1 John 2:28
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
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1 John 2:28-29. And now, little — Or rather, beloved, children, (for, having finished his address to each, he now returns to all in general,) abide in him — Maintain your union with and interest in him, by living a life of faith, love, and new obedience; of prayer, watchfulness, and self-denial; that when he shall appear — As he assuredly will, in his own glory and in that of his Father, with all his holy angels; we may have confidence, (a modest expression,) and not be ashamed before him at his coming — And put to confusion. O how will you, ye Jews, Deists, and nominal Christians, and especially ye apostates from the faith, and all who, having begun in the Spirit, end in the flesh, be ashamed before him in that day! But how certainly may all, who approve their fidelity to him, expect from his mercy and love a gracious reception, and an abundant reward! If ye know — That is, as certainly as you know; that he is righteous, so surely ye know also that every one — And none else; that doeth — That practiseth; righteousness — From a believing, loving heart; is born of him — Is regenerated and made a new creature by the power of God’s Spirit, (John 1:13,) and so is made like him by partaking of the divine nature, 2 Peter 1:4. For all his children are like himself.

2:24-29 The truth of Christ, abiding in us, is a means to sever from sin, and unites us to the Son of God, Joh 15:3,4. What value should we put upon gospel truth! Thereby the promise of eternal life is made sure. The promise God makes, is suitable to his own greatness, power, and goodness; it is eternal life. The Spirit of truth will not lie; and he teaches all things in the present dispensation, all things necessary to our knowledge of God in Christ, and their glory in the gospel. The apostle repeats the kind words, little children; which denotes his affection. He would persuade by love. Gospel privileges oblige to gospel duties; and those anointed by the Lord Jesus abide with him. The new spiritual nature is from the Lord Christ. He that is constant to the practice of religion in trying times, shows that he is born from above, from the Lord Christ. Then, let us beware of holding the truth in unrighteousness, remembering that those only are born of God, who bear his holy image, and walk in his most righteous ways.And now, little children - See the notes at 1 John 2:1.

Abide in him; that, when he shall appear - In the end of the world, to receive his people to himself. See the notes at John 14:2-3.

We may have confidence - Greek, boldness - παῤῥησίαν parrēsian. This word is commonly used to denote openness, plainness, or boldness in speaking, Mark 8:32; John 7:4, John 7:13, John 7:26; Acts 2:29; Acts 4:13, Acts 4:29; 2 Corinthians 3:12; 2 Corinthians 7:4. Here it means the kind of boldness, or calm assurance, which arises from evidence of piety, and of preparation for heaven. It means that they would not be overwhelmed and confounded at the coming of the Saviour, by its being then found that all their hopes were fallacious.

And not be ashamed before him at his coming - By having all our hopes taken away; by being held up to the universe as guilty and condemned. We feel ashamed when our hopes are disappointed; when it is shown that we have a character different from what we professed to have; when our pretensions to goodness are stripped off, and the heart is made bare. Many will thus be ashamed in the last day, Matthew 7:21-23; but it is one of the promises made to those who truly believe on the Saviour, that they shall never be ashamed or confounded. See the notes at 1 Peter 2:6. Compare Isaiah 45:17; Romans 5:5; 1 Peter 4:16; Mark 8:38.

28. little children—Greek, "little sons," as in 1Jo 2:12; believers of every stage and age.

abide in him—Christ. John repeats his monition with a loving appellation, as a father addressing dear children.

when—literally, "if"; the uncertainty is not as to the fact, but the time.

appear—Greek, "be manifested."

we—both writer and readers.

ashamed before him—literally, "from Him"; shrink back from Him ashamed. Contrast "boldness in the day of judgment," 1Jo 4:17; compare 1Jo 3:21; 5:14. In the Apocalypse (written, therefore, Bengel thinks, subsequently), Christ's coming is represented as put off to a greater distance.

He condescendingly includes himself with them, that we may have confidence; intimating, for their encouragement, the common mutual joy they should have together at Christ’s appearance; he, that he had not been wanting in his endeavours that they might persevere; and they, that they had persevered; which is implied in the menace of the contrary, upon the contrary supposition.

