24 Let that which you have heard from the beginning abide in you. If that which you have heard from the beginning abides in you, then in the Son, and the Father you shall abide. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us: life eternal. 26 These things I have written unto you regarding those who are seducing you. 27 But the anointing which you have received of Him abides in you, and you have no need for any man to teach you, but even as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and according as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him.1 John 2:24-27
John continues to return to themes he previously introduced, only to deepen and expand them. Here the theme of fellowship is deepened by noting the reciprocal nature of it. As we receive the Apostles’ gospel and doctrine, the Truth contained in their teaching abides in us. If we’ve received the plain Gospel witness which was first preached to us––that Jesus was the eternal Christ, manifested in the flesh to be our Advocate before the Father––then we abide in the Father and the Son. The Gospel comes into us (by the Spirit’s effectual work, it should be noted), and by that power we are brought to abide in God. We have here another “if/then”, a favorite rhetorical tac used by John. If the Gospel abides in you, then you abide in God. In other words, Christian doctrine is personal and covenantal.
The life which was with God in the beginning, is assuredly ours for eternity. This is the good and glorious Gospel promise. In the Greek, life eternal is accompanied by the definite article. This is the Life Eternal. We aren’t talking about a way of life amongst many ways of life. Rather, this is the only true and eternal Life.
Verse 26 brings us a warning that there are seducers who would woo us away from this Life Eternal. Throughout John’s apocolyptic vision, the devil is described as busy with the work of deceiving/seducing (Cf. Rev. 12:9, 20:8 & 10, 13:14, 16:14). The same word is used there. Satan busies himself with leading astray, seducing, deceiving. But John also previously used this word in regards to the self-deception of claiming sinless perfection (1 Jn. 1:8). The devil deceives us, yes; but his best work is done by deceiving us into deceiving ourselves.
As we arrive at verse 27, we see the pastoral prerogative for run-on sentences. When truth like this is in play, it is hard to refrain from carrying on about it. The lure of the seducers should be countered with the anointing which we received. Our fellowship with God, through being covenantally joined with Christ by having heard His Gospel news and being sealed by His Gospel sign, is the antidote to the adder’s poisonous lies. There is no secret knowledge that needs to be added to the plain Gospel which John had previously preached to them. This anointing (our baptism into Christ) is didactic. By that I mean that we grow up into it, but we never add to it. We learn to apply the Gospel to all things, and as we walk in the light which the Gospel brings we see that there is no lie in it. Once more, as we rest in the Gospel, we are in fact abiding in Christ.
- 1 John 3:4-6 | Sin is Lawlessness
- 1 John 3:1-3 | What Unearthly Love
- 1 John 2:28-29 | A Trumpet Blast for Feeble Saints
- 1 John 2:24-27 | The Pastoral Prerogative for Run-on Sentences
- 1 John 2:20-23 | Knowing All Things
- 1 John 2:18-19 | Rival Christs
- 1 John 2:15-17 | The Imperative to Not Love
- 1 John 2:12-14 | Pastoral Poetry
- 1 John 2:9-11 | The Gospel Scandal
- 1 John 2:7-8 | Nothing New, But All is New