1 John 2:5
But if anyone keeps His word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him:
Believers Exhorted not to SinB. W. Noel, M. A.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our Advocate1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our AdvocateW. F. Ireland, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our AdvocateJ. Gibbs.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our Advocate with the FatherJames Fenton, M. A.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our PropitiationE. Hoare, M. A.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our Propitiatory Sacrifice and Our AdvocateD. Inglis.1 John 2:1-6
Christ the Advocate of SinnersEssex Remembrancer1 John 2:1-6
Christian SinDudley Kidd.1 John 2:1-6
Christians have Delicate Perceptions of SinSteinhofer.1 John 2:1-6
Christ's Acquaintance with Man's CaseC. Stanford.1 John 2:1-6
Christ's IntercessionS. Charnock, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Christ's Intercession1 John 2:1-6
For the Sins of the Whole WorldSword and Trowel.1 John 2:1-6
Insufficiency of the Subjective View of the AtonementG. S. Barrett, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Is There a Doctrine of the Atonement in ScriptureJames Denney, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Man Lives in a Redeemed WorldR. W. Dale, LL. D.1 John 2:1-6
Man's Advocate with the FatherD. Thomas, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Nature and Ground of Christ's Advocacy as Meeting the Need of the Guileless SpiritR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Our Advocate on HighS. Martin.1 John 2:1-6
Preventatives Against SinW. Graham.1 John 2:1-6
Propitiation for SinC. New.1 John 2:1-6
Redemption for the Whole WorldW. Birch.1 John 2:1-6
Sin NotDudley Kidd.1 John 2:1-6
Sin Supposed: Sin Dealt withR. Finlayson 1 John 2:1-6
Sinless Aim of the Guileless SpiritR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Advocacy of ChristJ. Williams, M. A.1 John 2:1-6
The Gospel Prohibits SinC. Stanford, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Gracious ProvisionJ. O. Peck, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Intercession of ChristJ. Foot, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Knowledge of God Preventive of SinHugh Binning.1 John 2:1-6
The Propitiation IntelligibleJames Denney, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Propitiation of ChristGeorge Robson.1 John 2:1-6
The Sinner's AdvocateC. H. Spurgeon.1 John 2:1-6
The True PleaderG. Calvert.1 John 2:1-6
Warning and EncouragementJames Morgan, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Doing and KnowingF. D. Maurice, M. A.1 John 2:3-5
Our Attitude Towards the Commandments of God are Evidence of Christian LifeJ. M. Gibbon.1 John 2:3-5
Sincerity and DuplicityC. H. Spurgeon1 John 2:3-5
The Great Change and its EvidencesJ. Morgan, D. D.1 John 2:3-5
The Guileless Spirit Realising Through Obedience the Knowledge of God as the Means of Being and Abiding in GodR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 John 2:3-5
The Keeping of God's Commandments is Undoubtedly and Truly the Perfection of Our Love to GodJohn Cotton, B. D.1 John 2:3-5
The Keeping of the Divine WordHomilist1 John 2:3-5
The Love of GodT. Binney.1 John 2:3-5
The Saving Knowledge of Christ Evinced by a Practical Attention to His CommandmentsSketches of Four Hundred Sermons1 John 2:3-5
The True Knowledge of God and its Infallible ProofW. Jones 1 John 2:3-5
Theology and MoralityHomilist1 John 2:3-5

And hereby we know that we know him, etc. We have in our text -

I. AN EXALTED SPIRITUAL ATTAINMENT. To "know him," i.e., God. This is not to be altered and weakened into knowing certain doctrines concerning him; it is the knowledge of God himself. We may know, or think that we know, much about him, without knowing himself. This knowledge of God is not intellectual, but moral and spiritual. It is not the trained and vigorous intellect that sees God, but the pure heart. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." This knowledge is that inward and spiritual acquaintance with him which arises out of our faith in him and our love to him. Our Lord speaks of it as identical with eternal life. "This is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God," etc. Again, this knowledge is intimately and vitally related to love. "Every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love." It is by love that we know Him. Without love we cannot know him; the more we know him the more we shall love him, and the more we love him the more clearly and fully shall we know him. Yet, fully and perfectly, we can never know him. The ocean cannot be contained in a tea-cup. The finite cannot comprehend the Infinite. To the most advanced and holy of created intelligences God must ever remain incomprehensible. But we may know him truly, savingly, progressively, blessedly.

II. THE PROOF OF THIS EXALTED ATTAINMENT. "Hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments," etc. The sure evidence that we know him is "keeping his commandments" and" keeping his Word." The idea of the word ἐντολή which St. John uses here is "that of a charge laid upon us by one whom we ought to obey, a charge which love and duty urge us to fulfill, instead of the old idea of a law enforced by penalties, under which the slightest dereliction of duty constituted us transgressors. In short, he regards the Christian's duty as of personal rather than legal obligation "(Professor Lias, M.A.). It is certain, as Ebrard says, that "his Word" (verse 5) means essentially the same as "his commandments." "Nevertheless, 'his Word' is not perfectly synonymous with the 'commandments,' but denotes the revelation of the Divine wilt as one whole." The word translated "to keep" τηρεῖν will repay notice. It means "to watch, to guard, to watch over protectively" - "guarding as some precious thing." Thus it comes on to signify "to observe practically" - "observing to keep." When it is used to express obedience, it is obedience because the commandments and the Word are esteemed as precious, and are regarded as treasures not to be broken. "The Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good."

