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Biblical Illustrator i John 2

Biblical Illustrator i John 2

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 15, 2011
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BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR I JOH 2CHAPTER II.Vers. 1-6. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not — Preventatives against sin : — The connection between chapters i. and ii. seems to bethis : I have taught you something of the nature and universality of sin, and of thedeceivers who say they have no sin, but you are not to understand me as teachingthat sin is an element of our being, or attached to us by any absolute necessity, orinfused into us by the will or authority of the Deity, or of such might that resistanceis vain ; on the contrary, the main object of my epistle is, "That ye sin not." Yeare not to yield to sin, but to resist it to the uttermost. I. The childken and theAdvocate. 1. The word tekviu, " little children," is a diminutive from tekvov, andwe, having no principle in our language for forming diminutives, or perhaps havinglost it, must translate by the two words " Uttle children." The Latins say "Filioli,"the Germans " Kindlein," the ItaUans " FiUoletti." The French are as poor asourselves in this respect, and must say " Mespetits enfans." Such forms of expres-sion in all languages denote endearment and affection. All the most valuablearticles in nature are small — the iron, the lead, the silver, the gold, the diamondsof the mine, are all diminutives compared with the rocks, the mountains, and thestrata of the globe. It is so in grace also, for the Church of the Son of God, thoughforming an innumerable company in the heavenly Jerusalem, yet, when comparedwith the miUions of mankind who live and die in their sins, are " a little flock "(Luke xii. 32), but in them and with them are found all the riches of Jehovah'smercy, all the wondrous manifestations of His love, all the glories of the eternalkingdom. (1) The name, therefore, refers to the believer as an object of specialand tender care. Ye are the children of my warmest love over whom I rejoicecontinually. Ye are separated from the world, but ye are of more value in thesight of God than the great world with its vanities, which are all destined to perish.(2) The purpose of my writing you is, that ye sin not. Ye are not the slaves of sinany more, but the freemen of the Lord Jesus. (3) I take "these things" to refergenerally to the substance of the whole Epistle, but more especially to the firstchapter ; and hence we may learn what, in the mind of the apostle, are the bestpreventatives against sin. The preventatives are not in us, but in God. 2. Jesus,the " Advocate," is now brought before the mind of the children of God as the oneall-sufficient fountain of forgiveness for the transgressions of mankind. IT. JesusTHE PROPITIATIO. 1. Then it is a fact that the eternal mercy has reached us intheperson of our adorable Eedeemer, and that in the shedding of His blood we havethe means and the seal of peace with God. 2. But it is asserted that He is the
propitiation for " our " sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of thewhole world. (1) In the fullest, freest, and most admirable maimer He hasremoved every barrier between us and God, and expiated for ever all our sins. (2)His love. His Cross, His reUgion, is not for one age, but for all ages, not for onenation or country, but for the whole world, and the promises of God give usassurance beforehand of its final triumph. HI. The keeping the commandmentsOF God. 1. There is but one way of knowing with certainty that we have knownGod, and that is by keeping His commandments. The knowledge which does notlead to holiness is not the knowledge of God. 2. There are two great centres in themoral universe around which the events, characters, histories, and destinies of thespecies gather, the true one and the false one, Christ and Satan, the author of alltruth and the father of lies. The " he " is the black bond which unites us to theprince of darkness, and " truth " is the golden chain which binds us to our Headand Master in heaven. The truth signifies in the ew Testament the Christianreligion — the genuine faith and practice of the gospel (John i. 14, 17, viii. 32, 40,566 THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR. [chap. n.45, 46, xvi. 13, xvii. 17, xviii. 37 ; Rom. i. 8). IV. Keeping God's Word. 1. Theonly way to arrive at perfection is by keeping the Word of God. (1) Lovebegins in the circle of the heart, and flows forth upon its objects in proportionto its fervour and strength. We cannot, therefore, even pretend to love Godif He is not frequently the object of our thoughts, if He does not occupy aconspicuous place in our hearts. (2) Love is a strong passion. Its existenceis easily traced by the joy which it gives, by the difficulties it surmounts, bythe trials which it endures, and by the deeds which it accomplishes. Loveshould increase and strengthen by every fresh discovery of the beauty andexcellence of its object. (3) How can we best increase this love to God ? Theanswer is suggested in our text, namely, by " keeping the Word of God." TheBible is the directory of the saints, and holiness consists in obedience to itscommands. V. The believer's communion with Christ and walk in Him. {W.Graham.) Sinless aim of the guileless spirit — provision for its continued sense of sin : — I. Let that be tour aim, to " sin not." Let it be your fixed purpose, notmerely that you are to sin as little as you can, but that you are not to sin at all.II. But not only would I have you to make this your aim, I would have tour aimACCOMPLISHED AD REALISED ; and therefore " I write these things untoyou, that
ye sin not." We are to proceed upon the anticipation not of failure but of successin all holy walking and in every holy duty. Believe these things, reaUse them, actthem out. For they are such things as, if thus apprehended, change the characterof the whole struggle. They transfer it to a new and higher platform. We arebrought into a position in relation to God in which holiness is no longer adesperate,negative strife, but a blessed, positive achievement. Evil is overcome with good.III. WhT, then, IS PROVISIO MADE FOR OUR SIIG STILL ATTER ALL ? Wc haVOpurposed in good faith that we will not offend. We rejoice to think that we maynow form that purpose with good heart ; not desperately, as if we were upon aforlorn hope, but rather as grasping the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.For He cheers us on. He knows how at every step, in spite of all the encourage-ment given us beforehand, that we may hang back, fearing with too good groundthat even if, in the form we used to dread, our sin shall seem to give way, it mayin some new manifestation lie in wait to trouble us. And therefore He assures usthat He is always beside us, " our advocate with the Father." We need not there-fore be afraid to walk with the Father in the light. {R. S. Candlish, D.D.)Warning and encouragement : — I. The spirit of the apostle's address. " Mylittle children." Such words are felt to be peculiarly appropriate in him. Theyare suited to his character. He was gentle and loving. They are suited also to hisage. He lived to be the oldest of all his companions in the apostoUc ministry. Itis a noble triumph of godliness when age is redolent with piety and retains theearnestness and diligence of youth. We may be also assured his words were suitedto the success of his ministry. Of those whom he addressed it might be presumedthere were many whom he might regard as " his children " in the highest and bestsense. He was their spiritual father. In this there is an example to all whowould be the teachers of others, whether pastors or parents, or any who would betheir " helpers in Christ Jesus." Their spirit should be affectionate, "speakingthe truth in love," ever " in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves."And their object should be the conversion of souls. II. The design of hisWRITIGS. " These things write I unto you that ye sin not." His reference ismanifestly to what he had written in the preceding chapter. And it is onlynecessary to look back on what he had written and see how fitted it was to dis-courage sin. Either the doctrine of the apostle or the practice of sin must beabandoned. They are wholly incompatible with one another. In this view he isnot singular. Everywhere in the Divine Word the gospel of Christ is represented tobe " a doctrine which is according to godliness." III. The words of warning. " If any man sin," implying that, notwithstanding all he had said, " any man " mightsin. The man in the apostle's view is the believing man. He may sin. Alas ! no

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