By Nick Bibile
1Jo 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Last three weeks we saw the word propitiation and the word has to do with atonement, the work of Christ on the cross, this is the gospel the good news, that the believing sinner’s sins are removed, he is not guilty. But it is one thing to know what God did and another thing to obey.
We come to know him by the gospel. Verse 3, ‘we know him.’ The Greek word for know is ginosko, which means to have knowledge, to understand to be acquainted. If I ask a question, do you know George Bush? One may say, yes he is the president of the Unites States, he was the governor of Texas before, and his father was the president after Reagan. What I am saying is someone can give everything you need to know of George Bush. And you may say, wow! You have a great knowledge of the president.
In the same way as Christians we may know all the theology, we may know all the attributes of God, his character, qualities, the essence of God. One may have knowledge on all the facts of the Bible and may be very knowledgeable in God.
Again I will ask the person who had an excellent knowledge of president Bush. I know you have an excellent knowledge of the president, but do you really have an acquaintance with him, do you understand him, are you intimate with him? He might say, no sir, I have not even seen him, although I have studied of him thoroughly.
In the same way you may know God very good in knowledge wise but do you really know him personally? Intimately? This is what John is saying as in his day there were people who were deeply involved in knowing God, they were known by their name, ‘Gnostics’ or the ‘knowing ones.’
They stressed salvation through knowledge. The Gnostics had no central authority or canon of scriptures and they taught different views. Most Gnostics held that Christ was not truly incarnated now could he truly suffer on the cross. For the Gnostics salvation is not dependent upon faith but upon knowledge. Gnostics infiltrated the church. Here in the context of John we see a Christian origin of Gnosticism.
John goes on to say, if we keep his commandments we know him. If we say we know him and we don’t keep his commandments we are really lying to God and in reality we are not telling the truth.
What commandments is he talking here?
The commandments of God can be broken into two.
1. Ceremonial Law.
2. Moral Law.
Ceremonial law is the external law. Rituals. The ceremonial laws were abolished, but the substance of the law still continues.
Indeed the Law is not abolished (Mt 5.18); so we must hold now the substance and truth of it. Even so, the shadow of it is done away by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Sermons on Deuteronomy by John Calvin)
The moral law still continues, it is the word of God. Verse 5. Here the word commandments and the word of God is given simultaneously.
The word of God is his commands.
Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
This is the rule of scripture to know if someone loves Christ. There are many who does not read or study the word of God, yet when you ask them if they love Christ they would say yes. In fact they will show their love toward Christ by having a statue, a picture of Christ or wearing a cross. On the other hand Christ said, if you love me, keep my commandments. How can you love Christ if you do not know his commandments?
What about those who are in the church? What about us? When we read this scripture we are reminded how sinful our affections are, the love we should show to Christ should be without fault in pure obedience.
Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Here again, Jesus is reminding them, he repeats a statement that was made before, why? Christ knows that we are carnal and weak. We are prone to backslide into our carnal affections to love something else rather than Christ. Especially in this comfortable, hi tech world we are living and also we are bombarded every day by TV and media of other lovers we should have.
Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Our love towards the Lord should not be second rank, but should the highest in rank, it should be number one. We should be convinced that obedience to God is important and it is pleasing to God.
In John’s day, there were people just like today, people who deeply wanted to know God. They laid a great stress in knowing God. There is nothing wrong with this; we all should study theology, to know God, and to spend much time in study of God. These people knew God but they did not obey his words. The knowledge of God was too mystical. They cared for knowing God but not in following his words.
In verse 4, that person is called a liar. This is a pretty strong word.
The liars pretended to know God, not by his word but by their insight, their own wisdom, not God speaking through his word, but you my beloved know him by his word, this is the covenant love between God and you. This is the perfect love.
If I have a friend and my friend gives his word to me to keep but I disobey his word then he is not really my friend. Jesus is our true friend; I have nothing else but his word, his naked word. I desire nothing else but his word, I keep that word that he gave me, I hold it fast, he had to sacrifice his life to me by giving that word, I was bought with a price, now that word has become true to me, it change my life, I can trust in that word, he brought peace to me and it is the perfect love.
If I have a friend whom I know and there is truly perfected love between us, how I would long to enter into his mind, to partake with him in all what he does, it is the same with Christ Jesus! We are in him, oh! How we should desire to be in God, imagine one in mind with God! Not when you are watching the worldly TV, but in his word.
Let us keep his word in our hearts that there will be an intimate relationship between God and us. We may not have an ignorant relationship but an intelligent, loving relationship. Let us say, “Speak Lord, thy servant heareth.” Let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, as we are risen with him in power from death, let us seek things above. Jesus left us a perfect example of his love between himself and the Father, this is the same pattern we should follow. This is the pattern the apostles followed.
1Th 2:8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
Let me close with these words of encouragement.
It is very easy to fall into sin, but very painful to get out of it. It was easy for Adam and Eve to fall into sin, and we see how dangerous it was as it affected the entire humanity and it was much painful for our Lord to deliver us from that sin. It caused him to leave his throne of heaven and come down to this wicked world, it caused him to live among the poor, it caused him agony even his sweat to turn into blood, it caused him dishonor as people spit at him, ridiculed, pulled his beard and treating him like a criminal, it caused his life.
My friend take sin seriously it is very deceiving, there is still corruption in our hearts, as we are living in this flesh and this wicked world. We need to watch and strive against corruptions, diligently attend the duties what God called us to do, remember obedience is better than sacrifice. Our hears can become dull and dead towards God if we do not labor for the things of God. We might become slothful instead of being fervent. Let us be one in mind and spirit and work hard as the time is short.