1 John 5:19
We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not, etc. There are certain things of which St. John writes without even the faintest tone of hesitation or doubt, with the calmest and firmest assurance, and with the accent of deep conviction. And the things of which he writes with so much certainty are of the greatest and most important. So in the paragraph before us he utters his triple "we know" concerning some of the most vital and weighty questions. Let us notice each of these in the order in which they here stand.

I. THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE CHARACTER AND CONDITION OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD. "We know that whosoever is begotten of God sinneth not; but he that was begotten of God keepeth himself, and the wicked one toucheth him not." Here are three points for consideration concerning true Christians.

1. Their origination from God. They are "begotten of God?' They are "called children of God," and are such.

2. Their abstention from sin. "Whosoever is begotten of God sinneth not." He will not commit the "sin unto death;" and in proportion as he participates in the Divine life he will shun sin in any form (cf. 1 John 3:6-9; and see our remarks on 1 John 3:6).

3. Their preservation from the evil one. "He that was begotten of God keepeth himself, and the wicked one toucheth him not." Danger is clearly implied here. "Be sober, be vigilant; your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith." "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil," etc. (Ephesians 6:11-18). "Satan transformeth himself into an angel of light." Hence the danger. But notice:

(1) The means of preservation. "He that was begotten of God keepeth himself." He is sober and watchful and prayerful in order that he may not be surprised by temptation and seduced into sin. It has been well said by John Howe, "He that is begotten of God keepeth himself from those deadly mortal touches which would endanger his precious life; that is, he is his own underkeeper. We are every one to be our brother's keeper, much more our own; but still in a subordinate sense, subservient to, and dependent upon, the Supreme One. Indeed, it were a kind of monstrous thing in the creation, that there should be so noble a life planted in us, but destitute of the self-preserving faculty or disposition; whereas every life, how mean soever, even that of a worm, a gnat, or a fly, hath a disposition to preserve itself." Christians are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation."

(2) The nature of the preservation. "The wicked one toucheth him not." This does not signify exemption from temptation, but victory over it. The great adversary shall not touch" the true-born child of God" so as to destroy his spiritual life or effect his overthrow.

II. THE KNOWLEDGE OF PERSONAL FILIAL RELATIONSHIP TO GOD. "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one." The assurance with which the apostle writes is remarkable. Not, "we are probably of God;' not," we hope we are of God," etc.; but "we know that we are of God," etc. We may know this:

1. By our consciousness of our Christian character. The genuine Christian can say of his spiritual condition, "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." He is conscious of his faith in Christ. "I know whom I have believed," etc. (2 Timothy 1:12). He feels that the Saviour is precious unto him (1 Peter 2:7). He knows that he loves the Christian brotherhood; and "we know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren." He is conscious of his sincere desire and endeavour to follow Christ as his great Exemplar, and to obey him as his Divine Lord.

2. By our consciousness of our filial disposition toward God. We have "received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Our own hearts assure us that we trust and love and reverence our heavenly Father. Thus "we know that we are of God?

3. By the contrast between ourselves and the unchristian world. "The whole world lieth in the wicked one." We have already endeavoured to indicate the character of" the world" of which St. John writes. "Concerning the world, he says, not merely that it is of the wicked one, or has him for a father, and bears his nature, but also that it 'lies in him,' that is, lies in his bosom,... like an infant on the bosom of a mother or a father, which is absolutely given up to its parent's power" (Ebrard). The true Christian knows that he is not in such a condition, but in a decidedly opposite one - that he "abides in the Son, and in the Father" (chapter 2:24).

III. THE KNOWLEDGE OF A TRANSCENDENT FACT, AND OF GREAT PERSONAL BENEFITS DERIVED THROUGH THAT FACT. "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we know him that is true," etc. Here are four points which require our attention.

1. That the Son of God came into our world. "We know that the Son of God is come." (This great fact has already engaged our attention in our homily on 1 John 4:9-11, and the apostle's assurance of it in that on 1 John 4:14.)

2. That the Son of God hath given to us spiritual discernment that we might know God. "And hath given us an understanding, that we know him that is true." This does not mean that he has given to us any new faculty, but that he has brought our spiritual faculties into a right condition for the apprehension of the Divine Being. "As Christ has come (in the sense of 1 John 4:9)," says Ebrard, "and through this act of love has kindled love in us (1 John 4:10), thus communicating his nature to us, he has furnished us with the understanding necessary in order that we may know God. For God is, according to 1 John 1:5 and 1 John 4:8, Light and Love; and only he who is penetrated by his light, and kindled by his love, can know him." God was not the Unknowable to St. John. He knew him through the revelation of Jesus Christ, by the conscious realization of his presence with his Spirit, and by hallowed communion with him.

