3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (I John 2:3-6)
The Apostle John addressed the basic issues and content of authentic Christianity in black and white terms. There are very little, if any, grey areas with John in describing the authentic Christian life and experience. That is why the Gospel of John and John’s Epistles are so basic for new or young believers in the faith. They all contain the fundamentals of an individual’s trust, commitment, dependence and worship of God through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
John provided one of the basic perspectives and disciplines for each and every believer in Christ in today’s text. In a word, the theme is obedience. A little known Gospel chorus says, “Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe. Doing exactly what the Lord commands, doing it naturally. Action is the key, do it immediately, joy you will receive. Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.”
I John 2:3 says, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” John used his common cause and effect argument and sentence structure. He said that the believer in Christ truly and presently knows they have come to know Jesus Christ at a particular point in time in the past by personal experience and understanding if, since and when the believer presently and actively keeps, observes, guards and obeys the commandments which solely originate and belong to God. This is a simple but significant and basic understanding of Christian sanctification.
I John 2:4 continues this thought by saying, “Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” John used the same cause and effect structure but in the negative. He contended that whoever continually says that they have come to experience a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ at a particular point in time in the past, but do not presently and actively keep, guard, observe and obey the commandments which solely originate and belong to God, this person is a liar and is speaking falsehood.
I John 2:5-6 says, “…but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” To abide means to remain and to persevere in Christ.
The apostle placed great emphasis upon obedience to the commandments of God. Why? It is because Jesus did.
John 14:15 says, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.”
John 14:21 says, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
These are but two statements Jesus made to His disciples during His Upper Room Discourse (John 13-16). This basic understanding of biblical obedience as an evidence of true conversion is as applicable for Christians today as it was then.
What is your response? Is your understanding of basic Christianity one of high energy worship services which provide a spiritual high each week? Is your Christianity based on your experience as a determiner of truth? Or, is biblical Christianity based upon an obedience to God’s Word as an evidence of true conversion regardless of how you feel?
The biblical evidence from I John 2:3-6 is clear. Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!