They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
1 John was written to highlight the evidences of conversion in the life of a believer. One of the key evidences of the regenerating work of the Spirit of God in the truly converted is their acceptance of the Word of God. When presented with truth that may even defy their own actions, instead of justifying their wrongdoing, they instead submit to God’s Law and repent of their sin. Submission and repentance are the response of the converted. Self-justification and pride-preservation are the marks of an unbeliever. One who truly believes the truth of God’s Word will see the promise of lasting restoration that can be had in the momentary bruising and aching of repentance. Unfortunately, the visual impairment of the foolish causes them to so cringe at the short-sighted prospect of the pain of repentance that they miss the liberty and freedom beyond. As the drunk who fears giving up the security of his half-empty bottle of forgetfulness, in exchange for a life of restoration and sobering accomplishment; the spiritually inebriated fear letting go of the very things that please for now and leave them ravished later. To this John says, in effect, “this is a distinguishing mark of a believer: how he responds to God’s truth.” Week in and week out, many professing Christians pour into church pews. God’s life-changing, direction-altering, sin-shattering, hope-bringing truth is presented. A better way is laid on the altar before the congregants. However, unaffected by the truth, and eager to depart from their inconvenient duty, they climb from their pews and depart unchanged, un-helped, and ultimately unrepentant. When faced with the truth, the faithful congregants turn away un-submitted, and rush to their La-Z-Boy recliners to receive the message of the world that feeds their souls.
So how do you do? When presented with an unbearable truth that convicts your soul, do you respond in submission and repentance? Or, like Adam and Eve, do you camouflage yourself with fig leaves and hide amongst the trees, hoping that the eye of an Omniscient God may not see your sin? John tells you that to reject God’s truth is to firmly ensconce yourself under His wrath. Repent and be saved.
Food For Thought: If repentance is the best thing, why don’t people repent?