3. That we are in vital union with God and with his Son Jesus Christ. "We are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ." (We have already considered what it is to be in God, in our homily on 1 John 2:6.) The true Christian is in God the Father through being in Christ the Son. He is in the Father through the mediation of the Son.

4. That the Son of God is truly and properly Divine. "This is the true God, and eternal life" (cf. verses 11-13). Let us seek to realize the exalted and blessed knowledge which we have been considering. And if it be already ours, let us endeavour to possess it in clearer light and fuller measure. "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord." - W.J.







We know that we are of God
I. HOW TRUE BELIEVERS ARE OF GOD.

1. By creation; and so all things are of God (Romans 11:36). Thus the devils themselves are of God as their Creator, and so is the world. But this is not the being of God here meant.

2. By generation, as a son is of the father.

3. The work of regeneration is held forth under a double notion, showing the regenerate to be of God.(1) It is a being begotten of God (ver. 18). God Himself is the Father of the new creature: it is of no lower original (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23, 25).(2) It is a being born of God (ver. 18). By His Spirit alone the new creature is formed in all its parts, and brought forth into the new world of grace (John 3:5).

II. HOW BELIEVERS, AS THEY ARE OF GOD, REGENERATE PERSONS, ARE SEPARATED FROM THE WORLD LYING IN WICKEDNESS.

1. Negatively.(1) Not in respect of place (1 Corinthians 5:9, 10).(2) Not in respect of gathering them into pure unmixed societies for worship. There are no such visible Church societies in the world (Matthew 13:28-30).

2. But positively, the regenerate as such are separated from the world —(1) In respect of their being broken off from that corrupt mass, and become a part of a new lump. They are become members of Christ's mystical body, of the invisible Church, a distinct though invisible society.(2) Their being delivered from under the power of the god of this world, viz., Satan (Acts 26:18).(3) Their having a Spirit, even the Spirit of God dwelling in them, which the world have not (Romans 8:9; Jude 1:19).(4) Their having a disposition, and cast of heart and soul, opposite to that of the world; so that they are as much separated from the world as enemies are one from another (Genesis 3:15). From this doctrine we may learn the following things.

1. This speaks the dignity of believers. They are the truly honourable ones, as being of God; they are the excellent of the earth.

2. It speaks the privilege of believers. Everyone will care and provide for his own: be sure God will then take special concern about believers (Matthew 6:31, 32).

3. It speaks the duty of believers. Carry yourselves as becomes your dignity and privilege, as those that are of God.

4. It shows the self-deceit of unbelievers, pretenders to a saving interest in God, while in the meantime they are lying together with the world in wickedness.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. Men may know themselves to be of God, by giving diligence to make their calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10). Spiritual discerning, a spiritual sight, taste, or feeling of the things of God, in ourselves or others (1 Corinthians 2:14). Spiritual reasoning on Scripture grounds (ver. 13).

1. One may know that others are of God, and separated from the world, discerning the image of God shining forth in them.

2. A true believer may know himself to belong to God, and not to the world. We should not be rash in giving or refusing that judgment, but hold pace with the appearance or non-appearance of the grace of God in them. The love bestowed on hypocrites is not all lost, and therefore it is safest erring on the charitable side. Let us carry our judgment of others no farther than that of charity, and not pretend to a certainty, which is net competent to us in that case, but to God only. In our own case, we may have by rational evidence a judgment of certainty, without extraordinary revelation. What moves ourselves so to walk, we can assuredly know; but what moves others, we cannot know that. A true child of God may assuredly know his relative state in the favour of God.

II. I exhort you to be concerned to know whether ye are of God, separated from the world or not. To press you thereto, consider —

1. We are all of us naturally, and by our first birth, of the world lying in wickedness (Ephesians 2:2, 3).

2. The world lying in wickedness is the society appointed to destruction, as in a state and course of enmity against God (Ephesians 2:3). Therefore all that are to be saved are delivered and gathered out of it (Galatians 1:4).

