1 John 2:6
He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Example, it has often been remarked, exerts a much more powerful influence upon men than precept. The nature and excellence of God's commandments are more perfectly seen in those actions which are conformed to His law than in the abstract contemplation of the commandments themselves. To this peculiarity in our mental constitution God hath kindly accommodated His holy Word. Although the example of holy men of ancient times is made use of as a motive to particular excellences, yet none of them is proposed in general terms as a pattern for our imitation. This honour is given to Christ alone. Not only are particular virtues enforced by a reference to His character and conduct, but His conversation in general among men, or the whole of His life on earth is exhibited as a pattern to be imitated by all His disciples.
I. THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST IS PERFECT. Neither positive evil nor negative defect can be laid to His charge. In contemplating the pattern which it presents we are never perplexed by the necessity of separating the good from the bad, that which should be imitated from that which should be avoided.
II. THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST IS EASY OF IMITATION. It is calculated to allure rather than to repel the attempts of the meek and humble to copy it. The incidents by which it was diversified are such as frequently occur in the ordinary lot of man, and His conduct in reference to them was in every respect such as we might desire and expect any pious and benevolent individual to exemplify. It was human, devoid of everything impracticable.
III. THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST IS HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL. It is fitted to extract the attention and command the imitation of men. Who will refuse to imitate the pattern furnished in His obedience and sufferings when he recollects that He obeyed and suffered in our room? The example of a Divine person is indeed of infinite authority to all creatures; but the obligation of gratitude has an attractive influence which the consideration of duty alone does not possess.
IV. THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST IS OF UNIVERSAL APPLICATION. It is suited to men of all classes and of every peculiarity of natural disposition. Had He come in all the glory of temporal royalty His example, however conspicuous and however perfect, could have been useful to but a limited extent.
Parallel VersesKJV: He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.