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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 John 2:29

 

 

If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

Adam Clarke Commentary

If ye know that he is righteous - That God is a holy God, ye know also, that every one who doeth righteousness - who lives a holy life, following the commandments of God, is born of him, Begotten of him - is made a partaker of the Divine nature, without which he could neither have a holy heart, nor live a holy life.

This verse properly belongs to the following chapter, and should not be separated from it. The subject is the same, and does not stand in any strict relation to that with which the 28th verse concludes.

The titles bestowed on Christians in the New Testament have been misunderstood by many. What belongs, strictly speaking, to the Pure and Holy, is often applied to those who, though bound by their Profession to be such, were very far from it. This has been strongly denied by writers who should have known better. Dr. Taylor has handled this point well in his Key to the Apostolic Writings, from which I have given a copious extract in my preface to the Epistle to the Romans, from the conviction that the subject had been most dangerously misapprehended; and that several of the worst heresies which disgrace religion had sprung from this misapprehension. With some, Dr. Taylor's being an Arian was sufficient to invalidate any testimony he might offer; but it is no discovery of Dr. Taylor; it is what every attentive, unprejudiced reader finds on reading the Old Testament in connection with the New. Perhaps the testimony of a judicious Calvinist may be better received, not that this truth needs the testimony of either, because it everywhere speaks for itself, but because those who have too little grace, sense, and candour to search for themselves, may be pleased that Dr. Macknight saves them the trouble.

After having remarked that the words born of him, εξ αυτου γεγεννηται, should be translated hath been Begotten of him, which is the literal signification of the word, from γενναω, genero, gigno, I beget, (Born of God being nowhere found in the Scripture), he goes on to say: -

"To understand the import of the high titles which in the New Testament are given to the disciples of Christ, viz.: the begotten of God, as here; children of God, as in the next chapter; heirs of God, Romans 8:17; elect of God - adopted of God - saints - a royal priesthood - a holy nation - a peculiar people, 1 Peter 2:9; the following observations may be of use.

    "
  1. These high titles were anciently given to the Israelites as a nation, because they were separated from mankind to be God's visible Church, for the purpose of preserving the knowledge and worship of him in the world, as the only true God.
"This appears from God's own words, Exodus 19:3-6, etc.: Tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. Deuteronomy 14:1-2, etc.: Ye are the children of the Lord your God - for thou art a holy people to the Lord thy God. In particular, the title of God's Son, even his first-born, was given to the whole Israelitish nation by God himself, Exodus 4:22, chiefly because they were the descendants of Isaac, who was supernaturally begotten by Abraham, through the power which accompanied the promise, Genesis 18:10; : Lo, Sarah shall have a son. So St. Paul informs us, Romans 9:7; : Neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; (namely of God); but in Isaac shall a seed be to thee - the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of promise are counted for the seed. The apostle's meaning is, that Ishmael and his posterity, whom Abraham procreated by his own natural strength, being children of the flesh, were not children of God; that is, they were not made the visible Church and people of God. But Isaac and his descendants, whom Abraham procreated through the strength which accompanied the promise, being more properly procreated by God than by Abraham, were the children of God, i.e. were made the visible Church and people of God, because, by their supernatural generation and title to inherit Canaan, they were a fit image to represent the catholic invisible Church of God, consisting of believers of all ages and nations, who, being regenerated by the Spirit of God, are the true children of God, and heirs of the heavenly country of which Canaan was a type.

"

  • As the promise, Lo, Sarah shall have a son, which was given to Abraham when he was a hundred years old, and Sarah was ninety, implied that that son was to be supernaturally procreated; so the promise given to Abraham, Genesis 17:5, A father of many nations have I constituted thee, implied that the many nations of believers who, by this promise, were given to Abraham for a seed, were to be generated by the operation of the Spirit of God, producing in them faith and obedience, similar to those for which Abraham was constituted the father of all believers. This higher generation, by which believers have the moral image of God communicated to them, is well described, John 1:12; : As many as received him, to them gave he power to be called the sons of God, even to them who believe on his name; οἱ εγεννηθησαν, who were Begotten, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. That is: Men become the true sons of God, not by their being naturally descended from this or that father, nor by their being called the sons of God by men like themselves, but by God's bestowing on them that high appellation on account of their faith and holiness," (which were produced in them by their regeneration through the Spirit of God.)
  • "
  • If the Israelites, of whom the ancient visible Church and people of God were composed, were all called the sons of God because Isaac, from whom they were descended, was supernaturally begotten by the power of God; certainly the believers of all ages and nations, of whom the visible Church is composed, may with much greater propriety be called the sons of God, since they are begotten of God, and possess his moral nature.
  • "
  • Thus it appears that the high titles above mentioned, namely, the sons of God, the children of God, the elect of God, the adoption of sons, the election, saints, holy nation, royal priesthood, peculiar people, were anciently given to the Israelites As a Nation, merely on account of their being the visible Church and people of God, without any regard to the personal character of the individuals of whom that nation was composed. It appears, also, that under the Gospel the same high titles were bestowed on whole Churches, merely on account of their profession of Christianity, without any regard to the personal character of the individuals who composed these Churches. But these high titles, with some others of greater importance, such as the begotten of God, the heirs of God, the adoption, were given in an appropriated sense to individuals likewise, on account of their faith and holiness. When given to whole Churches, these titles imported nothing more than that the society to which they were given was a Church of Christ, (i.e. professed Christianity), and that the individuals of which that society was composed were entitled to all the privileges belonging to the visible Church of God. But when appropriated to individuals, these titles implied that the persons to whom they were given were really partakers of the nature of God; and that they were the objects of his paternal love, and heirs of his glory.
  • "Wherefore, in reading the Scriptures, by attending to the different foundations of these titles, and by considering whether they are applied to Churches or individuals, we shall easily understand their true import. Thus, when St. Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, says, 1 Thessalonians 1:4, Knowing, brethren, beloved of God, your election, he could not mean their election to eternal life, since many of them were living disorderly, 2 Thessalonians 3:11, but their election to be the visible Church of God under the Gospel; whereas, when John, in the verse before us, says, Every one who doeth righteousness hath been begotten of God, by restricting the title to a specific character he teaches us that the persons of whom he speaks are the sons of God in the highest sense, and heirs of eternal glory." How forcible are right words! See also the introduction to the Epistle to the Romans.


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    Bibliography
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-john-2.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    If ye know that he is righteous - This is not said as if there could be any doubt on the subject, but merely to call their attention to it as a well-known truth, and to state what followed from it. Everyone who has any true acquaintance with God, must have the fullest conviction that he is a righteous Being. But, if this be so, John says, then it must follow that only those who are truly righteous can regard themselves as begotten of Him.

    Ye know - Margin, “know ye.” The Greek will bear either construction, and either would make good sense. Assuming that God is righteous, it would be proper to state, as in the text, that it followed from this that they must know that only those who are righteous can be regarded as begotten of Him; or, assuming this to be true, it was proper to exhort them to be righteous, as in the margin. Whichever interpretation is adopted, the great truth is taught, that only those who are truly righteous can regard themselves as the children of God.

    That everyone that doeth righteousness is born of him - Or rather, is begotten of Him; is truly a child of God. This truth is everywhere taught in the Bible, and is worthy of being often repeated. No one who is not, in the proper sense of the term, a righteous man, can have any wellfounded pretensions to being regarded as a child of God. If this be so, then it is not difficult to determine whether we are the children of God.

    (1)if we are unjust, false, dishonest, we cannot be His children.

    (2)if we are indulging in any known sin, we cannot be.

    (3)if we are not truly righteous, all visions and rapture, all zeal and ardor, though in the cause of religion, all that we may pride ourselves on in being fervent in prayer, or eloquent in preaching, is vain.

    (4)if we are righteous, in the true and proper sense, doing that which is right toward God and toward people, to ourselves, to our families, to our neighbors, to the world at large, to the Saviour who died for us, then we are true Christians; and then, no matter how soon he may appear, or how solemn and overwhelming the scenes that shall close the world, we shall not be ashamed or confounded, for we shall hail him as our Saviour, and rejoice that the time has come that we may go and dwell with him forever.


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    Bibliography
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-john-2.html. 1870.

    Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

    If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that everyone also that doeth righteousness is begotten of him.

    He is righteous ... is a clear reference to Jesus Christ whose coming was just mentioned; however, "begotten of him" in the very next clause means "begotten of God." As Smith said, "The abrupt transition evinces St. John's sense of the oneness of the Father and the Son."[62] In this sentence, he used "him" as a reference first to the son and then to the Father. He did a very similar thing in 1 John 2:27 where the indwelling Spirit (the anointing) is said to "teach you all things," whereas, it is clear that the gospel itself was their actual source of teaching. The essential unity of all such elements is the basis for seemingly diverse statements. After all, the word of God is the word of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17); and was it not the Holy Spirit who guided the apostles (including John himself) into all truth? (John 14:16; 16:13). An over-compartmentalizing of such Scriptural teachings as those of this chapter will only frustrate and confuse the student. The great wealth of John's thoughts in this glorious chapter contrasts with the poverty of language itself (not the apostle's lack), which is incapable of any complete revelation to people of the marvelous and glorious nature of the salvation which the eternal Father has made available to people in Jesus Christ our Lord.

    ENDNOTE:

    [62] David Smith, op. cit., p. 182.


