We’re continuing our study of the letter of 1 John. In this letter, John instructs his readers on how to have fellowship with Yeshua and the Father. In verse 3 of chapter 1 John writes, "So that you too may have fellowship with us.” The main theme of the Epistle is fellowship with Yahweh.
Colin G Kruse writes,
John wrote this epistle to enable believers to appreciate their 'fellowship with God,' and he wrote to deepen that fellowship. Alongside the provision of criteria to show the secessionists are wrong, the author provided other criteria which, if applied by the readers to themselves, would show that they are in the right; they are the ones who know God, who have fellowship with him, and who have eternal life.” [Kruse, C. G. (2000). The letters of John (pp. 1-26). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans Pub.; Apollos.]
There are several terms in this epistle that John used as synonyms: "fellowship with God," "knowing God," "abiding in God," and "seeing God." These terms all describe the experience of Christians. They all describe our relationship with God in varying degrees of intimacy. Fellowship with God is a matter of greater or lesser intimacy. When we speak of being "in fellowship" or "out of fellowship," we are oversimplifying our relationship to God. All Christians possess eternal life, but not all experience that life as God intended us to enjoy it (John 10:10). John's subject concerns true and false versions of fellowship with God. It is not an invitation to introspective doubts concerning salvation.
In our last study we looked at verses 18 and 19 of chapter 2:
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 1 John 2:18 ESV
Writing around AD 60-65, John was telling his readers that the antichrists that they were seeing were an indication that it was the “last hour.” That hour ended in AD 70, but there will always be antichrists. In other words, there will always be those who oppose Christ.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:19 ESV
We need to understand the identity of the “us” here. It is repeated five times in this verse in contrast to the “you” of the preceding and following verses. What we have here is a we-you-us contrast. I see the “us” here as a reference to the apostolic circle, the church at Jerusalem. This would mean that these false teachers had gone out from among the apostles and were claiming that their message was what the apostles endorsed. Having come from this church and from among the apostles, these antichrists would have had an aura of authority. But John makes it clear, “they all are not of us.” They have no authority. What they are teaching is false. Don’t believe them.
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 1 John 2:20 ESV
"You" here is plural which is emphasized in the Greek text in contradistinction to those who had left the Jerusalem church. “You” here is different from the “us” of verse 19. They are in different locations—John the writer is in Jerusalem and the readers (“you”) are in Asia Minor.
John is telling them that “you have been anointed by the Holy One.” It is likely that these pre-Gnostic false teachers were asserting that they had secret knowledge. They claimed a special anointing which brought knowledge and identification with a deity. John asserts that it was believers, not the Gnostics, who had the anointing. The New Testament does not speak of a “special” anointing given to particular individuals.
The word “anointed,” is the Greek word chrisma.” It is found only here in verse 20 and then twice in verse 27. It appears nowhere else in the New Testament. The cognate verb “to anoint” (chriō) is found in several other places, where it refers mostly to Yeshua being anointed by God with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38).
The meaning of chrisma is disputed. The noun form may mean either (1) “the means of anointing” (i.e., the oil or ointment itself that is placed on someone) or (2) “the results of receiving an anointing.” The background of the term in the Tanakh includes the general use of “anointing oil” for purposes of consecration (Exodus 29”7; 30:25; 35:15), but there was also a figurative significance to anointing, as we see in 1 Samuel:
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:13 ESV
Samuel anointed David, and the Spirit of Yahweh came upon him with power. Similarly, in Isaiah 61:1 we see that the Servant of Yahweh was “anointed” by the Spirit to proclaim the good news. This figurative usage for anointing with/by the Spirit is picked up in the New Testament:
… how God anointed Yeshua of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:38 ESV
So, it seems probable that John’s use of chrisma refers not to the means of anointing (that is, the substance itself, the anointing oil) but to the results of receiving the anointing.
