And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Christianity is not a list of “dos” and “don’ts.” The point of the gospel is that Jesus already “did” all that needed to be done for us to have right standing before God. Any who come afterward and say that in order for you to be saved you must “do this”, or “be that”, just simply isn’t reading the Bible. “For by Grace are you saved through faith...it is a gift of God, not of [our] works.” We can’t “do” enough, but thanks be to God for what Jesus has “done.” So then, what is the connection of law and command with the Christian life? If salvation isn’t all about us doing something, why is there so much Old and New Testament scripture about “doing?” If Jesus already accomplished what needs to be done, what is there that is left to do? 1 John 2 says that if we know Him, we should keep His commandments. It has to do with obedience. We are saved by faith. But as Christians we are called to obedience. This is not only an outward obedience, this is an obedience that comes from a heart that truly desires to please God. It is not to appease a God that threatens wrath or judgment, it is to please a God that has already offered love and forgiveness. The basis is love not fear. His desire when He extended His grace was not just that you would be liberated from the penalty of your sin, but that you would also find freedom from the power of sin in your life. A truly “saved” person finds the identity of their Christianity in this – an eternal reality of redemption, and a present Spirit-empowered autonomy from the former master, sin. This present emancipation then stands as a signal of our new life in Jesus and of our right standing before God. It is not itself the saving work, it is just the outworking of the saving work. Your godly living does not save you, but it does indicate that God has done a transforming, saving work in your heart.
Food For Thought: How are we saved? What phrase from today’s text is the God-given indication of the reality of His saving work in our lives?