1 John 2:3-11
You can know God personally.
We can know God by obeying His commandments. John is not talking about salvation here. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
God’s Word contains His commandments. In His Word God expresses Himself. We learn His will. We learn His likes and dislikes and His desires. We know God by His Spirit, His Word, and by obeying His commandments.
We as believers can lie to ourselves and practice sinful lifestyles. We rationalize saying, “I said the sinners prayer. I attend church services. I’m good with God now” But the inner life of anger, resentment, and an unforgiving spirit continues. The answer is to repent and seek God’s forgiveness and healing. Sometimes this is a process and not a one time action.
The opposite is true. If we keep His commandments, place the truth in us then we will know Him. What are His commandments? In Matthew 22:36-40 tells us there are two: Love God and love others. How do we place the truth in us? First be born again. Jesus sends the Spirit of Truth to dwell within us when we become born again.
Second, read and study the Word of God.
The love of God is introduced here. There is a link between the love of God and knowing God. Keeping God’s commandments results in knowing God, experiencing His love, and being in Him. Moses is an example of this. In Psalm 103:7, we read Moses knew God and the children of Israel knew about God.
In Exodus 33 we read Moses obeyed God and he desired to know God. On the other hand the children of Israel kept their distance from God. We experience the love of God as we embrace what God has done for us at the cross; the forgiveness of our sins.
We as believers are in Christ. This means we are identified with Him. He is the vine and we are the branches. As we abide (remain) in the vine we will produce the fruit of righteousness.
To abide in Jesus is to remain with Him. He is our life. How did Jesus walk? In what ways can our manner of life be like His?
1. Jesus spent time with the Father by praying often (Mark 6:46, Luke 6:12).
2. Jesus taught and He shared the gospel (Mark 1:14-15).
3. Jesus resisted the devil (Matt 4:1-11).
4. Jesus did those things which pleased the Father (John 8:29).
What was the old commandment? There were two. The first is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18).
What made these two commandments new was Jesus combining them and saying the whole law was fulfilled by them.
There is a link between obeying God (i.e. walking in the light) and loving our brothers in Christ. Loving your brother is a demonstration that you know God and obey Him. Sadly there are brothers and sisters in Christ who harbor anger and resentments towards their brothers or sisters. May I suggest you listen to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to heal and repair the relationship. There are other instances where reconciliation has taken place but there is still a separation of some kind. It’s difficult to be around this person. Pray for them and for your continued healing. Pray for wisdom to know what to do or not to do next. Pray for endurance especially if this person is in your daily life.
In conclusion, God has given us His Holy Spirit and His Word so that we may know Him. Our part is to diligently pursue God by praying, reading and studying His Word. Be open to the Spirit’s leading.
We can test our knowledge of Him by our obedience to Him. Do you really believe He loves you? Do you believe He wants what is best for you? Do you trust Him? If so, then obey Him.