Johannine usage seems to point to the Holy Spirit as the anointing here. In 1 John 2:20, knowledge (“and you all have knowledge”) is the result of having the chrisma, while in John 14:17, knowledge is given by the Paraclete. Therefore, the "anointing" referred to is evidently the Holy Spirit, whom Yeshua gives to each believer at conversion:
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Romans 8:9 ESV
“Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” This is one of the clearest statements in Scripture refuting the false notion that the reception of the Spirit is a second work of grace for the Christian.
Some, through the years, had the idea that a person is saved but then receives the Holy Spirit at a later time. There were many who believed that the Holy Spirit didn't come until and unless a believer had the gift of tongues. And if someone never got the gift of tongues, he never got the Holy Spirit.
When Peter reported to the council of leaders in Jerusalem what God had done in accepting the Gentiles, his argument could not have been clearer (Acts 15:7-9). Evidence of their divine acceptance was that they had received the Spirit of God as had the Jerusalem Church at Pentecost.
One common characteristic of all Christians is the fact that they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We don't need to talk today about "receiving the Holy Spirit" because every believer has received Him. Paul says to his readers, "If you are a Christian, then the Holy Spirit indwells you." The test of the possession of spiritual life is not membership in a church. It is not water baptism nor is it sitting at the Lord's table. It is not found in a believer’s attendance at meetings in an evangelical church. The final test of the possession of spiritual life is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life. "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him."
So how do we know if someone has the Holy Spirit? Should we expect to see him speaking in tongues? Do we look for signs and wonders being manifested by him? What is the evidence of the Spirit? It is faith—belief in Yeshua:
Everyone who believes that Yeshua is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 1 John 5:1 ESV
If you have faith, you do so because the Spirit indwells you. On the basis of the work of Christ in His death, the Spirit is present with every believer. This presence of the Holy Spirit in every believer enables him or her to perceive the truth of the gospel. But now that raises the question of how the Holy Spirit enables us to know the truth about Christ. Is John speaking of an internal, private, subjective experience of the Spirit's leading?
In view of his regular appeals to what has been taught and heard and believed "from the beginning," an appeal to an inner subjective guiding seems unlikely. The guiding work of the Spirit cannot be separated from the content of the message itself. Being controlled by the Spirit comes from letting the Word of Christ abide in us. Notice what Paul says:
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 ESV
Paul tells the Ephesians to "be filled with/controlled by the Spirit," then he says:
… addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Yeshua Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:19-21 ESV
Then to the Colossians Paul says:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16 ESV
Paul tells the Colossians, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…," then he says:
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Colossians 3:16-18 ESV
Because the passages that follow each are so similar, it seems clear that the two concepts, "being filled with the Spirit" and "letting the word of Christ richly dwell within you," are identical. The result of being filled with the Holy Spirit is the same as the result of letting the Word richly dwell in one's life. Therefore, the two are the same spiritual reality viewed from two sides. To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by His Word.
The Lord reveals Himself to us through the written Word of God. If we want to be controlled by the Spirit, we must spend time in His Word. We must read our Bible over and over until we are at home with it. We are called to love the Word, live in the Word, pray the Word, and memorize the Word.
The anointing, John says, is something they have, “By the Holy One.” People argue over which member of the Trinity this refers to. But does it matter? They are all God. This phrase itself is never a title for the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. This phrase is found nowhere else in 1 John, but it occurs once in the Fourth Gospel when the disciples say to Christ
… and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:69 ESV
So, I would say that we can interpret “the Holy One” here as a reference to Christ. In the Fourth Gospel, Christ promised to send the Paraclete to be with his disciples after his own departure; and when the Paraclete came, he would teach them the truth (John 15:26; 16:7, 12–15). John is reminding his readers of this by telling them that an anointing from the Holy One will teach them also.
“And you all have knowledge”—this last phrase in the verse is translated differently by the translators. YLT renders it as: “and have known all things.” In the NASB and LEB, we find: “and you all know.” The KJV and ASV have “and ye know all things” while the NIV and CSB translate it as: “and all of you know the truth.”
