Verse: 1 John 2:3-5 (ESV)
3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,
5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:
Last month (see devotion from 1/10/24), we looked at 2 Peter 1:10-11, which talked about behaviors that would “confirm your calling and election”. John here touches on a similar concept, affirming that our actions and our obedience to God, while not the basis for our salvation, will nevertheless serve as our assurance of it. Note the use of the phrases “we know” (vs 3) and “we may know” (vs 5). Even though our behavior will be a testimony to those around us, it’s our desire for obedience that confirms within us our relationship with God.
But John goes on to discuss the alternative as well…those who claim to know God, but don’t exhibit obedience in their behavior. Especially in America (though less and less all the time, it seems), people are more than willing to say they are Christian, but are much less willing to live a life that backs up that claim. In our small group, we are going through the book “Letters to the Church”, by Francis Chan. In this week’s discussion, Francis compared the difference between those who just say they are Christians and those who truly are to the difference between being invited to watch an Ironman Triathlon and being invited to compete in one. In each case, the latter takes an entirely different level of commitment. And that commitment is evidenced by performance.
When we are obedient to God’s commands, John says that God’s love is perfected. That is to say, the power of his love is such that when we experience it, we are compelled to obedience, not through any sense of obligation or repayment, but because the joy we feel causes us to desire the kind of closeness with him that only obedience can provide.
God, let me be someone whose behaviors and actions demonstrate my commitment to you. Allow others to see your love being perfected in the way I am obedient to your word. Amen.
Author: Dave MacDonald