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    James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

    Bibliography
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-john-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    If ye know that he is righteous,.... That is, Christ, who is righteous as God in his nature and in his works; and as man in his obedience, life, and conversation; and as Mediator, in faithfully discharging the work he undertook; and is the author of an everlasting righteousness, which is imputed by God, revealed in the Gospel, and received by faith; all which they knew, for this is not said as doubting, but rather as taking it for granted that they did know it; "if", or "seeing ye know", &c. then it follows;

    ye know, or "know ye"; ye may assure yourselves,

    that everyone that doeth righteousness; not merely works of righteousness, especially in order to justify him before God; for such an one is so far from being born of God, or born again, that he is manifestly in a state of nature, and of opposition to, and enmity against God; he is not subject to him, he does not submit to the righteousness of God, but goes about to establish his own and betrays his ignorance and want grace; but it intends such an one who with the heart believes unto righteousness, and lays hold by faith, and lives upon the righteousness of Christ for justification; and who performs, good, works in faith, and from a principle of love, not to obtain a justifying righteousness, but because he is justified by the righteousness of Christ: and: such an one

    is born of him; either of God, or rather, of Christ; being regenerated by his Spirit, having his, grace implanted in him, as appears by his faith in his righteousness and by his works of righteousness, as fruits of faith; and having his image stamped on him, and he himself formed in him, and so made like unto him; by all which it is evident he is one of his spiritual seed and offspring. The Syriac version reads, "is of him"; belongs to him, is one of his; and this makes way for what is said of adoption in the following chapter and which should begin here.


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    Bibliography
    Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-john-2.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    27 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

    (27) A passing over to the treatise following, which tends to the same purpose, but yet is more ample, and handles the same matter in another way, for before he taught us to go from the effects to the cause, and in this that follows, he goes from the causes to the effects. This is the sum of the argument, God is the fountain of all righteousness, and therefore they that give themselves to righteousness, are known to be born of him, because they resemble God the Father.

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    Bibliography
    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-john-2.html. 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    The heading of the second division of the Epistle: “God is righteous; therefore, every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him.” Love is the grand feature and principle of “righteousness” selected for discussion, 1 John 2:29-3:3.

    If ye know … ye know — distinct Greek verbs: “if ye are aware (are in possession of the knowledge) … ye discern or apprehend also that,” etc. Ye are already aware that God (“He” includes both “the Father,” of whom the believer is born (end of this verse, and 1 John 3:1), and “the Son,” 1 John 2:1, 1 John 2:23) is righteous, ye must necessarily, thereby, perceive also the consequence of that truth, namely, “that everyone that doeth righteousness (and he alone; literally, the righteousness such as the righteous God approves) is born of Him.” The righteous produceth the righteous. We are never said to be born again of Christ, but of God, with whom Christ is one. Hollaz in Alford defines the righteousness of God, “It is the divine energy by whose power God wills and does all things which are conformable to His eternal law, prescribes suitable laws to His creatures, fulfils His promises to men, rewards the good, and punishes the ungodly.”

    doeth — “For the graces (virtues) are practical, and have their being in being produced (in being exercised); for when they have ceased to act, or are only about to act, they have not even being” [Oecumenius]. “God is righteous, and therefore the source of righteousness; when then a man doeth righteousness, we know that the source of his righteousness is God, that consequently he has acquired by new birth from God that righteousness which he had not by nature. We argue from his doing righteousness, to his being born of God. The error of Pelagians is to conclude that doing righteousness is a condition of becoming a child of God” [Alford most truly]. Compare Luke 7:47, Luke 7:50: Her much love evinced that her sins were already forgiven; not, were the condition of her sins being forgiven.


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    This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

    Bibliography
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-john-2.html. 1871-8.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    If ye know (εαν ειδητεean eidēte). Third-class condition again with εανean and second perfect active subjunctive of οιδαoida If ye know by intuitive or absolute knowledge that Christ (because of 1 John 2:28) is righteous, then “ye know” or “know ye” (γινωσκετεginōskete either indicative or imperative) by experimental knowledge (so γινωσκωginōskō means in contrast with οιδαoida).

    Is begotten (γεγεννηταιgegennētai). Perfect passive indicative of γενναωgennaō stands begotten, the second birth (regeneration) of John 3:3-8.

    Of him (εχ αυτουex autou). Plainly “of God” in 1 John 2:9 and so apparently here in spite of δικαιοςdikaios referring to Christ. Doing righteousness is proof of the new birth.


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    The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

    Bibliography
    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-john-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    If ye know - ye know ( ἐὰν εἰδῆτε - γινώσκετε )

    If ye know absolutely that He is righteous, ye perceive that every one, etc. See on John 2:24. Ye perceive may be taken as imperative: perceive or know ye.

    Is born of Him ( ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεγέννηται )

    The interpreters differ as to the reference of Him; some referring it to God, and others to Christ. Against the latter is the fact that men are not said to be born of Christ, but of God; and that to be born of God is a characteristic phrase of John, while to be born of Christ is a phrase which occurs nowhere. On the other hand, the undoubted reference to Christ in 1 John 2:28, would seem to demand a similar reference here. Men are said to abide in Christ as well as in God, and to be born of the Spirit. Westcott's remark is pertinent. “When John thinks of God in relation to men, he never thinks of Him apart from Christ (see 1 John 5:20); and again, he never thinks of Christ in His human nature without adding the thought of His divine nature. Thus a rapid transition is possible from the one aspect of the Lord's divine-human person to the other.”

    Righteous ( δίκαιος )

    Used by John both of God and of Christ. Of God, 1 John 1:9; John 17:25; Revelation 16:5; of Christ, 1 John 2:1; 1 John 3:7. Compare Acts 3:14; Acts 7:52; Acts 22:14.

    Is born of Him ( ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεγέννηται )

    Rev., begotten. The first occurrence of the phrase in the Epistle.


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    Bibliography
    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/1-john-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

    Every one — And none else.

    Who practiseth righteousness — From a believing, loving heart.

    Is born of him — For all his children are like himself.


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    Bibliography
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-john-2.html. 1765.

    Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

    29.] If ye know (appeal to their recognition of the divine character as that which he describes it) that He is righteous (of whom is this said? If of Christ, as seems most natural after αὐτοῦ.… αὐτοῦ preceding, we find a difficulty in ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεγέννηται below, seeing that we are never said to be born anew of Christ, but always of God (through Christ), ch. 1 John 3:1; 1 John 3:9; 1 John 4:7; 1 John 5:1; 1 John 5:4; 1 John 5:18 &c. If on the other hand they are said of God, it seems strange that after a change of reference from the preceding αὐτοῦ, another subject should be expressed in ch. 1 John 3:1 by the words ὁ πατήρ. In consequence of these difficulties, some, as Storr, Lücke, al., have referred δίκαιός ἐστιν to Christ, and ἐξ αὐτοῦ to God; which cannot well be. It would be possible, doubtless, to understand the whole of Christ, without change of subject from 1 John 2:28; and to leave the γεγέννηται ἐξ αὐτοῦ as we find it. If it occurs no where else in reference to Christ, there is in it nothing abhorrent from our Christian ideas. And in St. John’s sense of the intimate union between the Father and Son, he who is born of the Father might be said to be born of the Son also. Another reason for this might be the easily occurring reference, in δίκαιός ἐστιν, to ἰησοῦν χριστὸν δίκαιον, 1 John 2:1. This view is taken by Bengel, Corn.-a-lap., Lorinus, al. But after all, the other, which is that of most ancient expositors, of Baumg.-Crus., De Wette, Neander, Düsterdieck, al., must, I apprehend, be adopted. The analogy of the passage, as shewn in ch. 1 John 3:1-2; 1 John 3:9-10, fixes the ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεγέννηται to birth from God: and the absence of a new expressed subject in δίκαιός ἐστιν must be accounted for by remembering that this verse, as ch. 1 John 1:5, is the opening, and general statement, of a new section of the Epistle. And the essential unity of the Father and the Son comes in on this side also: so that the judgment alluded to 1 John 2:28, which shall be executed by the Son, being judgment committed to Him by the Father, brings to mind the justice and righteousness in which that judgment is founded.

    The whole subject of the righteousness of God is fully treated by Düsterd. in his note here. The definition which seems to him to express it most fully, is that of Hollaz, one of the best of the old Lutheran dogmatists (died 1713),—in his Examen theologicum,—“Justitia Dei est attributum divinum ἐνεργητικόν, vi cujus Deus omnia qnæ æternæ suæ legi sunt conformia, vult et agit; creaturis convenientes leges præscribit, promissa facta hominibus implet, bonos remuneratur et impios punit”): ye know (many, as vulg., which Aug(36), Bed(37), and the R.-C. expositors follow, also Luth., Calv., Socin., Episcop., Grot., Carpzov., Lücke, Sander, al., take γινώσκετε as imperative. But the whole tone of the Epistle is against this: which is one not of authoritative revelation of truth, but of inferring ethical truth from previously known theosophic facts. And with such a tone it is much more consonant to say, “If ye know the one, ye know—that knowledge sets forth and assumes—the other:” than to say, “If ye know the one, know the other.” Not to insist, that γινώσκειν is more the apprehension, εἴδητε the possession, of knowledge; if ye are already aware, … ye thereby know …) that also every one who doeth righteousness ( τὴν δικαιοσύνην, the righteousness which is implied in δίκαιος above: if it were not too strong, we might almost say, “that righteousness:” the art. shewing that there is no other. πᾶς, “omnis, et solus,” says Bengel: every one, and no one else. The proposition will bear converting: not logically, but theologically, ποιῶν, for (see Hollaz’s definition above) all righteousness is energetic: it springs out of holiness, truth, love: πρακτικαὶ γὰρ αἱ ἀρεταί, καὶ ἐν τῷ γίνεσθαι ἔχουσι τὸ εἶναι· παυσάμεναι γὰρ ἢ μέλλουσαι οὐδὲ τὸ εἶναι ἔχουσι. Œc. on ch. 1 John 3:3), is born (= hath been begotten) of Him (God: see above: ὁ δίκαιος γὰρ δικαίους γεννᾷ.

