1 JOHN 2:3-6 THE TEST OF OBEDIENCE

16May

1 John 2:3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

  • True Christians Obey God’s Word

God wants us to know Him.

Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). The true grace of God teaches us “to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:12). So after setting forth God’s grace, John goes on to show that those who have truly experienced it will show it by living in obedience to His Word. 

1 John is a book of assurance based on knowledge of the gospel and matching lifestyle of love and obedience (cf. The book of James).

You can know that you truly know Christ if you walk in obedience to His Word.

V3 Obedience is the outward visible proof of salvation

God wants us to know that we know Him.

By This or “these things” refers to all that John has written, which includes three tests of genuine faith: obedience, love, and sound doctrine.

John proposed a test whereby we can measure our practical knowledge of God (Father and Son, 1:3). He said, look at your response to God's revealed will. All believers know God to some extent (John 17:3).

Christianity is not just knowing about God or knowing certain doctrines or following certain moral precepts. It is essentially to know God. Jesus said (John 17:3), “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Christianity at its heart is, knowing God personally through Jesus Christ, who revealed God to us. If you do not know Him, you are not a Christian, no matter how correct your doctrine or how faithful your church attendance. You may have been raised in the church and you may always have adhered to Christian morality. But if you do not know God personally, you are not saved.

However some know Him more fully than others do (John 14:7-9, 21-23). John's point was that our personal experiential knowledge of God will affect the way we live, and the way we live, obediently or disobediently, will reveal how well we really know God.

In the parable of the sower, those represented by the rocky soil that received the word with joy certainly would have claimed to believe. The same would be true of the thorny soil. But only the fourth type, the good soil, brought forth fruit with perseverance (Luke 8:5-15). That parable shows that if a person truly believes, he will endure trials and root out the weeds of the world. But it takes some time to determine this. How can we know if a profession of faith is genuine, saving faith? Look at the fruit that comes from it. But fruit takes time to grow.

In 2 Peter 1:10, the apostle exhorts us to “be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; …” Why would anyone need to be diligent to make certain about this, if assurance is something that accompanies initial faith? Peter indicates that making certain about our calling and election is somewhat tied to our deeds subsequent to initial faith. He adds (2 Pet. 1:10-11), “for as long as you practice these things [the qualities that he has just listed], you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”

This emphasizies that the Christians of these traumatized churches can have the full assurance of their salvation despite the false teachings they were hearing.

One of the evidences for true conversion is obedience to the Light (both Jesus and the gospel, cf. Luke 6:46). Even in the OT obedience was better than sacrificial ritual (cf. 1 Sam. 15:22; Jer. 7:22-23). Obedience does not bring or secure salvation, but it does evidence salvation. It is not the basis (cf. Eph. 2:8-9), but the fruit (cf.

The way that we know that we truly have come to know God is by walking in obedience to His Word.

Ro 2:8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness--indignation and wrath,

 2Th 1:8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 1Pe 3:1 ¶ Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,

 1Pe 4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (NKJV)

Joh 14:15 ¶ "If you love Me, keep My commandments.

 Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

 Joh 14:24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.

 Joh 15:10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. (NKJV)

Mt 15:8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.

 Mr 7:6 He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. (NKJV)

Eph. 2:10

James 2:14-26

1Peter 1:13-16

Eph 2:2-3…Unsaved

Heb 12:5-11 – Discipline

Mt. 10:28 - "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

V4 False Christians –

1Jo 2:4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

2:4 "The one who says" This marks John's diatribe format.

Lu 6:46 "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?

If a person says he knows God intimately but is not obedient to the revealed will of God, he is a liar.  Furthermore, God's truth does not have a controlling influence over his life (cf. 1:8, 10).

"I have come to know Him" The false teachers were claiming to know God, but were trying to separate salvation from godly living. They were separating justification from sanctification. They claimed superior (i.e., secret oral teachings from Jesus) knowledge of God, but their lifestyles revealed their true motives (Luke 6:43-45).

"and does not keep His commandments" This speaks of habitual lifestyle action. Our lives reveal our spiritual orientation (cf. Matthew 7; 1 John 3:6,9). 1 John 2:4 expresses the truth negatively, while 2:5 expresses the same truth positively.

"is a liar" There is nothing worse than self-willed deception! Obedience is evidence of true conversion. You shall know them by their fruit (cf. Matt. 7:15-23; Luke 6:43-45; 1 John 3:6,9).

John calls several religious people (teachers, preachers) liars (cf. 1 John 1:6; 2:4,22; 4:20). They are religious but not right with God (cf. Matt. 7:21-23)!

  1. 1 John 1:7 ‒ "If we say we have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie"
  2. 1 John 2:4 ‒ "if one says, 'I have come to know Him, and does not keep His commandments,'" he is a liar
  3. 1 John 2:22 ‒ "Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ"
  4. 1 John 4:20 ‒ "if someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar"

1 John 2:5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

 "but whoever keeps His word" This speaks of habitual lifestyle action.

Obedience is a crucial aspect of covenant faith. This is the central message of 1 John and James. One cannot say He knows God and yet reject both the living Word and the written Word by lifestyle sin (cf. 1 John 3:6,9)!

V5 Know – 26 Times – Speaking to the Gnostics

Keep – 10 Times

"By this we know that we are in Him" Here again is the emphasis on believers' ability to have a faith confidence in their relationship with God. The concept of our being in Him ("abiding," cf. 1 John 2:6) is a repeated theme of John's writings (cf. John 14:20,23; 15:4-10; 17:21,23,26; 1 John 2:24-28; 3:6,24; 4:13,16).

1Jo 2:6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

2:6 "abides" The NT also declares that both the Father and the Son abide in us (cf. John 14:23 and 17:21). Notice that even in a clause which emphasizes assurance there is the need for, and implied warning, of "ought" (cf. 1 John 2:6, "abides in Him"). The gospel is a conditional covenant with rights and responsibilities!

V6 abides – remains or stays

John 15:4-10 – Vine and the Branches

 "ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked" This is another emphasis on "true faith" as lifestyle faith (cf. James 2:14-26). Faith is not only a decision, but an ongoing personal relationship with Jesus that naturally issues in daily Christ like living. Eternal life has observable characteristics! This is parallel to 1 John 1:7. The goal of Christianity is not just heaven when we die, but Christlikeness now (cf. Rom. 8:29-30; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 1:4; 1 Thess. 3:13; 4:3; 1 Pet. 1:15)! We are saved to serve. We are sent on mission as He was sent on mission. As He laid down His life for others, so we too, must see ourselves as servants (cf. 1 John 3:16).

John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

Mark 8:36 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Have you trusted Him as your Savior? He can Save you if You ask Him based on His death, burial, and resurrection for your sins. Believe in Him for forgiveness of your sins today.

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  -John 8:32

Our mission is to spread the gospel and to go to the least of these with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ; We reach out to those the World has forgotten. 

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