In First John we find the ultimate Truth (Jn. 17:17) relative to the subject of this series. Let us return to that portion of God’s Word and pick up where we left off.
2:1-6; 24-29– The apostles wrote “these things” (that they heard Jesus say and saw Him do) to the church (1 Cor. 10:11) so that they (church people) would “not sin”–break God’s Law (1 Jn. 3:4). In order to receive grace and salvation one must know God (intimately–like Father and child). We “know that we know Him (on that level) if we keep His commandments” (“His Word”). In this way “the love of God is perfected (in us).” If we claim to “know Him” and to “abide in Him” we must “walk as He walked.” We “abide in Him” by obeying what He said, which is “the Truth and is no lie.” “Everyone who does righteous is righteous” as He is righteous–they “walk as He walked” (1 Jn. 2:6). One who “does righteousness is begotten by Him (not born again) because His seed (Word) abides in Him.” Obeying that Word makes one righteous.
Summary: In order to obey one must know what to obey. The apostles recorded what Jesus said and did so that God seekers would not sin by failing to obey Him. We must obey His Law (the Holy Bible summarized by the Ten Commandments) and thereby perfect God’s love in us. We demonstrate that love by living (walking) as Jesus walked (lived). The Words of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20) must remain in us for they are God’s Truth which shield us from those who would seduce us into following another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). We know that we know Him if we are obeying Him. If we claim to know (have faith) that we know Him but do not obey Him, then we know falsely–our faith is dead (Jam. 2:14,17,20) and we are deceiving ourselves (Jam. 1:22). By obeying what the prophets and apostles wrote one will have living faith, do righteousness and abide in the Lord–they will do “works” in order to “earn” grace and salvation. Those in the Institutional Church claim that not only is righteousness not necessary on their part, it is impossible. As First John proves, God disagrees vehemently.
Having studied only 2/3 of the apostle John’s first epistle to the church we can see that the globally popular “only believe” theology is not of the Lord, but rather comes straight out of the heart of Satan and through the lips of his false prophets. Did the Old Testament Prophets merely believe God? Did Jesus only believe His heavenly Father? Did the apostles and the heroes of Hebrews 11 only believe? Were they not called upon to prove their faith? Indeed they were, and so must we. Most of them gave their lives for living (walking) their faith. Today we are not called upon to die for our faith. But this will change during the Great Tribulation, if not before. We must prove ourselves and “earn”/”work” to receive God’s grace. How? By obeying, not merely believing what He has written. Satan and his demons believe God’s Word. The first two segments of First John were spiritual warm ups for the third segment. In the final blast of Truth the Lord delivers a death blow to the church’s “only believe” mantra. I ask you to approach the passage with an open, Truth-seeking attitude. L.J.