    The inference here must be carefully kept to the Apostle’s words and obvious sense. And those require that we should understand it thus: God is righteous. This is our axiom, from which we set out. And if so, then the source of righteousness. When therefore a man doeth righteousness, γινώσκομεν, we apprehend, we collect, from our previous knowledge of these truths, that the source of his righteousness is God: that in consequence he has acquired by new birth from God, that righteousness which he had not by nature. We argue from his ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην to his γεγεννῆσθαι ἐκ θεοῦ. And the right apprehension of this is the more important, because the whole mass of Socinian and Pelagian Commentators have reversed the members of the argument, and made it conclude that ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην is the condition, on our part, of becoming a child of God. So Socinus, Episcopius, Grot., Hammond, Semler, Rosenmüller, al. And the R.-C. expositors, while they avoid this error, making the good works spoken of to be, as Lyra, “opera justitiæ infusæ, quæ datur cum gratia, per quam homo constituitur in quadam participatione supernaturali esse divini,” yet go equally wrong, in understanding γεγέννηται not as the statement of a past and abiding fact, but as the ground of a confidence as to the future: “habebit omnimodam fiduciam, quia judici suo justo similis, imo ex ipso natus est, hoc est, ipsius filius et hæres est.” Corn.-a-lap.).


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    Bibliography
    Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-john-2.html. 1863-1878.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    29.If ye know that he is righteous He again passes on to exhortations, so that he mingles these continually with doctrine throughout the Epistle; but he proves by many arguments that faith is necessarily connected with a holy and pure life. The first argument is, that we are spiritually begotten after the likeness of Christ; it hence follows, that no one is born of Christ but he who lives righteously. It is at the same time uncertain whether he means Christ or God, when he says that they who are born of him do righteousness. It is a mode of speaking certainly used in Scripture, that we are born of God in Christ; but there is nothing inconsistent in the other, that they are born of Christ, who are renewed by his Spirit. (74)


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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-john-2.html. 1840-57.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

    Ver. 29. Is born of him] And exactly resembles him, as a child doth his father. See 1 Peter 1:17. {See Trapp on "Matthew 5:9"}


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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-john-2.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    1 John 2:29. If ye know, &c.— "I have before been discoursing of the Divine holiness and purity: now the consideration of this may enable you to judge, whether you are, or are not, in the happy number of the children of God. For since you know that he is perfectly righteous, you may know that every one who practiseth righteousness, is born of him; as the production of righteousness in the mind argues a Divine agency upon it; therefore he, in whom it is produced, is, by regeneration, a son of God." This verse ought to have been placed at the beginning of chap. 3: as being a most evident introduction to what follows.

    Inferences.—How beautifully harmonious is the tendency and design of the gospel, to caution believers against all sin, and to support them under a humbling sense of their former iniquities, and of their present disallowed infirmities! The propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, and his advocacy founded upon it, are extended to all believing sinners of the Gentiles, as well as of the Jews, through the whole world. But how vainly do any pretend to have a right knowledge of Christ, or true faith in him for their own salvation, if they cast off a conscientious regard to his commandments! They give the lie to their own profession, and to the truth itself, and have no sincere love to him, which would engage them to a holy imitation of him.—The law of love to his people is, for substance, an old commandment; but, for circumstances, suited to the light and grace of the gospel, is a new one; and whatever any one may pretend to, his loving his Christian brother, or not, is one test of his either being truly enlightened, or remaining under the power of darkness. O how happy is their condition, who walk in the light of truth and holiness, whether they be babes, young men or fathers in Christ! The weakest believer is forgiven all trespasses for Christ's sake, and has a filial affection to God as his Father; the more grown Christian is established in the faith, and has greater strength from Christ for vanquishing the temptations of the devil and his instruments; and the old experienced Christian is best acquainted with the Ancient of Days. But alas! what an enemy is the love of this world to the love of God! As far as we are carried away with pleasures, riches, or honours, which are all precarious, empty, and perishing, so far are we estranged from the love of God to us, and love to him: and a predominant love of this world is inconsistent with a true love to him, who cannot be the author of any evil influence which the things of flesh and sense make upon us.—How dangerous are the schemes of men of an antichristian spirit, which has worked in all ages of the church! But O what a blessed and holy unction of the Spirit have true believers from their exalted Head and Saviour: by this they are well satisfied about the truth of all the fundamental articles of the gospel, insomuch that they do not need to be always taught the first rudiments of Christianity; much less to be taught any of its doctrines by false pretenders to it. All that deny Jesus to be the Son of God and the only Saviour are antichristians, and constructively deny both the Father and Son; but all that cordially believe the doctrine originally delivered in the gospel concerning these divine Persons, have a sure interest in them both. The great promise of eternal life belongs to those who persist in their most holy faith, and continue in union and communion with Christ to their own and their faithful pastor's joy and confidence at his second and most glorious appearing: and they that have such just and impressive sentiments of his purity and holiness, as produce an effectual change upon them, in resemblance of him, may certainly conclude that they are partakers of a new and spiritual birth from him, and have a title to the inheritance of children.

    REFLECTIONS.—1st, We have,

    1. The design which the apostle chiefly aimed at in what he had written. My little children, whom I regard with the tenderest sensations of paternal love, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not; watchful against every surprise and temptation, and never allowing yourselves in the practice of any sin. And if any man, through the infirmity of his nature, be drawn aside from the way of God's commandments, and sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, through whom alone God the Father can be just, and yet a Justifier of the sinner; and if we with shame and sorrow, and true contrition of spirit, return to him, his infinite merit will plead the cause of the returning penitents before the throne of God. And he is the propitiation for our sins, having made the full atonement, and paid that ransom which alone is available for them: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world,—the ransom was paid for all mankind, and no damned sinner shall have the least ground of accusation against him as a partial Judge; but every mouth shall be stopped, and he alone be justified before an assembled universe. Note; (1.) While with holy jealousy we war against sin, we must not, if at any time cast down, sink into despair: we have one before the throne, who ever liveth to make intercession for every faithful soul that comes to God through him. (2.) Christ's salvation is universal to sinners of all ranks and nations, who yield to be saved by grace: none who answer this description shall be cast out or rejected.

    2. The rule of judgment concerning our real knowledge of Christ. And hereby we do know that we know him, and have the fullest demonstration of our real acquaintance with him, and of our genuine faith and love, if we keep his commandments, and of course unreservedly yield up ourselves to be guided by his holy word and will. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, living in the inward indulgence, or outward practice of iniquity, is a liar, and the truth is not in him, however confident his boast may be, and however high his pretensions. But whoso keepeth his word, in doctrine and practice, faithfully corresponding therewith in all things, in him verily is the love of God perfected; its prevailing influence over the whole soul is hereby manifested; it is plain that he has this perfect love truly in his heart, and does not make a vain and hypocritical pretence to it: and by this know we that we are in him; vitally united to the Living Head, interested in all the privileges of his gospel, in which the hypocrite hath neither part nor lot. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk, even as he walked; copying the divine pattern, and, though at a humble distance, following the footsteps of the holy Jesus. Note; The profession of Christianity, without the practice of true godliness, is but an empty name. They who are truly Christ's, will prove it not only in their lips, but by their lives.

    2nd, The apostle, as the most distinguishing character of true discipleship, and the great command of the divine Master, earnestly, inculcates the great duty of brotherly love. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but remind you of an old commandment which ye had from the beginning; written upon the heart of man in innocence, and enforced, in that revelation which God from the first made unto men. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning, wherein love is enjoined as the fulfilling of the law. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, the same indeed in substance, but enforced by new motives, encouragements, assistances, and examples; which thing is true in him and in you; manifested most strikingly in that divine person of love which he set before you, and which you have in a gracious measure humbly imitated. Because the darkness of the former dispensation is past, and thee true light now shineth, the Sun of righteousness is arisen, and the shadows are fled, the glorious gospel bringing us forth as it were into the meridian light of truth, and demanding from us a conversation suitable to the peculiar advantages which we enjoy. He that saith he is in the light, and professes faith in Jesus the Light of the world, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now, a stranger to the godlike spirit of love which the gospel breathes, and covered with the black night of sin and error. He that loveth his brother, as a fellow-member of Christ's mystical body, and because he is a child of the same heavenly Father, abideth in the light of truth, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him; he will carefully avoid whatever would offend or weaken his brother's soul, and walketh in the light himself. But he that hateth his brother, who harbours an uncharitable, envious, proud, or revengeful disposition, is in darkness, under the evident dominion of Satan and sin; and walketh in darkness, all his ways being perverse before God; and knoweth not whither he goeth, nor is aware of the dreadful issue of his ways, because that the darkness of his fallen heart hath blinded his eyes to all the dire consequences of sin. Note; (1.) Charity or love is the distinguishing characteristic of the Christian. (See 1 Corinthians 13.) (2.) If there be a creature living, against whom we harbour allowed envy, malice, or revenge, in whose misery we should delight, or whose good we desire not to promote, we brand ourselves the children of darkness.

    3rdly, The great duty of love is equally the concern of all ranks and degrees of Christians, whatever their several attainments may be in the divine life.

    1. He addresses himself to Christians in every stage of their profession.

    (1.) I write unto you, little children; and, as a powerful incentive to the exercise of love, urge this duty upon you, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake; and having much forgiven, you should love much. Note; The lowest in the Christian life have received the free and full pardon of all their sins, this being the first great privilege of the gospel, of which, every babe in Christ is immediately a partaker.

    (2.) I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning, and, by long and intimate acquaintance with his grace and love, are peculiarly called and engaged to shew the same divine love to others.