And now, little children, abide in him,.... The apostle having finished his separate instructions exhortations to the fathers, young men and children, returns to the whole body of the saints in general, whom he addresses, as in 1Jo_2:1; under the name of little children; See Gill on 1 John 2:1; and whom he exhorts to abide in Christ, that is, in the exercise of faith on him, of hope in him, and love to him; and to hold to him the head, and to hold fast his word and Gospel, and abide by his truth and ordinances, and adhere to his cause and interest, and not to be moved away on any consideration; to which the following encouragement is given:

that when he shall appear; that is, Christ, who is now hid, and out of the sight of bodily eyes, is in heaven, at the right hand of God; but ere long he will appear a second time, and not only to those that look for him, but even every eye shall see him; and his appearance will be a glorious one, and his saints shall appear in glory with him, and shall be like him, and see him as he is:

we may have confidence; boldness or freedom, as now at the throne of grace, so then at the throne of judgment; where the saints will stand with courage and intrepidity, when the wicked will flee to the rocks and mountains, being filled with amazement, terror, and trembling:

and not be ashamed before him at his coming; they will not be put to shame by him; nor will they be ashamed of their confidence, faith, hope, and expectation; their hope will not make them ashamed, for they will now enjoy what they hoped for; and, notwithstanding all their sins and infirmities, they will not be ashamed, for they will have on the wedding garment, the righteousness of Christ, and will stand before the throne without fault, spot, or blemish; nor will Christ be ashamed of them who have not been ashamed of him and his words, but have confessed him, and have been faithful unto death, and have cleaved to him and his cause with full purpose of heart to the end. Some think ministers of the Gospel are here meant, who, when those that are under their care abide faithful, and persevere to the end, will give up their account with joy; and will have what they have expressed confidence in, and will have their expectations answered, and not disappointed, by having such souls as their joy and crown of rejoicing.

{26} And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

(26) The conclusion both of the whole exhortation, and also of the former treatise.

1 John 2:28 concludes the section beginning at 1 John 2:18, but serves at the same time as an introduction to the following section.

καὶ νῦν] cannot, it is true, be explained, with Paulus, by “even now already,” but neither can it be explained, with most of the commentators, exactly by igitur, or a similar word; here it rather introduces, as it frequently does, the following exhortation as a deduction from the present circumstances. Incorrectly Ebrard: “And now (namely, after I have spoken to the παιδίοις) I turn to you” (namely, to the whole Church): a supplement of that kind cannot be justified from the passages quoted by Ebrard; John 17:3; Acts 10:5; Acts 22:16.

τεκνία] as in 1 John 2:1.

μένετε ἐν αὐτῷ] quite the same thought as in 1 John 2:27. Rickli’s view is incorrect, that in 1 John 2:27 it is “the abiding in the confession that Jesus is the Christ, but here another abiding, namely, the abiding in righteousness,” that is meant.

ἵνα ἐὰν φανερῶθῃ] ἐάν is distinguished from ὅταν (Recepta) in this way, that it describes not the time, but only the actuality of the manifestation of Christ. The φανέρωσις of Christ is His Parousia occurring at the end of the ἐσχάτη ὥρα; comp. Colossians 3:4. By the same word the first appearance of Christ on earth is also elsewhere described; see chap. 1 John 3:5; 1 John 3:8. ἔχωμεν (σχῶμεν) παῤῥησίαν] The communicative form of expression indicates that John tacitly includes himself also under the exhortation: μένετε ἐν αὐτῷ.[184]

: the confidence of the believer at the day of judgment; chap. 1 John 4:17.

