1 JOHN 2:3-11
Vs. 3 "And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments."
Remember that the key verse to this epistle is 1 John 1:4. "These things write we unto you that your joy may be full." Certainly there can't be full joy in our salvation apart from absolute assurance that we know Him as our Savior. In the beginning of the epistle, John assured us that he knew what he was talking about; he declared that he was giving the message which "was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life."
Now in this verse he says "we do know that we know Him." There is no such thing as salvation apart from assurance. Any person that doesn't know they are saved just as sure as you know you are breathing hasn't truly put their trust in Jesus. 2 Tim. 1:12 "I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."
In John 9:25, the blind man said, "Whether He be a sinner or not, I know not; ONE THING I KNOW, that whereas I was blind, now I see."
Romans 8:16 tells us: "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." Only if you are saved are you God's child. If you are a believer, you know it. If you're genuinely saved, you know it, and if you don't know for sure you are saved, don't let this moment pass without making your decision. 1 John 3:23 says, "And this is His commandment, that we should believe on the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ." I can assure you on the authority of God's Word that if you will hear His Word and believe in the finished work and shed blood of Jesus, God will save you, and you will know it.
We know that we know Him "If we keep His commandments." Now, that's not the Mosaic Law, the Ten Commandments. Romans 10:4 said, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth," and in Matthew 5:17 Jesus said: "I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it." Christ is the end of the Mosaic system because He fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law, something no one else could do. Therefore, this isn't the ten commandments.
John is speaking of a new commandment. The new commandment is the divine love that He puts within the heart of every believer. When we are born of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit is love.
Romans 5:5. "Hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." The new commandment is law written in the heart not on stone tablets or in a book. The new Law of Christ is the New Covenant, His blood shed for you. The Law of Moses demanded love, but Christ's Law is love. God is love, therefore, Christ is love.
Verse 4. "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." The person who professes to be a believer and claims Jesus as his Savior, and doesn't keep His commandment is a liar. If we profess Christ we should practice the habits of a Christian first and foremost.
First, love the Lord, and then love the other Christians. If love isn't demonstrated in the life of one who professes to be a Christian, that person is living a lie. He professes what he doesn't possess, namely the Holy Spirit and the Divine nature. There can't be a genuine conversion where the Word of God isn't obeyed. Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one for another."
If a person professes without possessing, it says the truth is not in him. The incorruptible seed, the Lord, isn't in that person, and since it's the incorruptible seed that brings eternal life, any one who testifies that he knows Jesus and yet "keepeth not His commandments" is lost and God calls him a liar. We don't hear that kind of preaching much anymore, but God still preaches it. Jesus preached like that in Matthew chapter 23. Read that chapter sometime soon.
Verse 5. "But whoso keeps His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him." Obedience is the test that determines whether we are really born again. It's also the measure of our love for God. If we obey His commands and really want to do His will in our lives, it shows. It's not between you and me but between God and me and God and you, but how I act toward my brothers and sisters in Christ is an indicator of my love for Christ. If a child professes to love his parents and still persists in doing the things that are displeasing to them, even though he may say it over and over again that he loves them, the evidence isn't there. His words are meaningless.
If we profess to love God with our lips but our lives say otherwise, God is actually being mocked by us. If we only study His Word occasionally and only show up for church when it's convenient, we kind of make a mockery of our profession as Christians even if we are truly saved. It doesn't show much love, and that's supposed to be the hallmark of a Christian God tells us.
Our attitude toward Christ in obeying His Word will determine what degree of love we have for the heavenly Father. He loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us in payment of our sin debt.
In John 14:15 Jesus said, "If ye love Me, keep my commandments." Believers who truly love the Lord Jesus will get real joy out of obeying His Word. Obeying His commandments is how we get the full joy. That is the theme here In verse 5, "keepeth" means to keep continuously, day by day, in material things as well as spiritual things. This means obedience to God not only when people are watching but when we're in secret, too.