    (3.) I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one, and have been made more than conquerors over sin and Satan, and the world, through him that loved you. And, to impress more deeply my exhortation, I repeat my words,

    (4.) I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father; and, young as you are in the Christian life, have tasted the goodness and love of your heavenly Father. I have written unto you, fathers, grown old in the happy experience of the good ways of Christ, because ye have known him that is from the beginning, entered deeply into the mysteries of his grace and love, and transcendent excellencies. I have written unto you, young man, because ye are strong in faith and knowledge, and the exercise of every heavenly temper; and the word of God abideth in you, Christ being formed in your hearts, and his gospel dwelling in you richly, and influencing all your conversation; and ye have overcome the wicked one, have effectually defeated all his efforts against your souls, and will, I trust, go on still conquering and to conquer; and blessed are they who are thus strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

    2. He solemnly warns them all, whatever their several attainments may be, to beware of this present evil world. Love not the world, set not your affections thereon; neither be inordinately delighted with the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, set his heart upon it as his home and his happiness, the love of the Father is not in him; it is evident that such a one does not experience a sense of his love, or feel any real heart-attachment to God in Christ as his portion and exceeding great joy. For all that is in the world, to engage and seduce the heart from God; the lust of the flesh, whatever ministers to the lawless gratification of appetite, and leads to excess, sloth, intemperance, luxury, drunkenness, revellings, and every kind of impurity; and the lust of the eyes, the gain, possessions, wealth, and glittering riches which the covetous eye gazes upon with such rapture, or with eager desire after them; and the pride of life, the pomp and splendor of titles, show, equipage, honours, magnificence, which gratify the vanity, and inflame the ambition of the fallen mind; of all and each of these we must say, that it is not of the Father; worldly things were not given to be thus abused, nor are these the objects on which God's children place their affections; but we know, that each of these things is of the world; they are the flattering baits which the god of this world, the devil, spreads to ensnare the sensual and earthly hearts of fallen men, and to seduce them from their true Lord and Master. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; great and desirable as the things of it appear in the eye of sense, they are poor, perishing, unsatisfactory in the enjoyment, and transitory; often in life flying our grasp, and certainly failing us at death: but he that doeth the will of God, abideth for ever; has a more enduring substance; his fidelity to death shall be crowned with immortal life and glory; his pleasures in eternity shall be infinitely superior to all the delights of sense; and his inheritance above, incorruptible, undefiled, and which fadeth not away. Oh! that thou mayest be wise, reader, and learn to weigh time and eternity, this world and the next, in the balances of the sanctuary!

    4thly, As the mystery of iniquity had begun already to work, the apostle,

    1. Reminds them, that the Jewish dispensation was now ready to expire utterly, with the destruction of their temple, city, and nation. Little children it is the last time; and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; either those who among the Jewish people set up themselves for the Messiah; or rather, who under the Christian profession opposed and denied the person, offices, and gospel of Christ; broaching their heretical tenets, and perverting many from the truth. They went out from us, from our communion and society; but they were not of us, did not enjoy the renewing power of the grace of God, or the communion of saints: for if they had been of us, partakers of the like precious faith with us, and enjoying the genuine communion of saints, they would no doubt have continued with us,—possessing such a spirit, they would not, they could not, have separated from us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us, but were false-hearted hypocritical professors, who either had never tasted the grace of God in truth, or had made shipwreck of their faith, and become vile apostates.

    2. He encourages them to trust, and not be afraid, since no seducers should ever be able to move them from their steadfastness, if they perseveringly cleaved to Christ, and used the power bestowed upon them. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, from the Spirit of grace and truth, which, through the exalted Savour, hath been bestowed upon you; and ye know all things necessary to preserve you from the wiles of deceivers, and to bring you to everlasting salvation. I have not written unto you, because ye know not the truth; but because ye know it, and are established in the principles of the gospel, and the fundamental doctrines of Christ; and know that no lie is of the truth, but the very reverse, and proves the hypocrisy or apostacy of those who by fraud and error would support their heretical doctrines.

    3. He particularly points out these seducers, by their tenets. Who is a liar, and to be deemed an impostor, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ, rejecting him as the true Messiah? He is antichrist, and bears the brand of this hateful name, that denieth the Father and the Son, either confounding the persons in the Godhead, or dividing the substance; or denying that flood of evidence, wherewith God the Father hath borne withers to the mission and incarnation of his dear Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, his Personality and essential Deity, or the office that he bears as Mediator, the same hath not the Father, holds not the true doctrine of the Trinity, and of the relation which God the Father bears to God the Son; and therein denies all that revelation which he hath made of pardon and reconciliation through the substitution of the incarnate Redeemer; but he that acknowledgeth the Son, hath the Father also; he that receives the Lord Jesus by faith as the only Saviour, and confesses him to be the eternal Son of God, he hath the true knowledge of God the Father, and an interest in his favour and love.

    4. He exhorts them to cleave to the old truth, for novelty of doctrine is the sure proof of error. Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning, when the gospel was first preached to you. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son and in the Father, and, holding the profession of your faith unwavering, shall enjoy the most happy communion with the Father through the Son, until you come to his kingdom in glory. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life, which he will infallibly fulfil to those who perseveringly abide in him, and will bring them to the beatific vision and enjoyment of his blessed Self for ever and ever.

    5. He mentions one great purpose of this epistle. These things have I written unto you concerning them that labour to seduce and pervert you from the simplicity which is in Christ. But the anointing which ye have received of him, abideth in you; the Spirit which he hath given you, continues to teach, direct, and lead you aright; and ye need not that any man teach you; you cannot want the help of these pretended wise men to instruct you above what is written: but, as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and hath opened your eyes to see in the revealed word all things that pertain unto life and godliness, and is truth, and is no lie, but directly contrary to the spirit of error which actuates those seducers: and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him, your living Head, to whom by the divine Spirit you are thus vitally united; and continue under the blessed influence and guidance of his truth and grace unto the end. See the Annotations.

    5thly, From what he had said, the apostle closes with this affectionate exhortation to them: And now, little children, abide in him, maintaining the closest communion with Jesus, and walking in the lively exercise of faith and hope, and love towards him, unmoved from the doctrines of his gospel by the wiles of deceivers; that when he shall appear on the throne of judgment at the last day, we may have confidence and boldness to appear in his presence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming, when we, your ministers, shall not be disappointed of our hopes, but meet you as our joy and crown, and, together with you, stand forth without fault, and blameless, acknowledged by him as his saints, and admitted into the joy of our Lord. If, or since, ye know that he is righteous, perfectly righteous himself, and the lover and author of all righteousness in his faithful people, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him, and thereby gives a demonstration that he is a partaker of a divine nature, and has the possession of spiritual life. (1.) They only will have boldness in the day of judgment, who are found in Christ, and perseveringly cleave to him. (2.) Everlasting shame and contempt will cover those, who ungratefully, unfaithfully, and perversely, have departed from the truth, and they shall be disowned of Jesus in the day of his appearing and glory. (3.) The evidence of a divine nature must be manifested in a good conversation; for whatever conceits men may entertain of themselves, it is their fruits by which they must be known.


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    Bibliography
    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-john-2.html. 1801-1803.

    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    Our apostle concludes the chapter with an exhortation to holiness and righteousness; assuring them, that if they be sensible (as they must necessarily be) that God is righteous, essentially and infinitely holy and righteous; they may and ought to know also, that whosoever is born of him and doth receive a new nature from him, doth certainly endeavour to live unto him, and to walk before him as his child in a way of obedience, and to expect favour and protection from him as from a Father.

    Learn hence, That all that sincerely live a righteous life towards God and man, are certainly born of God; and such as are born of God do certainly live that righteous life; then, and only then, may we know that we are indeed God's children, when the image of our heavenly Father is instamped upon us, and the disposition of his children wrought in us; when there is a happy conformity in our natures to the holiness of God's nature, and in our lives to the righteousness of his law; when he beholds his own face in the glass of our souls, and loves us for his own image instamped and impressed upon us.


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    Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/1-john-2.html. 1700-1703.

    Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

    1 John 2:29. The apostle now goes on to indicate how it is consistent with the nature of Christians, as those that are born of God, to do righteousness.

    ἐὰν εἰδῆτε] Here also the apostle directs himself to his readers’ own consciousness, as he does not want to teach them anything new, but only to state what they already know for their more earnest consideration.

    ὅτι δίκαιός ἐστι. The present ἐστι is not used, either here or in 1 John 3:5, 1 John 4:17, for ἦν (Storr). It is doubtful whether the subject is Christ (a Lapide, Lorinus, Bengel, Rickli, Frommann, Myrberg, 1st ed. of this Comm., etc.) or God (Baumgarten-Crusius, Neander, Gerlach, Köstlin, de Wette, Düsterdieck, Erdmann, Ebrard, Braune, Weiss, and others). In favour of the former is the fact that previously, not only in 1 John 2:25 by αὐτός, and 1 John 2:27 by ἐν αὐτῷ, but also in 1 John 2:28 by φανερωθῇ, ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ, and ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ, Christ is clearly meant; for the latter, that in the following ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεγέννηται, the pronoun refers back to the subject of δίκαιός ἐστι, and the idea γεννᾶσθαι ἐκ χριστοῦ never appears in the writing, and, moreover, John, in what follows, calls Christians τέκνα θεοῦ, and in 1 John 2:9 makes use of the expression γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ (comp. 1 John 4:7, 1 John 5:1; 1 John 5:4; 1 John 5:18). From the predicate δίκαιος nothing can be inferred, as this attribute is assigned by John both to God (1 John 1:9) and Christ (1 John 2:1). As, with John’s peculiar blending of the Father and the Son (or of God and Christ), it would not be easy to explain how he can pass from the one to the other without specially indicating it, it appears more safe, in accordance with the constant mode of conception and expression in the Epistle, to supply as the subject of δίκαιός ἐστι God, than Christ. It is inappropriate, with Storr, Lücke, and others, to refer δίκαιος to Christ, and ἐξ αὐτοῦ, on the other hand, to God, because the thought of the apostle would thereby lose its peculiar force (Bengel: justus justum gignit).(186)

    The statement that God is δίκαιος corresponds with the statement that He is φῶς (chap. 1 John 1:5); it does not follow from 1 John 2:28 that by δίκαιος here the justitia judicialis is to be understood; Erdmann: quum ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην ad δίκαιός ἐστι referendum sit, hoc justitiam Dei sensu judiciali significare nequit, sed absolutam ejus sanctitatem.

