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He Will No Wise Reject Us: I John 2:1-2

I John: LIGHT/LOVE
He Will No Wise Reject Us: I John 2:1-2
Pastor John Nicholas
Sunday January 2, 2022

My disciples, don’t sin – v1a

  1. This is the purpose, don’t sin.
    1. Read in light of 1:5–10, John’s purpose is that his readers should not sin particularly by denying God’s revelation of eternal life in Jesus (cf. 5:9–10).
    2. God is light and there is no darkness in Him, therefore, if we confess our sins He will forgive and cleanse us
  2. As a Christ follower you must long to be like Him
  3. You must work at your sanctification
  4. Seeking sin is not what it looks like in the life of a believer
  5. This letter is to tell them to persevere against sin
    1. The insanity of sin
    2. That sin is the thing that separates them from fellowship
    3. It comes as a hard barrier between them and God
    4. So they must strive, battle, war against sin
    5. Just because they are sinners does not mean that they give over to it
      1. The crowns that are awarded

If you do sin (and you will), you have an advocate – v1b

  1. But is you do sin, it is forgone that they will
    1. None are without sin
  2. There is one that has taken the wrath of God
    1. For all time
  3. Jesus is the only righteous one
    1. Who has taken our coat of sin and given us His alien righteousness
    2. He is the helper
    3. The paraclete
    4. The one who stand in the place of the elect

Our advocate is the only mercy seat, the true mercy seat, Jesus – v2

  1. Jesus is an advocate in thought and deed
  2. He is the sacrifice and the priest who offered it
  3. He penetrated into the true vail of the holy of holies (Hebrews 6:19)
  4. He took the crushing punishment for sin (an eternities worth for all the elect)
  5. The world is the representative of all who will come to know Him
    1. Not universalism

1. V1a – The reason for writing – These things – God is Holy and God Forgives

Τεκνία μου, ταῦτα γράφω ὑμῖν ἵνα μὴ ἁμάρτητε

My little children this I write to you in order that you may not sin

This opening statement is that which sets the tone for these two verses.  My little children.  Not in a derogatory, immature sense.  But from the viewpoint of love for them.  A patriarch speaking to his spiritual children.  The children to whom he is leaving lasting instruction.  The children that he loves in unity.  These children that are of the same family, the family of Christ.

The grandfatherly apostle, using the Greek tauta, says it is these things which he writes that drive them to sanctification.  

These things.  What are these things?  We could get confused and think that these things are not sinning.  But that does not make sense in context.  The ‘not sinning’ is the result of these things.  Because of the effect of ‘these things’ there is the desire to not sin.  Therefore, we must look back.  Turning our attention to the previous verses to focus in on the cause of not sinning.

We could drop back one verse and say that maybe the believers should not say that they have not sinned, making God a liar.  That the apostle is saying because this is such a great sin, to call God a liar, that this in and of itself will cause one to not sin.  But this is too narrow, too negative for the positive nature of what John is saying. 

So it has to be something more.  If we look to 1:9 we get much closer, since it is about the faithfulness of the God and the forgiveness and cleansing of sin.  And then if we go back to 1:5 we get the other book end of these things.  That God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all. 

1 John 1:5,9 (NASB)

God Is Light

5 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.

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Therefore, we could say that ‘these things’ is the following.  “Because God is holy and there is no sin in Him at all, and we are sinful and not holy, God has corrected the break in fellowship by allowing us to confess and He forgives and cleanses us.”

God is both the just and the justifier Romans 3:26 (NASB95) 

26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 

Therefore, John is writing ‘these things’ so that through faith in the just justifier, Jesus Christ, that they would not sin.  

It is not the cumulative effect of living in perfection that one would not sin.  It is through the faith in the one that cleanses that draws, drives, directs one, to not desire sin.  ‘these things’ is the nature of the God who saves through His only begotten son.  

