We May Have Confidence - 1 John 2:28-29

The apostle John’s first letter has focused on the believer’s fellowship with the Father and growth in the Son. This fellowship and growth is summed up by John as walking in the Light and abiding in Him.  Believers who conduct themselves in this manner enjoy blessings such as joy, forgiveness, cleansing, and having an Advocate with the Father. Believers also enjoy the blessing of confidence. John wrote, “And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He is manifested, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who does righteousness has been born of Him” (1 Jn. 2:28-29).

Jesus will be manifested, and believers will either have confidence or be put to shame when He appears. Our relationship with Him now will affect our relationship with Him then. We can have confidence if we abide in Him. What does that look like? Abiding in Him means to remain in a certain realm or sphere, and we are initially introduced into that sphere when we are baptized into Christ. We remain in that relationship by doing righteousness (conforming our attitudes and behavior to His standard, 1 Jn. 2:29). The believer who lives this way has fellowship with Him now and has every reason to be confident when He appears.

John also warned that being put to shame is something that could happen when Jesus returns. Frederick Danker suggests that this emphasizes a sense of separation. What would cause us to be separated from Him when He appears? A failure to abide in Him and a failure to do righteousness will cause us to be separated.  The teaching of Jesus in Mt. 25:31-46 illustrates this. We cannot expect to be welcomed into His presence if we have refused to live according to His will. All that remains for the one who lives that way is shame and rejection.

Those who have born of Him can live with confidence. They have the assurance that they are in fellowship with the Father and the Son. The confidence of the believer, however, is not based on subjective feelings. We can be confident by doing righteousness. Those who have been born of Him and live in accordance with His standards for acceptable behavior will not be rejected by Him when He appears. Rather, they will be embraced and welcomed into their eternal home.

The readers of John’s first epistle may have been plagued with doubt.  John wrote to complete their joy (1 Jn. 1:4) and to cancel their doubt. Our Teacher is coming back, and we can have confidence on that day by abiding in Him and doing righteousness. Let’s live confidently as those who have been born of Him.