Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Dec 1 2013 - 1 John 2:1-17 – Walk as Jesus walked

Jesus calls us to follow him; to walk in his steps; to live a life that reflects the life that has appeared in him. The proof of our discipleship is our imitation of the Master. In particular we are to love one another; to love each other as Christ has loved us.

This is a big ask and John knows that we will frequently fail to live up to our calling. John is honest about the imperfect nature of our present discipleship. We are called to live Christ-like lives – to live without sin; to live a life of love – but we do sin and will continue to sin. John tells us in the passage we read yesterday, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:8-9). In today's passage John provides us with further assurance, "If anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" (2:1-2). Jesus died for us that our sins might be forgiven. Now he lives for us as our advocate with the Father, ensuring our continued acceptance with him even though we fall short of all that we should be.

But we should never become habituated to sin; never fall into excusing sin or resigning ourselves to its inevitability. God's purpose remains that we should not sin; that we should walk as Jesus walked.

The love which God has shown us in Christ and which he has poured out into our lives (2:5) is to be poured out again in love for others; we are to love one another as Jesus has loved us (2:9-11). We are to encourage and help one another in the great business of following Jesus. Older Christians are to encourage younger Christians from their long experience of knowing God and walking with Christ. Younger Christians are to encourage older Christians with their energy and enthusiastic love for Jesus that enables them to overcome the evil one. All are to encourage one another in the knowledge that our sins are forgiven and that we are much loved children of God with nothing to prove either to each other or to God. (See 2:12-14.)

And we are to encourage one another in resisting the attractions of this present age with all its dazzling but hollow and fading allurements. The love of God is to fill our lives and leave no room for any conflicting loves – it’s as if it reserves all the space for the things he loves. We are to set our hearts upon the solid joys and lasting treasures that are ours in the Lord Jesus Christ (2:15-17).

But we are not to keep ourselves secluded from the world. John reminds us that Jesus gave himself not only to save us from our sin but also to save the whole world (2:2). God’s love embraces all that he has made; he loved this world so much that he sent his Son into the world to rescue it from disaster. Walking closely with the Lord Jesus demands that we love the world as he loved it and still loves it. We are to show the world the love of God in the prayerful hope that others may also be drawn to trust in the Lord Jesus and follow him.

Father God, we thank you for your great love for us shown to us in the Lord Jesus. Help us by your Spirit to love as you have loved and to walk as Jesus walked. May the world see something of Jesus in us and be drawn to him.

Peter Misselbrook