1. This keeping is habitual. This is indicated by the use of the present tense in verse 3: "if we keep." It does not denote the perfect keeping of the commandments without any omission or defect, but their habitual observance. It does not mean sinlessness, but that he who knows God, as a rule obeys him; he does not "walk in the darkness," but "in the light."

2. This keeping is the development of love. "Whoso keepeth his Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected." There has been much discussion of the question whether the love of God to man or the love of man to God is here meant. The discussion seems to us unnecessary. God is the great Fountain of love. All love flows from him. "We love, because he first loved us." Our love to him and. our love to each other are effects of his love to us. If, therefore, we say that the love of God in this verse is our love to him, we speak of his own love in one of its effects. The love of God has been perfected in him who keeps his Word. This cannot mean that the love to God of that man who keeps his Word is so perfected as not to admit of further growth or progress. We may get at the meaning thus: love aims at obedience, delights in obedience. Our Lord demands obedience as an evidence of our love to him (John 14:15, 21, 23, 24; John 15:10). If we take "perfected" as meaning that which is appropriately developed, that which has attained its end, then we see how love is perfected in keeping his Word. Our love to him is the effect of his love to us, and his will is that we should express our love to him by keeping his commandments, and when we do so his love attains its design - it is perfected.

3. This keeping is joyous. It is the keeping, not of that of which we would fain be rid, but (as the verb implies) of a prized treasure in which we delight. It is joyous, too, because it springs from love. Obedience to those we love is delightful. God's "service is perfect freedom." Where this obedience is not, the profession of the knowledge of God is false. "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." A man may be well versed in theology, may hold an orthodox creed, may be a member of a Christian Church, and may profess that he knows God, but if he does not heartily keep his commandments he "is a liar." "They profess that they know God; but by their works they deny him" (Titus 1:16). Let us examine ourselves by these inspired tests. Are we vindicating our Christian confession by our obedience to Divine commands? Are we expressing our love to God by a life conformed to his holy will? If we are, let us rejoice that we have in this a well-founded assurance "that we know him." And let no one dishonour God and delude himself with the false profession that he knows him. - W.J.

And hereby we know that we do know Him, if we keep His commandments
This is a more literal explanation of the Divine fellowship, considered as a fellowship of light, than has been given before. The light which is the atmosphere of the fellowship, or the medium of vision and sympathy through which it is realised, is the light of knowledge, the light of the knowledge of God. For the fellowship is intelligent as well as holy — intelligent that it may be holy.

I. THERE WERE THOSE IN JOHN'S DAY WHO AFFECTED TO KNOW GOD very deeply and intimately, in a very subtle and transcendental way. And through this knowledge of Him they professed to aspire to a participation of His godhead; their souls or spiritual essences being themselves effluences and emanations of His essence; and being, therefore, along with all other such effluences or emanations, ultimately embraced in the Deity of which they formed part. So they "knew God." But how did they know that they knew Him? Was it because they kept His commandments? Nay, their very boast was that they knew God so well as to be raised far above that commonplace keeping of the commandments which might do for the uninitiated, but for which they had neither time nor taste. John denounces strongly their impious pretence. To affect any knowledge of God that is not to be itself known and ascertained by the keeping of His commandments is to be false to the heart's core. God is known in Christ. And how may I know that I do really know Him thus? How otherwise than by my keeping His commandments? For this knowledge is intensely practical, not theoretic and speculative. Is my proud Will subdued and my independent spirit broken? Moved and melted by what I know of God, do I, as if instinctively, cry, "Lord, what wouldst Thou have me to do?" Then, to me, this word is indeed a precious word in season; "hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments" (ver. 3).

II. For while "he that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (ver. 4); "WHOSO KEEPETH HIS WORD, IN HIM VERILY IS THE LOVE OF GOD PERFECTED" (ver. 5). The change of expression here is surely meant to be significant. The keeping of His word is, as it were, the concentrated and condensed spirit and essence of the keeping of His commandments. The knowing ones stigmatised as liars pretended to know God, not as speaking, but simply as being; not by communication from Him, but by insight into Him; not by His word, but by their own wisdom. But you know Him by His word. And that word of His, when you keep it, perfects the good understanding, the covenant of love, between Him and you.

