1 John 2:6
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
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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.He that saith, he abideth in him - Greek, "remains" in him; that is, abides or remains in the belief of his doctrines, and in the comfort and practice of religion. The expression is one of those which refer to the intimate union between Christ and his people. A great variety of phrase is employed to denote that. For the meaning of this word in John, see the notes at 1 John 3:6.

Ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked - Ought to live and act as he did. If he is one with him, or professes to be united to him, he ought to imitate him in all things. Compare John 13:15. See also the notes at 1 John 1:6.

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].

And this proof we ought to give. For whereas our Lord Jesus Christ was not only our Lawgiver, but our pattern, and practised himself what he commanded us; if indeed we have an abiding, real union with him, we partake of his Spirit, Romans 8:9, which must be understood to work uniformly, and enable us

to walk (in the main of our course, according to our measure of that Spirit)

as he walked.

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.

{5} He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

(5) He that is one with Christ, must live his life, that is, must walk in his steps.

1 John 2:6 gives the more particular definition of what the τηρεῖν of God’s commandments, and therefore the Christian’s walk in light, consists in.

ὁ λέγων] as in 1 John 2:4; here, however, with the infinitive construction.

ἐν αὐτῷ μένειν] ἐν αὐτῷ does not refer to Christ (Augustin, Hornejus, Wolf, Lange, Neander, etc.), but to God.

μένειν] instead of εἶναι, 1 John 2:5. Both expressions are synonymous, it is true, but not identical (Beza); in μένειν the unchangeableness of the being is brought out. Bengel: Synonyma cum gradatione: ilium nosse, in illo esse, in illo manere. Frommann (p. 187): “The being and abiding in God signifies one and the same fellowship with God. The latter describes it merely as something constant, lasting, which accessory notion is not contained in the former expression.”

ὀφείλει] comp. chap. 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:11, “is in duty bound,” refers back to ὁ λέγων; it is not meant to be indicated here what is demanded in regard to the μένειν ἐν Θεῷ, but what is the duty of him who says that he abides in God—if he does not want to be a liar, in whom the truth is not, 1 John 2:4.

καθὼς ἐκεῖνος περιεπάτησε, καὶ αὐτὸς [οὕτως] περιπατεῖν] By these words Christ is placed as a pattern before Christians, i.e. in regard to His whole walk (which is elsewhere done in the N. T. only in regard to His self-abasement and to His conduct in suffering; see this commentary on 1 Peter 2:21); of what sort this was, John does not here say; from the connection with what precedes, however, it is clear that the apostle points to Him in so far as He kept the commandments of God, and therefore walked in the light.[101] This reference to Christ as an example is frequently found in the same form (καθὼς ἐκεῖνος) in our Epistle; so 1 John 3:3; 1 John 3:7; 1 John 4:17; comp. also John 13:15; John 15:10, and passim.

περιπατεῖν describes not merely the disposition, but the action resulting from it. In the fact that John brings just this out (comp. especially chap. 1 John 3:17-18), it is evident how far his mysticism is removed from mere fanaticism.

On οὕτως, see the critical notes.

[101] Semler paraphrases: Si quis gloriatur, se suamque doctrinam semper convenisse cum doctrina ilia Christi, is sane debet etiam in humanae vitae modo non Judaismum praeferre (!).

6. He that saith] He who declares his position is morally bound to act up to the declaration which he has made. To profess to abide in God involves an obligation to imitate the Son, who is the concrete expression of God’s will. ‘To abide’ is another of the Apostle’s very favourite expressions, a fact greatly obscured in A. V. by capricious changes of rendering: see on 1 John 2:24. ‘To abide in’ implies habitual fellowship. Note the climax; to know Him (1 John 2:3), to be in Him (1 John 2:5), to abide in Him (1 John 2:6): cognitio, communio, constantia (Bengel).

ought] It is a debt which he owes (ὀφείλει, debet). S. John does not say ‘must’ (δεῖ, oportet) which might seem to imply constraint. The obligation is internal and personal. ‘Must’ (δεῖ), frequent in the Gospel, does not occur in these Epistles.

even as He walked] Not simply ‘as’ (ὡς) but ‘even as’ (καθώς): the imitation must be exact. The ‘He’ is a different pronoun (ἐκεῖνος) from the preceding ‘Him’ (αὐτῷ), and this with the context makes it almost certain that while ‘in Him’ means ‘in God’, ‘even as He walked’ refers to Christ. Comp. 1 John 3:3; 1 John 3:5; 1 John 3:7; 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:17. For ‘even as’ comp. 1 John 2:18; 1 John 2:27, 1 John 3:2; 1 John 3:12; 1 John 3:23; Luke 6:36, &c. &c. and for ‘even as He’ comp. 1 John 3:3; 1 John 3:7, 1 John 4:17. S. Peter declares that Christ has ‘left us an example, that we should follow His steps’ (1 Peter 2:21).

1 John 2:6. Μένειν, that he abideth) This word is of frequent occurrence in ch. 2, 3 and 4. It implies a condition which is lasting, without intermission and without end.—ὀφείλει, he ought) by the force of that Divine example. Thus, we ought, ch. 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:11.—καθὼς ἐκεῖνος, even as He) He, whom we formerly saw. Thus, as He, etc., ch. 1 John 3:3; 1 John 3:5; 1 John 3:7; 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:17. Believers readily supply the name; since they have a breast filled with the remembrance of the Lord.—περιεπάτησε, walked) while He was in the world.

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). 1 John 2:6He abideth in Him (ἐν αὐτῷ μένειν)

To abide in God is a more common expression with John than to be in God, and marks an advance in thought. The phrase is a favorite one with John. See John 15:4 sqq.; John 6:56; 1 John 2:24, 1 John 2:27, 1 John 2:28; 1 John 3:6, 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:12 sq.; 1 John 4:15 sq. Bengel notes the gradation in the three phrases "to know Him, to be in Him, to abide in Him; knowledge, fellowship, constancy."

Ought (ὀφείλει)

An obligation, put as a debt. See Luke 17:10, and on debts, Matthew 6:12. The word expresses a special, personal obligation, and not as δεῖ must, an obligation in the nature of things. See John 20:9, and compare 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:11; 3 John 1:8.

He (ἐκεῖνος)

Always of Christ in the Epistles of John. See ἐκείνης, referring to ἁμαρτία sin, 1 John 5:16.

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