ΚΑῚ ΜῊ ΑἸΣΧΥΝΘῶΜΕΝ ἈΠʼ ΑὐΤΟῦ] Elsewhere also ΠΑῤῬΗΣΊΑ and ΑἸΣΧΎΝΕΣΘΑΙ are contrasted with one another; so Proverbs 13:5 : ἈΣΕΒῊς ΑἸΣΧΎΝΕΤΑΙ ΚΑῚ ΟὐΧ ἝΞΕΙ ΠΑῤῬΗΣΊΑΝ; comp. also Php 1:20. ΑἸΣΧΥΝΘῶΜΕΝ is either used in the passive sense, in which case the original meaning “to be shamed” passes over into this, “to be put to shame” (see Meyer on Php 1:20); then ἈΠΌ (which is not = ὙΠΌ) describes Christ as the one from whom this ΑἸΣΧΎΝΕΣΘΑΙ comes, namely, by means of His judgment of condemnation; or it is used in the middle sense: “to be ashamed,” in which case ἀπό is not = coram (Luther, Ewald), but = “away from,” thus: “to draw back from Him with shame;” so Calvin, Beza, Episcopius, de Wette, Lücke (who adduces Sir 21:22 : ἄνθρωπος δὲ πολύπειρος αἰσχυνθήσεται ἀπὸ προσώπου), Düsterdieck, Ebrard.[185] The second view deserves the preference, on account of the corresponding contrast with ἔχειν παῤῥησίαν.

ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ] expresses definitely the reference already implied in φανερωθῇ: “at His (Christ’s) coming;” παρουσία, in John only here, frequently appears in this sense in the N. T.; comp. Matthew 24:3; Matthew 27:37; Matthew 27:39; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19, and elsewhere.

[184] Sander introduces here a foreign reference, when he thinks that John includes himself as if he would also have to be ashamed if on that day his children, whom he begot through the gospel, should come short. Similarly a Lapide: ne pudefiamus utrique, sc. tam vos, si a doctrina Christi aberretis, quam nos Apostoli et Pastores, quod vos in ea non conservaverimus. Lorinus: conjungit seipsum discipulis, spe de illorum gloria adgaudens.

[185] Braune thinks that the passive meaning is to be retained: “For we shall not draw back and tremble, but we shall be rejected and cast out;” but the meaning above stated, and accepted also by Braune, does not suit the passive idea; besides, the correspondence with the idea ἔχειν παῤῥησίαν demands the middle signification of the word.

1 John 2:28. καὶ νῦν, continuing and reinforcing the exhortation, ἐὰν φανερωθῇ: the uncertainty is not in the manifestation but in the time of it, and this is the reason for steadfast abiding in Him. Cf. unwritten saying of Jesus: ἐφʼ οἷς γὰρ ἂν εὕρω ὑμᾶς, φησὶν, ἐπὶ τούτοις καὶ κρινῶ. σχῶμεν, aor. marking the suddenness of the crisis. παρρησία, properly “freedom of speech” (cf. Mark 8:2; John 7:13; John 16:29; John 18:20; Acts 2:29; Acts 4:29; Acts 4:31; Acts 28:31); then “confidence,” “boldness,” especially before God (cf. Hebrews 4:16; 1 John 3:21; 1 John 4:17; 1 John 5:14), the attitude of children to their father in contrast with that of slaves to their master (cf. Sen. Ep. xlvii.: “Infelicibus servis movere labra ne in hoc quidem ut loquantur licet. Virga murmur omne compescitur: … nocte tota jejuni mutique perstant”). καὶ μὴ αἰσχυνθῶμεν, in contrast to σχῶμεν παρρησίαν. παρουσία, frequent in N.T. but only here in the Johannine writings. Not simply “presence” but “arrival,” “advent” (adventus); cf. Luke 13:1 : παρῆσαν, Matthew 11:5, John 11:28.