    γινώσκετε] is here not to be regarded as the indicative (Beza, Bengel, Semler, Düsterdieck, Myrberg, Ewald, and others), but, as its position between μένετε (1 John 2:27) and ἴδετε (chap. 1 John 3:1) shows, as the imperative: “then know, i.e. observe and reflect,” with Vulgate, Grotius, Russmeyer, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Lücke, Erdmeyer, Ebrard, Braune, and others.

    ὅτι πᾶςγεγέννηται] The same relationship in which, according to chap. 1 John 1:6, κοινωνίαν ἔχειν μετὰ θεοῦ and περιπατεῖν ἐκ τῷ φωτί stand to one another, exists between γεγεννῆσθαι ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ and ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην (so also Braune), inasmuch as the latter is the practical proof of the former, so that every one who practises righteousness—but no one else (Bengel: omnis et solus)—is born of God. That when Episcopius describes the nasci ex Deo, not as the condition, but as the result of the exercitii justitiae, he perverts the thought of the apostle, needs no proof. The right interpretation in Bengel, Neander, Besser, Düsterdieck, Erdmann, Myrberg, Ebrard, Brückner, Braune, Weiss.(187) By τὴν δικαιοσύνην it is plainly righteousness, in the full extent of the idea, that is described; with the expression ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην, compare the synonymous idea ποιεῖν τὴν ἀλήθειαν (chap. 1 John 1:6); similarly in Hebrew עָשָׂה צְדָקָה; Genesis 18:19; Isaiah 56:1; Psalms 14:1-5; in the N. T. comp. Matthew 6:1. On ποιεῖν an emphasis is placed which must not be overlooked; comp. chap. 1 John 3:18; for now is the truth of the experience and of the word first proved in deed.

    In ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεγ. we must retain ἐξ in its proper meaning; explanations which weaken it, such as that of Socinus: dei similem esse, or of Rosenmüller: amari a deo, are of course to be rejected (Braune); the relation of the perfect γεγέννηται to the present ποιῶν is to be observed.(188)


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    Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-john-2.html. 1832.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    1 John 2:29. ἐὰν εἰδῆτε, if ye know) From the mention of the future manifestation of the Son and the sons of God, he derives a new discussion on sin and righteousness.— δίκαιός ἐστι) Jesus Christ is Righteous: 1 John 2:1; 1 John 3:5-6.— γινώσκετε) ye acknowledge.— πᾶς) every one, and he alone.— γεγέννηται, is born) The righteous produces the righteous.


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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-john-2.html. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Lest he should be thought only solicitous to preserve among them the right notions of the Christian docrine, as if that alone would suffice them for their salvation and blessedness, (which was the conceit of the Gnostics, touching their own notions, that the entertaining of them would save men, whatsoever men they were, or howsoever they lived), he subjoins this serious monition:

    If ye know, & c., intimating, that whatsoever they had of the knowledge of God would avail them nothing, if, whereas

    he is righteous, they were not transformed by it into his likeness, and enabled thereby to

    do righteousness, which alone would evidence their Divine birth, since God hath no children destitute of his image, or who resemble him not.


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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-john-2.html. 1685.

    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    Every one that doeth righteousness is born of him; as much as to say, He that doeth righteousness, and no other; since they who are born of God must be like God in character.


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    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-john-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

    Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

    29. ἐὰν εἰδῆτε ὅτι δίκαιός ἐστιν. This probably does not mean Christ, although the preceding verse refers entirely to Him. ‘To be born of Christ,’ though containing “nothing abhorrent from our Christian ideas,” is not a Scriptural expression; whereas ‘to be born of God’ is not only a common thought in Scripture, but is specially common in this Epistle and occurs in the very next verse. And clearly ‘He’ and ‘Him’ must be interpreted alike: it destroys the argument (ὁ δίκαιος δικαίους γεννᾷ, justus justum gignit, as Oecumenius and Bengel put it) to interpret ‘He is righteous’ of Christ and ‘born of Him’ of God. Moreover, this explanation gets rid of one abrupt change by substituting another still more abrupt. That ‘He, Him, His’ in 1 John 2:28 means Christ, and ‘He, Him’ in 1 John 2:29 means God, is some confirmation of the view that a new division of the letter begins with 1 John 2:29. That ‘God is righteous’ see 1 John 1:9 and John 17:25. But S. John is so full of the truth that Christ and the Father are one, and that Christ is God revealed to man, that he makes the transition from one to the other almost imperceptibly. Bede interprets both δίκαιός ἐστιν and ἐξ αὐτοῦ of Christ.

    γινώσκετε. Once more we are in doubt as to indicative or imperative: see on 1 John 2:27. The Vulgate has scitote, and hence Wiclif and the Rhemish, as also Tyndale and Cranmer, have the imperative. But the indicative is more in harmony with 1 John 2:20-21 : Ye know that everyone also, i.e. not only Christ, but every righteous believer, is a son of God. Beza has nostis, which the Genevan mistranslates ‘ye have known’. Note the change from εἰδῆτε to γινώσκετε, the one expressing the knowledge that is intuitive or simply possessed, the other that which is acquired by experience: ‘If ye are aware that God is righteous, ye must recognise, &c.’ Contrast 1 John 2:11; 1 John 2:20-21 with 1 John 2:3-5; 1 John 2:13-14; 1 John 2:18. Comp. ὃ ἐγὼ ποιῶ σὺ οὐκ οἶδας ἄρτι, γνώσῃ δὲ μετὰ ταῦτα (John 13:7): πάντα σὺ οἶδας σὺ γινώσκεις ὅτι φιλῶ σε (John 21:17): and conversely, εἰ ἐγνώκειτέ με, καὶ τὸν πατέρα μου ἂν ἤδειτε (John 14:7).

    ὁ ποιῶν. ‘That habitually doeth:’ not the fact of having done a righteous act here and there, but the habit of righteousness, proves sonship. Morality in the highest sense can come of no lower source than God. τὴν δικαιοσύνην. The article possibly means His righteousness, or the righteousness that is rightly known as such; but it is safer to omit it in translation. The omission of the article before abstract nouns is the rule; but the exceptions are very numerous, and among the exceptions are the many cases in which the article is used for a possessive pronoun. Winer, 148. Again, “the Article is rightly prefixed to words by which a system of action, familiar to the mind as such, is intended to be signified” (Green, Grammar of the N.T. p. 17). It is difficult to decide between these two explanations, but the latter seems better. Comp. ποιεῖν τὴν ἀλήθειαν.

    ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεγἐννηται. Of Him hath he been begotten and His child he remains: ἐξ αὐτοῦ first for emphasis. Just as only he who habitually walks in the light has true fellowship with the God who is light (1 John 1:6-7), so only he who habitually does righteousness is a true son of the God who is righteous. Thus the writer to Diognetus says that the Christian is Λόγῳ προσφιλεῖ γεννηθείς, while the Son is πάντοτε νέος ἐν ἁγίων καρδίαις γεννώμενος (xi.). Other signs of the Divine birth are love of the brethren (1 John 4:7) and faith in Jesus as the Christ (1 John 5:1). Righteousness begins in faith and ends in love.


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    "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-john-2.html. 1896.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    REFLECTIONS

    Reader! let us behold, with holy joy, the gracious provision which God, who is rich in mercy, hath made for sin, in the person, blood, and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is God who hath set Christ forth a Propitiation. And it is God who hath sworn him into the office of our Advocate. Blessed therefore with such a Propitiation, and such an Advocate, in One and the same Person, and of God our Father's own providing, with what confidence may we draw nigh the mercy-seat, under all the discouragements and infirmities of our poor fallen nature?

    And, dearest Jesus! may not all thy redeemed behold thee, waiting with delight for employment in that high character of thine, our Advocate, for all thy people, since thou hast already acted as their propitiation, and made complete satisfaction for them in thy blood? Do thou, Lord, then, take up every cause, and plead in thine own infinite merits, and death, for every one of thine, against all the accusations of Satan, the demands of God's law and justice, and all the fears and misgivings of unbelief, and our own guilty consciences! Oh! the blessedness of the assurance, Jesus can and will save to the uttermost all that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them!

    Hail! no less thou Holy and Eternal Spirit! It is from thee cometh that unction, by which thy people know all things. Oh! for grace from God, to believe in God, and to continue in the Father, and in the Son, in the full assurance of the promise of eternal life!


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    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-john-2.html. 1828.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    29. HeThe Holy One of 1 John 2:20, God the Father.

    Born of him—Is, by the chrism of the Holy One, so conformed to his image as to become his son, the younger brother of Christ. This verse properly belongs to the next chapter.


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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-john-2.html. 1874-1909.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘If you know (oida - in the mind) that he is righteous, you know (ginosko - experientially) that every one also who does righteousness is begotten of him.’

    And because they know Him they know Him as the Righteous One. They know Him as the One Who, because it was His delight, fully kept, and requires the joyous keeping of, God’s will as seen in His commandments and His Law (Hebrews 10:7; Hebrews 10:9; Romans 7:22; Psalms 1:2; Psalms 40:8; Psalms 112:1; Psalms 119:16 and often in that Psalm. Note also in Psalms 119 the constant claim to love His Law). Thus they know that one test of who is begotten of Him is that they live righteously, that they ‘do His commandments’, and that those who joyously and gladly live righteously, that is in accordance with God’s Law, do so because they are begotten of Him. True righteousness can only result from God’s begetting. This contrasts with those who struggled to keep the Law in order to gain merit, for whom it was a burden not a joy.

