FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD AND HIS CHILDREN
Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Overview Chart - 1 John - Charles Swindoll
|BASIS OF FELLOWSHIP||BEHAVIOR OF FELLOWSHIP|
1 Jn 1:1-2:27
1 Jn 2:28-5:21
|Written in Ephesus|
|circa 90 AD|
From Talk Thru the Bible
1 John 2:25 This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life: kai aute estin e epaggelia en autos epeggeilato hemin ten zoen ten aionion (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: And this is what He Himself has promised us—the life, the eternal [life].
Barclay: And this is the promise which he made to you eternal life.
Berkley (Modern Language): And this is what He Himself has promised us, eternal life.
ESV: And this is the promise that he made to us— eternal life.
Hiebert: The promise that He Himself promised to us is this: the life, the eternal.
HCSB: And this is the promise that He Himself made to us: eternal life.
KJV - And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
NET: Now this is the promise that he himself made to us: eternal life.
NIV: And this is what he promised us--even eternal life.
NLT: And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.
Phillips: And that means sharing his own life for ever, as he has promised.
TLB: And he himself has promised us this: eternal life.
Weymouth: And this is the promise which He Himself has given us—the Life of the Ages.
Wuest: And this is the promise which He himself promised us, the life, the eternal life.
Young's Literal: and this is the promise that He did promise us--the life the age-during.
- Reciprocal References: Ps 37:18 - their Ps 133:3 - even life Matthew 19:16 - eternal Matthew 25:46 - the righteous Mark 10:17 - eternal Mark 10:30 - eternal John 3:15 - eternal John 6:40 - and believeth 2 Corinthians 1:20 - all 2 Corinthians 4:18 - for Galatians 3:22 - that Ephesians 3:6 - partakers 1 Timothy 4:8 - having 2 Timothy 1:1 - the promise Hebrews 6:12 - inherit Hebrews 9:15 - promise 1 Peter 5:10 - eternal 2 Peter 1:4 - are given
- 1 John 1:2, 1 John 5:11-13, 1 John 5:20; Daniel 12:2; Luke 18:30; John 5:39, John 6:27, John 6:47, John 6:54, John 6:68, John 10:28; John 12:50, John 17:2-3; Romans 2:7, Romans 5:21, Romans 6:23; Galatians 6:8; 1 Timothy 1:16, 1 Timothy 6:12, 1 Timothy 6:19; Titus 1:2, Titus 3:7; Jude 1:21
- 1 John 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
THE BLESSED PROMISE:
NAS leaves out the Greek conjunction and (kai), so more literally it reads "And this is the promise." (Interesting to me that the "old" 1977 version of NAS had this more literal rendering. Newer is not always better is it?)
And is a copulative which connect this thought with the previous thought (1Jn 2:24) of letting that "abide in you which you heard from the beginning," and "if what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you will also abide in the Son and in the Father." The next word in 1Jn 2:25 is "and" which links the promise of eternal life to what they heard abiding in the hearers and the hearers abiding in the Son and the Father. "This supreme blessing of eternal life is God's promise to those who adhere to His Word." (Hiebert) Hiebert is not saying those adhere to God's Word will merit or earn salvation, but their adherence demonstrates that they are genuinely saved and thus true heirs of eternal life.
Hiebert gives a more literal rendering - "The promise that He Himself promised to us is this: the life, the eternal."
Westcott on the pronoun "this" - The pronoun may refer either to that which precedes or to that which follows. The promise may be that of abiding communion with the Father and the Son (John 17:21), which is explained by the words added in apposition ‘the life eternal’; or it may be simply ‘the life eternal.’ In either case ‘the life eternal’ consists in union with God by that knowledge which is sympathy (John 17:3), so that there is no real difference of sense in the two interpretations. The usage of St John in the Epistle is decidedly in favor of the second view (1Jn 1:5, 3:23, 5:11, 5:14), nor is there any sufficient reason for departing from it. (1 John 2 Commentary)
Plummer - ‘eternal life’ (is) only another view of ‘abiding in the Father and the Son’ (as in 1Jn 2:24). (1 John 2 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)
Promise (used only here in all of John's writings)(1860)(epaggelia/epangelia from epí = intensifies verbal meaning + aggéllo = to tell, declare) originally was primarily a legal term which referred to an announcement or declaration but in later Greek came to mean a declaration to do something with the implication of obligation to carry out what is stated (thus a promise or pledge). In the NT only used of the promises of God. In Acts Luke records this instructive passage -- "And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob to whom and through whom the Abrahamic Covenant passed) that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, 'THOU ART MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE.' (Acts 13:32-33) In Romans Paul speaks of the promise of the Abrahamic Covenant in Romans 4:14-17) In the present context the promise is the result of and blessing from all who have entered into covenant with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
1828 Webster's definition of Promise = In a general sense, a declaration, written or verbal made by one person to another, which binds the person who makes it, either in honor, conscience or law, to do or forbear a certain act specified; a declaration which gives to the person to whom it is made, a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of the act. The promise of a visit to my neighbor, gives him a right to expect it, and I am bound in honor and civility to perform the promise. Of such a promise human laws have no cognizance; but the fulfillment of it is one of the minor moralities, which civility kindness and Strict integrity require to be observed.
Robertson - Here “the promise” is explained to be “the life eternal” (1Jn 1:2-note). In Acts 1:4 the word is used for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Peter wrote about this - 2Pet 1:4-note For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of [the] divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 2Pet 3:13-note But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
For more on PROMISE see…
- Promise - Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - by R G Tasker
- Promise - Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT
He Himself - "God is the Promiser, and His promises are made in Christ (cf. 2Corinthians 1:20)." (EGT) Certainly during His time on earth, Jesus Himself gave this promise (Jn 3:14-15, et al). Not an angel. Not an person, but God, Who is not a man that He should lie. It follows that this promise is fully and forever trustworthy! Do you believe you will live forever? Do you praise Him often (daily) for His precious and magnificent promise that you will live forever? This truth is too wonderful for words! Let's live in light of it. May this precious possession (of this truth) energize a worthy walk motivated by love and gratitude.
