Dwelleth in him - i.e. in God; and he - God, in him - the believer.
And hereby we know - We know by the Spirit which he hath given us that we dwell in God, and God in us. It was not by conjecture or inference that Christians of old knew they were in the favor of God, it was by the testimony of God's own Spirit in their hearts; and this testimony was not given in a transient manner, but was constant and abiding while they continued under the influence of that faith that worketh by love. Every good man is a temple of the Holy Ghost, and wherever he is, he is both light and power. By his power he works; by his light he makes both himself and his work known. Peace of conscience and joy in the Holy Ghost must proceed from the indwelling of that Holy Spirit; and those who have these blessings must know that they have them, for we cannot have heavenly peace and heavenly joy without knowing that we have them. But this Spirit in the soul of a believer is not only manifest by its effects, but it bears its own witness to its own indwelling. So that a man not only knows that he has this Spirit from the fruits of the Spirit, but he knows that he has it from its own direct witness. It may be said, "How can these things be?" And it may be answered, By the power, light, and mercy of God. But that such things are, the Scriptures uniformly attest, and the experience of the whole genuine Church of Christ, and of every truly converted soul, sufficiently proves. As the wind bloweth where it listeth, and we cannot tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth, so is every one that is born of the Spirit: the thing is certain, and fully known by its effects; but how this testimony is given and confirmed is inexplicable. Every good man feels it, and knows he is of God by the Spirit which God has given him.
And he that keepeth his commandments - See the notes at John 14:23.
And hereby we know that he abideth in us - That is, this is another certain evidence that we are true Christians. The Saviour had promised John 14:23 that he would come and take up his abode with his people. John says that we have proof that he does this by the Spirit which he has given us. That is, the Holy Spirit is imparted to his people to enlighten their minds; to elevate their affections; to sustain them in times of trial; to quicken them in the performance of duty; and to imbue them with the temper and spirit of the Lord Jesus. When these effects exist, we may be certain that the Spirit of God is with us; for these are the “fruits” of that Spirit, or these are the effects which he produces in the lives of men. Compare the notes at Galatians 5:22-23. On the evidence of piety here referred to, see the notes at Romans 8:9, Romans 8:14, Romans 8:16. No man can be a true Christian in whom that Spirit does not constantly dwell, or to whom he is not “given.” And yet no one can determine that the Spirit dwells in him, except by the “effects” produced in his heart and life. In the following chapter, the apostle pursues the subject suggested here, and shows that we should examine ourselves closely, to see whether the “Spirit” to which we trust, as furnishing evidence of piety, is truly the Spirit of God, or is a spirit of delusion.
Our first and highest duty is to know that we are abiding in Christ. He must do the work. We are to seek to know “What saith the Lord,” yielding our lives to His guidance. When we have the Spirit of an abiding Christ, everything will take on a changed aspect. The Saviour alone can give us the rest and peace we so much need. And, in every invitation He gives us to seek the Lord that He may be found of us, He is calling us to abide in Him. This is an invitation, not merely to come to Him, but to remain in Him. It is the Spirit of God that moves us to come. When we have this rest and peace, our daily worries will not lead us to be coarse and rough and uncourteous. We shall no longer follow our own way and will. We will want to do the will of God, abiding in Christ as the branches in the vine. TDG 140.4Read in context »
There is necessity for every family to make the Bible the book of their study. Christ's sayings are pure gold, without one particle of dross, unless men, with their human understanding, shall try to put it there, and make falsehood appear as a portion of truth. To those who have received the false interpretation of the word, when they search the Scriptures with the determined effort to obtain the very marrow of truth contained in them, the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of their understanding, and the truths of the word are to them as a new revelation. Their hearts are quickened to a new and living faith, and they behold wondrous things out of His law. The teachings of Christ have a breadth and depth to many which they have never understood before. FE 386.1
The doctrines of grace and truth are not really understood by the larger number of our students and church members. Blindness of mind has happened to Israel. For human agents to misconstrue and put a forced, half truthful, and mystical construction upon the oracles of God, is an act which endangers their own souls, and the souls of others. “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18, 19. Those who, by their human construction, shall make the Scripture to utter that which Christ has never placed upon it, weaken its force, making the voice of God in instruction and warnings to testify falsehood, to avoid the inconvenience incurred by obedience to God's requirements, have become signboards, pointing in the wrong direction, into false paths, which lead to transgression and death. FE 386.2
The testimony of the Alpha and Omega in regard to the punishment for making nonessential one word spoken by the mouth of God, is the fearful denunciation that they shall receive of the plagues that are written in the book; their names shall be taken out of the book of life, and from the holy city. FE 387.1Read in context »