1 John 2:1-6 – Our Advocate, Jesus Christ


1 John 2:1-6


Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and our advocate with the Father. Those who know and abide in Christ obey his commandments.


In addressing readers as “little children,” the author assumes a parental role of spiritual leadership as well as intimacy with readers. He writes to keep them from sinning, but also to reassure them that if they do sin, Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father (2:1) and the atoning sacrifice for our sins (2:2). 

The mention of Jesus Christ as our “advocate” (parakletos) recalls the language John’s Gospel uses to speak of the Spirit. Jesus’ promise in John 14:16 that the Father will send “another advocate” seems to confirm that Jesus himself was the first advocate, so 1 John’s reference to Jesus as our advocate is not at odds with John’s Gospel. Indeed, John’s Gospel consistently emphasizes the continuity between the activity of Jesus and that of the Spirit. 

The statement that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, “and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world (kosmos)” seems remarkable given the author’s otherwise negative view of the world as the realm of unbelief. Even though many reject God’s Son and those who believe in him, the author nevertheless declares that Jesus atones for the sins of all, seemingly holding out hope that those of the world will yet come to believe.1 John 2:3-6 uses the language of knowing (ginôskein) and abiding (menein) in Jesus, also common in John’s Gospel. Most likely those who had separated from the Johannine community also used this language. The author speaks of criteria for being sure that we know and abide in Jesus – the criteria of obeying his commandments and walking as he walked. Believing in, knowing, and abiding in Jesus naturally produces a life of obedience modeled on Jesus’ life of self-giving love.