1 John 2:28-29, “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.”
That leads us to John’s closing remarks in this chapter. Again, he addresses all as little children as recognition of his love for all who listen to his words. He is not referring now to just the designation of children as babes in Christ, but rather to everyone as an endearment reminiscent of family. Remember, there is a reason John was called the Apostle of love! All his writings and teachings are themed around that Godly principle! He reminds us again of the power of abiding in Christ Jesus, but he also adds this word; if you abide in Christ, then they, the Apostles and disciples who have taught the truth will have confidence and not be ashamed of the Lord’s coming.
The word WE, that John uses is referring to those who are doing all to impart knowledge and wisdom and truth to others. This should stand as a great lesson, but also a warning to all who endeavor to teach or preach the Word of God! If people who listen AND abide in Christ, then those teachers will have confidence of not being ashamed. It would stand to reason also, that those then who DO abide in the truth, will also have confidence and not be ashamed of the Lord’s coming! What a great promise to look forward too! When we do stand before our Lord and Savior, we will not have to feel ashamed, because we have known Him intimately already! What an awesome thought. It will be the difference between standing before Him and hearing Him say depart from Me for I knew you not, or well done thou good and faithful servant! (Matthew 25:14-30). You can see the importance of developing that intimate relationship with our Lord in the here and now!
Think of it; to be able to stand before Him without shame, having the full confidence and knowledge that He can and will put His arms around us with love and compassion for a job well done!! How deeply sad for those that do not take this message to heart, for those that do not see the importance of stepping beyond mere believing into the realm of knowing!!
John closes with the statement that if you “KNOW that He,” meaning Jesus, is righteous then you can tell who abides in Him because they themselves will display righteousness. Again, think about this; we know that in the natural realm, like behavior (for the most part) begets like behavior. A child grows up around an undisciplined parent and in most cases that child grows up to be undisciplined. So it is in the spiritual; God is a righteous God! Those that are abiding in Him and the Son, will beget righteousness. Think again about Jesus parable of the Vine and the branches; “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:4-5.
This is the Apostles closing point; if Christ Jesus is righteous as His Father, God Almighty is righteous and we abide in Him we WILL be righteous. There is no doubt, conveyed in John’s statement!
This brings me to a point I have reiterated again and again in my teaching and it deals with judgment or “judging” others. Many, many well-meaning Christians, if I were to talk with them and tell them this, outside the context of this scripture, they would accuse me of judging another! But look again at the first two verses in Matthew 7:1-2, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” This type of judgment is speaking of two things, condemnation or sentencing and that to a BROTHER (or sister as the case may be). We don’t have the right to condemn or sentence (as to death) one another according to Matthew. A non-believer would look at this Scripture and the one in 1 John and say, see, the scriptures contradict themselves!
But not so in either case! The scriptures are full of examples of how we must be aware of falsehoods, the enemy coming in disguise as a wolf in sheep’s clothing or as an angel of light, false prophets and false teaching and teachers! John writes later on in 1 John that we must test the spirits to see from whence they come! (1 John 4:1). We cannot see a person’s future, a brother or sisters especially, but also strangers for we do not know what plans the Heavenly Father has for the unsaved to be saved. Only the Father can and will judge either unto life eternal or eternal condemnation!
John on the other hand is talking about telling the difference between someone who is not what they seem as opposed to them that walk in the Truth! Don’t just stop at the first few verses in Matthew 7, but look also what Jesus tells us we must do further on in verses 15-27! We have to have that knowledge, to protect ourselves from the enemy’s lies and to also protect those that the Lord has given us charge over. We need to be vigilant, we need to be wary, and we need to be as the watchmen of old! We do that if we know and not just believe Jesus is righteous and by observing the righteousness of others. That is how we know the truth of who they are in Christ! That is a spiritual gift the Lord has promised to all believers and you’ve heard the term before, that’s discernment! It is what we have been discussing in the previous verses of this chapter and as a child of the King, we have this gift. This is why we HAVE to rightly divide the Word of God, we HAVE to take what is written in the context of what and how it was written, only then can you discern when someone is TWISTING the Word to fit their needs and motives! (2 Timothy 2:15).
One last thing; notice how John talks about those that practice righteousness. Do not overlook that word practice. Jesus IS righteous, but we have to practice righteousness. Don’t forget that. We are on a journey or in a race as Paul describes it and that race is not done until He (Christ Jesus) which is perfect comes to get us and take us home! Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
So, be encouraged, be strengthened, be confident and be at peace, for we have the precious promise of eternal life and the anointing within us that allows us the knowledge of the Truth as long as we continue to ABIDE in Him and He in us!