III. And thus "WE KNOW THAT WE ARE IN HIM" (ver. 5). This, as it would seem, is the crown and consummation of all. First, to be in Him; in a God whom we know, and between whom and us there is a real and perfect covenant of peace and love — that must be an attainment worth while for us to realise; worth while for us to know or be sure that we realise. But it is rather what on our part this phrase implies that we are here led to consider. What insight! What sympathy! What entering into His rest! What entering into His working too! What a fellowship of light! We are in Him! We are in His mind. I would be so in Him that there should be, as it were, but one mind between us. Oh to be thus in God, of one mind with God! We are in His heart. He lets us into His heart — that great heart of the everlasting Father so warmly and widely opened in His Son Jesus Christ. And therefore, secondly, to know that we are thus in God cannot but be a matter of much concern. Who, on such a point, would run the risk of self-deception — nay, of being found "a liar, not having the truth in him"? How am I at once to aim at being in Him, more and more thoroughly and unequivocally, and also to aim at verifying more and more satisfactorily and surely my being in Him? For these two aims must go together; they are one. Keep His word, is the reply.

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

It is a curious phrase, "we do know that we know Him." But it is a familiar one to us in other applications. I say to a friend, "Are you sure that you know that man? You see him, perhaps, every day; you work with him; you talk with him. But do you know that you know him? Have you got any real insight into his character?" Sometimes the answer is quite confident. "I am certain that he is, or that he is not, an honest, or a kind, or a wise man." And yet it may not inspire us with confidence. We may say or we may think, "You are deceived in that man." But now and then one has a strong conviction that a friend does understand the man we are asking him about, does appreciate him. Now St. John assumes that the knowledge of God is as possible, is as real for human beings, as any knowledge they can have of each other. Nay, he goes farther than this. There are impediments to our knowledge of each other, which he says do not exist with reference to that higher knowledge. There is an uncertainty, a capriciousness, a mixture of darkness with light, in every human being, which make us hesitate a little, even when we think he has given us the clearest evidence of what he is. We may know that we know Him if we keep His commandments. I sometimes suspect that we give too loose a sense to that word "keep." No doubt it means to "obey"; it does not mean more than that, for obedience is very comprehensive. The word "keep," if we consider it, may help us to know what obedience is, and what it is not. A friend gives me a token to keep for him; he wishes that it should remind me of him, that it should recall days which we have spent together. Perhaps it may be only a flower or a weed that was gathered in a certain place where we were walking or botanising; perhaps it is something precious in itself. If instead of giving me anything he enjoins me to do a certain act, or not to do a certain act, I may be said as truly to keep that injunction as to keep the flower. To fulfil it is to remember him; it is a token of my fellowship to him, of my relation with him. "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." The apostle uses strong language, for this lie was spreading in the Church of his own day, and would spread, he knew, further and further in the times that were coming. There were many in that time who used this very phrase, "We know God," and used it for the purpose of self-exaltation; therefore for an immoral, destructive purpose. "There are a set of common Christians," they said, "vulgar people, who may learn certain lower lessons; they are capable of nothing better. The law is very good for them. But we can enter into the Divine mysteries; we can have the most magnificent conceptions about the spiritual world which Christ has opened. What are the commandments — what is common earthly morality — to us?" "I tell you," says St. John, broadly and simply, "that if they are nothing to you, God is nothing to you. You may use what fine language you will; you may have what fine speculations you like; but it is in practice, in the struggle with temptation which besets us all in different ways and forms, that we come to know Him; thus, and only thus." And he adds words which, if understood rightly, were even more crushing to the pride of these haughty men than those which were aimed at themselves. "But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily the love of God is perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him." As if he had said, "You talk about the perfect, the initiated man, and the mere beginners or novices. I will tell you who is the perfect or initiated man. Look at that poor creature who is studying hard, in the midst of all opposition from his own ignorance, to be right and to do right; who is trying to hold fast that word which is speaking to him in his heart, though he can form no high notions at all about things in earth or heaven. There is the initiated man; he is the one who is learning the perfect lore; for God's own love is working in him; God's own love is perfecting itself in him. He is keeping the commandments, and they are teaching him that in himself he is nothing; that in God he has everything that he wants."

(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

I. THE GREAT CHANGE IS DESCRIBED. For this purpose three phrases are used by the apostle in verses 3 to 6.

1. "We know Him." Knowledge is the result of observation and experience. It in]plies certainty. We know that bread is nutritive, because we have eaten it and found it to be so. We know that honey is sweet, because we have tasted it. Now this is precisely the force of the term when we speak of the knowledge of Christ. Hence it is that we know His power, for we have proved it; His wisdom, for we have been guided by it; His love, for we have enjoyed it; and we know His truth, for we have ever found Him faithful. How thankful we should be this is the nature of true religion. It is not a speculation about which there is uncertainty. It is not a doubtful opinion. It is a reality of which we may have experience. They who have attained to it may say, "We know Him."

2. "We are in Him." This expression brings us into still closer communion with Christ. Not only are we brought to Him, to converse with Him, but we are made to dwell in Him. This union of the believer with Christ is the source of all the blessings of which he becomes the partaker by the knowledge of Him.

