1 John 2:6
He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself, etc.
I. A PROFESSION OF CHRISTIAN CHARACTER. "He that saith he abideth in him," i.e., in God. In the paragraph of which our text is a part there is a gradation of ideas as to the relation of the Christian to God: to know him; to be in him; and to abide in him.
1. The Christian is in God by spiritual fellowship. Through Christ the Christian is brought into intimate and hallowed communion with God - he believes his revelation of himself, he endeavours to apprehend his thoughts, he accepts his gracious will, he receives his best inspirations from him. Thus he has his spiritual being in God. He derives his inner life of thought, affection, purpose, and power from him.
2. The Christian is in God by mutual love. "We know and have believed the love which God hath in us. God is love; and he that abideth in love, abideth in God, and God abideth in him." We may obtain help to the understanding of this by considering how our trusted and beloved friends dwell in us and we in them. Distant from us locally and corporeally, yet they are with us truly and spiritually, How the child dwells in the being, occupies the thoughts and affections, of the loving parent! These are imperfect figures of how the true Christian lives in God the Father through Jesus Christ his Son (cf. John 14:20, 21, 23; John 15:4; John 17:21-23). And to say that we abide in him is to profess fidelity and perseverance in this exalted and sacred relation. It is a great profession.
II. THE CONSEQUENT OBLIGATION OF CHRISTIAN CONDUCT. "Ought himself also to walk even as he walked." We have here a change in the pronoun, indicating a change of person. The former personal pronouns from chapter 1 John 1:5 to this clause point to God the Father; the present one denotes God the Son. The Christian is to walk as he walked. It cannot be said that the eternal God walks. He is ever the same. His being admits of no advancement or progress. Man is said to "walk in the light;" but of God it is said that he "is light," and that "he is in the light" (chapter 1 John 1:5, 7). But Christ walked this earth as our Example. He spake of his life in this world as a walk: "I must walk today, and tomorrow, and the day following" (Luke 13:33). He hath left us "an example, that ye should follow his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). It is the moral, not the miraculous, in his life that we are called to imitate - his devotion and reverence, his truth and righteousness, his humility and self-sacrifice, his love and holiness. In his character and conduct we have the clear and complete expression of the will of the Father. To walk as be walked is the obligation of every one who professes to be in God. This includes:
1. Living after the example of Christ. "Learn of me;" "I have given you an example, that ye also should do as I have done to you" (John 13:13-15); "Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you," etc. (Ephesians 5:1, 2). Let us endeavour to act in our lives as our Saviour and Lord would act if he were in our place.
2. Growing in likeness to Christ. Walking implies advancement. The Divine life in man is a progressive thing. We are summoned to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." "Let us go on unto perfection" (Hebrews 6:1-3). In this respect let us copy the example of St. Paul: "I press on, if so be that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus," etc. (Philippians 3:12-14). And let us endeavour to prove the reality of our Christian profession by treading in the footsteps of our perfect Exemplar. - W.J.
Parallel VersesKJV: He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.