3. Many deceive themselves in this mutter, as the foolish virgins (Matthew 25). Christ's flock is certainly a little flock (Luke 12:32; Matthew 5:13, 14).

4. Death is approaching; and if it were come, there will be no separating more from the world.

5. It is uncertain when death comes to us, and hew (Matthew 24:42). At best it is hardly the fit time of being new born, when a-dying.

6. It is an excellent and useful thing to know our state in this point. For if we find that we are not of God, but of the world, we are awakened to see to it in time.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. I ask you, then, to look first AT THE CHRISTIAN CERTAINTY OF BELONGING TO GOD. "We know that we are of God." Where did John get that form of expression? He got it where he got most of his terminology, from the lips of the Master. For, if you remember, our Lord Himself speaks more than once of men being "of God." As, for instance, when He says, "He that is of God heareth God's words." "Ye therefore hear them not because ye are not of God." The first conception in the phrase is that of life derived, communicated from God Himself. Fathers of flesh communicate the life, and it is thenceforth independent. But the life of the Spirit, which we draw from God, is only sustained by the continual repetition of the same gift by which it was originated. The better life in the Christian soul is as certain to fade and die if the supply from heaven is cut off or dammed back, as is the bed of a stream, to become parched and glistering in the fierce sunshine if the headwaters flow into it no more. You can no more have the life of the Spirit in the spirit of a man without continual communication from Him than a sunbeam can subsist if it be cut off from the central source. Divine preservation is as necessary in grace as in nature. If that life is thus derived and dependent, there follows the last idea in our pregnant phrase — viz., that it is correspondent with its source. "Ye are of God," kindred with Him and developing a life which, in its measure, is cognate with, and assimilated to, His own. Then there is another step to be taken. The man that has that life knows it. "We know," says the apostle, "that we are of God." That word "know" has been usurped by certain forms of knowledge. But surely the inward facts of my own consciousness are as much reliable as are facts in other regions which are attested by the senses, or arrived at by reasoning. Christian people have the same right to lay hold of that great word "we know," and to apply it to the facts of their spiritual experience, as any scientist in the world has to apply it to the facts of his science. How do you know that you are at all? The only answer is, "I feel that I am." And precisely the same evidence applies in regard to these lofty thoughts of a Divine kindred and a spiritual life. But that is not all. For the condition of being "born of God" is laid plainly down in this very chapter by the apostle as being the simple act of faith in Jesus Christ. So, then, if any man is sure that he believes, he knows that he is born of God, and is of God. Ah! But you say, "Do you not know how men deceive themselves by a profession of being Christians, and how many of us estimate their professions at a very different rate of genuineness from what they estimate them at?" Yes! I know that. And this whole letter of John goes to guard us against the presumption of entertaining inflated thoughts about ourselves. You remember how continually in this Epistle there crops up by the side of the most thoroughgoing mysticism, as people call it, the plainest, homespun, practical morality. "Let no man deceive you; he that doeth not righteousness is not of God; neither he that loveth not his brother." There is another test which the Master laid down in the words, "He that is of God heareth God's words. Ye, therefore, hear them not because ye are not of God." Christian people, take these two plain tests — first, righteousness of life, common practical morality; and, second, an ear attuned and attent to catch God's voice. It is a shame, and a weakening of any Christian life, that this triumphant confidence should not be clear in it. "We know that we are of God." Can you and I echo that with calm confidence? "I sometimes half hope that I am." "I am almost afraid to say it." "I do not know whether I am or not." "I trust I may be." That is the kind of creeping attitude in which hosts of Christian people are contented to live. Why should our skies be as grey and sunless as those of this northern winter's day when all the while, away down on the sunny seas, to which we may voyage if we will, there is unbroken sunshine, ethereal blue, and a perpetual blaze of light?

II. We have here THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF THE SURROUNDING WORLD. I need not, I suppose, remind you that John learned from Jesus to use that phrase "the world," not as meaning the aggregate of material things, but as meaning the aggregate of godless men. Now, the more a man is conscious that he himself, by faith in Jesus Christ, has passed into the family of God, and possesses the life that comes from Him, the more keen will be his sense of the evil that lies round him. Just as a native of Central Africa brought to England for a while, when he gets back to his kraal, will see its foulnesses as he did not before, the measure of our conscious belonging to God is the measure of our perception of the contrast between us and the ways of the men about us. I am not concerned for a moment to deny, rather, I most thankfully recognise the truth, that a great deal of the world has been ransomed by the Cross, and the Christian way of looking at things has passed into the general atmosphere in which we live. But the world is a world still, and the antagonism is there. The only way by which the antagonism can be ended is for the kingdoms of this world to become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ.