Paul writes to Titus - "Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope (certainty) of eternal life, which God, Who cannot lie ( "non-lying God"), promised long ages ago." (Titus 1:1-2-note)
Eternal life - Literally it reads "the life, the eternal," for emphasis. Yes, this refers to eternity future, but also refers to every saints present possession. We have eternal life today. What would happen to our choices, our lifestyle, our marriages, etc, etc, if we truly grasp that what we do today will have an impact that reverberates throughout eternity?!
Hiebert on eternal life - It is truly life in the highest sense of the term, both quantitatively and qualitatively new. In saying that this promise of eternal life was made "to us" John again unites himself with his readers in the possession of this supreme blessing." (1 John Commentary)
In John's Gospel, we note repeated promises of eternal life made by Jesus = John 3:14-15, 36; 4:14; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 10:28; 17:2-3.
Eternal life (all occurrences of "eternal life")- 41x (all in the NT) = Matt 19:16, 29; 25:46; Mark 10:17, 30; Luke 10:25; 18:18, 30; John 3:15f, 36; 4:14; 5:24, 39; 6:27, 40, 47, 54, 68; 10:28; 12:50; 17:2-3; Acts 13:46, 48; Rom 2:7; 5:21; 6:22f; Gal 6:8; 1 Tim 1:16; 6:12; Titus 1:2; 3:7; 1 John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13, 20; Jude 1:21
Steven Cole on eternal life - What could be greater! Apart from the gospel, we are all under God’s righteous condemnation because of our sins. We all face death and then judgment. The great news of the gospel is that God did not come to us and say, “Here are the rules and rituals that you must keep for all of your life, and then if you don’t commit a mortal sin, and you have enough relatives to pray and pay your way out of Purgatory, you might get into heaven!” That’s not good news! The good news is that God Himself promised us eternal life! Why turn to anything else? The fact that eternal life is God’s promise means that it is not something that we have to work for or deserve. You see this all through the gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry. When they let the paralytic down through the roof on a stretcher in front of Jesus, He said to the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5). What had the man done to deserve that? Absolutely nothing! It was a free gift! When the notoriously sinful woman wet Jesus’ feet with her tears and anointed them with perfume, even though her sins had been many (Luke 7:47), Jesus said, “Your sins have been forgiven” (Luke 7:48). He forgave them all! Or, when the guilty thief on the cross next to Jesus asked, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” Jesus responded, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:42, 43). What could be greater news than that God promises eternal life as a free gift to any guilty sinner who will receive it by faith? If God promises eternal life apart from works, why turn to a system of religious bondage that cannot deliver eternal life even after a lifetime of striving after it? Apart from spiritual blindness and the pride that wants to take credit for salvation, there is no way to ex-plain why anyone turns to false religions to save them. The gospel alone proclaims (Rom. 4:5), “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” (1 John 2:24-27 Avoiding Spiritual Deception)
David Jackman on eternal life - Although we have learned that the full enjoyment of that life awaits us beyond this world, Isaac Watts was right to sing, ‘The men of grace have found glory begun below.’ (Ed: See below) Eternal life begins here and now as the Holy Spirit comes to take up residence within the born-again Christian, planting the life of God within the soul of man. We can know God, not just know about him. We enter a personal relationship with him through faith which unites us to God now and for ever. The future inheritance is already, in part, a present possession. But the way we remain in God, deepening our knowledge of and love for him, and becoming fruitful Christians, is by ensuring that his truth has the priority in our lives. We shall never outgrow the need of his Word as our daily diet, any more than we outgrow the need for daily food. But for most of us eating is not an end in itself; it is a means to live effectively through the day and get our work done. Its ease of preparation, flavor, appearance or even presentation matters less than that we swallow and digest what we need. (The Message of John's Letters- living in the love of God Bible Speaks Today, page 76)
Marching to Zion
The men of grace have found,
Glory begun below.
Celestial fruits on earthly ground
Celestial fruits on earthly ground
From faith and hope may grow,
From faith and hope may grow.
We’re marching to Zion,
Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
We’re marching upward to Zion,
The beautiful city of God.
Resources on Eternal Life:
- Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology
- Eternal Life - BEternal Life - Holman Bible Dictionary
- Eternal Life - Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
- Eternal Life - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
Greek: ταυτα εγραψα υμιν περι των πλανωντων υμας
Amplified: I write this to you with reference to those who would deceive you [seduce and lead you astray].
Barclay: I am writing these things to you to warn you about those who are seeking to lead you astray.
Berkley (Modern Language): I am writing you these things about those who are trying to mislead you.
ESV: I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.
HCSB: I have written these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.
KJV - These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
NET: These things I have written to you about those who are trying to deceive you.
NIV: I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.
NLT: I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray.
Phillips: It is true that I felt I had to write the above about men who would dearly love to lead you astray.
TLB: These remarks of mine about the Antichrist are pointed at those who would dearly love to blindfold you and lead you astray.
Weymouth: I have thus written to you concerning those who are leading you astray.
Wuest: These things I am writing to you concerning those who are leading you astray.
Young's Literal: These things I did write to you concerning those leading you astray;
concerning:, 1 John 3:7; Proverbs 12:26; Ezekiel 13:10; Mark 13:22; Acts 20:29-30; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Colossians 2:8, Colossians 2:18; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:13; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 John 1:7
Reciprocal References: Deuteronomy 13:6 - entice Matthew 24:11 - General, Galatians 1:7 - pervert Ephesians 4:14 - tossed Colossians 2:4 - lest 1 John 5:13 - have I
1 John 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
A REAL AND PRESENT DANGER
Hiebert - The Resources of Believers in the Face of Danger (1Jn 2:26-28) 1Jn 2:26-28 are a summary, conveying renewed reminders to the readers in regard to the conflict between truth and falsehood. John reminds them of the danger from the deceivers (1Jn 2:26), recalls the equipment given them through the anointing they had received (1Jn 2:27), and points them to the hope of Christ's return as personal motivation for abiding in Him (1Jn 2:28).
