Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 1 John 2:24
Hello, I just happened to stumble along your website and read all your articles concerning 1st John. I was hoping that you would take the time when you have it to explain 1st John 2:24. I read and reread that verse over and over and it sure sounds conditional to me. It really sounds as though one must abide to continue in the Son. The word "if" in that passage seems to be addressing believers. I'm not arguing but seeking. Thank you, Dave
Hello my new friend, Dave!
Like many verses in First John, this one can easily lose its connection to the whole message as it plays out. Here's a larger portion:
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. 1 John 2:18-27 NASB
Notice how John's statement that you quoted sits in the midst of his message about those who are against Christ. Deceivers had been among those who knew the truth, those who had an anointing from the Holy One. John was talking to these believers about standing firm in that which they had heard from the beginning in view of the fact that had been victims of the lies that had been throw at them for however long it had been preached. In writing "As for you" John made a simple declaration about them as belonging to Christ, for they were the ones who confessed the Son, which meant that they had the Father also. The deceivers would have been saying anything but. Just as Paul told the Galatians to stand firm in Christ in the midst of those who were trying to pull them back into law, John also tells these believers to let the truth they heard from the beginning abide or remain in them.
And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5
Whatever the deceivers had been pushing on them, it had been a simple contradiction of the message they had heard. What John wrote to them was an encouragement to let the truth of Christ remain untarnished by the lies of the deceiver. That is, that despite the doubts that may have crept in as a result of the liars among them, to let the truth they heard from the beginning be their only assurance.
Now when John says "If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father" he is expressing a reality of assurance. Notice that he didn't say something similar to "If you keep letting it abide in you", but simply "If it does abide in you". This is something beyond our control, this is the anointing of God that remains. Don't let the one verse be separated from the others, as there is assurance spoken clearly before and after.
"These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him."
"Concerning those who are trying to deceive you." And there's another "And as for you". Is there any hint that the anointing they received would not abide in them? Not a chance. Instead, this expresses John's desire for them to stand firm in. This anointing is so sure that John told them they didn't need anyone to teach them. The anointing speaks of the very living Spirit of Christ having come within them to remain. And in the end, what has his anointing taught us? We abide in him.
Any thoughts? :)
Hello Jim, Grrrrrr , as soon as I read verse 19 it immediately became clear. The KJV has the word "continued" in verse 19, but what you quoted used the word "remain." The second I saw "remain" was when I checked the Greek to see that EXACT same word "meno" being used there, but "continued" didn't make me for a second think about that. Let's just say that I really did not need to read further as it just all cleared right up. I am printing out your response to keep in my notebook. I really believe that religion has programmed our minds to be only tuned into what they teach. I recently told a pastor that those that believe that God is violent and angry will definitely see that in Scripture. Religion preaches works, works, works and that is exactly what people see in Scripture. I told people that my experience is much like looking in the refrigerator for something. You stand there with the door open and for some reason you can't find it. You ask your spouse, "Where's the bottle of mustard?" and she comes along, "It's right there staring at you in the face." The problem is due to our perception. The bottle of mustard is normally in a yellow bottle but what happens when it is in a green bottle?? Our eyes have been trained to look for a yellow bottle, so we gloss over the green bottle with the bold print that says MUSTARD. Approaching Scripture believing that it spells out one thing will keep us from seeing the other. It was sort of like when I read 1st John and all I could see was, "Have WORKS or you are not saved type of Lordship salvation mentality." One day, I was reading and noticed 1st John 3:23 that stated the commandments (1st John 2:3-5) were to BELIEVE and LOVE one another. Religion defines commandments as law or their list of rules for godly living. I am not done with my study on first John but all I can see is that keeping the commandments is the same as believing in Him. I also see loving one another as tied into the believing that we do. We know that we love the brethren because we keep His commandments (1st John 5:2). I see that a sacrificial love being presented that we believers "ought" to do and not "will do" as taught by religion. I see two loves, the one that we WILL do and the other that we ought to do. To me, comparing the gospel of John to that of 1st John, it appears that hating the brethren is nothing more than a hating of the truth. I will have to study more on it. I am planning on printing out your articles on 1st John as I only have Internet Access at work, so my time is limited. If I am way off base with 1st John then I would love to hear your position. Thanks a million! In Christ, Dave
Hello again Dave!
I used to dread the verses in 1 John that referred to "keeping His commandments", except in view of the verse you mentioned (1 John 3:23). However, once I began to see grace in everything, I struggled again with the premise, as it seemed to intertwine a sense of now having to keep an NT command, even as gracious as faith and love. The more I recognized the organic nature of how love and faith worked themselves out within me, the more clarity I gained regarding the Law and love ... and the more I began to see 1 John in light of the very real Spirit of God having brought us into fellowship with God himself. It has made all the difference for me, as I see everything connected to HIS life, rather than viewing verses as doctrinal issues needing to be worked around.
