Saturday, 28 March 2020
I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one. 1 John 2:14
John completes his poetic offset with this verse. It is the second triplet, and in it he changes the verb “I write,” which was present tense to aorist, “I have written.” Note: In the previous verse, some texts change the tense from “I write” to “I have written” which is written to the “little children,” as well.
Several suggestions have been given for this change, but what seems the most likely is that the change is based on the document being spoken of. The present tense speaks of the epistle that he is currently writing. However, he uses the aorist tense to refer to the gospel which is written. If this is so, then the supposition that the epistle was to accompany the gospel makes much sense.
If so, and therefore, the Gospel of John is his writing concerning the actual life and events of Jesus and is not mixed with anything that would convolute that narrative. The epistle of 1 John is then an accompanying explanation of doctrinal points to assist the reader of the gospel in understanding how to apply the truths contained within the gospel to the reader’s walk.
Whether this is correct or not, John’s change to the aorist tense begins with, “I have written to you fathers.” It is the same thought as that which began verse 13, only changing the tense of the verb. He then continues with, “Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.” It is the exact same thing he said to the fathers in the previous verse.
He then continues with, “I have written to you, young men.” Again, it is exactly how he addressed the young men of the previous verse with the exception of a change in the tense of the verb. From there, he changes what he says to the young men with, “Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you.” The word “strong” is the Greek word ischuros and is normally associated with physical strength and the abilities associated with that condition. The fact that he adds in “the word of God abides in you” is clearly tied into the reason that they have (as he next says, repeating the thought from the previous verse) “overcome the wicked one.”
Overcoming refers to those who not only understand their sins are forgiven (the “little children” of verse 2:12), but those who understand that this forgiveness means they have assurance of salvation. Where does this understanding come from? This knowledge of the doctrine of eternal salvation is tied into a greater understanding of the Person and work of Jesus Christ and being sealed with the Holy Spirit. Such knowledge comes from “the word of God” being heard, remembered, and reflected upon.
Two people may hear the doctrine of forgiveness of sins, but only one may understand the full implication of this because he accurately processes what has been relayed to him. This person has the word of God abiding in him, not just a casual understanding that Jesus died to forgive him of his sins. He understands that Satan is defeated and can never again take hold of him or his soul. Such a person has not only overcome the world through the blood of Christ, but he has also overcome the wiles of the devil in this life. He is not only safe in his salvation, but he is confident in it as well.
Life application: The person who comes to Christ in faith is saved and sealed for the day of redemption. But that person may not understand this. His walk is one of constant fear, trepidation, and uncertainly. He is tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine that comes his way, and the devil has a field day as he tears the poor soul apart.
However, a person who matures in his faith, and who properly understands the doctrines of the Bible – which include eternal salvation – has a sure and steady foot on the path of this life. The devil has no ability to continue tearing him apart.
Let us be mature in our doctrine, and let us keep away from those who teach that salvation can be lost, as if the sufficiency of Christ is no sufficiency at all. Such teachers trust in self to complete the task. Self is a poor spot to place one’s trust. Have faith in Christ, and be sure of your salvation. Christ has done it all. Rest in that!
Thank You Lord for lessons taught in Scripture which are so clear concerning the doctrine of the forgiveness of sins and of eternal salvation. Thank You for the great depths of the riches of wisdom and knowledge which are revealed in Your word. Help our doctrine to be pure, and may the word of God abide in us richly all the days of our lives. Amen.