These things - To what does this refer? Possibilities include the entire letter, but more likely the previous section which deals with antichrists (antichristos = a description of their character = opposed to and instead of Christ), those who went out from them, those who deny that Jesus is the Christ (1Jn 2:18-25). These passages would be an apt description of "those who are trying to deceive" the readers.
A E Brooke on these things - What has been said about the false teachers, and how the danger can be detected and met (1Jn 2:18–25). The reference to the whole section is far more natural than to the exhortation to “abide” only. (A critical and exegetical commentary)
Those who are trying to deceive - They are trying without successful, but they continue mounting deceptive attacks on the minds of the believers. Beginning in the first century, the enemy began sowing seeds of lies and confusion about the truth of the Gospel. And we in the modern church must remain vigilant, because times have not changed! The NT is replete with warnings against deceivers - Read Acts 20:29,30, 2Cor 11:13, Col 2:8,18; 1Ti 4:1; 2Ti 3:13; 2Pe 2:1-3; 2Jn 1:7.
Beloved, these men do not come into our midst in a red suit with horns and a pitchfork! There are subtly serpentine slithering in with half-truths calculated to appeal to your flesh and get you off course (the highway of holiness), seducing you from the correct path (the way of righteousness), causing you to wander into error! There is an interesting wordplay in the Greek verb for deceive, as planao is the root of our English word "planet" (a "wandering body"). To the Greeks the planets ‘wandered’, while the stars remained fixed. This picture recalls to mind Daniel's words "And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever."
These men are good at what they do, continually trying to draw their subjects out of bounds, so to speak. In his last letter Paul warned Timothy (and us) that "evil men and impostors will proceed [from bad] to worse, deceiving (planao) and being deceived (planao) (Note that even the deceivers do not escape self-deception!)." (2Ti 3:13-note) Paul then goes on to command (present imperative) Timothy to "continue (meno = abide, remain) in the things you have learned and become convinced of (ultimately this is the Word, the Gospel), knowing from whom you have learned them." (2Ti 3:14-note) In other words, Paul was telling Timothy that the best defense against the deceivers is to dwell in the truth of the Gospel. John (in verse 1Jn 2:27) commands his readers to abide (meno = continue) in the anointing, in dependence upon the Holy Spirit. In light of the truth that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17), we can see that abiding in both (the Word and the Spirit) is necessary to wage war against deceivers! The best way to spot deception is by knowing the truth taught by the Spirit.
Robertson - John is doing his part to rescue the sheep from the wolves, as Paul did (Acts 20:29).
Jesus warned about men like these who would arise in the last days warning His disciples - “See to it that no one misleads (planao) you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead (planao) many." (Matt 24:4-5)
Deceive (lead astray, mislead) (4105)(planao) from plane which describes "a wandering" and gives us our English word "planet") means literally made to wander and so to go (active sense) or be led (passive sense as of sheep in Mt 18:12-13) astray. Note that John is not saying the readers have already fallen prey to these predators. The purpose of these things written to the readers is to buttress them with Truth, the Word of God, always the best antidote for counterfeits. Remember Paul's clear warning - "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life." (Gal 6:7-8-note)
In John 7:12 some of the unbelieving Jews actually accused Jesus of leading "the multitude astray (planao)!"
John used planao 3 times in this letter (see below for his 8 uses of planao in the Revelation)…
1John 1:8-note If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1John 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive (present imperative with a negative = Robertson explains - “let no one keep on leading you astray." Break the spell of any Gnostic charmer.) you; the one who practices (present tense = as the habit of their life = speaks of general direction NOT perfection!) righteousness is righteous (This begs a question - How can we discern if we are genuinely saved? What is the general direction of our life?), just as He is righteous;
Jackman adds that "The flourishing sects and cults of the late twentieth century have often gained impetus by deceiving and deluding uncertain Christians with their extravagant claims and clever theories. The remedy is not just 'truth' as an absolute, out there. It is also the experience of that Truth inwardly." (cp Heb 5:14) (The Message of John's Letters- living in the love of God Bible Speaks Today, page 77)
Planao - 39x in 37v - Mt 18:12f; 22:29; 24:4f, 11, 24; Mk 12:24, 27; 13:5f; Luke 21:8; John 7:12, 47; 1Cor 6:9; 15:33; Gal 6:7; 2Ti 3:13; Titus 3:3; Heb 3:10; 5:2; 11:38; Jas 1:16; 5:19; 1 Pet 2:25; 2 Pet 2:15; 1 John 1:8; 2:26; 3:7; Rev 2:20; 12:9; 13:14; 18:23; 19:20; 20:3, 8, 10
John Piper (after reading a publication of the Moonies in March, 1985) - What strikes me as I read these forthright denials of historic biblical Christianity (the atoning death of Jesus for our sins, the omniscience and sovereignty of God, the second coming of the Lord in glory)—what strikes me is the ease with which many people are deceived. Two things account for this: a lack of grounding in the Word of God and a lack of life in the Holy Spirit. Or to put it another way, when people have no theological depth and no vital experience of the Holy Spirit they are sitting ducks for the deceiver and the antichrist. 1 John 2:18–27 is written to a situation like ours, and the two things John strives for is a deeper rooting in the Word of God and a deeper experience of the Spirit of God. The Word of God and the Spirit of God are our only hope for stability in a world filled with antichrists. (1 John 2:18-27 Let What You Heard Abide in You)
Steven Cole gives an example of the deception (even in seminaries) - Take the error that believing in Christ for salvation does not include repenting of sin or submitting to Jesus as Lord. The man who taught the course on 1 John that I took in seminary (Ed Comment: Cole attended the highly respected Dallas Theological Seminary) is one of the leading proponents of this error. As a result of this teaching, there are thousands in evangelical churches who claim to be born again, but they habitually live in sin. They’ve been assured that be-cause they received Christ, they are going to heaven. But as Paul describes such people (Titus 1:16-note), “They (continually) profess (homologeo) to know God, BUT (a striking ) by their deeds they deny (arneomai) Him, being detestable (bdekluktos from bdelusso = to emit a foul odor in turn from bdeo = to stink!) and disobedient (apeithes) and worthless (adokimos) for any good deed.” They will be shocked when they stand before the Lord and hear Him say (Matt. 7:23-note), “I never (absolutely never) knew you; depart (command) from Me, you who practice (present tense = the general "direction" of the lives of these men is toward) lawlessness (1Jn 3:4 defines this as "sin"!).” (1 John 2:24-27 Avoiding Spiritual Deception)
1 John 2:27 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: kai humeis to chrisma o elabete (2PAAI) ap autou menei (3SPAI) en humin kai ou chreian echete (2PPAI) hina tis didaske (3SPAS) humas all os to autou chrisma didaskei (3SPAI) humas peri panton kai alethes estin (3SPAI) kai ouk estin (3SPAI) pseudos kai kathos edidaxen (3SAAI) humas menete (2PPAM) en auto
Amplified: But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true and is no falsehood, so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do].