Regarding the connection between Law and love, it turns out that John wrote of the same reality that Paul did. He just came at it differently.
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10
I realize that the usual law-based view of Christianity take these same verses to somehow support their teachings, but the truth is so simple. Love is a reality that overrides any commandment of the Law, for it fulfills every demand without the need of having to try to do so. Of course, I'm sure you realize that love speaks not of our romantic or legal notions of what it should be, but rather it speaks of God himself, for God IS love. Our being joined together with God through Jesus is the simple key to all understanding of the so-called mysteries found in 1 John. :)
I hope to hear back from you, my new friend!
You have me curious about your position of loving one another, sorry for being slow. In 1st John, he speaks about those that hate their brother as abiding in death. The late Zane Hodges I felt played games with that verse as he focused on the words "hates his brother" as a sign that such a person (his brother-spiritual brother) was saved. He also played games with the word "abiding" as he felt that too implied a believer not enjoying his fellowship with God, as I do not believe in this in/out fellowship teaching. This never sat well with me and neither did the Lordship salvation position. I had problems with Zane's interpretation because "abiding on him" is also a description of someone that has yet to believe (John 3:36). I seen this hatred to being a rejection of the truth. Jesus did say that if you love me then you will keep my commandments as I see that as belief of the truth. Jesus said to His disciples that if they received me then they will receive you, and I see that as a reception or rejection of the message. Most of religion defines this "love" as some emotional attachment to those that are believers. I personally do not see this as inviting them to your house for dinner or baking the newbies in church some cookies. I would like to hear your position whenever you have some free time. I will not be offended if it takes you 2 weeks or more to get back to me so don't assume that I am like that. I know you probably get swamped with questions. Just hoping that you would expound more on the love/hate brethren issue as my eyes are still hazy from years of seeing it another way. Dave
Love comes from God, and those who are born of God love. It is all part of the deal ... the deal of being brought to God in Christ, that is. And no, I don't agree with that viewpoint that tries to make both the one who loves God and hates his brother as being the same. The one brother is after the manner of Abel, the other is like Cain. Two brothers... but of the flesh, but not of the spirit. Love is God's claim on us through the Spirit. This is the love that overwhelms us, the love that controls us, the love that defines us. Contrarily, hate is the earmark of those who are not of God; this is not describing one who is born of God, despite all our examples and stories. Our life in God is of the miraculous, it is nothing like that which we had before being made alive. It cannot be compared, only contrasted. We have listened far too long to those who would lie to us about our very beings, to those who would have us redefine ourselves according to fleshly examples, in view of fleshly retelling of "brothers" who are like those in 1 John. We buy into this lie, and then we begin to imagine that we actually are like those described according to the lie.
John's whole purpose in writing his letter was confirm them in the truth of their anointing, the anointing that caused them to know all things. We find the objections logical. For we will agree with the outright lie on the basis that we can't possibly know ALL things, for we will shrink back in a false humility regarding the lack of knowledge on our part ... as if John was even remotely associating this knowing of all things with a knowledge of Biblical teachings. Our having been brought to know all things speaks of our inherent connection with God through Jesus Christ. This is the knowledge that is past understanding.
John's demarcation between those of God and those not of God is a black and white, night and day, death and life declaration. This is how we KNOW! There are no levels, no possible gradations that exist between the one and the other. It is the uncrossable chasm through which we have passed from death into life.
The connection between love and the Law is simple. Where there is love there is a fulfillment of God's law. For as Paul says, Love is the fulfillment of the Law. No, it doesn't even have to address any particular law, for love merely does what it does. In other words, if the love of God is brought into the picture, it will automatically deal with anything the Law addressed because it does no harm to its neighbor. There is no need for the command because it is fulfilled through God's Spirit in us, and ironically, those who are born of God turn out to be the only ones who have ever "kept" the Law in truth. No doubt, the law kept in truth will not satisfy those who examine things according to the flesh, for its judgment will only end up the same as was with Jesus. He kept the law simply because he was love walking, he could do nothing else. However, the judges of the flesh condemned him as not having fulfilled, but having broken the law. Those who claim to be the keepers of the Law do so only under the premise of having fulfilled particular commandments, but their keeping of the Law is merely technical, not real.
I know that's a lot of run on thoughts, so you'll have to let me know if it helped or confused! LOL
Hello Jim! Thanks for your response as this was helpful. So many are looking for an active love in their life to prove that they are saved. Jesus said, "If you love me keep my commandments" and the immediate reaction of most is to force themselves to obey a bunch of rules and laws to somehow prove their love for Jesus. I have had people come to me complaining that they have a disgust for many believers and wonder if this proves that they do not have the love of God in them. Dave