The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic .which largely limits the observer to the content offered by the book of the Gospel of John. Other passages must have a relationship with the context at hand, such as a Scriptural quotation or reference in the passage at hand. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.


The next statement of the verse, (1 Jn 2:5], in this we know that we are in Him, takes the discussion one step further. The words in this might refer either forward or backward. If forward, the reference is to verse 6. If backward, the reference is to the experience of having God's love perfected in us. However, since verse 6 has no grammatical tie to the previous statement, Johannine usage suggests a reference backward. Thus the words in this refer to the experience of love just described: i.e., in means of this experience of God's love, we can know that we are in Him.

The expression in Him (Greek: en autO) must not be superficially read as an equivalent to Paul's concept of being 'in Christ' (Greek: en ChristO).

[Bible Knowledge Commentary, Victor Books, 1988, USA, Zane Hodges, contributing editor]:

"For Paul, the words "in Christ" [for example in 2 Corinthians chapter 5] describe a Christian's permanent position in God's Son with all its attendant privileges . With John, the kind of relationship pictured in the vine-branch imagery describes an experience that can be ruptured (John 15:6) with a resultant loss of fellowship and fruitfulness. Thus here in 1 John, the proof that a person is enjoying this kind of experience is to be found in a life modeled after that of Jesus in obedience to His Word. In short, 2:5-6 continues to talk about the believer's fellowship with God."]

[Hodges, op. cit., pp. 79-82 cont.]:

"The seedbed for John's idea is our Lord's teaching in John 13-17, especially 15:1-8 . This well-known passage about the vine and its branches can rightly be understood as a metaphor for the relationship between a disciple and his Lord. This is made clear by the words that conclude the vine/branch discourse: 'By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples' (John 15:8, italics added). Unlike the salvation relationship, the relationship of a disciple to his Teacher can be lost: 'If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch' (John 15:6, emphasis added). The 'anyone,' of course, means 'any disciple,' since only a disciple can 'abide' in Christ. As the whole discourse in John 15 makes clear, the disciple must remain in his Master, just as the branch must abide in the Vine (John 15:4). To be 'cast out as a branch' means to lose the disciple / Teacher relationship, not to lose eternal life

In using the words in Him, therefore, John is referring to the 'abiding' Teacher / disciple relationship. This is made evident in the very next verse. The disciple's experience of the love of God being perfected in Him is evidence that this disciple is indeed in Him in the sense of 'abiding' in his Lord."

Note that the observation of one keeping God's Word is neither, as some contend, a requirement nor a reliable confirmation of whether or not one has possession of eternal life - whether it is the individual himself in self-assessment, or a second party in judgment of another. The reception of eternal life does not require that one keep God's Word / His commandments. The only requirement and reliable confirmation that Scripture offers for knowing that one has eternal life is for the individual to remember that he himself has believed in Christ for eternal life, (1 Jn 5:9-13 , cf Eph 2:8-9). Furthermore, the one who observes another's behavior in order to judge whether or not one is saved is only a flawed, finite being himself who cannot judge / see as God judges / sees into the motivations of another; nor is he able to observe the motivations and actions of another all the time.