“But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”
John now puts forward a counter–claim to verse four.
But whoever keeps His word,
The word “whoever” is an abiding promise to any and every believer who chooses to apply the Word of God to his experience. We can enjoy fellowship with God if we “keep” His Word, that is, God’s own personal Word. The word “keeps” indicates constancy. Whoever makes a practice of applying truth to experience enters into the reality of fellowship with God.
The issue is not feelings or fervor but the point is appropriation of the promises to experience. “His word” indicates God’s own personal Word. God has an interest in His Word. This is more than particular commandments, it is the sum total of His revelation.
The word “truly” means of a truth, in reality, most certainly. This word is in the emphatic position making the point that God’s interest above all else is the reality of fellowship with Him.
the love of God is perfected in him.
The word “perfected” carries the idea of undivided, whole. When we apply truth to experience, nothing hinders the manifestation of God’s love to us. The constraining influence of God’s love moves us to careful keeping of His Word to begin with and ever moves us toward that end. This is a picture of the Spirit-filled believer.
It is most certain [“truly”] that God completes His love in those who respond to His Word. God’s love resides fully in those who keep His Word. God’s love is undivided in His attitude and actions toward us, thus, His love is complete toward those who apply truth to experience. God makes His love real in him. The words “in him” indicate that God makes His love real in this kind of believer and no other.
“In him” means in this one (and no other). In addition, it does not say “by him” for we are not the authors of this love. In this application of truth produced by love, we know experientially that we are in Him.
The words “by this” refer to the preceding sentence. We know that we walk in God’s love when we appropriate the truth of God’s Word to experience. We cannot have fellowship with God in time without understanding His nature and ways.
The woods are filled with people who have no interest in God’s way of life. We cannot fellowship nor love God without understanding and applying His Word to our lives.
we know that we are in Him
When God makes His love real to us, then we know that we are “in Him.”
We know that we are “in Him” when God makes His love real to us.
Keeping or applying God’s Word to our experience does not mean sinless perfection. We all have times when we disobey God’s Word and succumb to the flesh.
1 Jn 1: 8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
The issue is whether we are willing to walk with God on a regular basis. Application of truth to experience perfects God’s love in the believer. The proof of our love is loyalty. The proof does not lie in sentiment but in submission to the will of God.
We cannot earn or deserve the love of God. It is all of grace. We never deserve God’s love, therefore, we cannot work for it.