|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:18-21 All mankind are divided into two parties or dominions; that which belongs to God, and that which belongs to the wicked one. True believers belong to God: they are of God, and from him, and to him, and for him; while the rest, by far the greater number, are in the power of the wicked one; they do his works, and support his cause. This general declaration includes all unbelievers, whatever their profession, station, or situation, or by whatever name they may be called. The Son leads believers to the Father, and they are in the love and favour of both; in union with both, by the indwelling and working of the Holy Spirit. Happy are those to whom it is given to know that the Son of God is come, and to have a heart to trust in and rely on him that is true! May this be our privilege; we shall thus be kept from all idols and false doctrines, and from the idolatrous love of worldly objects, and be kept by the power of God, through faith, unto eternal salvation. To this living and true God, be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Verse 19. - Omit the "and" before "we know." There is no καί or δέ in the true text; and the asyndeton is impressive. The whole world lieth in the evil one. This is the second great fact of which Christians have certainty. They, as children of God, and preserved from the evil one by his Son, have nothing to do with the world, which still lies in the power of the evil one. That "the evil" τῷ πονηρῷ is here not neuter but masculine is evident from the context, as well as from 1 John 2:13, 14; 1 John 4:4. "By saying that it lieth in the evil one (in maligno) he represents it as being under the dominion of Satan. There is, therefore, no reason why we should hesitate to shun the world, which contemns God and delivers up itself into the bondage of Satan; nor is there any reason why we should fear its enmity, because it is alienated from God" (Calvin).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And we know that we are of God,.... The sons of God, and regenerated by him; this is known by the Spirit of God, which witnesses to the spirits of the saints that they are the children of God; and by the fruits and effects of regenerating grace, as love to the brethren, and the like:
and the whole world lies in wickedness; that is, the men of the world, the greater part of the inhabitants of it, who are as they were when they came into it, not being born of God; these are addicted to sin and, wickedness; the bias of their minds is to it, they are set upon it, and give themselves up to it, are immersed in it, and are under the power of it: or "in the wicked one"; Satan, the god of this world; they are under his influence, and led according to his will, and they are governed by him, and are at his beck and command; and this is known, by sad experience, it is easy of observation;
"And cannot comprehend the things that are promised to the righteous in time to come: for this world is full of unrighteousness and infirmities.'' (2 Esdras 4:27)
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. world lieth in wickedness—rather, "lieth in the wicked one," as the Greek is translated in 1Jo 5:18; 1Jo 2:13, 14; compare 1Jo 4:4; Joh 17:14, 15. The world lieth in the power of, and abiding in, the wicked one, as the resting-place and lord of his slaves; compare "abideth in death," 1Jo 3:14; contrast 1Jo 5:20, "we are in Him that is true." While the believer has been delivered out of his power, the whole world lieth helpless and motionless still in it, just as it was; including the wise, great, respectable, and all who are not by vital union in Christ.
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