A literal translation would be “you all know.” The word “truth” is not found in the original but has been added by the translators of the NIV and CSB.There is a Greek manuscript variant in this phrase. The NKJV follows the uncial manuscripts A, C, and K, which render panta (“all,” a neuter plural) as a direct object, while the NASB follows manuscripts א, B, and P, which view pantes (masculine plural) as the subject “you all.” In light of the exclusivistic claims of the false teachers, (e.g. some have ALL knowledge), the last option is best. (ALL have knowledge). The UBS4 gives it a "B" rating (almost certain). The anointing and knowledge are given to all believers, not a select, special, intellectual, spiritual few!
The reference to “having all knowledge” here needs to be understood in the context. The subject under discussion is the denial that Yeshua is the Christ, God’s Son come in the flesh. Nothing they need to know about these matters has to be learned from the secessionists. Everything they need to know is taught them by the anointing they have received.
John is telling his readers that spiritual knowledge is not restricted to some elite inner circle. You have an anointing from the Lord himself, the Holy Spirit of God, and you all know—not just some of you, not just some special group—you all know. This is a universal knowledge because of a built in spiritual instinct and a built in spiritual power through the person of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Stott says, “The false teachers may have been using the word ‘anointing’ as a technical term for being initiated into their special gnosis, or knowledge [John Stott, The Epistles of John (Eerdmans), p. 107].
When John says, “you all have knowledge,” he is not saying that you don't need teachers to teach the word of God, otherwise I would be redundant. And John would be also because he's writing a letter, an epistle, and he's teaching them himself. What he means is that the Christian does not need any teaching apart from what is found in God's word. But these pre-Gnostics profess to have additional truth, and John is saying that there is no need of it because they have all they need in the Spirit.
I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 1 John 2:21 ESV
“I write to you”—this is an epistolary aorist which refers to the entirety of the present letter. The truth to which John refers in this context is the truth about Yeshua, that he is the Christ (Messiah)—something the secessionists were denying and thus revealing themselves to be antichrists (2:22–23).
This “truth” versus “lie” motif was introduced back in 1 John 1:6:
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 1 John 1:6 ESV
Here it is the person who claims to have fellowship with God and yet continues to walk in darkness that is characterized as “lying” and “not practicing the truth.” In 2:21 the phrase “no lie is of the truth” refers to the teaching of the opponents. So, these opponents are walking in darkness and are not in fellowship with God.
John is emphasizing truth here. He says that they know the truth and that no lie is of the truth. Truth matters! But we live in a day when the whole idea of truth is minimized. We are told today that doctrine divides. People want to set aside doctrinal differences and find fellowship around the things upon which there is agreement. This is justified by another popular mantra: “Yeshua said that they will know that we are His disciples by our love, not by our doctrine.” The implication is: “Set aside your doctrinal views and accept everyone no matter what they believe about Yeshua.” Tolerance, unity, and love are viewed as much more important than doctrinal truth. You are free to have your own spiritual opinions as long as you do not claim that your view is the only true view.
This prevailing tenet of postmodernism has now invaded the church through “the emergent church.” This growing movement downplays preaching (what could be more arrogant than for one man to stand up and say that he is proclaiming the truth?). And it magnifies sharing personal experiences in an accepting, non-judgmental atmosphere.
Who is the liar but he who denies that Yeshua is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:22 ESV
"Who is the liar"—this phrase has the definite article, therefore, John is referring to “the antichrist.” “The liar” is parallel to “the antichrist.” I think that it is significant that John first writes about love for the brethren but then calls these opponents “antichrist” and “liars.”
Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 John 2:10-11 ESV
Does that sound loving? Yes. It is loving to warn the believers to whom he is writing.
