|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:3-11 What knowledge of Christ can that be, which sees not that he is most worthy of our entire obedience? And a disobedient life shows there is neither religion nor honesty in the professor. The love of God is perfected in him that keeps his commandments. God's grace in him attains its true mark, and produces its sovereign effect as far as may be in this world, and this is man's regeneration; though never absolutely perfect here. Yet this observing Christ's commands, has holiness and excellency which, if universal, would make the earth resemble heaven itself. The command to love one another had been in force from the beginning of the world; but it might be called a new command as given to Christians. It was new in them, as their situation was new in respect of its motives, rules, and obligations. And those who walk in hatred and enmity to believers, remain in a dark state. Christian love teaches us to value our brother's soul, and to dread every thing hurtful to his purity and peace. Where spiritual darkness dwells, in mind, the judgment, and the conscience will be darkened, and will mistake the way to heavenly life. These things demand serious self-examination; and earnest prayer, that God would show us what we are, and whither we are going.
Verse 6. - Profession involves an obligation to act up to the profession. "He who says that he abides in God is by his words morally bound to walk even as his Son, the incarnate Revelation of his will, walked." The change from ἐν αὐτῷ to ἐκεῖνος confirms the view that αὐτόν and αὐτοῦ mean the Father; but St. John's use of ἐκεῖνος to recall with emphasis a previous subject (John 1:8, 18, 33; John 5:11; John 9:37; John 10:1; John 12:48) makes this argument inconclusive. To be or abide in God or in Christ implies an habitual condition, not isolated apprehensions of his presence. Obedience, not feeling, is the test of union; and the Christian who is really such has least to tell of "experiences" of special visitations. He who is ever in the light has few sensible illuminations to record. Note the strong καθώς, even as (not merely ὡς, as); nothing less than "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13) is to be aimed at. "Ye therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He that saith he abideth in him,.... As all do that are in him; once in Christ, and always in Christ; they are set as a seal on his arm and heart, which can never be removed; they are in his arms, and can never be plucked from thence; and are members of him, and can never be disunited from him: or dwelleth in him, as in John 6:56; that is, by faith; who under a sense of sin and danger have fled to Christ, as to a strong tower and place of defence, where they dwell safely, peaceably, pleasantly, and comfortably, enjoying whatever is necessary for them. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions read, "he that saith I am in him"; loved by him, chosen in him, united to him, a member of his, and have communion with him:
ought himself also to walk even as he walked; as Christ walked, lived, and acted, so ought he; that is, to imitate him and follow him, as he has him for an example; not in his miraculous works in raising the dead, healing the sick, and walking upon the waters, &c. which were wrought as proofs of his deity and of his Messiahship, and not intended for imitation; nor in his mediatorial performances, as in his propitiatory sacrifice and advocacy; but in the exercise of grace, and duties of religion as a man, and in a private way; and may chiefly regard walking in love, as he walked, see Ephesians 5:2; and is what is in the following verses insisted on, namely, the new commandment of love to the brethren; which should be to all as his was, and, like his, constant and lasting; and, when the case requires, should be shown by laying down life for them. The "as" is not a note of equality, but of likeness; for it cannot be thought that saints should walk in that degree of perfection, in humility, patience, love, and in the exercise of every other grace, and in the discharge of duty, as Christ did; only that they should copy after him, and make his obedience and life the rule of theirs.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. abideth—implying a condition lasting, without intermission, and without end.
He that saith … ought—so that his deeds may be consistent with his words.
even as he—Believers readily supply the name, their hearts being full of Him (compare Joh 20:15). "Even as He walked" when on earth, especially in respect to love. John delights in referring to Christ as the model man, with the words, "Even as He," &c. "It is not Christ's walking on the sea, but His ordinary walk, that we are called on to imitate" [Luther].
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