“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” (I John 2:3, 4, 6).
We have all heard the question, How can I know that I am truly saved? Or maybe we’ve asked at one time or another this question: What assurance do I have? We live in a juncture where it can be complicated to understand what true Christianity is and what it should look like. We have “Christian” churches that tell people, “There is no need for you to change.” Sadly, because of this, many people go to church Sunday after Sunday without experiencing any real change. They live the same way they used to live. Maybe they have more of a conservative view now, but by and large there has been no change in their lives.
In this passage of Scripture, John let us know, specifically, that we can be assured of our salvation. John also showed how we can know for certain whether or not a person is truly saved. On three different occasions, Paul uses the same word in this paragraph, in conjunction with the Word of God, to let us know whether or not our lives mirror God’s Word, assuring us that we are saved.
Do you remember those horrible kung fu movies with the worst lip-synching ever produced? I do. When I was kid, I couldn’t stand hearing the person speak and then 30 seconds later the actor’s lips would move to what he had just said. It was terrible and almost embarrassing that someone would try to pass off the delayed voice as his own. Today, we have a lot of bad lip-synching going on among Christians—the speak words that don’t sync up with their lives. It’s like watching one movie on mute and listening to audio from a different movie.
John said people who claim to know Christ but don’t keep His commandments are liars. They don’t have the truth in them at all. The term keep is not speaking of perfection, nor does it imply success, but rather a strong desire not to fail the Lord and to keep His commandments. If a person says he knows Jesus Christ and has experienced His forgiveness, grace, and mercy, yet has no desire to live according to His Word, then you can be sure that he’s a liar and doesn’t truly know Christ.
Do you desire to please the Lord today? Are you being challenged by His Word and struggling to conform into His image? If so, then there are two things you should know: First, you can be assured of your salvation. Second, you don’t have to fight any longer. Just abide in Him and allow His Spirit to produce the fruit of His Word in your heart naturally. Rest in the knowledge that you are saved and that “it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
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