“He who denies that Yeshua is the Christ”—this is the first time in the letter that John explicitly states the Christological position of the opponents. The Greek text literally reads, “the one who denies that Yeshua is not the Christ,” but the double negative in Greek does not cancel out the negation as it does in English. These false teachers were teaching that Yeshua is not the Christ. They separated the man Yeshua from the Christ who is God. The antichrists lie because they deny that “Yeshua is the Christ,” God's Son and our Savior. Notice Martha’s confession:
Yeshua said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” John 11:25-27 ESV
Martha’s words here are almost identical to those of John 20:30-31 that state the purpose of the Fourth gospel:
Now Yeshua did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Yeshua is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31 ESV
So, when Martha says, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God," she has really reached the goal that John hoped would be reached when individuals read his testimony as found in his book.
Martha's statement is one of the clearest recognitions of Yeshua as the Messiah that we see in John's Gospel, and it is one of the fullest professions of faith found in the New Testament.
She uses three different titles to express her faith:
(1) "The Christ,” is the Greek translation of Messiah, the Anointed One.
(2) "The Son of God," is a title used in the Tanakh of the Messiah.
(3) "He who comes" is another title in the Tanakh of God's promised One who was to bring in the new age of righteousness.
It is obvious by Martha’s use of these titles that she did not hold to the popular idea that “Messiah” was to be a revolutionary leader but believed the biblical revelation that He was the God-man whom God had promised to send from heaven.
“He who denies that Yeshua is the Christ”—thiswould have been the position, not only of the Jews who rejected Yeshua as the Messiah, but of other false teachers to whom John alluded elsewhere. Among these were the pre-Gnostics who believed that anything material was sinful, and, therefore Yeshua could not have been God's Son. They considered "Yeshua" and "Christ" as two distinct entities. They were rejecting the orthodox interpretation of the incarnation, according to which Yeshua’s divine and human natures were fully united.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 ESV
In verse 1, John says that “the Word was God.” Now he declares that God the Word became flesh. The "Word became flesh" has been expressed by the theological term "Incarnation." It comes from two Latin words—"in" plus "cargo." The meaning is: "infleshment, the act of assuming flesh." Yahweh chose to become united to true humanity. The incarnation came about through the miracle of the virgin birth.
The child Yeshua was to be Immanuel—God with us. At the incarnation, God the Son, the second person of the one triune God, was forever joined to true humanity. This joining together has been designated as the "Hypostatic Union." So, the Doctrine of the Hypostatic Union is the doctrine of the personal union of the two natures, the divine and the human, of the Lord Yeshua.
Yeshua the Christ is 100% God and 100% man. This is where we get the theological term "theanthropic," which comes from theos (“God”) and anthropos ("man"). Yeshua the Christ is the God-Man. He is one person with two natures.
Cerinthus apparently denied the incarnation on the grounds that the virgin birth was an impossibility. He rejected the sacrificial death of Yeshua on the cross because Christ as “spirit” could not suffer, and he distinguished between a “lower” god from whom Yeshua came and a “higher” god from whom came the Christ. However, this is about all we know about his views, and it is far from certain that the false Christology put forward by the secessionists in 1 John is related to the Cerinthian heresy.
The Docetists, who were the forerunners to the Gnostics, taught that the man, Yeshua, was born in Bethlehem and that He had no preexistence. When He was baptized in the Jordan, the Spirit of God came down upon Him, the Christ-Spirit, and enlightened Him and made Him presently at that moment the Christ and anointed one of God. That same Spirit left Him before He died at Calvary—so He was born a man and died a man! That's not the Christ of the Bible. That is what Paul calls “another Yeshua”:
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Yeshua than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 ESV
Paul says that there are those who worship “another Yeshua” who is a fictitious character of their own imagination and an individual who bears no resemblance or relationship to the true Christ of God found within the word of God.
Most heresies go astray with regard to the person or work of Yeshua. These false teachers denied the full deity of Yeshua. They denied the incarnation—the biblical view that God took on human flesh in the virgin birth of Yeshua. The modern cults all go astray on the person and work of Yeshua the Christ. They deny His deity and His substitutionary death on the cross. They deny the trinity.