John 2:5, when Jesus did His first miracle, some men were asked to do a simple task, fill some jars with water. There are no little things when God asks us to do them or commands us to do them. In the great commission, which is to all who are saved, not just those who stand up and preach, God said to go forth and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you;"
We are not only to actively tell others about Christ but we are to teach them to observe, or do, all the things God has commanded us to. How can we be an effective witness for Christ when we don't do the things He has asked of us? In the New Testament, the Word of God emphasizes doing, observing, keeping, obeying the commandments of Jesus. We teach and preach and emphasize but we don't command people to observe them. Today it's customary for the Word to be hidden in our head, not in our heart. We have head knowledge of what God wants from us but we don't have very much heart obedience. It's the Word hidden in the heart that leads the Christian to obey and observe and keep His commandments.
It's possible to have a head full of scripture and yet not have the Word in your heart. If we truly love, we obey, and if we obey, we love. In this verse 5 there is a plain statement that there is no other way to have the love of God perfected in us than by keeping His word. Without love and obedience to God it's impossible to develop and grow in grace and know perfect love.
Verse 5. "Hereby we know that we are in Him." Love that produces obedience to God and assures our hearts that we are truly born again and that the love of God abides in our hearts. Apart from the love of God we can't obey Him. The natural man doesn't obey God, he doesn't follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, because he has no love for God in his heart. God is love, and when our hearts are filled with that love we'll obey Him because we love Him.
Verse 6. "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." Jesus gave us a message on abiding in Him in JOHN 15:1-14. In that message He told us that if we abide in Him it means we give Him total control of our lives.
Just before Jesus was called to Calvary He said to His heavenly Father, "I have glorified Thee on earth; I have finished the work which Thou hast given Me to do." I wonder if the Lord would call me home today if I could say I have glorified Jesus here on earth? Everything Jesus did here on earth was to glorify God, and the scriptures say that we are "so to walk, even as He walked." His ministry was always to glorify God first and then to benefit mankind second. We're to live so others see that Jesus lives in us and our walk before man will honor God. Remember, this verse is to Believe.
There isn't any need to invite an unsaved person to try to live for God. They can only live according to the course of this world. They must be born again by believing in the shed blood and finished work of the Lamb of God. Only then can they know the love of God that caused Him to give His Son for us.
The believer possesses a divine nature. We're indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Christ dwells in the believer and the believer is hid in Christ. The believer is united to Jesus and we are all members of the body of Christ, His flesh, and of His bones. Scriptures tell us all of these things.
Verse 7. "Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning." The Holy Spirit wants us to understand that what is stated here is not new; it's the same doctrine that was preached in the beginning. It was an "old commandment" that is, it's old in the sense that it has always existed, not something that came along when John did. These people had heard the Gospel of the grace of God and as true believers wouldn't be led astray by any false doctrine. What John had written were fundamentals of the faith preached when ever the Gospel was first proclaimed, and those same truths were preached all along the way.
John is just saying that all I have preached to you is a commandment as old as the beginning. Same commandment, same Word, that you have always heard, Old Testament or New. Nothing has been added or replaced. God loved you and me before the world began.
Verse 8. "Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth." This may sound like a contradiction in the scriptures, but it isn't. The commandment here of Jesus to love one another was given to His disciples as a token whereby the world could recognize the true Christian. John 13:35 tells us: "By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another." Christ was the example of this love for others.
The law of love was perfected in Christ Jesus, illustrated in Him, and manifested in Him while He ministered here on earth. He loved His disciples and "having loved them, He loved them to the end." We manifest love for each other when we fellowship together in the church and in the community.
We're also reminded in this verse that we are no longer children of dark ness but we're children of that Light. If we don't love our Christian brothers and sisters that we've seen, how can we love God who we haven't seen? And, if we only love those who are good to us, we're hypocrites.
Believers are children of light, we're to walk in the light, and to possess that light until we are taken to heaven where the Lamb is the Light.
Verses 9-11. "He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now."  "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him."  "But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes."
I've been in total darkness once, physically and one time spiritually. It is horrifying! That's where God says we are if we're not saved. That's where God says we are going to spend eternity if we're not saved. Outer darkness. That means away from God and in total darkness.
How we treat our fellow man is an indicator of where we stand before God. We are either saved and children of light or we're unsaved and children of the eternal darkness.
John closes this section with the starting words of another topic. Verse 12. "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake."