But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 1 John 2:5
When young people leave home for college, they often hear words like these from a parent: “Remember who you are and whose you are. Your lifestyle and actions when away from home will reveal how well you have internalized and embraced the values you’ve been taught.”
The apostle John wrote something similar to his first-century audience. In short, the Christians who obey God’s words are those in whom the love of God is doing its maturing and perfecting work. Or, said another way, “By [our obedience] we know that we are in Him.” Obedience doesn’t mean perfection, or never sinning. (See the apostle John’s acknowledgement that sin happens in 1 John 1:9.) John’s word “perfected” means “completion” or “ending.” The goal of God’s love for us, and our love for Him, is that we would be conformed to His will as expressed by obedience to His Word.
Do you find yourself being conformed more and more to the image of Christ, motivated by your loving fellowship with Him (Romans 8:29)? By this you know that you are in Him.
The habitual inclination of the heart…in believers…is unto good, unto God, unto holiness, unto obedience. John Owen