Again and again John draws the contrast between the children of God and the children of the Devil, skipping back and forth from one extreme to the other.  He wishes us to be in no doubt as to what precisely are the identifying marks of the children of God.  His desire is that no man, on his account, should deceive himself into thinking he is saved when in reality he is still lost.  Having exposed the religious antinomian as a fraud, he again describes for us in more detail the nature of the heaven-born child of God.  The man who desires to obey God, keeping His word because it is more precious to him than life, in such a man the love of God is perfected.  It is through the love of God dwelling in him that he is enabled to run in the way of God’s commandments.  It is not mere human affection, but divine love which works in and through him, as he resists the carnal motions of his flesh, and compels himself to yield obedience to the holy law.  This is true love, which transcends all human sentimentality.

The love of God is not perfected in us by us simply showing a simpering, ecumenical politeness towards our fellow religionists.  The love of God coexists, and in fact motivates, obedience to the law of God.  Many times such obedience will put us at odds with our fellow men, and will in fact induce some of our friends and near kinsmen to hate and forsake us.  It may ultimately cause that we are persecuted, because we act upon the principle that we ought to obey God rather than men.  This is the true love of God.  This same apostle wrote in 2nd John 6, “This is love, that we walk after His commandments.”  The love of God is only perfected in those who yield heartfelt obedience to the commands of the Most High.  They do it, not to attempt to propitiate God towards themselves; they know that Jesus Christ the Righteous is their propitiation.  They do it because they love the God Who gave His only begotten Son up to death, that we might live through Him.  Out of abounding affection towards this unspeakably gracious God, revering Him both as Creator and Saviour, the heaven-born soul obeys Him cheerfully, regretting only that his obedience is less precise than it should be.  Walking in such a spirit, he may know and be assured that he is in God, and in His Son Jesus Christ.