Is it possible to know God and to live like the Devil? Is it possible to truly know God and have no life change?
Obedience follows relationship. If there is no obedience – is there relationship at all?
Adrian Rogers wrote, “Study the Bible to know about God. Obey the Bible to really know God.”
This is the theme of 1 John 2. John’s goal is for the reader to know God rightly and have assurance of salvation, which leads to a life of joy in Jesus. To know God is to love God and to love God is to obey God.
Obedience to God reveals the genuineness of our faith. There is a huge difference between saying and doing. The true Gospel transforms us and leads to obedience. 1 John 2:3 reads, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments”.
The word “Keep”, means to guard, or protect like we would treat a precious treasure. And as we keep this treasure, our assurance in our salvation grows and we enjoy Jesus more. To obey His commands is never a burden, it is a blessing and a natural response to what He has done for me.
However we see in verse 4 that if we do not guard or keep the commands of the Lord, we are spiritual deceivers. We really don’t have a relationship with God.
Verse 5 gives is such a great promise, “but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him.”
Keeping the commands of God is not a condition of knowing God, but it is a clear sign and indication that we do know God.
The phrase, “the love of God”, refers to our love for God, and it is true that the more I know Him, the more I love Him, and the more I love Him, the more I know Him.
The same thing happens in a godly marriage. It should be that the more a husband and wife grow to know one another, the more they love one another. And the more love they share with each other, the more they will desire to know each other.
There is a tradition that on one occasion the apostle John, near the end of his life, was brought to the church on a pallet. All he said to the believing community was, “Love one another.” When he was asked why that was all he had to say, he responded, “Because it is enough.” (Matthew 22:37-40).
So how do we walk in the love of Christ? When we were saved it was so that we might be conformed in the image of His son (Romans 8:29). He saved us that we might “walk just as He walked.”
We have a moral obligation for our walk to match our talk. To truly abide in Christ means I will walk like Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1, Ephesians 5:1, 1 Peter 2:21).
Like Father, like Son. Like Savior, like saint. Christ’s life becomes my life, my example, my goal, and my pattern. And we must note that it is abiding in Him that enables me to live like Him. I don’t do it in my strength. I do it in His!
Looking back to verse 3, how can we tell if we “know” him?
What then does it mean to “know” Jesus? The Greek word used here, “ginosko”, means basically “grasping the full reality and nature of an object under consideration.”
John was writing to people who knew about Jesus but didn’t really know him personally. Today there are millions of people who know about Jesus, but don’t know him as Lord of their lives.
Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me”. Those who belong to Jesus are responsive to His voice.
John does not suggest that relationship with God is established by obedience; rather, that relationship is demonstrated by obedience.
Sometimes people claim to know God but are unresponsive to His Word and His way of life. Such a person may possess accurate information about God and may be able to debate the finer points of theology. I have met people who have a deep grasp of the Bible and doctrine, but their lives do not match their words. Relationship is demonstrated by walking “as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6).
Jesus addressed this as he was speaking to the Jews, the scribes and the pharisees in John 8:44a, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”
The religious leaders, knew about God, they knew the Torah, they knew a lot of theology, but they didn’t know God Himself or else they would have recognized His son, Jesus. They were worshipping the law of Moses, but they weren’t hearing the word of God. Jesus continued in verse 47, “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
So, my question today is, who are you listening to?
I always get discouraged when I talk to people who have not been in church for a long time and they say, “well, I am not in church, but I listen to Charles Stanley (or their favorite radio or TV teacher) each Sunday morning.” What they fail to realize is that they are neglecting to gather with his body, disobeying the word of God that calls us to commit to a fellowship of believers to grow together in love and unity.
Listening to good teaching is excellent, but the question is, are you listening to the words of God? Why do we run after the words of the created being, when we can sit at the feet of the creator?
Many Christians wrestle with decisions and they often say the same thing. “I am not getting a clear word from God.” My friends, it’s not that God doesn’t speak clearly, it’s that we don’t listen. It’s time to turn off the TV, YouTube, the cell phone and all the other noise surrounding us and open the Word of God. Make time to listen to the God who created you with the ability to hear His voice.