III. Lastly, consider THE CONSEQUENT CHRISTIAN DUTY. Let me put two or three plain exhortations. I beseech you, Christian people, cultivate the sense of belonging to a higher order than that in which you dwell. A man in a heathen land loses his sense of home, and of its ways; and it needs a perpetual effort in order that we should not forget our true affinities. So I say, cultivate the sense of belonging to God. Again, I say, be careful to avoid infection. Go as men do in a plague-stricken city. Go as our soldiers in that Ashanti expedition had to go, on your guard against malaria, the "pestilence that walketh in darkness." Go as these same soldiers did, on the watch for ambuscades and lurking enemies behind the trees. And remember that the only safety is keeping hold of Christ's hand. Look on the world as Christ looked on it. There must be no contempt; there must be no self-righteousness. There must be sorrow caught from Him, and tenderness of pity. Work for the deliverance of your brethren from the alien tyrant. The solemn alternative opens before everyone of us — Either I am "of God," or I am "in the wicked one."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

This has been called the Epistle of Love, and it well deserves that title, but it might be almost more appropriately called the Epistle of Certainties; there is the ring of absolute assurance from the opening words to the finish.

I. THE STRENGTH AND PREVAILING POWER OF THE EARLY DISCIPLES WERE IN THEIR CERTAINTIES; they went forth with decision upon their lips, with the fire of intense conviction in their hearts, and it made their testimony irresistible, and gave them their victory over the world. It was the age of the sceptic, a period of almost universal uncertainty. Agnosticism was bringing forth its inevitable fruit of pessimism and despair. Man hungers for the spiritual food which he has cast away. That was the secret sigh and groan of all the world in the days of the apostles. And then these men appeared, declaring in tones to which the world had long been unaccustomed that they had found the Truth, and the Eternal Life. It was the one clear beacon light in a waste of darkness. No wonder that men gathered around them. "This is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith."

II. IT WAS THE CERTAINTIES OF THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH THAT MADE IT A MISSIONARY CHURCH. Each illumined soul passed on the light to another. Each convert was as good as two, for each one made a second. Prisoners whispered the glad news to their gaolers, soldiers to their comrades, slaves to their masters, women to everyone who would listen. Nor could it be otherwise. They were swayed by the force of a mighty conviction. There was no hesitation because there was no doubt.

III. THE MEASURE OF OUR CERTAINTY IS THE MEASURE OF OUR POWER. We cannot lift others on the rock unless our own feet are there. No man ever wrought conviction in his fellow men until conviction had first swept hesitation out of him like a whirlwind, and cleansed his heart from doubt like a fire. No man believes the witness who only half believes himself. If there be no certainty there will be no fervour, no enthusiasm, no pathos in the voice, no pity in the eyes, no thrill of sympathy. There will only be cold words falling on cold hearts, and returning, as they went out, void. The whole Church is beginning to feel and rejoice in a powerful reaction towards positive beliefs. Those who talk somewhat boastfully of their advanced thought are being left behind, though they do not know it, by advance of a nobler kind. The Church sweeps past them in the impatience of a renewed assurance. Missions can only march to the music of the words "We know." If the steps are taken with dubious feet and trembling misgivings in the heart there will be perpetual haltings and paralysing weariness. If we are not sure that our Bible is the very Word of God, and our Christ the only possible Saviour of the world, shall we expend treasure and blood and send men out to solitude and danger, and often into the very grip of death, to make them known? There will be an end of all our missionary zeal if we are to believe or be influenced by that talk about the heathen systems which students of comparative religion have recently made current. Many hands have been busy of late whitewashing the darkness and laying gilt upon corruption. It has become fashionable in certain quarters to extol Buddha and Confucius and Mahomet, and by implication to depreciate Christ; to hold up to admiration the light of Asia, and by implication to bedim the Light of the World. And the levelling down of the Bible and the levelling up of the heathen writings have gone on together until the two are made to meet almost on common ground. If we had nothing more to carry to the heathen world than our moral precepts, who would waste the least effort or treasure on that task? Christ did not come so much to teach men what they ought to be and do, not to mock them by a revelation of their own impotence, but to give them that which is more than human, and to enable them to ascend to the heights which He showed.

