Hereby we know that we are of the truth - That we have the true religion of the Lord Jesus, and shall assure our hearts - be persuaded in our consciences, that we have the truth as it is in Jesus; as no man can impose upon himself by imagining he loves when he does not: he may make empty professions to others, but if he loves either God or man, he knows it because he feels it; and love unfelt is not love, it is word or tongue. This the apostle lays down as a test of a man's Christianity, and it is the strongest and most infallible test that can be given. He that loves feels that he does love; and he who feels that he loves God and man has true religion; and he who is careful to show the fruits of this love, in obedience to God and humane acts to man, gives others the fullest proof that he has the loving mind that was in Jesus.
And hereby - Greek, “by this;” that is, by the fact that we have true love to others, and that we manifest it by a readiness to make sacrifices to do them good.
We know that we are of the truth - That we are not deceived in what we profess to be; that is, that we are true Christians. To be of the truth stands opposed to cherishing false and delusive hopes.
And shall assure our hearts before him - Before God, or before the Saviour. In the margin, as in the Greek, the word rendered “shall assure,” is “persuade.” The Greek word is used as meaning to “persuade,” e. g., to the reception and belief of truth; then to persuade anyone who has unkind or prejudiced feelings toward us, or to bring over to kind feelings, “to conciliate,” and thus to pacify or quiet. The meaning here seems to be, that we shall in this way allay the doubts and trouble of our minds, and produce a state of quiet and peace, to wit, by the evidence that we are of the truth. Our consciences are often restless and troubled in view of past guilt; but, in thus furnishing the evidence of true piety by love to others, we shall pacify an accusing mind, and conciliate our own hearts, and persuade or convince ourselves that we are truly the children of God. See Robinson, Lexicon, sub voce πείθω peithōI. b. In other words, though a person‘s heart may condemn him as guilty, and though he knows that God sees and condemns the sins of his past life, yet the agitations and alarms of his mind may be calmed down and soothed by evidence that he is a child of God, and that he will not be finally condemned. A true Christian does not attempt to conceal the fact that there is much for which his own heart and conscience might justly accuse him but he finds, notwithstanding all this, evidence that he is a child of God, and he is persuaded that all will be well.
The love of Jesus in the heart will always be revealed in tender compassion for the souls of those for whom Christ paid so dear a price. “Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.... And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:18-22). There is no such thing as a loveless Christian.... TDG 327.4Read in context »
Selfishness marks the course of many. “But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” 2T 161.1
Divest yourselves of selfishness and make thorough work for eternity. Redeem the past and do not represent the holy truth you profess where you now live as you have where you have lived hitherto. Let your light so shine that others by seeing your good works may be led to glorify our Father in heaven. Stand upon the elevated platform of eternal truth. Regulate all your business transactions in this life in strict accordance with the word of God. 2T 161.2Read in context »
This is the testimony that must go throughout the length and breadth of the world. It presents the law and the gospel, binding up the two in a perfect whole. (See Romans 5 and 1 John 3:9 to the close of the chapter.) These precious scriptures will be impressed upon every heart that is opened to receive them. “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple”—those who are contrite in heart. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” These have not a mere nominal faith, a theory of truth, a legal religion, but they believe to a purpose, appropriating to themselves the richest gifts of God. They plead for the gift, that they may give to others. They can say, “Of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” TM 94.1
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” TM 94.2Read in context »