1 John 2:28-29
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence…
I. A STANDARD OF JUDGMENT IS SET UP — "If ye know that He is righteous." The expression is not put in this form to suggest the idea of doubtfulness. On the contrary, it is an assumption of certainty. "If ye know" is tantamount to "since ye know." He is righteous in His holiness. He maintains it in a way which is in strictest harmony with the requirements of His law. It is never compromised in the provisions of the gospel. He is righteous in His truth. He has uttered no threatening which He shall not execute, He has delivered no promise which He shall not fulfil. He is equally righteous in His mercy. "Justice and judgment are the habitation of His throne; mercy and truth go before His face." He is righteous in His goodness. All its bounties are conferred on the sinner for Jesus' sake. He is righteous in His justice. "Ye say the way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel, is not My way equal? are not your ways unequal?" "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
II. THE EVIDENCE FURNISHED BY THIS STANDARD, ENABLING US TO JUDGE OF THE GRACIOUS STATE OF THE BELIEVER. "Ye know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of Him."
1. There are some of whom it may be said they are righteous. This is to be understood, not of the imputed righteousness by which they are justified, but of the personal righteousness by which they are sanctified. If it is asked, how is such a change made to pass upon the sinner? our reply is in the words of the Divine promise (Jeremiah 31:33). This is enough to account for their complete transformation of life. Of everyone on whom the Spirit of God has thus operated it may be said, "He is righteous." A few words will explain how it is so. He thus perceives the meaning of the law. He obtains a view of its spirituality and extent which he never had before. He sees how it covers his whole life, and enters into the deepest recesses of his heart. He thus feels the obligation of the law. He is led distinctly to perceive that it is impossible for it to relax its demands. It must always endure to claim the universal and unbroken homage of the heart and life. He is thus made to love the law. No matter how far he comes short of it, and how much it condemns him, he cannot but approve and admire it. He condemns himself, but he justifies it. He thus learns habitually to avoid the violation of the law. He cannot live in sin. He may be overcome by the force of temptation; but the whole bent of his mind is towards righteousness. He is thus impelled to obey the law. It is not the ground of his hope, but it is the rule of his life. Say now what must be the influence and effect of such exercises as these? It is not too much to say of their subject, "he is righteous."
2. Such righteousness furnishes satisfying proof that He who manifests it is born of God. Nature can bear no such fruit. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." Education, and example, and prudence may do much, but they cannot produce the holiness of which we have spoken. Again, we find that it is distinctly ascribed to grace in the Divine Word (Ephesians 2:10).
(James Morgan, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.