1 John 2:28-29

 |  April 17, 2017

1 John 2:28–29 is a hinge paragraph in the letter.[1]That verse 28 is the beginning of a new paragraph is confirmed by Grace Sherman and John Tuggy, A Semantic and Structural Analysis of the Johannine Epistles (Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1994), pp. 53, 54, and Martin Culy, I, II, III John: a Handbook on the Greek Text (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2004), p. 61. Hence I have chosen to present two sermons rather than one on the short paragraphs 2:26–27 and 2:28–29. This passage serves as a transition to close out the previous paragraph with its focus on abiding (note the word “abide” occurs eleven times in 1 John 2) and introduce a new section in the letter focusing on sonship via the new birth. The word “born” has not been used before this point in the letter, but will now occur ten times from this point forward. The expression of salvation as the “new birth” is a prominent Johannine concept (John 1:12–13; 3:1–16).

John repeats the exhortation from the previous two verses to abide in Christ,[2]Yarbrough is correct that the repetition of this imperative “to abide” likely suggests that we are at the “rhetorical center” of this section. 1–3 John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), p. 169. but this time he adds a new motivation for doing so: confidence when Jesus returns to the earth a second time.

In this passage, John gives us an incentive to abide in Christ.

The incentive we are given for the command to “abide” in Christ is the second coming of Jesus (v. 28).

There are two words in verse 28, antonyms in fact, that describe possible attitudes we Christians may have at the second coming of Jesus. Notice the words “confidence” and “shrink from him.”

If John gives us the incentive for living rightly as Jesus’ second coming in verse 28, then in verse 29 he gives us the grounds for living rightly: the new birth. The sermon structure would look something like this:

I. Confidence at Christ’s Second Coming is our incentive to abide in Christ – (v. 28).

A. Right Living Evidences the New Birth and is the ground of our confidence – (v. 29).

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