The words of 1 John 2:7-11 echo our Lord’s own commandment in John 3:34-35, about His disciples’ responsibility to love each other. The Holy Spirit here “amplifies” the Master’s words by showing that Christians who practice His words amid the present world’s darkness are highlighting the fact that the end of sin’s “darkness” is imminent (vs. 8)! Verses 9-11 caution believers to not be drawn back into ungodly attitudes or actions because those things will make us hypocrites who lose the blessing of salvation we have received through Jesus the Christ (cf. 1 Peter 2:1).
John’s beautifully poetic “explanation” of his (inspired) reasons for writing this letter (in 2:12- 14) emphasize the confidence with which we should live as Christians, and these reasons set the stage for the familiar commandments of verses 15-17, about not loving the world. If we are confident that our sins are forgiven (vs. 12); that we do “know” Jesus (the Greek word used in vs. 13 means to know with certainty, to be sure, cf. 1 John 1:7 & 9), that we have “conquered” our adversary (cf. John 16:33 & 1 Peter 5:8-9) and we also “know” the eternal Father of all (same Greek word); and that we are strong enough to overcome the evil one because the word of God is living within us (vs. 14, cf. John 8:31), then there is no temptation in the present world that we cannot resist and conquer (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13). The choice John is illustrating for us is the difference between things that abide (that last in eternity) and things that are at best temporary – the cares, desires, and pleasures of the present world (note Hebrews 11:24-26) that are already passing away (remember vs. 8).
It is fascinating to consider how focused many modern-day “prophets” seem to be with matters and events of the “last days/end times.” When we compare their calculations and predictions with John’s inspired, matter-of-fact statement in 1 John 2:18, we learn that Christians have been living in the “last hour” (of human existence) since the time he wrote these words (note also Hebrews 1:2). Not only does he tell us this, but the presence of many “antichrists” is actually positive proof of this fact! (Therefore, any religious teacher who is still trying to “find” the beginning of the last days/end times/last hour is contradicting the Holy Spirit’s plain statement here, and is thus by definition a false teacher.) John goes on in verses 21-29 to reemphasize the certainty of our hope for eternal life in Christ Jesus. He contrasts the promise God has made here with the lies of those who would argue about the nature of Jesus as the Christ – which he presents as an incontrovertible fact – as a way of highlighting that certainty. Those who are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17 & Galatians 6:15) can be perfectly confident in our salvation as long as we abide in Him (vs. 28), because we can “know” (a different Greek word than before, which means we can distinguish, recognize something) that we are “born” of Him (vs. 29).