3. "He abideth in Him." Had Noah left the ark while the deluge continued, he must have perished. If the man slayer went out of the city of refuge, it was at the hazard of his life. When Shimei violated his pledge to Solomon, and passed beyond the bounds of Jerusalem, he brought upon himself the sentence of death. And so with the believer it is essential to his safety that he shall abide in Christ. How forcibly is this lesson taught by our Lord Himself (John 15:4, 5).

II. THE EVIDENCES OF THIS GRACIOUS STATE. These are equally clear with the description of that state. And it is observable that each feature in the description is accompanied by a corresponding evidence. The variety of the evidence is a testimony to the supreme importance of the inquiry. It is the will of God that we should faithfully examine ourselves by it.

1. "If we keep His commandments." "By their fruits ye shall know them." "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." He taught as how His people might be known by others. Then in the same way they ought to know themselves.

2. "Whoso keepeth His word." There is a close and natural connection between this evidence and the former. The word is the directory of the conduct. Whenever the knowledge of Christ has been obtained, His word is obeyed exclusively and universally. Exclusively, for no other authority is admitted. Universally, for whatever it forbids is avoided, and whatever it requires is done.

3. "He that saith he abideth in Him, ought to walk even as He walked." This evidence is the completion of the two former. It consists in the imitation of the example of Christ.

(J. Morgan, D. D.)

I. OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD. "Hereby know we that we know (i.e., have fellowship with) Him, if we keep His commandments." A commandment is an order, a charge, a definite and authoritative expression of a superior will concerning some particular detail of duty. There must be no ambiguity in a commandment no room for misunderstanding. Well, God has expressed Himself so about ninny things. Now let us try our religion by these commandments. How do these fare at our hands? Do we keep them, i.e., watch, observe, take steps to carry out, God's orders? If so, then we know that we know Him. These commandments are not arbitrary edicts of capricious power. They are the spontaneous growths of immaculate holiness and eternal love. If the commandments are no longer mere bundles of dry roots packed away in some dark corner, but are beginning to grow in your life, that is a proof that you have passed into a new climate of being, and that God's own life has entered yours. You are a partaker of the Divine nature. "But he that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments" — who treats these clear, authoritative declarations of God's sovereign will as mere nothing — "he is a liar, and the truth is not in him" — not in him anywhere — not in him at all.

II. THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, WHICH ARE SO MANY AND SO VARIOUS, ARE ALL GATHERED UP INTO ONE WORD. "Whoso keepeth His word, in him verily hath the love of God been perfected." "His word" is the inner spiritual unity of all His commandments. There are many commandments, but one spirit. I once Saw two pieces of sculpture in a cathedral. One was the figure of the Virgin Mary, with the child Jesus in her arms, therefore a professedly sacred subject. And yet there was nothing sacred about it — it was simply a piece of stone; and looking at it, one felt nothing more sacred than a shudder at the coldness, deadness, stoniness of the thing. The other was the figure of a young mother asleep with her firstborn on her breast in a little side chapel. It was not a conventionally sacred piece — merely a figure on the tomb of a dead young wife and her babe; yet love had so informed the sculptor's skill that every line of the figure seemed to live. There was heart in it. The work had not been done to order, nor for a price. The man who did it was first a husband and father, and then a sculptor. Well, there is a Christianity with and a Christianity without the heart of Jesus Christ. Christianity without the heart of Jesus is the coldest, stoniest thing that ever came into this poor world. Truth is means to an end. The end itself is love, and whoso keepeth not only His commandments in their multitude, but also His word in its spiritual unity, in him only hath the love of God been perfected.

III. Again, as the many commandments are one word in their spirit, so THE WORD BECAME A LIFE IN CHRIST'S EXAMPLE. That Life Beautiful is not placed before us in the gospel to be admired and worshipped but to be imitated and reproduced in our own lives. That Life is our standard.

IV. Finally, as the commandments are all summed up in the life of Christ, SO THAT LIFE IS SUMMED UP IN THE LOVE OF CHRIST. "Beloved, no new commandment write I unto you...again a new commandment write I unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you." The mark he sets before us is not ordinary love, everyday benevolence; but this — this love that summed up and crowned the life of Christ.

(J. M. Gibbon.)

I. THE KNOWING OF CHRIST. To "know" is a word used in Scripture in several senses.

1. Sometimes it means to acknowledge. Christ says that His sheep "know" His voice. They acknowledge His voice as being the voice of their Shepherd, and cheerfully follow where their Shepherd leads. Now, it is a matter of the first necessity to acknowledge Christ, that He is God, that He is the Son of the Father, that He is the Saviour of His people, and the rightful Monarch of the world — to acknowledge more, that you accept Him as your Saviour, as your King, as your Prophet, as your Priest.

2. The word "know" means, in the next place, to believe; as in that passage, "By his knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many"; where it is evidently meant that by the knowledge of Him, that is to say, by faith in Christ Jesus, he would justify many.

3. The word to "know" often means experience. It is said of our Lord that "He knew no sin"; that is to say, He never experienced sin; He never became a sinner. To know Christ, then, we must feel and prove His power, His pardoning power, His power of love over the heart, His reigning power in subduing our passions, His comforting power, His enlightening power, His elevating power, and all those other blessed influences which through the Holy Spirit proceed from Christ.