It is through the faith in Christ that sin becomes bitter for the believer.  That it ceases to satisfy as it had in the past.  It is the knowledge that they will desire to be holy because He is holy.  Just as a young child imitates the things that his father does the believers will desire to imitate those things that the Son does.  Believers are called to be imitators of God, Ephesians 5:1.  

2. V1b – our defense, His righteousness

καὶ ἐάν τις ἁμάρτῃ, παράκλητον ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν δίκαιον, 

and if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous

And if anyone sins.  This is the correct rendering of the translation.  Sometimes the translators will use but (ESV, NIV) instead of and.  Either can be used but using ‘and’ allows one to more quickly comprehend what the apostle is getting at.  

John is not indicating a life of perfection here.  They are to strive for a life that is sin free (which can become a sin itself in the drive for perfection – tends to fall under the category of one’s own abilities).  Nor is John encouraging them to sin.  

What he is saying is that life in a sinful world is difficult.  Sin besets the believer from both within and without.  Not a part of the life of the believer exists in such a place that there is no sin. By the Father’s providence we have an advocate, a helper, a defense attorney who is also the judge.  One who comes from behind the bench and represents us before Himself.  One that says that this one’s debts have been paid, he or she is mine.

We could say something like this – “and if you sin, if it happens, even in your striving to not sin, don’t think that you have lost your salvation.  Don’t believe that you are no longer found within the saving grace of God.  Don’t think for a minute that you are lost.  To think like this is the devil’s work.  The one who sows doubt.  Because even when sin happens Christ has not changed in His position.  The work of the cross is finished.  Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for all believers.  Hebrews 7:25 (NASB95) Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.  Jesus is our helper.”

You see, Jesus spoke at length about the Helper in John’s gospel.  John 14:26 (NASB95) 

26“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 

But notice that this is not all.  The Holy Spirit is the indweller of your heart.  The third person of the trinity that takes up residence in our enfleshed heart.  The heart that had been stone, changed.  Ezekiel 36:26 (NASB95) 26“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 

Jesus sent the helper but He is also the Helper.  He is the one who entreats for all believers in the heavenly realms.  He is the one, mentioned last week, that sure and steadfast anchor that penetrates into the veil.  Into the real and true holy of holies.  Hebrews 6:19 (NASB95) 19This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.

We have both the helper within us and the helper in Heaven.  And in the case of the 1st John, the apostle is speaking of Jesus enthroned.  His position and our position before Him does not change.  This is what John is saying.  Yes, sin may happen, but Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  And our position with Him, in faith, does not change.  

Why?  Because as John says, it is He that is righteous.  Not righteous as something that has been picked up and put on.  But righteous as an inseparable part of Jesus’s being.  It is through Jesus’s righteousness that we have fellowship with the triune God.  

Jesus is both the righteous and the one who gives us His righteousness.  Our sin has been removed and the alien righteousness of Him enrobed us.  The apostle is pointing to this as an ongoing, continuing, unending fact.  Romans 8:38–39 (NASB95) 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

3. v2

καὶ αὐτὸς ἱλασμός ἐστιν περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν, οὐ περὶ τῶν ἡμετέρων δὲ μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου. 

And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not concerning ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world

And.  And.  And.  The conjunction that brings clarity to the previous passage.  Yes Christ is the advocate for the believer.  The one who intercedes.  But Jesus is more than just a defense attorney.  He has to be.  The Father’s wrath cannot be assuaged by mere words.  Jesus can’t just ask that His followers be forgiven and that the Father would grant this request just because the Son asked.

Those ideas just won’t cut it.  Why? Remember last week, just a few verses before, the book end to the ‘these things’ – God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all.  It is because God is righteous and just.  Therefore, to grant salvation via a request only would not be consistent with His righteousness and justice.  It would not be consistent with His light. In fact it would make Him unjust and unrighteous.

Therefore, for Jesus to be the advocate; for Him to be the helper there has to be more than just that.  And here John tells us why He is our advocate.  Because Jesus is the propitiation for our sins.  God desires fellowship with His people.  However, He is light and we are darkness.  God wrath is focused against sin, against the ungodly, against unrighteousness.  

