1 John 2:3, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”
Have any doubts that you are a Christian, a true follower of Christ Jesus? Any doubts that you are a true believer, born-again, spirit-renewed, a new creature in Christ, as the Apostle Paul states? – (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Are you keeping Christ’s commandments? If you can say yes, that you are purposefully attempting to obey the commandments of Jesus, then you can KNOW that you know Him, truly KNOW Him! For those that might be confused about obeying commandments and thinking that just possibly I am speaking of obeying the Law as given to the Children of Israel, let me assure you, I am not. I am not trying to rob you of your freely given grace and demanding you walk again according to the Law.
What I do want to remind you of is something that I speak of very predominately in my teaching, and it is found in Matthew 22:35-40, “Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him,” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Remember that Jesus said earlier in Matthew that He came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. – (Matthew 5:17). In essence, Christ Jesus, is the embodiment of these two commandments!
These two “commandments” encompass everything that Christ Jesus stands for and came to share with His disciples. If we love God, our Heavenly Father with ALL that we are and we love one another, those that are around us on a daily basis, then we are following, obeying His commandments. Jesus spoke it so that even a child, which we are to be like, could understand the simplicity of the command it! It’s another reason why the Beloved Apostle wrote in the first verse, “My little children.” – (1 John 2:1).
“We know that we know Him.” Notice that this portion of scripture speaks of one who has matured to the point of knowledge. That knowledge is much more than simple belief. A belief, however strong can eventually be shattered, but knowledge is a thing of factual substance.
When we as Christians can progress beyond the realm of only believing and into the realm of knowing, of absolute certainty, our faith will then know no bounds. My youngest son was the one who really brought this to my attention quite a few years ago. He had been talking with a fellow employee who was reiterating to a small group of people what she believed about a certain scripture on faith. My son asked her a couple of questions based on the scriptures that he was familiar with, and it left his fellow employee, this “believer” struggling to find an answer she was comfortable with. It had to do with faith in the certainty of God’s Word. He told her that when she passes the stage of just believing to the point of knowing for a certainty, of knowing for a FACT, then nothing will frustrate or sway her.
It definitely got me to thinking about our relationship with the Father through His Son as we mature. We SHOULD grow in stature in the Lord. Paul said it and so did many of the other Apostles. We must constantly change to become more like Christ. Believing only can make us appear to be like Christ, but knowing, actually being grounded in the FACT, makes our hearts and minds much more like Christ Jesus, the Anointed One.
That is why the first part of this scripture is so important. We can come to a point where it is no longer a matter of believing in Christ but rather a knowledge of Him, after all remember that the Apostle James wrote that the demons believe in Him and they aren’t changed. – (James 2:19). That absolute certainty, that KNOWING Him comes from intimacy with Him.
It is almost like circular reasoning, yet it is the effect from the cause. When we come to Christ Jesus and surrender our lives, our wills to Him, we WANT, we desire to do what He would have us do. As we continue to obey His commandments, obey HIM, we get to actually KNOW Him so much more intimately. As we get to know Him more intimately, we want to obey Him more!
I also want to caution believers and especially in the day and age we live today. With the access to so much historical information and knowledge, it is so very easy to “believe” in the historical Jesus, that part of God that walked this world and left such an imprint. We are talking about (and this is why you see me use the term so much) the Christ, the Anointed One of God Almighty, that aspect, that attribute of Jesus that is God’s Son!
Part of John’s reason for writing to the Christians of his day was to refute the Gnostics that were preaching falsehoods. The Gnostics pretended to have much spiritual knowledge, but their knowledge left them in possession of all their bad passions and unholy habits; they, therefore, gave no proof that they had known either God or his Son Jesus, nor is ANY man properly acquainted with God, who is still under the power of his own sins. If you observe the way of the world today and the attitude of man, you see that the same falsehood is still rearing its ugly head. It never really went away, it just stayed dormant for a time. After all, many recent polls in the United States say that a minimum of 84% of its citizens “believe” they are Christians, because they believe “in a god of some sort!” If it were true that the U.S. was comprised of this many ACTUAL Christians, this country would not be in the severe state of chaos and corruption that it faces today!
