Welcome back to the Hope Bible School verse-by-verse Bible study of 1 John. Get a new lesson every other week on Monday at 12:00 PM Eastern.
We are now on Lesson 20 and we are going to study 1 John 2:1.
We learned that when we say we have not broken any of God’s commands we are making God out to be a liar, we are rejecting His word, we are not in fellowship with God, and His word does not live inside of us.
In Lesson 20 we’re going to learn how to treat younger people in faith, what our goal should be as a Christian, and that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, is our advocate.
Let’s read our verse. 1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate before the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
Let's focus on the first part of the verse, “My little children.”
“Little children” is the diminutive of child, an infant, or darlings. This is an affectionate way to refer to children.
John uses the term little children a number of times throughout 1 John.
He was writing to children of God that are much younger than him.
John is older and wiser than his readers. He is speaking with deep affection, like a loving grandfather speaks to his grandkids.
Look to John as an example of how to treat those younger in the faith.
However, here’s the challenge: as you get older, you could begin to struggle with the values and behaviors of people younger than yourself.
You may even get irritated with them and as a result, keep your distance from them.
Instead of separating yourself, reach out to those that are younger in the faith, help them to grow in Christ, and affectionately share what God has done your life and is doing in your life.
Teach them how to be obedient to God's commands just like John is doing with you.
The Bible teaches us that we are to help the next generation understand and connect with God.
In Psalm 71:18 we read about the desire of the Psalmist to declare God's power to the next generation.
Psalm 71:18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, until I proclaim Your power to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come.
In Psalm 34:11 we read about the Psalmist calling young people to learn about the fear of the LORD. The fear of the LORD means to have a deep reverence and respect for the LORD. It means to take what He says seriously.
Psalm 34:11 Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
There are many ways that you can help the next generation obey and reverence the Lord.
Pray. Regularly pray for the children’s ministry, youth ministry, young adult ministry, and college ministry at your Church.
Serve. Find ways to get involved with these ministries. When you serve, you will get many opportunities to connect with people younger than yourself.
Mentor. Provide guidance, support, and encouragement to help the next generation grow in their faith.
Now, let’s focus on the next part of the verse: “I am writing these things so that you will not sin.”
In 1 John 1:9 we learned that if you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
This verse doesn't give you a license to continue sinning. John makes that clear by stating his goal for writing this letter is that you will not sin.
John doesn't want us to sin, because sin is what prevents us from fellowshipping with God and with other believers.
We learned in Lesson 14 that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. God loves you and wants to fellowship with you. When you are sinning or walking in the darkness, you cannot be in fellowship with God.
The Bible teaches us that we are to turn from sin and to not let sin control us.
In Titus 2:11-12 we read that we are to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions. Renounce means to decisively turn away from or reject.
Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to everyone. 12 It instructs us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live sensible, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 as we await the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
In Romans 6:12-14 we read that we are not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies. In other words, we are not to let sin take control over us.
Romans 6:12-14 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires. 13 Do not present the parts of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and present the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Make it your goal to not sin.
Now let’s focus on, “But if anyone does sin.”
Even though God has given us the standard of perfection, John acknowledges the possibility that children of God can still sin even after they come to faith in Christ.
In Romans 3:23 we read that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.
John is not condoning sin, but rather emphasizing the need for forgiveness and restoration that can only come through Jesus.
Now let’s focus on the next part of the verse, “we have an advocate before the Father -- Jesus Christ.”
The word “advocate” means someone who is called alongside to assist, support, counsel, mediate, and intercede on behalf of another.
As believers, we have broken God's law and we need an advocate.
Jesus Christ is our advocate. He is our legal counsel and mediator. He defends us, represents us, and presents our case before the Father.
In Romans 8:34 we read that Jesus is at the right hand of God, interceding for us. To intercede means to stand in the gap between us and God.
Romans 8:34 Who is there to condemn us? For Christ Jesus, who died, and more than that was raised to life, is at the right hand of God—and He is interceding for us.
In 1 Timothy 2:5 we read that Jesus bridges the gap between us and God and makes it possible for us to have a relationship with God.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
In Hebrews 7:25 we read that Jesus lives to intercede for us.
Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.
So, when you sin, you can trust that Jesus is advocating on your behalf to the Father.
He is defending you.
Let’s focus on the final part of the verse, “the Righteous one.”
The reason that Jesus can advocate for us, before the Father, is because He is righteous.
To be righteous means that Jesus is entirely without sin, perfectly just, and morally upright.
In 1 John 3:5 we read that in Jesus there is no sin.
1 John 3:5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin.
One of the main benefits of being in the family of God is that Jesus is always pleading our case before God.
The reason Jesus can plead your case is because He died in your place. He paid the penalty for your sin. He fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law.
In 1 Peter 3:18 we read that Jesus, the righteous, died for the unrighteous, so that He could bring you to God.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the spirit.
In conclusion, here’s what we have learned from 1 John 2:1.
Help the next generation grow in their relationship with God.
Don’t give yourself license to sin, just because God will forgive you.
Make it your goal to not sin, so that you can maintain fellowship with God.
Know that Jesus is your advocate, when you do sin.
Understand that Jesus can be your advocate, because He is righteous and died in your place.
Let’s read today’s verse one more time.
1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate before the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
If you have any prayer requests, please share them in the comments.
If you’ve been blessed by Hope Bible School, please share it with others.
Thank you and God bless you,
Jeff M Newman
(Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash. Eng Alm, Austria. Berean Study Bible version.)