In our previous Bible Study, John spoke of the need for confession and the forgiveness of God. Now, in the opening verses of chapter 2, he comes to the point of all that was said in chapter 1:
“I’ve written these things [chapter 1] to you…so that you won’t sin!” That’s John’s message, and it’s sad how many times he’s had to say it. If you sin, there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ – absolutely! – but we should not be living in sin! Sin is a big deal!
Verse 3: Our obedience to God is evidence of our salvation! Fighting sin shows that there’s a Holy Spirit in our hearts fueling a battle against evil.
Verse 4: We can’t pretend that we KNOW Jesus if we don’t keep his commands! We’re lying! We’re lying to ourselves, we’re lying to the world, we’re slandering the name of Christ in our sinfulness. If we don’t DO the things Jesus commanded, we don’t have any sort of REAL KNOWLEDGE of Him. There are no “optional” commands! We’re either his, or we’re not – no compromise, no in-between.
Verse 5: But if we strive to keep Jesus’ commands, his instructions, then – through faithfulness – God will make his love more and more perfect (that is, “complete”) in our lives. And when we see the love of God in our lives, then we’ll know that we truly know him.
Every Christian person – every REAL Christian person – knows how hard it is to fight sin and obey the commands of Jesus. It’s hard. But when we commit ourselves to that fight, we begin – over time – to see the love of God appearing in our lives in ways that it never would have appeared before.
I have found myself surprised – shocked – at the way God has changed my natural inclinations to love other people through the years. I have found myself quietly thinking, “In years past, I would have thought of myself first, I would have held the grudge, I would have kept what was mind, I would have shied away from the sacrifice of my time and energy.”
But now that God’s love has been nurtured by the Holy Spirit in my heart for all these years, there is less of me to say “no”, and more of Christ to say “yes”. It feels natural, but the love of God was once the most strange and foreign thing to my heart.
When we strive to live obediently to Jesus, God’s sanctifying work is done in us. We are transformed into the image of Christ, and God is glorified.