4. And once more, to "know" in Scripture often means to commune. Eliphaz says, "Acquaint thyself with God, be at peace with Him"; that is to say, commune with Him, get into friendship and fellowship with Him. So it is needful that every believer should know Christ by having an acquaintance with Him, by speaking with Him in prayer and praise; by laying bare one's heart to His heart; receiving from Him the Divine secret, and imparting to Him the full confession of all our sins and griefs.

II. THE TWO CHARACTERS THAT ARE PORTRAYED IN THE TEXT. With respect to the one — those who know that they know Him. Oh, it is very urgent that we should know that we know Him! Dost thou ask what service it would render thee?

1. It would give thee such comfort as nothing else could. If I know that I know Christ, then all things are mine. Things present and things to come are alike in the covenant of grace.

2. Nor is it joy alone you would find from this knowledge; it would no less certainly bring you confidence. When a man knows that he knows Christ what confidence he has in meeting temptations! "Shall such a man as I flee?" What confidence in prayer! he asks believingly, as children beloved ask of a generous parent. And what a confident air this assurance before God would give us with the sons of men! Our courage would no more fail us in the pestilential swamps of the world than our enthusiasm would Subside in the fertile garden of the Church, knowing that we shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

3. And this certainty that you know Christ would kindle in you the very highest degree of love. Observe the prescription, "Hereby we know that we do know Him if we keep His commandments." It is in the keeping of His commandments that this sound state of the soul's health is enjoyed.Do you ask for further explanation?

1. It means to keep His commandments in our minds and hold them fast in our memory with devout reverence. If Christ hath said it I dare not cavil, argue, or question, much less rebel.

2. But to keep them in our hearts we must earnestly desire to fulfil them. By reason of the fall we cannot perfectly keep the commands of Christ, but the heart keeps them as the standard of purity, and it would be perfect if it could. The Christian's only desire is to be exactly like Christ.

III. A MOMENTOUS CHARGE AGAINST DISSEMBLERS. There is such a thing as saying that we know Christ; but if any man say that he knows Christ, and keeps not His commandments, such a man is a liar — plain speech this. Point out some of those characters upon which the brand must be fixed — they are liars. There have been persons who have professed their faith in Christ, but who have been in the habit of acting dishonestly. They have been negotiating fictitious bills, they have been purloining small articles out of shops, they have been dealing with short weights, and selling wares with wrong marks, and all this time they have said that they knew Christ. Now, one of His commandments is, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," and another one is, "Thou shalt not steal," and in not keeping these they have proved themselves to be liars, though they called themselves Christians. Some who have professed faith in Christ have been drunkards. And what shall we say of those who, while making a profession of religion, have been addicted to uncleanness? The covetous! the grasping! those who see their brethren have need, and shut up the bowels of their compassion! to each of you the Master's words are very strong: "How dwelleth the love of God in him?" And are there not others, whose tongue is perverse and unruly and their conversation often far from pure?

(C. H. Spurgeon)

The text suggests two thoughts concerning morality."

I. IT IS THE ONLY PROOF OF A TRUE THEOLOGY. "Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments."

1. Obedience is the certain result of a true theology. To know God is to love Him. If we love Him we shall keep His commandments.

(1)Keep them heartily.

(2)Keep them joyously. What we do in love we always do joyously.

2. Disobedience is a proof of a false theology. "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." There is another thought suggested by the text concerning morality.

II. ITS SPIRIT IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF TRUE THEOLOGY. What is the spirit of genuine morality? Love.

1. And this love is in the obedient man.

2. And this love in him assures him of his union with God. "Hereby know we that we are in Him."


Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.

1. It is not a mere speculative knowledge.

2. It is a real, internal, spiritual revelation or manifestation of Him to the soul by the Spirit of God in the day of conversion.

3. It is the best and most excellent that can come within the reach of man.

4. It is greatly inferior as to degree, and different as to the manner of knowing, from what they will have in heaven.

5. It produces distinguishing effects — effects which distinguish it from all other knowledge.

(1)It humbles those who have it.

(2)Such as savingly know Christ put their trust in Him (2 Timothy 1:12).

(3)It is transforming; it changes believers into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18) in holiness, meekness, patience, love, and every other imitable perfection.


1. It is hearty, springing from love to Christ, as the governing principle of it.

2. It is voluntary. David says, "I have chosen Thy precepts" (Psalm 119:173).

3. It is universal. All the commands of Christ are respected; not only those of easy observance.

4. It is constant and persevering. The true servants of Christ obey Him in holiness and righteousness all the days of their lives (Luke 1:74, 75). And His command to them is Revelation 2:10.

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)


II. THE KEEPING IT IMPLIES A CARE TO RETAIN IT. To retain it in the under standing, in the conscience, in the affections, and in the practice. In what aspects the word of God so kept is regarded by the Christian.

1. As a law to govern him.

2. As a revelation of the grace which saves him.

3. As a promise of Divine goodness to cheer him.

4. As a pledge of eternal life to animate him.

5. As a means of communion with God to sanctify him.




1. There is a perfection of all the parts of love in such men.

(1)An affection unto fellowship with Christ.

(2)An affection to be doing good to Him.

2. In perfection there is a readiness to a work; so such a man as keeps God's commandments, his love is ready, he is forward to every good duty, because it is a commandment of God.

3. There is perfect love in him, because it is constant and durable and will not change.


1. From the contrariety of our tempers naturally to any commandment, so that if you see anyone willing and ready to be at God's command you may say, certainly the love of God hath overcome him.

2. You may know such a man's love to be perfect that keeps His commandments, because whatsoever weak beginnings of love you find in such as keep God's commandments, that man's love grows more perfect every day; such a man still grows in fruitfulness; he grows ready to every good work (John 15:2), so that the love of God is perfected in him by obedience.Uses:

1. For trial of our love to God, whether it be perfect or no, sincere or counterfeit, how dost thou find thy heart affected to God's commandments?

2. For direction to all such as desire perfection of love to Christ — keep His commandments; take heed of breaking any one of them.

3. Of consolation to all such as apply themselves to be doing of God's commandments.

(John Cotton, B. D.)

The simple phrase, "the love of God," may of course mean God's love to man; but it may also mean man's love to God; and that we take to be the meaning in the text. For two men to be thus distinguished from each other, by one having this affection and the other having it not — why, it is a greater distinction, when you come to think of it, than belonging to a different species of being.

I. IT IS POSSIBLE TO LOVE GOD. Human nature has its intellect and affections, and a capacity for reason, thought, and sentiment. The being that can love one thing can love another; the man that loves a creature, a person manifested to him in the flesh, may love the infinite Person.

II. WITHOUT LOVE TO GOD YOU CAN HARDLY CONCEIVE OF THERE BEING ANYTHING, IN HIS ESTIMATION, LIKE MORAL WORTH OR EXCELLENCE IN MAN. Take the case of a family presided over by a loving and virtuous parent. It is very possible to conceive of the children of that family outwardly appearing to tender him the expressions of filial obedience and respect; but if they had not a particle of love in their hearts to that father — if their hearts were altogether given to some one else, and if there were to come on the parental heart the conviction that with all their displays of respect they had not an atom of love towards him, how could there be any feeling of delight towards them in the parental breast?

III. THE LOVE OF GOD IS NOT A SPONTANEOUS AND INSTINCTIVE AFFECTION OF THE HUMAN HEART. Human beings come into the world with certain tendencies, affections, and sympathies, and have the affection of love among the rest. I think there is rather a tendency in little children to like to hear about God, and heaven, and Jesus and His influence. But human nature needs to be operated upon from without; there must be external instrumentality in order to the development and manifestation of anything; and if you leave it to itself it will grow up just a bundle of appetites — a brutal, ferocious, obscene thing.

IV. THE GOSPEL IS INTENDED TO EXCITE AND TO SUSTAIN THIS AFFECTION IN MAN. I think we may say here that the thing to be achieved has this difficulty about it; it is to be the reproduction of an extinguished affection. And then, when the love of God is excited, it is to expand and bring forth fruit; so that, in accordance with the statement of the text, the individual is not to be satisfied with the luxury of the sentiment — he is not to lose himself (as some mystics have thought) in perpetual contemplation, as though the love of God were to be perfected in that manner. We live in a world of action, and in which the great thing is to do and act according to the will of God; and if the human heart is brought into this condition, and really loves God, then it will seek to perfect that love, by its manifestation, in keeping God's word, in doing whatsoever God willeth. "Let me have Thy word, and the strong impulse of Divine affection shall be manifested and perfected." Then supposing that to be done, the text says, the result and conclusion of the whole matter is that "hereby" the individual "knows that he is in Him"; that is, in Christ.

(T. Binney.)

Anyone, Certainly, Complete, Deed, God's, Hereby, Keepeth, Keeps, Love, Message, Obeys, Perfected, Perfection, Reached, Sure, Truly, Verily
1. He comforts them against the sins of infirmity.
3. Rightly to know God is to keep his commandments;
9. to love our brothers;
15. and not to love the world.
18. We must beware of antichrists;
20. from whose deceits the godly are safe, preserved by perseverance in faith, and holiness of life.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 John 2:5

     1085   God, love of
     5904   maturity, spiritual
     8322   perfection, human
     8454   obedience, to God

1 John 2:2-6

     8164   spirituality

1 John 2:3-5

     8105   assurance, basis of

1 John 2:3-6

     2425   gospel, requirements
     5932   response
     8112   certainty
     8316   orthodoxy, in NT
     8453   obedience

1 John 2:4-5

     1175   God, will of

Youthful Strength
'I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.'--1 John ii. 14. 'What am I going to be?' is the question that presses upon young people stepping out of the irresponsibilities of childhood into youth. But, unfortunately, the question is generally supposed to be answered when they have fixed upon a trade or profession. It means, rightly taken, a great deal more than that. 'What am I going to make of myself?' 'What
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

River and Rock
'The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.'--1 John ii. 17. John has been solemnly giving a charge not to love the world, nor the things that are in it. That charge was addressed to 'children,' 'young men,' 'fathers.' Whether these designations be taken as referring to growth and maturity of Christian experience, or of natural age, they equally carry the lesson that no age and no stage is beyond the danger of being drawn away by the world's
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Commandment, Old yet New
'I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning.... Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you.'--1 John ii. 7, 8. The simplest words may carry the deepest thoughts. Perhaps angels and little children speak very much alike. This letter, like all of John's writing, is pellucid in speech, profound in thought, clear and deep, like the abysses of mid-ocean. His terms are such as a child can understand; his sentences short
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Thirtieth Day. The Unction from the Holy One.
And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things. And as for you, the anointing which ye received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any one teach you; but as His anointing teacheth you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, ye abide in Him.'--1 John ii. 20, 27. In the revelation by Moses of God's Holiness and His way of making holy, the priests, and specially the high priests, were the chief expression of God's Holiness in man.
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

January the Twelfth Two Opposites
"If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." --1 JOHN ii. 13-17. No man can love two opposites any more than he can walk in contrary directions at the same time. No man can at once be mean and magnanimous, chivalrous and selfish. We cannot at the same moment dress appropriately for the arctic regions and the tropics. And we cannot wear the habits of the world and the garments of salvation. When we try to do it the result is a wretched and miserable compromise. I have seen a
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

The Difference Between Walking by Sight, and Walking by Faith
"We walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor. 5:7. 1. How short is this description of real Christians! And yet how exceeding full! It comprehends, it sums up, the whole experience of those that are truly such, from the time they are born of God till they remove into Abraham's bosom. For, who are the we that are here spoken of? All that are true Christian believers. I say Christian, not Jewish, believers. All that are not only servants, but children, of God. All that have "the Spirit of adoption, crying
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Witness of the Spirit
Discourse I "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Rom. 8:16 1. How many vain men, not understanding what they spake, neither whereof they affirmed, have wrested this Scripture to the great loss if not the destruction of their souls! How many have mistaken the voice of their own imagination for this witness of the Spirit of God, and thence idly presumed they were the children of God while they were doing the works of the devil! These are truly and properly
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

A Bundle of Myrrh
Concerning our text, let us talk very simply, remarking first, that Christ is very precious to believers; secondly, that there is good reason why he should be; thirdly, that mingled with this sense of preciousness, there is a joyous consciousness of possession of him; and that therefore, fourthly, there is an earnest desire for perpetual fellowship with him. If you look at the text again, you will see all these matters in it. I. First, then, CHRIST JESUS IS UNUTTERABLY PRECIOUS TO BELIEVERS. The
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 10: 1864

In Him: Like Him
"Rock of ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in thee." We have entered into Christ as into the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, as guest; into a banquet-hall, as returning travellers into their home. And now we abide--in Christ in this sense, that we are joined to him : as the stone is, in the wall, as the wave is in the sea, as the branch is in the vine, so are we in Christ. As the branch receives all its sap from the stem, so all the sap of spiritual life flows from Christ into us. If
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 29: 1883

What God is to Us.
Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7.--"The lord, the Lord God merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands." There is nothing can separate between God and a people but iniquity, and yet he is very loath to separate even for that. He makes many shows of departing, that so we may hold him fast, and indeed he is not difficult to be holden. He threatens often to remove his presence from a person or nation, and he threatens, that he may not indeed remove, but that
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Brooks -- the Pride of Life
Phillips Brooks was born at Boston, Mass., in 1835, graduated at Harvard in 1855 and studied theology at the P.E. Seminary, Alexandria, Va. He was elected rector of the Church of the Advent, Philadelphia, in 1859, and three years later to that of Holy Trinity in the same city. In 1869 he became rector of Trinity Church, Boston, and was consecrated Bishop of Massachusetts in 1891. He died in 1893. He was in every sense a large man, large in simplicity and sympathy, large in spiritual culture. In his
Grenville Kleiser—The world's great sermons, Volume 8

That to Him who Loveth God is Sweet Above all Things and in all Things
Behold, God is mine, and all things are mine! What will I more, and what more happy thing can I desire? O delightsome and sweet world! that is, to him that loveth the Word, not the world, neither the things that are in the world.(1) My God, my all! To him that understandeth, that word sufficeth, and to repeat it often is pleasing to him that loveth it. When Thou art present all things are pleasant; when Thou art absent, all things are wearisome. Thou makest the heart to be at rest, givest it
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

But Since no Man is Worthy to Come Forward in his Own Name...
But since no man is worthy to come forward in his own name, and appear in the presence of God, our heavenly Father, to relieve us at once from fear and shame, with which all must feel oppressed, [8] has given us his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to be our Advocate and Mediator, that under his guidance we may approach securely, confiding that with him for our Intercessor nothing which we ask in his name will be denied to us, as there is nothing which the Father can deny to him (1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1;
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