    ‘Begotten of Him.’ In context this means ‘begotten of Christ’. 1 John 2:28 has specifically had Christ in mind, and 1 John 3:1 opens with a new subject, ‘the Father’. The normal expression for John is ‘begotten of God’ (1 John 3:9; 1 John 4:7; 1 John 5:1; 1 John 5:4; 1 John 5:18 see also John 1:12-13). But Jesus could speak of men being ‘born of the Spirit’ (John 3:6; John 3:8). And He Himself said that as the Son He ‘had life in Himself’ (John 5:26), and that it is His voice that will raise the dead, and those who hear will live (John 5:25), speaking there of the new birth to eternal life (1 John 2:24). ‘Begotten of Christ’ sealed the emphasis that John has been putting on the close working relationship between the Son and the Father. Once again it illustrates how closely John parallels Jesus Christ with God.


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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/1-john-2.html. 2013.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    Because God is righteous, every abiding child of God will demonstrate righteous behavior. Righteous action is a mark of the Father that God reproduces in every abiding Christian just as surely as every child does some things like the physical parent he or she seeks to imitate. We intellectually know that God is righteous from Scripture. However we experientially come to know that certain people are abiding Christians by the righteous works they do. The facts that some unrighteous people behave righteously and some righteous people behave wickedly do not vitiate this point.

    "We must not make this verse say more than it does. John certainly does not say, "Whoever does not do righteousness is not born of Him." That would be an inference in no way justified by John"s statement. He is not talking here about how we can decide if a person is saved. If we know that a person believes (cf. 1 John 5:1 ...), we can know he is saved. But here, John is clearly concerned with the deduction which we can make if we know that God is righteous. If that is known, it follows that one who to any extent reproduces His righteous nature is actually manifesting that nature and can rightly be perceived as born of Him." [Note: Ibid, p127.]


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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-john-2.html. 2012.

    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    The glory and dignity of regeneration and adoption, both hire and hereafter.

    1 John 2:29. If ye know that he is righteous, ye perceive that every one also who doeth righteousness is begotten of him. This sentence is strictly transitional, and therefore of necessity may be interpreted with reference as well to what precedes as to what follows. Connected with the words immediately going before, the pronouns must refer to Christ, from whose righteous nature the regenerate receives his life, his righteous conduct declaring the fact of his new birth. Perhaps it is better to connect them with the whole of the preceding context. ‘If, after all that has been said, ye know that God is righteous with whom ye have fellowship, then mark the inference that ye who abide in Him, and are righteous also, must be begotten of Him. You cannot abide IN Him but as ye are born of Him.’ What this new aspect of life in Christ means, the apostle proceeds to show. This verse looks forward to all that follows: it is in some sense the superscription of the remainder of the Epistle, but especially of the chapter we now approach. It may seem remarkable that St. John does not begin a new section with a special address to the ‘little children;’ but that address has been heard just before, and will be presently repeated. Again, it may appear strange that he should pass from God to Christ and from Christ to God with no mark of the change, using the same personal pronoun throughout. But we must remember that the apostle regards the Father and the Son as one: especially here so soon after the words, ‘He that confesseth the Son hath the Father also.’ There would indeed be no impropriety in referring both pronouns to Christ: He is the Righteous, and the regenerate may be said to be ‘begotten of Him,’ just as He Himself spoke of their being ‘begotten of water and of the Spirit.’ But the begetting, which is the word used by St. John alone for the infusion of a new life into the soul, is commonly referred to the Father or to God. Lastly, though the ‘doing of righteousness’ leads off the sentence, the emphasis is not on it, but on the ‘begotten of Him.’ We shall see in the next chapter that the new birth must be approved in righteous conduct; here the order is inverted, and practical righteousness infers and points to the new birth.


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    Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/1-john-2.html. 1879-90.

    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    1 John 2:29. In view of the preceding verse δίκαιος must refer to Christ (cf. 1 John 2:1), and it is equally certain that ἐξ αὐτοῦ refers to the Father, since “begotten of Christ” (cf. Tennyson’s “our fair father Christ”) is not a Scriptural idea. The abrupt transition evinces St. John’s sense of the oneness of the Father and the Son (cf. 1 John 2:24; John 10:30). γινώσκετε, scitote (Vulg.), rather cognoscite (Calv.), “get to know,” “recognise” (see note on 1 John 2:3); perceive the blessed inference, appropriate your birthright. It enfeebles the sentence to take the verb as indicat.


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    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-john-2.html. 1897-1910.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    righteous. App-191.

    doeth = practiseth. Greek. poieo, as 1 John 3:7, 1 John 3:10.

    righteousness. App-191.

    born = begotten. A Latin MS., the Fleury Palimpsest, instead of "ashamed, &c.", reads "confounded by Him. If in His presence ye have known Him that is faithful, know that every one that doeth the truth hath been born of Him. "


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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-john-2.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

    Heading of the second division of the letter: 'God is righteous, therefore everyone that doeth righteousness is born of Him.' Love is the grand principle of "righteousness" selected for discussion, 1 John 2:29; 1 John 3:1-3.

    If ye know ... ye know , [ Eideete (Greek #1492) - ginooskete (Greek #1097)] - 'If ye are aware (are in possession of the knowledge) ... ye discern also that,' etc. Ye are aware that God (both "the Father," of whom the believer is born, end of this verse, and 1 John 3:1; and "the Son," 1 John 2:1; 1 John 2:23) is righteous; ye must thereby perceive also the consequence of that truth-namely, 'that everyone that doeth righteousness (and he alone: the righteousness such as the righteous God approves) is born of Him.' The righteous begetteth the righteous. We are never said to be born again of Christ, but of God, with whom Christ is one. Hollaz in Alford defines the righteousness of God: 'The divine energy by whose power God wills and does all things conformable to His eternal law, prescribes suitable laws to His creatures, fulfils His promises to men, rewards the good, and punishes the ungodly.'

    Doeth. 'For the graces are practical, and have their being in being exercised: for when they have ceased to act, or are only about to act, they have not even being' (OEcumenius). 'God is righteous, therefore the source of righteousness: when a man doeth righteousness, we know that he has acquired by new birth that righteousness which he had not by nature. We argue from his doing righteousness to his being born of God. The error of Pelagians is to conclude that doing righteousness is a condition of becoming a child of God' (Alford). Compare Luke 7:47; Luke 7:50 : her much love evinced that her sins were already forgiven; not, were the condition of her sins being forgiven.


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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-john-2.html. 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    [3. Second Half. God is Love (1 John 2:29 to 1 John 5:12.)

    (1) RIGHTEOUSNESS THE CRITERION OF DIVINE BIRTH (1 John 2:29).

    (2) THE DIVINE BIRTH THE OUTCOME OF GOD’S LOVE (1 John 3:1-3).

    (3) ITS CONSEQUENCE ON HUMAN CONDUCT (1 John 2:4-10).

    (4) BROTHERLY LOVE THE NECESSARY FLOWER OF THE DIVINE BIRTH (1 John 2:10-18).

    (5) THE GLORIOUS RESULTS OF GOD’S LOVE IN SONSHIP (1 John 2:19-24).

    (a) Assurance (1 John 2:19-21).

    (b) Grant of requests (1 John 2:22).

    (c) Presence of God (1 John 2:24).

    (d) Gift of the Spirit (1 John 2:24).

    (6) NECESSITY OF TRYING THE SPIRITS (1 John 4:1-6).

    (7) THE PERFECT LOVE THE SUREST TEST (1 John 2:7-21).

    (8) FAITH THE TEST OF LOVE (1 John 5:1-12).

    (a) The power of faith (1 John 2:1-5).

    (b) The witness of faith (1 John 2:6-10).

    (c) The content of faith (1 John 2:11-12).]

    (1) RIGHTEOUSNESS THE CRITERION OF THE DIVINE BIRTH (1 John 2:29).—In passing on to think of God in His character of Love rather than of Light (this, with several interludes, is the leading thought up to 1 John 5:12), St. John is led, by the earnest exhortation of 1 John 2:28 (with which he closes the former subject), to pause for a moment on the idea of righteousness, which, as it was the main object of the earlier dispensation, so is the final cause of Christianity. This suggests to his mind the new idea, “The righteous are born of God.” Wherever there was a spark of true righteousness, there was a birth from God.

    (29) He is righteous.—St. John looks at the Father and the Son as so essentially one, that from his use of the pronoun merely it would not be clear which Person he meant. Here “born of Him,” shows that he thinks of the Father, or of the Deity in its oneness; not specially of Christ.

    Ye know.—Rather, ye perceive. A divine germ, sent by the will of God, has come into the life, and, just as the body and spirit grow in the womb, so the new man is gradually formed in the soul, not to be perfected till the future life.


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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-john-2.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
    he is
    1; 3:5; Zechariah 9:9; Acts 3:14; 22:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 1:8,9; 7:2,26; 1 Peter 3:18
    ye know
    or, know ye. that every.
    3:7,10; Jeremiah 13:23; Matthew 7:16-18; Acts 10:35; Titus 2:12-14
    is born
    3:9; 4:7; 5:1; John 1:13; 3:3-5; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3,23; 2 Peter 1:4

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-john-2.html.

    The Bible Study New Testament

    You know. "You already know that Christ is righteous. Doing what is right, then, is proof that we are God's child!!!" See note on 1 John 2:3. The abrupt movement from Christ is righteous to God's child shows John's sense of the oneness of the Father and the Son. See John 10:30 and note. See also note on Romans 16:27. The apostles were "Monotheistic-Trinitarians."


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    Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-john-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

    Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

    1 John 2:29 to 1 John 5:12. The Characteristics of God's Children.

    1 John 2:29 to 1 John 3:3. Because God, made known to us in Christ, is righteous, those who claim to be His children must be like Him, with a goodness which the world does not understand and which at Christ's manifestation will be perfected.

    1 John 2:29. (read mg.) connects most naturally with the argument that follows. "He" in "he is righteous" ought, in view of 1 John 2:28, to refer to Christ, whilst "begotten of him," according to general NT usage, should mean "begotten of God." The somewhat loose use of the pronoun is an illustration of the ease with which John's thought passed from God to Christ and vice versa, the identity between them being regarded as so complete.

    1 John 3:1. knew him not: an echo of John 17:25.*

    1 John 3:2 b. We shall be changed by beholding (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:18); seeing Christ we shall pass into His likeness. Christ is the type after which all God's children are to be fashioned.


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    Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-john-2.html. 1919.

    Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

    III. PRINCIPAL PART THE SECIND

    1 John 2:29 to 1 John 5:12

    HE THAT IS BORN AGAIN (OUT) OF (THE BEING OF) GOD THE RIGHTEOUS (1Jn 2:29) IS A MIRACLE OF HIS LOVE NOW AND HEREAFTER (1Jn 2:1-3), IS BOUND BY HIS WILL (1Jn 2:4-10 A), ESPECIALLY TO PRACTISE BROTHERLY LOVE (1Jn 2:10-18), IS BLESSED BEFORE HIM AND IN HIM (1Jn 2:19-24), TRYING LIKE GOD THE FALSE SPIRITS (I 1 Joh 2:1-6), HE ENJOYS THE LOVE OF GOD AND EXHIBITS BROTHERLY LOVE (1Jn 2:7-21), HE TRIUMPHS OVER THE WORLD AND IS SURE OF ETERNAL LIFE (1Jn 2:1-12).

    1. The leading thought: He that is born again of God the Righteous doeth righteousness. 1 John 2:29

    29If ye know that he is righteous, ye know[FN60] that[FN61] every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.[FN62]

    EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

    The subject of δίκαιος is not specified. It has to be ascertained either from the connection with the preceding verses, or from the verse itself. On this point Sander very justly lays down the Canon: “If δίκαιος designates Christ, ἐξ αὐτοῦ refers to Him. But if the latter is impossible, that Isaiah, if ἐξ αὐτοῦ must be referred to God, δίκαιος also must designate God.” There is no formal connection of this verse with the preceding verses containing reference to Christ; it is the beginning of a new section. Hence this verse, standing alone, must be explained by itself, and the question of the subject has to be determined from an examination of the verse itself. Hence there is no warrant for an outward occasion of a reference to Christ, especially since the oneness of the Father and the Song of Solomon, of God and Christ, is everpresent to the mind of John, so that he frequently and easily passes from the one to the other without a special indication of such transition. Nor can we gather from the word δίκαιος whether the reference is to Christ or to God, for it is applied to God in 1 John 1:9 and to Christ in 1 John 2:1. But ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεγέννηται decides the point. The idea of γεννᾶσθαι ἐκ Χριστοῦ or τέκνα Χριστοῦ notwithstanding Spener’s reference to Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 53:10; Psalm 22:31; Psalm 110:3; Matthew 9:2; John 13:33; Hebrews 2:17 occurs nowhere. But γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ occurs 1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:18 cf. 1 John 2:1; 1 John 2:4; 1 John 4:7; and τέκνα θεοῦ in the very next verse 1 John 3:1 consequently: he is born of (out of) God. “Justus justum gignit” (Bengel). We have therefore the valid conclusion: God is righteous, he that is born of (out of) God doeth righteousness. [Like begets like.—M.]. Hence Christ is neither the subject of δίκαιος and ἐξ αὐτοῦ (a Lapide, Bengel, Rickli, Frommann, al.), nor Christ the subject of δίκαιος and God the subject of ἐξ αὐτοῦ (Storr, Lücke, Heubner al.); but God is the subject of δίκαιος and ἐξ αὐτοῦ (Neander, Köstlin, Düsterdieck, Ebrard, Huther, al.).

    1 John 2:29. If ye know that He is righteous.—Besides what has been said on δίκαιος at 1 John 1:9; 1 John 2:1, we have further to add that if God is ἅγιος as to His Essence, He is δίκαιος as to His doing, and just because He is ἀγάπη ( 1 John 4:16), His energizing Will aims at the revelation of His holiness in laws at once agreeable to the holiness of His Being and adjusted to the nature and destination of His creatures, for whose benefit they are enacted, showing how His words are to be kept and His promises to be fulfilled, and how those who obey Him are to be rewarded and those who disobey him are to be punished. Legislation, denunciation and promise, punishment and reward, redemption and the forgiveness of sins are the acts and exhibitions of His δικαιοσύνη, which is the energy of His holy love directed outwardly, or the energy of His love conjoined with His holiness. Accordingly there is no righteousness whatever outside of God, or separate from God and His energizing, so that He is not only the prototype and original, but also the primordial source of all human righteousness. This is an important object of Christian knowledge, which, whilst it may indubitably be presupposed in the case of all Christians, is not always and readily found in the desired strength and purity in individual Christians. Hence ἐὰν εἰδῆτε. The Apostle appeals to the consciousness of the Church, desiring not to teach anything new but to render their knowledge vital and fruitful. [Hollaz: “Justitia Dei est attributum divinum ἐνεργητικόν, vi cujus Deus omnia quæ æternæ suæ legi sunt conformia, vult et agit; creaturis convenientes leges præscribit, promissa facta hominibus implet, bonos remuneratur et impios punit.” M.].

    Know ye.—Since it is grammatically correct (Kühner II, p550) that such a supposition may be followed either by the Imperative or the Indicative of a chief tense, especially of the Future, the prominent use of the Indicative Future, which is very nearly related to the Imperative, renders it highly probable that our γινώσκετε is the Imperative. Now since we read at 1 John 5:15 (referred to by de Wette and Düsterdieck) ἐὰν οἴδαμεν—οἴδαμεν, but in the verse immediately succeeding 1 John 3:1, ἴδετε (to which Huther calls attention), the latter consideration decidedly out-weighs the former and constrains us to take γινώσκετε in the Imperative. To this must still be added the sense of the verb and the verse. The verb γινώσκειν denotes an activity ever deepening, quickening and enlarging, the knowing (εἰδέναι) grows thus into experimental knowing (γινώσκειν). The truth is the object of all knowing, and the Christian shall be led into all truth, that Isaiah, he is to know thoroughly, to pass on from one point which he knows and whereof he has cognition, to another [and a deeper knowing and insight—M.], even by the aid of the Holy Spirit. If ye know that He is righteous, ye know not yet, but are to know that—. Hence we must not construe here in the Indicative (Beza, Bengel, Düsterdieck, Ewald, Neander and al.) but in the Imperative (Vulgate, Grotius, de Wette, Lücke, Ebrard, Huther and al.).

    That also every one who doeth righteousness has been born (out) of Him.—Καὶ indicates the relation of appurtenance and congruity of the second to the first thought. It does not belong, however, to γινώσκετε, as if only expressing a logical relation (Düsterdieck): if ye know—then ye know also (Neander); but it belongs to the subject, πᾶς ποιῶν, and sets forth the relation of the two truths: God is righteous, and every one who doeth righteousness, is born of God. We have here to do with a real relation.—Ὁ ποιῶν τὴν δικαιοσύνην is he that has the δικαιοσύνη within himself and causes it to be operative in his walk, his works, his words, his conduct and thinking, in his judgment, attitude, bearing and appearance, to come forth and become perceptible in himself. Doing is here not a merely outward and isolated act but an activity continuous and connected, having as much respect to the inward as to the outward, the energy of something possessed inwardly, of a gift received, of a communicated nature and life. Ποιῶν is emphatic; righteousness must be done, and not only lauded, confessed, preached, known, felt and believed. It may be done as yet imperfectly, in weakness, under repeated interruptions, but every Christian must and does do righteousness, πᾶςomnis et solus” (Bengel). Nor is it enough to do only some parts of this righteousness, respect must be had to the whole τὴν δικαιοσύνην. As to the nature of this δικαιοσύνη we have to think of the righteousness which comes from God, passes before Him, is His and His work. It Isaiah, therefore, a righteousness, Divine as to its kind, an effluence of God’s primordial righteousness, from God Himself. It manifests itself in obedience to the Divine commandments, in shunning sin, in striving after holiness, in love of the brethren, in the life and growth of faith; and although much be wanting in its full exhibition and its perfection lie far remote, still this is the righteousness here referred to. Compare ποιεῖν τὴν ἀλήθειαν 1 John 1:6 and עָשָׂה צְדָקָה Genesis 18:19; Isaiah 56:1; Psalm 14:15.—This points to a powerful and specific cause and condition, without which ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην is impossible and inconceivable: ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεγέννηται The Present ποιῶν, and the Perfect γεγέννηται denote the sequence; the first in order of existence is: to be born of (out of) God, the second, which is the effect and result of the former, is: to do the righteousness. Precisely this order was necessarily implied in the exposition of the substance of ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην.—As with regard to δίκαιος the turns δικαιοσύνη and ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην have to be taken in a full and living sense, so likewise the phrase ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεννᾶσθαι. The reference is consequently to a beginning life, a birth, a coming into existence (becoming) of something which did not or does not yet exist; not only a change or an improvement, but something altogether new—and that out of God. The sense of the preposition ἐξ also, has doubtless to be held fast; out of Him, that is out of God’s Self-own Holy Essence. “Nasci ex Deo est naturam Dei acquirere” (Luther) or “constituitur in quadam participatione supernaturali esse divini” (de Lyra), having received a new being or nature out of God (Spener), perfectly analogous to γένησθε θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως, 2 Peter 1:4.—Cf. John 3:3; John 3:5-6; John 1:12-13; Titus 3:6; Ephesians 4:23-24; Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 1:23. There is a Divine seed ( 1 John 3:9) in those who are born out of God; they have not become God, deified or absorbed in God or God absorbed in them, but only partakers of the Divine nature, germ-like, like new-born babes, so that a beginning has been made, but only a beginning, although the beginning of a life, Divine, coming from and leading to God, whose perfection is not wrought magically or by enchantment at one stroke, but is subject to the law of Divinely appointed growth. This birth out of God is a translation of man from death to life ( 1 John 3:14), brings him to the Light of the world and gives him eternal life ( 1 John 5:11; 1 John 5:20), and effects the blessed result that God is in us and we in Him ( 1 John 4:15), as the children of God ( 1 John 3:1-2; 1 John 3:9-10), out of God ( 1 John 3:10). But this is brought about by means of an ethical life-process ( 1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:1). We become the children of God. But nothing is said here on this point, or on the mediation of Christ and faith in Him. We have therefore to set aside all expositions, which weaken the thought, like those of Socinus (“Dei similem esse”) and Rosenmüller (“Amari a Deo” and “beneficiis ab eo ornari,” or introduce a foreign element, like that of Hilgenfeld (a destiny and necessity of nature represented in gnostico-dualistic manner), and those which misapprehend or reverse the right order in making the doing of righteousness the condition of our adoption (Socinus, Episcopius, Semler, al.); the false relation also of doing righteousness to standing in the judgment (a Lapide, Emser, Estius) has to be excluded as irrelevant.—Lücke (2d ed.) says “properly one ought to have expected οτι πᾶς γεγεννημένος ἐξ αὐτοῦ ποιεῖ τὴν δικαιοσύνην;” this is not correct although the thought is correct per se. John makes the perceptible and cognizable ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην a sure token of the hidden life of the inner Prayer of Manasseh, which began with the birth out of God, of the adoption, of the life out of which death cannot destroy and which can glory against the judgment. The relation between γεγεννῆσθαι ἐκ θεοῦ and ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην is exactly like that between κοινωνίαν ἔχειν μετὰ θεοῦ and περιπατεῖν ἐν τῷ φωτί in 1 John 1:6.

    Connection with the preceding, and development in the sequel.—The rich and independent thought is the introduction to or the text of the next part. Its fundamental tone is δίκαιός ἐστι, parallel to φῶς ἐστι, which is a further confirmation of the presumption that God is the subject. It is impossible to restrict the notion δίκαιος by the side of the inference which is here drawn from it, to justitia judicialis. Hence we must not seek or find an internal reciprocal relationship between the judgment, (to which 1 John 2:28 is supposed to refer, but of which nothing is said, the reference being simply to Christ’s Advent), and righteousness; we need not think of the judicial function of the Divine righteousness nor of our being able to stand before the righteous Judge only through doing righteousness. But John in concluding the first part with the strong consolation which on the ground of the walk in light, adverts with hopeful promise to the blessed destination of Christians, passes from the παῤῥησία in the Advent to the thought of the Sonship, of the hope, the glory and heritage of the children of God. This is the connection with what goes before. The next main part of the Epistle is analytically divided by the development of this idea of a glorious birth out of God.

    DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

    1. God’s attribute of righteousness is not only energetically active, but also communicative.

    2. The import of regeneration should be laid hold of by its indispensable consequence; viz.: ποιεῖν τὴν δικαιοσύνην, and even its nature defined as a beginning of a new, Divine life.

    3. The vital power and root of a truly valid righteousness in our being and walking, lie not in man as he Isaiah, but only in God, and out of God only in man as he has become a Christian.

    HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

    Determine [find out experimentally,—M.] what thou knowest.—Not only every gift of God is good and perfect, but both all the good, and all perfection are the gifts of Him, the Righteous one.—God gives and man—not only has but becomes [comes into existence.—M.].—God rules over thee and has His work in thee, that thou mayest become and remain His child.—Whatever is Divine prompts and impels the ethical, by which the Divine may be identified.—The cause of regeneration is the righteous God, and an ethical status is its mark and sign.

    Spener:—No man has by nature the power to do right or to work righteousness, but it comes only from his regeneration, from Christ, who makes us strong by regeneration and His dwelling in us.

    Lange:—The Gospel is careful with the law to connect the righteousness of faith with the righteousness of life and therein lies a true mark of a sincere evangelical preacher and a sincere evangelical hearer.

    Starke:—Believers are assured by their doing right, that, they have become the children of God by grace, that consequently they may joyfully appear before the judgment seat of God knowing that no Father will suffer his children to be put to confusion of face, and in this faith and undoubting hope they may joyfully take leave of this world.

    Besser:—The Apostle’s rejoicing over the present power of the children of God over sin Isaiah, as it were, a ladder on which he ascends to the glory that is still reserved for them; and the hope of this future glory impels him once more to charge his little children to use with all diligence the Christian virtue already accorded to them, uninfluenced by the seducers who pretended to be able to see the Lord without holiness.

    [Ezek. Hopkins:—Those who do God’s commandments, have a right of heirship and inheritance unto eternal life. For they are born of God and therefore heaven is their patrimony, their paternal estate: for the Apostle saith “Every one that doeth righteousness is born of God,” and if they are born of God then according to St. Paul’s argument Romans 8:17 : “If children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ,” who is the “heir of all things.” The trial of thy legitimacy, whether thou art a true and genuine son of God will lie upon thy obedience to His commands, for “in this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil; whosoever is born of God does not commit sin … and whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God.” 1 John 3:9-10. Now if by our obedience and dutifulness, it appears, that we are indeed the children of God, our Father will certainly give us a child’s portion; and that is no less than a kingdom. So saith our Saviour Luke 12:32; “Fear not, little flock: for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”—M.].

    Footnotes:

    FN#60 - 1 John 2:29. German: “If ye know that He is righteous, know ye.” The Imperative is found in the margin of E. V, Wicl. Tynd. Cranm. Rhemish, Syriac, Latin (except Pagn. Beza), German, Dutch, Italian and French versions, and adopted by the authorities cited below in Exeget. and Crit.—M.]

    FN#61 - καὶ after ὅτι and before πᾶς is the reading of A. C. Sin, many cursives and versions. “Cujus addendi nulla causa erat; ex Johannis vero usu est.” (Tischendorf, who omits it in his 7 th edition). [If καὶ is genuine it serves “to mark the congruity of the inference and the premise,” as Ebrard observes.—M.]

    FN#62 - German: retaining καὶ: “that also every one that doeth the righteousness hath been born of Him.”—M.]


    Copyright Statement
    These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

    Bibliography
    Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/1-john-2.html. 1857-84.

    E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

    The Lord is righteous and hence can beget righteous offspring only. The exhortation is for the disciples to honor their family reputation by being righteous.


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

    Bibliography
    Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/1-john-2.html. 1952.

    FELLOWSHIP

    WITH GOD

    WHO IS RIGHTEOUS

    1 John 2:29. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

    We have come to the second great division of the Epistle and we learn that God is righteous. He is righteous in every thing He does, which means that He always does the right thing.

    We find some people sitting in judgment on God, asking why He permits certain things to happen in the earth. They mention war, bloodshed, and sorrow and ask why God does not step into the scene.

    My friend, may I say to you, do not sit in judgment on God! Dare we infer that we are more righteous than God? Dare we infer that we are more loving or more merciful than God?

    God is not dealing with nations today. God is dealing with men and women everywhere, wherever He finds them. If God were dealing with nations today, the wrath of God would be upon them for their sins, their corruption, and their opposition to Him. God is righteous, and everything He does is right.

    I may not understand all that He does. That does not alter the fact. Abraham, as he pleaded for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, could say,

    "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" ( Genesis 18:25).

    Here, then, is the revelation that God is righteous. The requirement for fellowship with a righteous God, of course, is righteousness.

    A believer may be discouraged to find that after a profession of faith he still sins. We discussed this at the end of the first chapter and the beginning of the second chapter. God has made provision for cleansing and forgiving the sins of His people.

    Yet it is true that a practical righteousness certainly must be consistent in one who is in fellowship with a righteous God. If we claim to be in fellowship with a God who is righteous, then our lives will be righteous. At least there will be evidence of practical righteousness which will be consistent with the God whom we love and serve and with whom we walk.

    This is not to be confused with imputed righteousness, which means to

    "be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" ( Philippians 3:9).b

    "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us . . . righteousness" ( 1 Corinthians 1:30).

    "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" ( Romans 10:4).b

    "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" ( 2 Corinthians 5:21).

    Romans 1:16-17 states that the gospel is the revelation of the righteousness of God. Romans 3:21-31, that basic passage on justification by faith, declares that God may be just (righteous) and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.

    When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He made it possible for God to seek unrighteous, sinful people and pronounce them righteous.

    Remember that sin pays wages, and God executes the penalty. How can we be freed?

    How can God be freed so that He can pronounce proven sinners to be righteous?

    When Christ died on the cross, He satisfied the righteous character of God and freed God to be able to pronounce righteous those sinners who believe on His Son. This is an imputed righteousness.

    Since we are in Christ Jesus, we are made the righteousness of God in Him. Such a position in Christ will also be evident in our walk. If we claim to be the children of a righteous God, then our lives ought to manifest something of that righteousness. The righteousness which we have in Christ is a divine righteousness and is able to stand the test of the holy, righteous character of God.

    An unsaved person, one who is born and shapen in iniquity, cannot manifest righteousness. But the person who accepts the Saviour becomes a new man or a new woman in Christ and stands before God in all the righteousness of Christ, being accepted in the beloved ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Ephesians 1:6).

    This is what will be manifested as we walk in fellowship with God. Our lives will be changed. It is true that while we are still in our bodies we will have frailty and weakness and failure at times. This does not alter the fact that we stand before God in all the righteousness of Christ and that practical righteousness is the norm for one who is in fellowship with a righteous God.

    Let us be very clear about this. Imputed righteousness, that Isaiah , our standing before God, is based on our relationship with God.

    When we manifest practical righteousness, we are proving the source of a new life. We are then revealing the fact that we belong to God. People may notice and say that we are different. Of course, we are different! "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature" ( 2 Corinthians 5:17). We have the opportunity to be a channel for God to display His righteousness before men. The danger is that we throw up our hands and say, "Well, I guess this is not for me. I fail so often." So the Apostle goes on with:


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    Bibliography
    Mitchell, John G. D.D. "Commentary on 1 John 2:29". "Mitchell's Commentary on Selected New Testament Books". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jgm/1-john-2.html.

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