The Gnostics taught two things about salvation. One group asserted that a special knowledge of angelic spheres (aeon) brought a salvation of the spirit unrelated to the actions of the body on the physical plain. That sure sounds like a man-made religion. You can do whatever you want in the flesh and live it up; it has no effect on your spiritual life. Another group accentuated physical asceticism. They claimed that a total denial of bodily wants and needs was crucial to a true salvation. Take your pick.
“He who denies the Father and the Son”—they deny the Father and Son because whoever denies the Son doesn’t have the Father.
No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:23 ESV
This verse in the Textus Receptus, following the uncial manuscripts K and L, has shortened the original text by omitting the second parallel reference to the Father, which is strongly supported by the Greek uncial manuscripts א, A, B, and C.
Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 1 John 2:23 KJV
So, the longer version has better manuscript support.
“No one who denies the Son has the Father”—John is repeating an idea here that Yeshua expressed often, as recorded in the Gospel of John. Yeshua said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me” (John 12:44-45). “He who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (John 13:20).
It is not true to say that Jewish people who believe in the God of the Tanakh are accepted into God's Kingdom because they deny the Son. They therefore deny the God who is Father and Son. Those who deny the Son do not have the Father. Those who confess the Son have the Father. There is no way to the Father except through the Son. There is no true understanding of God unless you understand the God who is God and Father of our Lord Yeshua, the Christ, and that He is one in essence with Christ.
This seems pretty clear from this text and yet it is denied by one of the most popular preachers in America today, John Hagee. He teaches a heresy known as "Zionism." Religious Zionism teaches that God has a separate covenant with Israel and another with the Gentile Church. This false teaching is sometimes called a "Dual Covenant Theology." It is totally unbiblical.
Hagee stated to the Houston Chronicle that he believes that Jews have a special covenant with God and do not need to come to the cross for salvation.
No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:23 ESV
Hagee obviously disagrees with this text because he says that Jews can deny the Son and still have the Father. According to Hagee, Jews do not need to be born again. Mr. Hagee told the Texas newspaper: "I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the Word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption." (Houston Chronicle, April 30, 1988).
The Houston Chronicle Newspaper then quoted Hagee as saying, "I'm not trying to convert the Jewish people to the Christian faith... In fact, trying to convert Jews is a waste of time. Jews already have a covenant with God and that has never been replaced by Christianity." (Houston Chronicle, April 30, 1988, sec, 6, pg. 1).
This is very troubling. Is Hagee saying that the Old Covenant was not replaced by the New Covenant? To whom was the New Covenant promised? Clearly, it was promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. Whom did Christ come to redeem?
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 ESV
Who are “His people”? They are Jews. So, was Yeshua wrong in seeking to convert Jewish people. No? Notice His own words:
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24 ESV
Yeshua came to bring the Gospel to the Jews and for ten Years the church was strictly Jewish. You have to question how well Hagee knows the Bible.
No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:23 ESV
Some have understood the first part of this verse to mean that it is impossible for a true Christian, one who "has the Father," to ever deny the Son. This interpretation seems inconsistent with other Scripture (2 Tim. 2:12) and with human experience as well. There is no doubt that some genuine Christians have denied Christ in order to avoid martyrdom. In the context, John wrote about an abiding relationship with God, not a saving relationship.
“Has the Father”—can easily be seen as synonymous with “to know God” or “to have fellowship with God” or “to abide in Him.” What John is conveying here is that whoever denies the Son does not have the Father abiding in him, and he is, therefore, not walking in the light. In this view, one who denies the Son does not have an abiding relationship with the Father. This describes all unbelievers as well as those believers who are not abiding in God.
Remember the secessionists claimed to have fellowship with God (1:5) and even to live in God (2:6), but such claims are empty when made by people who deny that Yeshua the Christ is God’s Son come in the flesh.
“Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also”—confessing the Son is the opposite of denying Him. The word “confesses” here is the Greek homologeō which is from "to speak" and "the same." It literally means “to say the same thing.” Confessing the Son, therefore, means saying the same thing about Him that God says. Confessing the Son results in the Father abiding in the confessor.
A non-abiding Christian might not "confess" Christ, even though he or she believes in Him. Both denying Christ and confessing Christ deal with giving personal testimony to one's faith in Him; they do not determine salvation. Thus, denying Christ cannot result in the loss of eternal salvation nor can confessing Him obtain it.
John warned his readers of the danger to their intimate fellowship with God that the teaching of those who denied that Yeshua is the Christ posed. If they rejected the Son, they could not expect an intimate relationship with the Father.
Zane Hodges writes,
The principle source of confusion in much contemporary study of 1 John is to be found in the failure to recognize the real danger against which the writer is warning. The eternal salvation of the readership is not imperilled [sic]. It is not even in doubt as far as the author is concerned. But seduction by the world and its antichristian representatives is a genuine threat which must be faced. [Hodges, The Gospel Under Seige p. 55.]Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 1 John 2:24 ESV
John called on his readers to abide in the true doctrine of Yeshua to enable them to abide in fellowship with God. John will use the word abide (meno) six times in these few verses, and the idea is repeated throughout the New Testament. Abiding in Yeshua is not a passive thing; it is an active thing. Abide speaks of an intimate fellowship.
“Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you”—this is a present active imperative with a grammatical emphasis on "you" (which is at the beginning of the Greek phrase). John reminds his readers that what he is now telling them is in fact what the church has heard from the beginning. It is contrary to what the false teachers were teaching. John is using "beginning" as he did in verse 1. When John describes the Word of life as "What was from the beginning," he is speaking primarily of the Word of life incarnate in Yeshua not of the Word existing with God prior to the foundation of the world. He also uses it this way later in the book to mean the beginning of the gospel.
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 1 John 3:11 ESV
John's emphasis here is that the Gospel message has not changed. It is the same message that has been proclaimed from the earliest days of Christ's ministry. Also, the emphasis of the rest of verse 1 is on Christ's humanity. So, John's point would be that his message is not the new message of the pre-Gnostics. Rather, it is the old message, which has been proclaimed from the earliest days of Christ's ministry.
“If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father”—"If" is a third class conditional sentence which means potential action. This continues the warning and admonition related to "abiding."
The phrase “what you heard from the beginning” refers to the apostolic eyewitness testimony about Yeshua as contrasted with the false teaching of the secessionist opponents. This teaching must abide in the readers in order for them to abide in the Son and in the Father. If they deviate from the truth, they will be walking in darkness and will not be in fellowship with Yeshua or the Father.
And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 1 John 2:25 ESV
This is the only time John used the Greek word epaggelia, ("promise") in all his writings.
The antichrists deny that Yeshua is the Christ (verse 22) But it is only by believing that Yeshua in the Christ that a person obtains eternal life. The promise of eternal life is only made to those who believe that Yeshua is the Christ. It was nothing less than this God- given promise that was called into question by the doctrine of the antichrists. John reassures his readers that this promise is valid for them.
Did the believers in the first century prior to the coming of Christ have eternal life?
who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:30 ESV
The New Testament writers lived in the age that they called "this age." To the New Testament writers, "the age to come" was future, but it was very near because "this age," the age they lived in, was about to end. So how could these New Testament believers be said to have eternal life? We can say that this is the already/not yet of the transition period. Or we could say that their having eternal life is a prolepsis—the representation or assumption of a future act or development as if presently existing or accomplished.
So, what we see from this text is that if we want to abide in Christ and if we want to live in fellowship with Yahweh, we need to walk in the light. This light includes a proper doctrinal view of Christ. John was warning his readers that if they let these lying antichrists deceive them, they would loose their fellowship with Yahweh. This shows us the importance of a proper Christology.