28. And now] Introducing the practical conclusion: comp. John 17:5, where Jesus, ‘having accomplished the work given Him to do’, prays, ‘And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me’. So also in Acts 7:34; Acts 10:5. See on 2 John 1:5. Haupt thinks that ‘And now’ introduces the new division of the Epistle, which almost all agree begins near this point. The truth seems to be that these two verses (28, 29) are at once the conclusion of one division and the beginning of another.

little children] Recalling the beginning of this section, 1 John 2:18 : it is the same word (τέκνια) as is used in 1 John 2:1; 1 John 2:12, and means all S. John’s readers.

that, when he shall appear] Better, as R.V., that. if He shall be manifested. The ‘when’ (ὅταν) of A.V. (KL) must certainly give place to ‘if’ (ἐάν), which is more difficult and has overwhelming support (אABC). ‘If’ seems to imply a doubt as to Christ’s return, and the change to ‘when’ has probably been made to avoid this. But ‘if’ implies no doubt as to the fact, it merely implies indifference as to the time: ‘if He should return in our day’ (see on John 6:62; John 12:32; John 14:3). Be manifested is greatly superior to ‘appear’ (as Augustine’s manifestatus fuerit is superior to the Vulgate’s apparuerit) because (1) the Greek verb is passive; (2) it is a favourite word (φανεροῦν) with S. John and should be translated uniformly in order to mark this fact (1 John 1:2, 1 John 2:19, 1 John 3:2; 1 John 3:5; 1 John 3:8, 1 John 4:9; Revelation 3:18; Revelation 15:4; John 1:31; John 3:21, &c. &c). As applied to Christ it is used of His being manifested in His Incarnation (1 John 1:2, 1 John 3:5; 1 John 3:8), in His words and works (John 2:11; John 17:6), in His appearances after the Resurrection (John 21:1; John 21:14), in His return to judgment (here and 1 John 3:2). S. John alone uses the word in this last sense, for which other N.T. writers have ‘to be revealed’ (ἀποκαλύπτεσθαι), a verb never used by S. John excepting once (John 12:38) in a quotation from O.T. (Isaiah 63:1), where he is under the influence of the LXX.

we may have confidence] The R. V. has we may have boldness. At first sight this looks like one of those small changes which have been somewhat hastily condemned as ‘vexatious, teasing, and irritating’. The A. V. wavers between ‘boldness’ (1 John 4:17; Acts 4:13; Acts 4:29; Acts 4:31, &c.) and ‘confidence’, with occasionally ‘boldly’ (Hebrews 4:16) instead of ‘with boldness’. The R. V. consistently has ‘boldness’ in all these places. The Greek word (παῤῥησία) means literally ‘freedom in speaking, readiness to say anything, frankness, intrepidity’. In this Epistle and that to the Hebrews it means especially the fearless trust with which the faithful soul meets God: 1 John 3:21, 1 John 4:17, 1 John 5:14. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:19.

not be ashamed before him] This cannot well be improved, but it is very inadequate: the Greek is ‘be ashamed from Him’, or ‘be shamed away from Him’; strikingly indicating the averted face and shrinking form which are the results of the shame. ‘Turn with shame’ or ‘shrink with shame from Him’ have been suggested as renderings. Similarly, in Matthew 10:28, ‘Be not afraid of them is literally ‘Do not shrink away in text from them’. The interpretation ‘receive shame from Him’ is probably not right. Comp. the LXX. of Isaiah 1:29; Jeremiah 2:36; Jeremiah 12:13.

at his coming] The Greek word (παρουσία = presence) occurs nowhere else in S. John’s writings. In N. T. it amounts almost to a technical term to express Christ’s return to judgment (Matthew 24:3; Matthew 24:27; Matthew 24:37; Matthew 24:39; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; James 5:7-8; 2 Peter 1:16, &c). S. John uses it, as he uses ‘the Word’ and ‘the evil one’, without explanation, confident that his readers understand it. This is one of many small indications that he writes to well-instructed believers, not to children or the recently converted.

