1 John 5:19
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
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.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.