Here are a few verses that express this, which by no means exhausts all the biblical text about God’s wrath.  

 Psalm 7:11 (NASB95) 11God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day. 

Isaiah 26:21 (NASB95) 21For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; And the earth will reveal her bloodshed And will no longer cover her slain. 

Romans 1:18 (NASB95) 18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.  

Therefore, something needs to be done to assuage the wrath of God to allow fellowship to occur.

This is why the Greek word that is used here is of great importance.  It is the word Hilasmos which is translated as propitiation.  “Propitiation means the turning away of wrath by an offering. In relation to soteriology, propitiation means placating or satisfying the wrath of God by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.”

Propitiation is the appeasing, placating of wrath.  In this case it would be appeasing the wrath of God.  God’s wrath is a reality for sinners. 

And here is an interesting part about this word, the translators always need to make a choice in the English word that is used in translation.  The choices are expiation and propitiation.  Words that are somewhat on the same side of the same coin.  In fact we will find that expiation is part of propitiation.  

Expiation, using the prefix ex, which means out.  In this case the word means to take away the guilt through payment of a penalty.  Or an offering of an atonement.  In other words, it has to do with taking something away.  Expiation, therefore, sits within the definition of propitiation.  It is part of what was done.  

Propitiation, using the prefix pro, which means for.  In this case it means to change God’s attitude towards the person.  In this case from us being to His enemy, enmity towards us to God being for us.    

Ways of averting God’s wrath included purging sin (Deut. 13:15–17), repentance (Jon. 3:7, 10); intercession (Ps. 106:23; Jer. 18:20), and God’s own action in removing it (Ps. 78:38; Isa. 48:9).

Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 339.

Jesus, as the Hilasmos, has done both of these things.  Through the cross, Jesus appeased the wrath of God.  His wrath towards the elect was satisfied at the cross for all time.   The guilt penalty of sin has been expiated and as a result Jesus’s act was one of propitiation which turned God’s favor towards all who believe.

Romans 3:25 also tells us that Jesus is the one who has placated the wrath of God through the cross.  The action of the cross has turned away God’s wrath for those who have faith in Christ as Lord and Savior.  And we note that Jesus is not the propitiator but He is the propitiation.  Jesus is the only one, the only way.

Not only for the disciples with whom John is conversing, but as he says the whole world.  This is not universalism, where all are saved regardless of what they do or say.  Because that would not only make God unjust, but it would also make the cross unnecessary.  It would negate the meaning of Hilasmos.  

John is using general terms to speak of the great work of Christ towards the whole of humanity.  In one degree His saving work will come to pass for people from all ends of the earth.  Nonetheless, it will be limited to all those who are given to Christ, by the Father.  

John, therefore, is stating how great the work of Christ is.

That is how Jesus is enabled to be our advocate, our helper.

Conclusion

We have learned three things that should have great effect on our lives as Christ followers

  1. Because of the holy nature of God we should seek to imitate Him and walk in the light.  In other words we should practice and work at our sanctification
  2. If we do sin and stumble, we have an advocate, Jesus who is our helper.  Who intercedes for us.  Who took our sin for us and gave us His righteousness
  3. Jesus is the one who atones for our sin and restores our relationship to the Godhead. 

Knowing these things should give us great confidence that it is not by the filthy rags of our works that we are saved, but through Jesus our advocate

This should drive us to be more like Him.

To act as He did

To seek to be holy as He is

To be grace filled as He walked.

That we can be assured of our salvation because Jesus is the one who is not only our judge, but our advocate and our friend

His defense of us is His perfect righteousness.

“But I am a great sinner, say you.
“I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I am an old sinner, say you.
“I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I am a hard-hearted sinner, say you.
“I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I am a backsliding sinner, say you.
“I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I have served Satan all my days, say you.
“I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I have sinned against light, say you.
“I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I have sinned against mercy, say you.
“I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I have no good thing to bring with me, say you.
“I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.”
― John Bunyan, Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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