IV. WE COME BACK, THEN, EVER TO THIS CONFESSION OF THE APOSTLE, for to question it is to make missionary enterprise, if not a laughing stock, at least a "much ado about nothing." "We are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness." Perhaps in Christian lands we cannot draw the line so clearly as it was drawn of old. The darkness shades into the light where Christian influences are working in all societies, and permeating all thought. And the measure of assurance is the measure of obligation. The more absolutely we know these things the heavier is our burden of responsibility.

(J. G. Greenhough, M. A.)

Homilist.
I. THE REGENERATE.

1. Their relation to God.

(1)Of His family.

(2)Of His school.

(3)His willing servants.

2. Their consciousness of this relation.

II. THE UNREGENERATE. "Lieth in the wicked one" — in his power, dominion, influence. Some lie there as a sow in the mire; they are satisfied with their filth, they luxuriate in the pollution. Some as sufferers in a hospital; they writhe in agony, and long to get away. What a condition to be in! Better lie on the deck of a vessel about going down, or on the bosom of a volcanic hill about to break into flame.

(Homilist.)

The whole world lieth in wickedness
That world is (as it were two hemispheres) two-fold.

1. The lower world lying in wickedness. That is the region of eternal death; the lake of fire.

2. The upper world lying in wickedness. That is the land of the living, this present evil world.(1) The lower and upper unregenerate world are indeed one world, one kingdom of Satan, one family of his.(2) But they are in different circumstances.(a) The state of the one is alterable, as of those who are upon a trial; of the other unalterable, as those on whom a definite sentence is passed.(b) So the case of the one is not without hope, but that of the other absolutely hopeless.(c) Here they lie in wickedness with some ease and pleasure; there they lie in it with none at all. Their pleasurable sins are there at an end (Revelation 18:14).

I. THE PARTS OF THE UNREGENERATE WORLD.

1. The religious part of it. Wonder not that we speak of the religious part of the world lying in wickedness; for there is some religion, but of the wrong stamp.(1) A natural conscience, which dictates that there is a God, a difference betwixt good and evil, rewards and punishments after this life (Romans 2:15).(2) Interest, which sways the men of the world to it several ways. In some times and places religion is fashionable, gains men credit.

2. The moral part of it. Some such there have been among heathens, and some among Christians. Two things, besides natural conscience and interest, bring in morality into the world lying in wickedness.(1) Civil society, by which means men may live at peace in the world, and be protected from injuries.(2) Natural modesty and temper, in respect of which there is a great difference among even worldly men.

3. The immoral part of it. This is the far greatest part of that world (1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 5:19-21; Titus 3:3).(1) The corruption of human nature, the natural bent of which lies to all enormities. This was the spring of the flood of wickedness, and of water, that overflowed the old world (Genesis 6:5).(2) Occasions of sin and temptations thereto, which offer themselves thick in this evil world; because the multitude is of that sort (Matthew 18:7).(a) The wealth of the rich makes immorality abound among them. It swells the heart in pride, and fills them with admiration of themselves; it ministers much fuel to their lusts, and affords them occasions of fulfilling them.(b) The poor, those who are in extreme poverty. Their condition deprives them of many advantages others have.

4. If we compare the immoral part of the world lying in wickedness with the other two, though it is true they are all of the same world, and will perish if they be not separated from it; yet the religious and moral have the advantage of the immoral.(1) In this life, in many respects. They walk more agreeable to the dignity of human nature than the immoral. They are more useful and beneficial to mankind. They have more inward quiet, and are not put on the rack that immorality brings on men. And so they have more outward safety, their regular lives being a fence to them, both from danger without and within.

2. In the life to come. Though the world, the unregenerate world's religion and morality will not bring them to heaven, yet it will make them a softer hell than the immoral shall have (Revelation 20:12, 13).

II. THE STATE OF THE UNREGENERATE WORLD.

1. I am to confirm and evince the truth of the doctrine in the general.(1) Satan is the god of the whole unregenerate world; how can it miss then to be wholly lying in wickedness? (2 Corinthians 4:4).(2) Spiritual darkness, thick darkness, is over the whole of that world (Ephesians 5:8), how can anything but works of darkness be found in it? The sun went down on all mankind in Adam's transgressing the covenant; the light of God's countenance was then withdrawn.(3) They are all lying under the curse (Galatians 3:10). For not being in Christ, they are under the law as a covenant of works (Romans 3:19). The curse always implies wickedness.(4) They are all destitute of every principle of holiness, and there cannot be an effect without a cause of it; there can be no acts of holiness without a principle to proceed from. They are destitute of the Spirit of God; He dwells not in them (Jude 1:19; comp. 1 Corinthians 2:14).