To truly know God, in the scriptural sense of the words, as the Apostle John is writing, is to have an INTIMATE acquaintance and communion with him as our Father AND Friend. Such knowledge and fellowship are always connected with sincere obedience. When this is lacking, the mere professing of knowing God is an evident falsehood. So, here is how we do know that we know him, the evidences that we have a saving knowledge of Christ is loyal obedience to his commandments.
1 John 2:4, “He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
As I stated above, we see it still even in our day and I am sure when John had his “revelation” he also saw that things were not going to change. Human nature has NOT changed since the days of Adam and only Christ Jesus can change the innermost nature of man. There were a lot of people even in John’s day, just years after Christ died and rose again, that claimed to be something they were not. There is that old saying that I and many of you grew up with; “your actions speak louder than your words.” In essence, that is exactly what John is trying to say.
Remember again, the Apostle is speaking to those that consider him their spiritual father. He called them, “little children,” an endearment reserved only for those special and close to his heart. He is saying to them, almost prophetically, “if you’re going to say it, but do not act it, you are a liar.”
I know this seems extremely harsh, but try to fathom what he is telling them. If you are that person, the one who speaks one thing and does another, then the truth is not in you. The truth as a WHOLE is not in you. You are either wholly truthful by your deeds, or you are a complete liar, a deceiver and there is no such thing as just a little bit a liar. You are either one or you are not. You either walk in truth, or you live in lies. Years ago I wrote an article for our local newspaper’s religious section entitled, “A Half-Truth is Still a Whole Lie.” You wouldn’t believe the responses I received because there are those who still truly believe there are justifications and gray areas concerning what is TRUTH. We live in an age when theories are tossed around, spoken of and written as if they are absolute fact when in essence they are still just assumptions!
So, remember again, we are not speaking about someone who just has a belief in Jesus. We are talking about those who say they have an intimate, close, relational knowledge of Him. If you say that, but your actions do not show it, then you lie; according to the Scriptures, plain, simple and to the point!
In this day and age, if I were to paraphrase what John wrote to most church-goers, they would say that I am judging and I am unloving and I do not have a right according to the Bible to do that. But John was very clear in stating the truth, and the proof of what we say, or what others say, is in the actions. Christians today are sometimes more concerned with being politically correct than identifying the truth or seemingly hurting someone’s feelings. John was not concerned as he was led by the Holy Spirit to state the truth.
As a Pastor, I have had to deal with people in real world situations. I have had many come to myself and my wife for counseling of one type or another. When presented with the truth, even in a very loving but firm way, I can attest, this will be the reaction you get. Most (I said most, not all) people want their advice sugar-coated and lifting them up. Encouragement IS important, for you never want to try and help someone by putting them down, but rather be honest with truth and do not withhold the hope and encouragement that they can rise above their problems. You will NEVER find an example in Scripture where our Heavenly Father tells His people something very serious, without also giving them the hope and assurance of something better! I have yet to find it, in regards to His relationship with His children!
So, does the Apostle’s comments sound like a contradiction to the loving person that we are to be as Christians? If you believe you understand the true concept of “Agape” love, you will realize that true love, Godly love, can only be expressed in the truth. There is a reason why this very same Apostle recorded the words of Jesus to some believing Jews when He stated, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – (John 8:31b-32).
We must judge ourselves first and foremost in the light of truth, to make sure that what we say lines up with what we are doing in actuality. Once we judge ourselves before God, we do not have to fear about being judged by others, or by God Himself!
We need to understand something else as well, and do not make the mistake that many do today. We do not come to know God by ONLY keeping His commandments. So many would have you step back into bondage to the Law. That is works, hoping that we will/can impress God enough to accept us. That is works without faith and a deception of the enemy of our souls. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Want to PLEASE God, want to be accepted by Him? God ALREADY accepts us. We walk in faith, knowing that He does accept us, thereby developing a willingness and desire to keep His commandments. The more we come to know Him in a real spiritual and intimate depth, the more we will please Him, because we love Him so much.
Knowing Him and loving Him, develops within us the ability to keep His commandments. God is telling us, and so much more today than probably any other period of time, that we should first, learn to love Him, get to know Him, and then all the rest will fall right into place. Let’s not get the “cart before the horse” so to speak. He has ALWAYS, first and foremost wanted us to have a deep and abiding relationship with Him.