We continue to discuss the fellowship principles which John is communicating to the church. We’ve seen fellowship is rooted in the apostolic witness of Christ’s life and fellowship is rooted in the moral nature of God. In John 2.1-14, we will see four (4) more fellowship principles.
1 John 2.1-2 (ESV), My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
My little children – the aged John affectionately referring to the members of the body, endearment.
These things – v.5-10, concerning who God is (light, absolute moral perfection), the fellowship we have (presently) with God as a result of what Christ has done (His blood shed for our forgiveness), and what we need to do (walk in the light, a condition of forgiveness).
so that (purpose) you may not sin – John will address the practice of sin later in this epistle (3.4, 6, 8-9). Here John is focused on the act (singular) of sin. A walk in the light is not a perfect walk – we do stumble. Here is what John writes to in this verse – not only the habit of sin should be put away but work to put any and every sin. If God is the standard and he calls us to that standard, he wants us to be morally perfect.
“It is clear the author [the apostle John] is not simply exhorting the readers not to be habitual or repetitive sinners, as if to imply that occasional acts of sin would be acceptable. The purpose of the author here is that the readers not sin at all, just as Jesus told the man he healed in John 5.14 – Sin no more!” The grace of God and the blood of Jesus are not reasons for our continued disobedience/rebellion/sin! Rather, if we truly understand Calvary and redemption, these should be deterrents from sin and encourage clean living.
But if anyone (Christian) does sin – and we will. Try as we might to live according to that standard of perfection, practically we fail. What are we to do?
We have an advocate (lawyer, attorney) with the Father (Judge), Jesus Christ the righteous (Or, righteous Jesus Christ) – Jesus is (in this sense) our legal advocate; hence, John is sure to stress that he is righteous and right in his intercession in this regard. He is one we can call alongside us when we do sin and stand before the righteous Judge, the Father.
He (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins – propitiation is satisfaction of the wrath of God. Christ on the cross is taking the wrath due us in His own body. By His sacrifice, atonement is made and forgiveness available.
The sins of the whole world – everyone who would come to Him by faith can find the wrath of God against satisfied in Christ.
Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006; 2006).