young men -strong, Word of God abideth in you, overcome the evil one
John refers to the believers who are mature AND actively leading others as "young men". John is stating that according to the old commandment, the mature believers who are leading PROVED they were believers because they were strong, have the Word of God dwelling in them, and have overcome the evil one. These people are on the front lines of the battle and are victorious (overcoming the evil one) BECAUSE they are strong AND have the Word of God dwelling in them.
Fathers -KNOW Him who is from the beginning
John refers to the believers who are most mature and helping the new believers as "fathers". These people KNOW their doctrine well enough to focus on developing others...well enough to act as "fathers". John is stating that according to the old commandment, these most mature believers PROVED they were believers by KNOWING Him who was from the beginning.
Little children - sins are forgiven for His Name's sake
John wants these new believers to KNOW that their sins are forgiven. He knows these new believers will make mistakes and doesn't want them to get in condemnation. John's focus is conviction...and encouragement that their sins are forgiven BECAUSE of Jesus.
John is progressing them from the Father (old commandment) to the Father AND Son (new commandment)
Young men - overcome the evil one
John wants these mature and leading believers to focus on overcoming the evil one ONLY. Notice, strength and Word of God dwelling in you has been removed from the new commandment version of this sentence. John is NOT saying that strength and Word of God dwelling in you isn't important. John is focusing them on something new that doesn't SPECIFICALLY rely on the strength of the individual or their knowledge of the Word of God. There is something NEW John wants these mature leaders to KNOW...and he is transitioning them towards this truth.
Fathers - KNOW Him who is from the beginning
There are two possible reasons John repeated the same phrase twice:
1. He meant the same thing
2. He meant something different
If John meant the same thing both times, then he was telling these mature believers who have their doctrine straight that they don't need to change anything.
If John meant something different, he could have been referring to God the Father in the old commandment portion, while he referred to Jesus in the new commandment portion. Either way, John is telling the mature believers who are training up other leaders they don't have to change what they have been doing.
John has taken a moment to identify that he has three different audiences that he is writing to...and that each audience will respond to the new commandment in a different fashion.
It is time for John to build on his model by making another absolute statement and taking it through IF/THEN's...