Barclay As for you, if that anointing which you have received from him remains in you, you have no need for anyone to teach you. But, as his anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is no lie, and as he has taught you, remain in him.
Berkley (Modern Language): As for you, the anointing you have received from Him remains within you, and you stand in no need of teaching from anyone; but as His anointing instructs you about everything and is true and is no lie, so keep in union with Him just as it was taught you.
ESV: But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
HCSB: The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie; just as He has taught you, remain in Him.
KJV - But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
NET: Now as for you, the anointing that you received from him resides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, it is true and is not a lie. Just as it has taught you, you reside in him.
NIV: As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him.
NLT: But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.
Phillips: Yet I know that the touch of his Spirit never leaves you, and you don't really need a human teacher. You know that his Spirit teaches you about all things, always telling you the truth and never telling you a lie. So, as he has taught you, live continually in him.
TLB: But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, in your hearts, so that you don’t need anyone to teach you what is right. For he teaches you all things, and he is the Truth, and no liar; and so, just as he has said, you must live in Christ, never to depart from him.
Weymouth: And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him remains within you, and there is no need for any one to teach you. But since His anointing gives you instruction in all things—and is true and is no falsehood—you are continuing in union with Him even as it has taught you to do.
Wuest: But as for you, the anointing which you received from Him remains in you. And no need are you constantly having that anyone be constantly teaching you. But even as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true and is not a lie, and even as He taught you, be constantly abiding in Him.
Young's Literal: and you, the anointing that ye did receive from him, in you it doth remain, and ye have no need that any one may teach you, but as the same anointing doth teach you concerning all, and is true, and is not a lie, and even as was taught you, ye shall remain in him.
the anointing:, 1 John 2:20, 1 John 3:24; John 4:14; 1 Peter 1:23; 2 John 1:2; and ye:, 1 John 2:20-21; Jeremiah 31:33-34; John 14:26, John 16:13; Hebrews 8:10-11; but:, 1 Corinthians 2:13; Ephesians 4:21; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Peter 1:16-17; ye shall:, 1 John 2:28; John 8:31-32, John 15:4-7; Colossians 2:6;
Reciprocal References: Exodus 28:41 - anoint them Exodus 29:7 - General, Exodus 30:26 - General, Exodus 37:29 - he made Exodus 40:13 - anoint him Leviticus 1:15 - wring off his head Leviticus 2:1 - pour oil Leviticus 7:35 - portion Leviticus 8:30 - the anointing Numbers 7:43 - mingled with oil Numbers 18:8 - by reason Deuteronomy 13:6 - entice Joshua 2:19 - whosoever 2 Samuel 7:3 - for the 1 Chronicles 16:22 - Touch Ps 23:5 - thou anointest Ps 25:5 - Lead Ps 25:12 - him Ps 105:15 - mine Ps 119:12 - teach Ps 119:33 - I shall keep Ps 119:102 - for thou Ps 143:10 - Teach Proverbs 3:21 - let Proverbs 11:9 - through Proverbs 28:5 - General, Isaiah 10:27 - because Isaiah 30:21 - thine ears Isaiah 35:8 - the wayfaring Isaiah 54:13 - all Ezekiel 16:9 - anointed Matthew 13:11 - Because Matthew 25:4 - oil John 3:21 - that his John 14:17 - the Spirit John 15:7 - my Acts 11:26 - were 1 Corinthians 2:10 - by 1 Corinthians 2:12 - that 1 Corinthians 2:14 - neither 2 Corinthians 1:21 - anointed 2 Corinthians 9:1 - it is Ephesians 4:20 - General, Colossians 1:23 - ye continue Colossians 3:16 - dwell Titus 2:12 - Teaching 1 John 2:5 - hereby
1 John 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
THE HOLY SPIRIT
John had written "But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know." (1John 2:20)
A E Brooke on you have an anointing - The words are not aimless. They serve to close the subject, and in connection with what follows to account for the brevity of his treatment of it. The writer has only to call to their remembrance the essential features of their own faith, and the grave issues raised by the antichristian teaching. The chrism (anointing) which they have received will enable them to do the rest for themselves. They are in possession of all that is necessary for self-defense, if they use the power which has been given to them… The position of you (humeis) is significant. The readers must meet the attempts to lead them astray by efforts on their own part. Warning and exhortation are of no avail without their active response. (A critical and exegetical commentary)
As for you - Note the striking contrast with those who deceive! John reminds them of the resource God has given them to contend earnestly for the faith.
A E Brooke - The position of "you" is significant. The readers must meet the attempts to lead them astray by efforts on their own part. Warning and exhortation are of no avail without their active response. (A critical and exegetical commentary)
The anointing - Most interpreters agree that anointing is a reference to their reception of the Holy Spirit. (Jn 14:26, 16:13) and His teaching (illuminating) ministry which guides believers into an understanding of spiritual truth.
Hiebert - "John's assertion in the latter part of the verse that "the same anointing teaches you" makes clear that the anointing is a Person (with power), not merely an impersonal power." Hiebert also makes an interesting comment that 1Jn 2:27 is a "long and grammatically difficult sentence." We will discuss these grammatical issues only minimally. For more discussion see one of the commentaries recommended above.