S. John’s divisions are seldom made with a broad line across the text (see on 1 John 3:10; 1 John 3:24). The parts dovetail into one another and intermingle in a way that at times looks like confusion. Wherever we may place the dividing line we find similar thoughts on each side of it. Such is the case here. If we place the line between 1 John 2:27-28 we have the idea of abiding in Christ (1 John 2:24; 1 John 2:27-28) on both sides of it. If we place it between 1 John 2:28-29, we have the idea of Divine righteousness and holiness (1 John 1:9, 1 John 2:1; 1 John 2:12; 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:29) prominent in both divisions. If we make the division coincide with the chapters, we have the leading ideas of boldness towards Christ and God (1 John 2:28, 1 John 3:2; 1 John 3:21, 1 John 4:17, 1 John 5:14), of Christ’s return to judgment (1 John 2:28, 1 John 3:2, 1 John 4:17), of doing righteousness (1 John 2:29, 1 John 3:7-10), and of Divine sonship (1 John 2:29, 1 John 3:1-2, &c.), on both sides of the division. It seems quite clear therefore that both these verses (28, 29) belong to both portions of the Epistle, and that 1 John 2:29 at any rate is more closely connected with what follows than with what precedes.

1 John 2:28. Τεκνία,[7] dear sons) Having now finished his address to the three different ages, he returns to the whole.—μένετε, abide)—ἐν αὐτῷ, in Him) in Jesus Christ. For it is He who shall be manifested.—παῤῥησίαν) confidence, of having kept the truth (ch. 1 John 3:21, 1 John 4:17, 1 John 5:14).—μὴ αἰσχυνθῶμεν, we may not be ashamed) Oh! how great will then be your shame, ye Jews, Socinians, and all pretended Christians, and whomsoever He shall deny to be His!—παρουσίᾳ, at His coming) He places this object before the fathers, the young men, and children. It appears, therefore, that he wrote this Epistle before the Apocalypse, in which at length His coming is represented as put off to a greater distance. Tertullian supposes that the Epistle was subsequently written.

[7] The word μου, which was set down by the margin of both Editions among the readings not to be approved of, by some chance or other has crept into the Germ. Vers.—E. B.

Verse 28. - And now, summing up the whole section (verses 18-28). "If he shall be manifested" expresses no uncertainty as to the fact of Christ's appearing; the uncertainty is in the time (comp. 1 John 3:2; John 6:62; John 12:32; John 14:3). In all these cases the point is the result of the act, not the time of it. The graphic αἰσχυνθῶμεν ἀπ αὐτοῦ expresses the shrinking away in shame from his presence. The παρουσία (see on 2 Thessalonians 2:8) is introduced without explanation as a well-known belief. 1 John 2:28When He shall appear (ὅταν φανερωθῇ)

The best texts read ἐὰν if, for when. So Rev., which gives also the proper passive force of φανερωθῇ, if He shall be manifested. Not expressing a doubt of the fact, but uncertainty as to the circumstances. On φανερόω to make manifest, see on John 21:1. John never uses ἀποκαλύπτω to reveal, of the revelation of Christ. Indeed, neither the verb nor the kindred noun, ἀποκάλυψις, occurs in his writings except in John 12:38, which is a citation from Isaiah, and in Revelation 1:1.

We may have

Thus identifying himself with his children in the faith. Teacher and pupil must alike abide in Him.

We may have confidence (σχῶμεν παῤῥησίαν)

Rev., boldness. For the phrase have boldness, see 1 John 3:21; 1 John 4:17; 1 John 5:14; Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 10:19; Plm 1:8. For the word παῤῥησία boldness, see on John 7:13; see on Acts 2:29. It is opposed, as here, to αἰσχύνομαι to be ashamed, in Proverbs 13:5, where the Septuagint reads "a wicked man is ashamed (αἰσχύνεται) and shall not have boldness (παῤῥησίαν). Also in Philippians 1:20. Compare 2 Corinthians 3:12. The idea of free, open speech lies at the bottom of the word: coming before God's bar with nothing to conceal. The thought is embodied in the general confession of the Book of Common Prayer: "That we should not dissemble nor cloke them before the face of Almighty God our Heavenly Father, but confess them." So John Wesley's Hymn:

"Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress:

'Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in Thy great day,

For who aught to my charge shall lay?

Fully absolved through these I am, -

From sin and fear, from guilt and shame."


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