Warning and Encouragement
1 John 2:1-6
My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father…

I. THE SPIRIT OF THE APOSTLE'S ADDRESS. "My little children." Such words are felt to be peculiarly appropriate in him. They are suited to his character. He was gentle and loving. They are suited also to his age. He lived to be the oldest of all his companions in the apostolic ministry. It is a noble triumph of godliness when age is redolent with piety and retains the earnestness and diligence of youth. We may be also assured his words were suited to the success of his ministry. Of those whom he addressed it might be presumed there were many whom he might regard as "his children" in the highest and best sense. He was their spiritual father. In this there is an example to all who would be the teachers of others, whether pastors or parents, or any who would be their "helpers in Christ Jesus." Their spirit should be affectionate, "speaking the truth in love," ever "in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves." And their object should be the conversion of souls.

II. THE DESIGN OF HIS WRITINGS. "These things write I unto you that ye sin not." His reference is manifestly to what he had written in the preceding chapter. And it is only necessary to look back on what he had written and see how fitted it was to discourage sin. Either the doctrine of the apostle or the practice of sin must be abandoned. They are wholly incompatible with one another. In this view he is not singular. Everywhere in the Divine Word the gospel of Christ is represented to be "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" might sin. The man in the apostle's view is the believing man. He may sin. Alas! no proof is necessary. One source is the remaining sinfulness of his nature. There is no doubt, also, that this tendency to sin in the believer is mightily strengthened by the temptation of the wicked one. His enmity is specially directed against the godly. Nor must we omit to notice the extreme danger to which the believer is exposed from the world. Its pleasures and honours and riches are dangerous in the extreme. In harmony with these views the Divine life is described in the Scriptures as a constant warfare. It need scarcely be said how necessary it is to be vigilant in maintaining it. Great interests are at stake. The law is that as sin enters peace departs. The credit of religion, too, is bound up in the fidelity of those who profess it. Above all, the honour of Christ is concerned. He is calumniated as the "minister of sin" when those who bear His name dishonour Him.

IV. THE DUTY AND REFUGE OF THOSE WHO ARE OVERCOME BY TEMPTATION AND BETRAYED INTO SIN. "If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Such is the believer's privilege, but let us not overlook the duty involved in it. We must bring our cause to our great Advocate and commit it to His hands.

V. THE ENCOURAGEMENT HELD OUT TO US TO MAKE OUR SUIT TO OUR GREAT ADVOCATE. "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

(James Morgan, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

WEB: My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.

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