John Piper explains anointing - Acts 10:38 says that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit. And 1 John 4:13 says that God has given us of his Spirit. So the anointing referred to in 1Jn 2:20 (see note) and 1Jn 2:27 is probably the pouring of the Holy Spirit into our hearts when we are born again. So we can go back and rephrase 1Jn 2:20 like this: “You have the Holy Spirit from God in you and so you know the truth.” And 1Jn 2:27 would go like this: “The Holy Spirit which you received from God abides in you and so you have no need that any one should teach you. That is, you don’t need these progressive prophets who claim to add new information about Christ beyond the truth you heard at the beginning.” What is plain from these two verses is that without the Holy Spirit we would not know the truth. Knowing the truth about Christ is a gift of the Holy Spirit. (1 John 2:18-27 Let What You Heard Abide in You)
The Holy Spirit's ministry of guiding and teaching is often described by the term illumination.
ILLUMINATION - A theological term used to express the manner in which the Holy Spirit makes clear to man the Word of God, whether preached or in written form. Without an illumination of the Holy Scriptures, no man can understand God’s divine, infallible revelation because spiritual things are only spiritually—i.e., by the aid of the Holy Spirit—understood or discerned (1 Cor 2:11–14; Jn 16:13). Therefore Paul prayed that the “eyes” of our hearts might be enlightened (Eph 1:18). The Bible in its original text is the inspired, infallible Word of God. Inspiration therefore describes the work of the Spirit in the authors of the Scriptures and the Scriptures themselves; illumination, the means by which the Scriptures are made clear to the reader. (The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia)
D L Moody has a quip related to the Spirit's illuminating ministry - “The Bible without the Holy Spirit is a sun-dial by moonlight”
C H Spurgeon - The "Illuminated" Bible - You may read the Bible continuously and yet never learn anything by it, unless it is illuminated by the Spirit. Then the words shine forth like stars. Then the book seems made of gold leaf; every single letter glitters like a diamond. Oh! it is a blessed thing to read an "illuminated Bible" lit up by the radiance of the Holy Spirit. Have you read the Bible, and yet have your eyes been unenlightened? Go and say, "O Lord, illuminate it; shine upon it; for I cannot read it to profit, unless You enlighten me." Blind men may read the Bible with their fingers, but blind souls cannot. We need a light to read the Bible by; there is no reading it in the dark.
Steven Cole adds this caveat - The Spirit always works in conjunction with the Word. He does not give direct revelation today on a par with Scripture. The false teachers were claiming to have direct revelations from the Spirit, but their teaching contradicted the Word. If you get some “insight” that you think came from God, but it does not line up with God’s Word (interpreted properly in context), your “insight” is not from the Holy Spirit! Or, if someone says to you, “The Lord told me…” be careful! Sometimes they will even use a verse of Scripture, but invariably it is taken out of context. The Holy Spirit always leads us to the Word and to a deeper understanding of the supremacy and all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ.
John Piper asks "How does the anointing of the Spirit enable the saints to know the truth and protect them from deception? 1Jn 2:24 is the key. What it shows is that the truth which the Holy Spirit enables us to know is a truth that is delivered in the preaching of the apostles. “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.” Twice in that verse John stresses that the truth that should remain in them is truth that came to them through the ear at the beginning of their Christian walk: “what you heard from the beginning … what you heard from the beginning!” This was the preaching of the apostles. So John is not saying that the anointing of the Spirit enables us to know the truth of Christ by giving additional information beyond what they heard from the beginning. On the contrary John is intent on telling them they have enough revelation in what they heard from the beginning. He does not want to set them off in pursuit of something new. Remember 1Jn 2:7-note, “Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.” In other words John makes effort to avoid the saying that what the church needs is new revelation. It does not. It needs to let the original apostolic teaching about Christ abide in them. The Word Tests the Spirit - 2 John 9 warns about the danger of progressiveness and newness in the doctrine of Christ: “Any one who goes ahead [progresses] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son.” So the opposite of abiding in what you have heard from the beginning is to “go ahead” to new revelations and secret knowledge offered by Mohammed and Charles Russell and Joseph Smith and Mary Baker Eddy and Jim Jones and Sun Moon and an ever larger stream of antichrists in this last hour of deception. The Holy Spirit does not expand the apostolic teaching of Christ. On the contrary, the Word tests the Spirit. 1 John 4:2 says, “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus has come in the flesh is of God.” The Spirit agrees with the apostolic doctrine or it is not the Spirit of God. This is why we reject the teaching of Mr. Moon. Not because we can boast of different revelations from the Spirit, but because his claim does not square with the faith once for all delivered to the saints in the teaching of the apostles. So the work of the Holy Spirit is not to take us beyond the teaching of the apostles. It is to help us accept and abide in that teaching. It helps us grow in our understanding of that teaching. It strengthens our power to practice that teaching. It increases our confidence in the truth of that teaching. But it does not change the teaching. It does not expand on the teaching. (1 John 2:18-27 Let What You Heard Abide in You)
- The Bible and Illumination
- Our Anointing - The Holy Spirit (there is some repetition).
- John Piper's Sermon - How the Spirit Helps Us Understand - Desiring God
Scriptures Related to Illumination:
- Ask for illumination - Psalm 119:18-note "Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law. "
- Jesus provides illumination on the Scriptures. Luke 24:45 "Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures"
- The Holy Spirit will bring illumination. John 14:26 “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." (While this was a promise given specifically to the 11 disciples, in principle it is applicable to all disciples.")
- Pray for illumination Ephesians 1:16-19-note - (I) do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
- Scriptures pierce and illuminate - Hebrews 4:12-note For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Anointing (5545)(chrisma from chrio = to daub, smear, anoint with oil, root of the word Christos = Christ or Messiah) is a noun which literally means what has been spread on, such as an ointment. Chrisma is "that with which the anointing is performed — the unguent or ointment." (Vincent)
Have received (2983)(lambano from root lab- = actively lay hold of) means to take or grasp. Since all believers have received (aorist tense = past completed action) the anointing, they have no need to seek for it. On the other hand, they do have a responsibility (a need if you will) to see that the anointing is fully functional in them (cp 1Jn 2:28).
When did they receive the anointing? When they were born again. Every believer has received the Holy Spirit (see Ro 8:9, 1Cor 12:13). Paul writes "Now He Who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, Who also sealed us and gave [us] the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge." (2Cor 1:21-22)
Candlish - This anointing is permanent — “it (ultimately not an it but a He) abides in you.” This anointing is not a fitful emotion or wayward impulse, a rapture of excitement, alternating perhaps with deep depression. The anointing partakes more of the nature of a calm, constant, settled conviction. Frames, feelings, fancies, are all fluctuating; they are like the surface waters of the ocean, agitated by every wind. But this inward anointing is far down in the still depths beneath. It “abides in us;” the same always in its own inherent stillness and strength, amid whatever tossing its contact with the upper air may cause. Through tears and cries, as well as smiles and laughter, it abides in us the same; as it did in him who “rejoiced in the Spirit,” and who also “groaned in the Spirit.” “With our groanings which cannot be uttered,” the anointing Spirit, abiding in us, “makes intercession for us;” and our joy, like Christ’s, is “in the Holy Ghost.” This unction then is not to be confounded with our own varying moods of mind, or the varying impressions made on us by external circumstances. This anointing is something far more stable. It gives a certain firm and fixed apprehension of divine things and persons, which various vicissitudes (fluctuations of our state or our conditons) can scarcely interrupt or weaken, and cannot destroy. There may be more or less of the vivid sense of this anointing, at different seasons and in different circumstances; the signs of it may be more or less clearly discernible, and the hold we have of it in our consciousness may be more or less strong. Nevertheless the anointing “abides in us;” keeping God and eternity still before us as realities, in our sorest trials and darkest hours; causing us, as we fall back upon it, like David in his recovery from doubting despondency, to exclaim:—“I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High” (Ps. 77:10). (1 John 2:26-28 The Guileless Spirit, through the Abiding Messianic Unction)
Kistemaker - Countless individuals gain a knowledge of salvation through the reading of Scripture. Guided by the Holy Spirit, they are led to Jesus Christ and accept him in faith. After they accept Christ as their Savior, they are baptized in the name of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yet before their baptism, when they first came to conversion, they already experienced the anointing of the Spirit. (Exposition of James and the Epistles of John)
From Him - From God, with most commentators interpreting this as a reference to Jesus Christ. In Luke 22:49 Jesus affirms "behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father (referring to the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost) upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." In John 14:16 Jesus declares "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever." So while from Him may refer to Jesus, it is clear that the Father is also intimately involved in sending the Holy Spirit.
Abides in you (meno) - John says the anointing (the Spirit) continually (meno is in the present tense) remains (takes up permanent residence, makes Himself at home) in them, continually equipping them to be able to stand firm against those who are trying to deceive them. "That equipment assures victory as they appropriate it in the experiences of daily life." (Hiebert)
Wuest emphasizes the permanence of the Spirit's abiding in believers - David could pray, “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me” (Ps 51:11-note), since the Spirit came upon an individual in Old Testament times for the period of that person’s ministry, and left him when that ministry was over, without affecting his salvation. But in New Testament times, the Spirit is in the believer to stay.
As Jesus explained to His disciples the Holy Spirit will be with believers forever (Jn 14:16).
Recall that meno is one of John's favorite verbs in this letter - 1 John 2:6, 10, 14, 17, 19, 24, 27-28; 3:6, 9, 14f, 17, 24; 4:12-13, 15-16.
No need of anyone to teach you - John is not saying we don't need teachers. John's letter is a teaching! And the Bible continually calls for Spirit filled teachers of the saints (F F Bruce adds that “ the ministry of teaching must be exercised by men who themselves share the ‘anointing’ of which John speaks, men who remain in the fellowship of the Spirit.”) See NT emphasis on teaching = Mt 28:20, Acts 13:1, 19:9, 2:42, 1Cor 12:28, Eph 4:11, Col 3:16, 1Ti 4:11, 2Ti 1:11, 2:2, 2:24 (cp Jesus' words to Peter to tend the sheep -- Jn 21:15-17 -- you feed them by teaching them the pure milk of the word, solid meat! ) Remember also the context of this statement is deceivers trying to cause them to stray from the truth and in that setting we may not always have a teacher at hand, but we do always have the "Teacher", the Spirit (Jn 14:26, cp 1Cor 2:10-13) and if we are abiding in Him, in fellowship with Him, filled with Him, He will guide us into all the truth (Jn 16:13). The teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit is often referred to as illumination (in contrast to revelation), that is, His "illumination" shines light on His "revelation" (Word of God) so that we might understand its spiritual truths. The Spirit gives us the spiritual capacity to appreciate and appropriate God's truth which is already revealed (in His Word).
John 14:26 “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.
1Cor 2:10 For to us God revealed [them] through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the [thoughts] of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the [thoughts] of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual [thoughts] with spiritual [words.]
John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
W E Vine on No need of anyone to teach you - this does not suggest that they were without the need of teaching, but rather that with the divine power given to them to detect false teachers they were able to refuse their teachings. The ascended Lord has given spiritual gifts in the church, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers and these are for the building up of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11, 12-note); but the apostle’s point here is that believers are able by the Spirit’s power to be secure against all deceits of the enemy. Human instrumentality was never intended to take the place of dependence upon God; yet, on the other hand, young believers are to be free from that fanaticism which refuses the help of spiritual gifts in the church. (Collected writings)
Kistemaker - “Believers do not have to consult learned professors of theology before they can accept God’s truth; in the sight of God, clergy and laity are the same; the Holy Spirit is the teacher of every believer, without distinction.” (Exposition of James and the Epistles of John; Baker)
Hiebert adds "The apostle's words must be understood in the light of the context; he "is dealing not with the accumulation of the knowledge of the truth, but with the detection of the truth." John here has in mind the teachings of the Gnostics who claimed to possess an enlightenment which rose higher than the revelation in Christ proclaimed by the apostles. Because the Holy Spirit indwells the true believer and enables him to discern heretical error, he has no need for some cult leader to initiate him into additional secret "knowledge" or professed spiritual insights."
ILLUSTRATION OF LISTENING TO THE SPIRIT - Years ago Dr. H. A. Ironside related that one day while on the streets of Los Angeles he came across a street preacher vigorously preaching to a considerable audience around him. As he listened he soon recognized that the speaker was expounding the heretical views of a well-known cult. As he surveyed the audience he noticed a black man on the other side of the crowd attentively following the preaching. Occasionally the trace of a smile appeared on his face. Dr. Ironside felt sorry for the man being misled by the cult-preacher. When the preacher was finished Dr. Ironside made his way to the man he had watched, and, striking up a conversation, asked him, "And what did you think of what the preacher said?" His reply was, "Well, he sure did tell us, didn't he?" "Yes, he surely did," Dr. Ironside agreed, "but what did you think of what he preached?" With a smile the man looked at him and replied, "I sure couldn't answer him, but all the while he was preaching there was something inside me saying, 'It's a lie, it's a lie, it's a lie.' " The Holy Spirit was teaching that Christian brother that he did not need a cult teacher to lead him into the truth of God. So John assures his readers that they do not need the Gnostic teachers to teach them "new and deeper spiritual insights." As long as we listen to the voice of the Spirit, we will continue (abide) in Him. The many voices coming at us from without need to be tested by the voice of the Spirit within us.
The conjunction and (kai) (no need of anyone to teach) "adds the result" (Hiebert) While and may seem to be a simple conjunction, it behooves the Bible student (2Ti 2:15) to be diligent to observe this conjunction, asking what is being coupled together?
A W Pink explains no need of anyone to teach this way - "Some ignorant souls who fail to understand the sense have been misled by its sound. Certain fanatics suppose it means that the Christian is independent of all preachers, and therefore have contended for the exclusion of oral ministry from the churches. Now it is obvious that John wrote not to promote a spirit of presumption and unwillingness to be taught by others--his own example contradicted any such idea, for he was often engaged in instructing these very persons. Nor was there any inconsistency between his statement and his practice. He taught the disciples and they were grateful and much edified. Yet supposing him to be withdrawn from them and his pen silenced, it did not follow that they must remain ignorant. The Spirit would teach them, by him (John) and without him as He pleased. The child of God, with the Bible in his hand and the Holy Spirit in his heart, is capable of all spiritual knowledge. Whereas Divine teaching does not supersede (cause to be set aside) ministerial instruction, it does surpass (exceeds) the same." (1 John 2:27)
Steven Cole explains no need of anyone to teach this way - John means that they do not need the elite gnosis of the false teachers to let them in on God’s “secret truth.” Rather, every Christian has the indwelling Holy Spirit to enable him or her to understand and interpret Scripture. When the Spirit applies the word of the gospel to the soul, we receive it, not as the word of man, but of God (1Th 2:13). Through the Word, the Holy Spirit reveals to us the riches that God has prepared for us (1 Cor. 2:9-12). This is the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. You do not need an elite order of clergymen to give you the official interpretation of biblical truth, especially of the gospel. Read the Word for yourself, in dependence on the indwelling Holy Spirit. (1 John 2:24-27 Avoiding Spiritual Deception)
Wuest - in the case of saints who are subjected to the teaching of Modernism, their court of appeal and refuge is the instruction of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.
Teach (1321)(didasko) means to provide instruction (with the idea of systematic teaching or training) in a formal or informal setting and focuses "on content, with the purpose of discovering the truth-contrary to the forums so popular among Greeks, where discussion and the bantering about of various ideas and opinions was the primary concern (see Acts 17:21)." (MacArthur) Didasko was used in secular Greek to describe a choir director who trains a choir over a long period of rehearsals until they are able to perform.
But (alla) - John draws a strong contrast.
His anointing teaches you about all things - The Spirit guides us into "all that you need to know." In context this anointing is especially operative in discerning spiritual truth from error. The phrase "all things" does not mean that John claiming we can attain omniscience!
TEACHING & TEACHER
And is true and is not a lie - What is true? Strictly speaking this would seem to refer to His anointing (the Holy Spirit), but in context also speaks of the character of what the Spirit teaches - it is truth and not a lie. In short, both the Teacher and His teaching are reliable for He is the Spirit of Truth (Jn 14:17, Jn 15:26, Jn 16:13)!
John MacArthur writes that "If God is true (cf. 2 Chr. 15:3; Jer. 10:10; John 17:3; 1 Thess. 1:9) and Christ is the truth (cf. John 14:6), so is the Holy Spirit (cf. 5:6; John 15:26; 16:17)." (MacArthur Study Bible)
Westcott notes that in context the anointing, "the gift of the Spirit, is now identified with the results of the gift. The Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17); and His teaching is true, and admits no element of falsehood (1Jn 2:21)." (1 John 2 Commentary)
Candlish - This anointing "carries with it, and in it, an assurance not to be called in question or shaken; an assurance, one may say, infallibly sure." (1 John 2:26-28 The Guileless Spirit, through the Abiding Messianic Unction)
Gary Burge - There are true and false anointings, true and false spiritual experiences. An anointing that leads to error, that misrepresents Christ—an anointing that detracts from “what was from the beginning”—may be no anointing at all. It may in fact be a falsehood (lie). Thus John will not permit anyone to say that the Spirit inspires rival theological points of view. Only one inspiration comes from the Spirit of God—the anointing that affirms the church’s historic beliefs in Jesus Christ. Again, as in 1Jn 2:24, inspiration must forever be judged at the bar of historical revelation. Any that cannot pass must be deemed untrue. (The NIV Application Commentary)
Vine explains that the phrase "the anointing teaches you about all things," confirms, in a positive way, what has just been put negatively (you have no need for anyone to teach you). Again, the Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13); for that reason the anointing is true. That the anointing “is not a lie” is not a mere repetition of the statement that it is true. It sets in more vivid contrast the falsehoods of the errorists. They are not mere promulgators of speculative theories, they are liars (see 1Jn 2:22); they are directly antagonistic to the truth. On the contrary, an essential feature of the anointing is the impartation of truth. The effect of the work of the Spirit is consistent with His character. He imparts truth because He is true. (Ibid)
Steven Cole - Jesus also called the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17), which is behind John’s words here, that He “is true and is not a lie.” This means that the truth of the gospel is not a subjective matter of personal interpretation. It is not something that I see one way and you see it another way, but both ways are right. Rather, it is objectively, absolutely true in every culture and every age. You must believe it to be saved and any contradiction of the gospel is a lie. (1 John 2:24-27 Avoiding Spiritual Deception (Part 2))
True (227)(alethes) describes that which is manifest, that which is unconcealed, that which conforms to reality and thus is genuine, that which is in accordance with facts, that which is real (authentic, not imaginary).
