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Read Introduction to 1 John


“Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”


This last verse of the chapter brings us back to the issue of abiding in Christ, of fellowship with the Lord. 

Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him,

The idea of “abides” here is live in fellowship.  The believer who applies principles of God’s Word to experience lives in fellowship with the Lord (3:22).  The word “keeps” is a synonym for applying truth to experience. 

The believer who is habitually characterized [present tense] by applying the principles of the Word to experience harmoniously abides in fellowship with the Lord.  Abiding is subjective depending on whether we are filled with the Spirit or not. 

and He in him.

Fellowship with God involves mutual reciprocity.  God, Himself lives in fellowship with us when we apply truth to experience.  We share the most intimate fellowship with God, a state that God desires.

God inextricably couples together fellowship with Him and applying the principles of His Word to experience (2:5, 24, 27-29; 3:18-19). 


Application of truth to experience characterizes fellowship with God. 


The abiding of God in us has the necessary counterpart of our abiding in Him.  There is a reciprocity of relationship and fellowship.  The initial cause is always God’s responsibility without. Whom we can do nothing.  Our action is a simple response to God’s action.  That is why we can do nothing in our own power.  All we do is a product of God’s power except the volition of choosing to do so.  As God’s abiding in us is from His initiative, so our abiding is a response to God’s initiative.  This abiding conveys the idea of persistent fellowship. 

Jn 15:4-5, 4Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

These things abide in the believer:

  1. The Word of God, 2:14
  2. The Anointing, 2:27
  3. The seed, 3:9
  4. The love of God, 3:17
  5. God Himself, 3:24; 4:12,13,15
  6. Christ (implied in 3:24). Cf. Jn 6:56 and 15:5

The 4th evidence of the new life in the believer is the Spirit filled life.

  1. Keeping God’s commandments, 2:3,4
  2.  Doing of righteousness, 2:29
  3. Loving in deeds as well as word, 3:14,18
  4. Filling of the Spirit, 3:24