Moreover, the Sophists are Guilty of the Merest Trifling when they Allege that Christ Is...
Moreover, the Sophists are guilty of the merest trifling when they allege that Christ is the Mediator of redemption, but that believers are mediators of intercession; as if Christ had only performed a temporary mediation, and left an eternal and imperishable mediation to his servants. Such, forsooth, is the treatment which he receives from those who pretend only to take from him a minute portion of honour. Very different is the language of Scripture, with whose simplicity every pious man will be
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

The Last Day.
This gospel day is the last day. There never will be another age of time. An age-to-come teacher is branded by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, as a false teacher. We need no other age in which to prepare for eternity. This is the day of salvation. "Now is the accepted time." Now is the day and this is the time for us to accept Christ, and to be accepted of him. The Word of God holds no promise to you of another day of salvation. How can man, unless he be wholly subverted, teach another age to
Charles Ebert Orr—The Gospel Day

Add to This, and Here is Cause to Cry Out More Piteously...
37. Add to this, (and here is cause to cry out more piteously,) that, if once we grant it to have been right for the saving of that sick man's life to tell him the lie, that his son was alive, then, by little and little and by minute degrees, the evil so grows upon us, and by slight accesses to such a heap of wicked lies does it, in its almost imperceptible encroachments, at last come, that no place can ever be any where found on which this huge mischief, by smallest additions rising into boundless
St. Augustine—Against Lying

(On the Mysteries. Iii. )
On Chrism. 1 John ii. 20-28 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, &c.....that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 1. Having been baptized into Christ, and put on Christ [2415] , ye have been made conformable to the Son of God; for God having foreordained us unto adoption as sons [2416] , made us to be conformed to the body of Christ's glory [2417] . Having therefore become partakers of Christ [2418] , ye are properly called Christs, and
St. Cyril of Jerusalem—Lectures of S. Cyril of Jerusalem

But, Again, Lest by Occasion of this Sentence...
50. But, again, lest by occasion of this sentence, any one should sin with deadly security, and should allow himself to be carried away, as though his sins were soon by easy confession to be blotted out, he straightway added, "My little children, these things have I written unto you, that ye sin not; and, if one shall have sinned, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and Himself is a propitiation of our sins." [2207] Let no one therefore depart from sin as though about
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

Evidences of Regeneration.
III. Wherein saints and sinners must differ. 1. Let it be distinctly remembered, that all unregenerate persons, without exception, have one heart, that is, they are selfish. This is their whole character. They are universally and only devoted to self-gratification. Their unregenerate heart consists in this selfish disposition, or in this selfish choice. This choice is the foundation of, and the reason for, all their activity. One and the same ultimate reason actuates them in all they do, and in all
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate,
CLEARLY EXPLAINED, AND LARGELY IMPROVED, FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL BELIEVERS. 1 John 2:1--"And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." By JOHN BUNYAN, Author of "The Pilgrim's Progress." London: Printed for Dorman Newman, at the King's Arms, in the Poultry, 1689. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. This is one of the most interesting of Bunyan's treatises, to edit which required the Bible at my right hand, and a law dictionary on my left. It was very frequently republished;
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

What Passes and what Abides
'One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.'--ECCLES. i. 4. 'And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.'--1 JOHN ii. 17. A great river may run through more than one kingdom, and bear more than one name, but its flow is unbroken. The river of time runs continuously, taking no heed of dates and calendars. The importance that we attach to the beginnings or endings of years and centuries is a
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Fourfold Symbols of the Spirit
'A rushing mighty wind.' ... 'Cloven tongues like as of fire.' ... 'I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.' --ACTS ii. 2, 3, 17. 'Ye have an unction from the Holy One.'--1 JOHN ii. 20. Wind, fire, water, oil,--these four are constant Scriptural symbols for the Spirit of God. We have them all in these fragments of verses which I have taken for my text now, and which I have isolated from their context for the purpose of bringing out simply these symbolical references. I think that perhaps we
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

The World Our Enemy.
"We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness."--1 John v. 19. Few words are of more frequent occurrence in the language of religion than "the world;" Holy Scripture makes continual mention of it, in the way of censure and caution; in the Service for Baptism it is described as one of three great enemies of our souls, and in the ordinary writings and conversation of Christians, I need hardly say, mention is made of it continually. Yet most of us, it would appear, have very
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

The Wilderness: Temptation. Matthew 4:1-11. Mark 1:12, 13. Luke 4:1-13.
The University of Arabia: Jesus' naturalness--the Spirit's presence--intensity, Luke 2:45-51.--a true perspective--- the temptation's path--sin's path--John's grouping, 1 John 2:16.--the Spirit's plan--why--the devil's weakness--the Spirit's leading--a wilderness for every God-used man, Moses, Elijah, Paul. Earth's Ugliest, Deepest Scar: Jesus the only one led up to be tempted--the wilderness--its history, Genesis 13:10-13. 18:16-19:38.--Jesus really tempted--no wrong here in inner response--every
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus

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