Evidences of Knowing God (Part 2)
We Will Obey (1 John 2:3-4).
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
There is no need to multiply words here. The point is simple: “You have no idea of the God you serve if you do not obey His Word.” God has spoken. God has commanded. We do not choose which commandments we obey. We do not choose when we obey them. We see that God has spoken, and we bow. This applies to the workplace. This applies to the assembly. This applies to our private lives. This applies to our character. “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
We Will Not Be Ruled by Sin (1 John 3:5-6).
You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
John is not forgetful of his earlier statements that “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1:10). He is not saying here that believers never commit acts of sin. Rather, he is saying that believers do not continue in sinfulness, present continuous sin; nor are they marked as those who sin. John’s two categories of sinning and not sinning are painfully simple, but they pierce to the heart of our moral honesty. Though you may have no doubts of your salvation, it is still everyone’s obligation to examine himself whether his claim to faith meets reality (2 Corinthians 13:5). We should regularly make ourselves the defendant and our works the witnesses: of what would they convict us? Have we truly seen God? Have we truly come to know Him? If so, sin will not have lasting dominion over our lives.
We Will Listen to the Apostles (1 John 4:6).
We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
The Lord said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Thus, those that know Him know those through whom He speaks. John here validates the apostolic voice as God’s authoritative mouthpiece. Contrary to the anti-theological flavour of our Christianity, John says boldly that knowing God results in sound doctrine. It results, not in following a system, but following that which was taught from the beginning by the original recipients of the truth. Today’s pulpits and seminaries are filled with men who know nothing of God, and this is evident because they know nothing of sacred teaching. When teaching becomes a matter of mere discussion and sermonization, it easily becomes anti-God. The man who knows God has a deeply rooted burden for divine truth. If a man dares claim the knowledge of God, he should know that God is only approached on His own terms and by His own truth. Believe no word of the man who has works, claiming to act in the name of Christ, but has no truth. His religion is vanity, and his heart is deceived. If we know God, we will listen to His Word. Let us apply this principle to every area of life, for God has spoken on every area. Let us embrace the spirit of truth, for therein lies the knowledge of God.
We Will Pursue Brotherly Love (1 John 4:7-8).
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Directly following his emphasis of truth, John emphasizes a love of the brethren as being the necessary mark of one who knows God. Truth is not opposed to love. In fact, truth expresses itself in love if properly understood. Thus, John has no problem putting these two themes side by side.
He evidently practices what he prescribes in that he calls them “Beloved.” He makes no discrimination between believers; rather, because they are of God they are therefore beloved. If this is not our foundation, we will never truly love.
There is only one foundation for true Christian love: “Love is from God.” John goes so far as to say, “God is love.” This love is no fleeting thought of affection that changes from day to day. No, this love flows from a vital connection in life and relational knowledge to the God of love. “Born of God” is a connection of life, and in that our life is derived from God His essential attribute of love must follow with it. “Knows God” is a connection of relational knowledge. We have come to understand His love in our experience, and He has joined us to His heart in living communion. Therefore, if we have learned anything from God it is to love those that are born of Him just as He has loved us. So, this simple reality must also be true: “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Are we ready to claim that we know God?
Though we enjoy considering this challenge of godly living, let us understand it will be an unpopular path. “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1). The knowledge of God means the world rejects us, for it suffers from ignorance. But this is merely an aside in John’s mind. Rejection is inconsequential compared to his vision for the child of God: “Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (v. 2-3). Let us not dwell on the world’s rejection. No, let us rather find our hope fixed on Him. This culminates a true knowledge of God.