Lie (falsehood) (5579)(pseudos from pseudomai = to lie) is that which is false (untrue, not according to truth or fact). It is a statement that made with the intention of deceiving or defrauding. Lies are not only the spoken words but also actions (1Jn 1:6 - verb pseudomai).
Lies and falsehood are the chief trademarks of God’s enemies. The anointing, the Spirit of truth, is the "antidote" for such lies for in Him and His teaching there is no lie or falsehood.
Just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. - The Amplified version has "so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do]." Without meaning to sound too mystical, John's readers and we also need to learn to listen to the voice of the Spirit within, instead of listening to the voices without!
Abide (Some see this verb as present imperative but others see it as present indicative) in Him - John calls for his readers to continually live at home in Christ, which in context means that they make themselves at home, so to speak, in the true teaching.
Kistemaker - The heart of the sentence, however, lies in the last three words which form a command to have fellowship with Christ. The exhortation is direct: “Remain in him.” In view of John’s reference to Jesus’ return (1Jn 2:28), the words in Him relate to Jesus Christ… God provides His Spirit to teach the believer all things necessary for salvation, but God also expects the Christian to remain in Christ so that he may have constant fellowship with the Father and the Son (cp 1Jn 2:24). (Exposition of James and the Epistles of John; Baker)
John MacArthur - In response to such deceivers, the task of the genuine believer is to “walk in the truth,” i.e., persevere in faithfulness and sound doctrine (see 1Jn 2:20-21; 2John 1:4; 3John 1:4). (MacArthur Study Bible)
Westcott addresses to Whom in Him refers - At first sight it might appear most natural to take en auto (in Him) of the ‘teaching of the Spirit’ (Chrisma - anointing) as is done by the Latin translation used by Augustine (permanete in ipsa sc. unctione) according to John 8:31; but the personal reference cannot be questioned in 1Jn 2:28, and that must decide the interpretation here. Christ—God in Christ—is the subject constantly present to the mind of the Apostle. (1 John 2 Commentary)
Steven Cole sees "abide in Him" as specifying the Holy Spirit (others like Kistemaker above see in Him a reference to Jesus which the context probably does favor. However to some extent it is a moot point because the Spirit is called the Spirit of Christ, Ro 8:9, 1Pe 1:11, and the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Acts 16:7, Phil 1:19). Cole says "The Spirit abides in you, but you also must abide in the Spirit. John says that the anointing abides in you, but the last part of the verse should be a command, “abide in Him.” John uses “abide” five times in 1Jn 2:24, 27. As we’ve seen, it is his term for fellowship, or for maintaining a warm, close relationship with the Lord. Let the Holy Spirit be at home in every area of your life, and you be at home in every area of His Word. Don’t keep any secret closets locked away from Him. Give Him entrance to every nook and cranny of your thoughts and emotions. To live closely and openly before the Holy Spirit in His Word is the best safeguard against spiritual deception."
Ironside - They were not to be dependent on human wisdom, for they had the Word of God opened to them by the Holy Spirit. This then is the comfort, stay, and protection of God’s little children. They may not know very much, but they know Christ. They have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, and they have the Word of God to instruct them. May we all learn to value what God has graciously committed to us. (1 John 2 - Ironside's Notes on Selected Books)
John Piper provides an excellent summary of this section - In this long text there are only two imperatives. One is in 1Jn 2:24: “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you.” And the other is in 1Jn 2:27 at the end: “As his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in Him.” Let the Word abide in you! Abide in the Spirit! I can’t help but recall a similar pair of admonitions in Paul’s letters: Colossians 3:16 (note), “Let the word of Christ dwell (present imperative) in you richly, as you…sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Ephesians 5:18-19 (note), “Be filled (present imperative) with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, always and for everything giving thanks.” “Let the word dwell in you!” is like John’s “Let the word abide in you!” “Be filled with the Spirit!” is like John’s “Abide in the Spirit!” (Ed: See my analysis of the striking parallels in these two sections of Paul's writings = FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT -- RICHLY INDWELT BY THE WORD - preceptaustin) This will be my prayer for all of you as Noël and I minister in Liberia and Cameroon for the next six weeks—that the Word abide in you and that you abide in the Spirit. That you love the Word, and continue to come Sunday after to worship in the truth. That you be filled with the anointing of God and continue to come Sunday after Sunday to worship in the Spirit. For the Lord seeks those who will worship him in Spirit and in truth (Jn 4:24). Guard yourselves from the deceiver and the antichrist. Love the Word, live in the Word, pray the Word, Memorize the Word And before every sentence lay yourself wide open to whatever the Spirit wants to do with you by the Word. “If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.” AMEN. (1 John 2:18-27 Let What You Heard Abide in You) (Bolding and color added for emphasis)
Westcott - Impatience drives men to look without for the guidance which in due time will be recognized within (Ed: Referring to the anointing, the Holy Spirit). Such impatience is the opposite to the steadfastness of the Christian.
I Howard Marshall sums this up - The antidote to falling into false ideas of the Christian faith is to be found in holding fast to the initial statement of Christian truth given in the apostolic witness, as this is confirmed in our hearts by the anointing given by the Spirit. It cannot be otherwise with a religion based on a historical, once-for-all revelation. Granted that the Lord has yet more light to break forth from his Word, it is nevertheless from the Word that new understanding issues, and any new doctrine which is not in harmony with the Word is self-condemned. (The New International Commentary on the New Testament)