II. EXPLAIN THIS STATE OF THE UNREGENERATE WORLD, THERE LYING IN WICKEDNESS.

1. What of wickedness they lie in.(1) In a state of sin and wickedness (Acts 8:23). They are all over sinful and wicked, as over head and ears in the mire (Revelation 3:17).(a) Their nature is wholly corrupted with sin and wickedness (Matthew 7:18).(b) Their lives and conversations are wholly corrupted (Psalm 14:3). For the fountain being poisoned, no pure streams can come forth from thence (Matthew 12:34).(2) The whole unregenerate world lies under the dominion and reigning power of sin and wickedness (Romans 6:17)(a) Sin is in them in its full strength and vigour, and therefore rules and commands all.(b) It possesses them alone without an opposite principle.(3) They lie in the habitual practice of sin and wickedness (Psalm 14:1). The best things they do are sin, unapproved, unaccepted of God (Proverbs 15:8; Isaiah 66:3).

2. How the unregenerate world lies in wickedness. They lie in it in the most hopeless case; which we may take up in three things.(1) Bound in it (Acts 8), bound in it like prisoners (Isaiah 61:1). They are in chains of guilt, which they cannot break off; there are fetters of strong lusts upon them, which hold them fast.(2) Asleep in it (Ephesians 5:14). They have drunk of the intoxicating cup, and are fast asleep, though within the sea mark of vengeance.(3) Dead in it (Ephesians 2:1). A natural life, through the union of a soul with their body, they have; but their spiritual life is gone, the union of their souls with God being quite broken (Ephesians 4:18).

Use 1. Of information. See here —

1. The spring and fountain of the abounding sin in our day. The whole world lies in wickedness; and wickedness proceedeth from the wicked (1 Samuel 24:13). Hence —(1) The apostacy in principles, men departing from the faith.(2) Apostacy in practice. There is a deluge of profanity gone over the land.

2. The spring of all the miseries that are lying on us, and we are threatened with. The world is lying in wickedness, and therefore lies in misery;" for God is a sin hating and sin revenging God. Men will carry themselves agreeable to their state of regeneracy or irregeneracy; and to find unregenerate men lying in this and the other wickedness, is no more strange than to find fish swimming in the water, and birds flying in the air; it is their element.

4. The world must be an infectious society; it must be a pestilential air that is breathed in it, and wickedness in it must be of a growing and spreading nature.

5. This accounts for the uneasy life that the serious godly have in the world. For unto them —(1) It is a loathsome world, where their eyes must behold abominations that they cannot help (Habakkuk 1:3).(2) It is a vexatious world; the temper of the parties is so different, so opposite, that they can never hit it, but must needs be heavy one to another.(3) It is an ensnaring world, wherein snares of all sorts are going, and they are many times caught in the trap ere they are aware (2 Timothy 3:1, 2).(4) It is a world wherein wickedness thrives apace as in its native soil, but any good has much ado to get up its head (Jeremiah 4:22).

6. This accounts for the frightful end this visible world will make, by the general conflagration (2 Peter 3:10).

7. This shows the dangerous state of the unregenerate world; they lie in wickedness.(1) They now lie under wrath, hanging in the threatening and curse which is over their heads (Ephesians 2:8).(2) They will perish under that wrath, whoever continue and come not out from among them (Matthew 25; Revelation 20:14, 15).

Use 2. Of exhortation.

1. To all I would say, Search and try what society ye belong to, whether ye are still of, or separated from, the world lying in wickedness.

2. To saints separated from the world, I would say —(1) Do not much wonder at the harsh entertainment ye meet with in it.(2) Watch against it while ye are in it, as being in hazard of sins and snares in a world lying in wickedness.(3) Look homeward, and long to be with Christ, where you shall be forever out of the reach of all evil, and enjoy such peace and freedom as your enemies can disturb no more.

3. To sinners of the world lying in wickedness, I would say, Come out from among them, and be separated, as ye would not be ruined with them, and perish eternally in their destruction.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

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