Obedience to God is Key

Summary of the book of 1 John

We read in 1 John 1 that if we claim to be in fellowship (partnership, relationship) with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), via genuine faith in Jesus Christ, but while we continue in deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord, we are liars who do not live by the truth. We can’t know God and be in relationship with Jesus Christ if by our practices we are still obeying sin and not God, and if we are living sinful lifestyles and not holy lives.

Then it says, but if we walk (in conduct, in practice) in the light (in truth, righteousness, godliness, in Christ, according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh) then we have fellowship with one another, which would mean we now are in fellowship with God, and the blood of Jesus God’s Son cleanses us from all sin. So cleansing from sin is not a one-time thing that happens in our lives, and it is dependent on how we live our lives, too.

Now, in 1 John 2 we read that by this we know that we have come to know God/Jesus, if we keep (obey, adhere to) his commandments (New Covenant, not Old Covenant), i.e. if we obey the instructions written down for us in the New Testament that are from God/Christ, such as God’s moral laws, like do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not lie, and do not murder, etc. So if we claim that we know God but we do not obey him and his commands, then we are liars in whom the truth does not dwell.

Moving on to 1 John 3, we read that Jesus died to take away sins and that in him is no sin. So, if we are truly in relationship with Jesus Christ we will not deliberately and habitually sin against God and against other humans. Sin will not be our practice, but righteousness and obedience to our Lord will be what we practice, by the grace of God and in his strength and power. For if we are truly born of God we will not practice sin but righteousness.

Then we read in 1 John 4 that if we say that we love God but we hate our fellow humans, again we are liars, for if we do not love our fellow humans, whom we have seen, how can we love God whom we have not seen? So, if we love God we must also love other humans. And this is not emotional love but it is the love of God manifested through us in us doing to and for others what is morally pure, righteous, godly, kind, and obedient to God.

And to hate is to treat others with malicious intent, to deliberately do to them what we know is going to cause them harm, especially habitually and without conscience or remorse or compassion. So, even if we mouth the words ‘I love you’ but then we steal from, lie to, slander, trick, deceive, manipulate, commit adultery against, betray, abuse, mistreat, and take advantage of others habitually and deliberately, that is hate, not love, no matter how you might try to dress it up to make it look like love.

Okay, now we are in 1 John 5, and there it teaches us that “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments” (New Covenant). Also it says that we know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning deliberately and habitually, as a matter of life course and practice.

Then it goes on to say that if we have been born of God that God protects us so that the evil one does not touch us, but this isn’t saying that God does it all and we do nothing. But if we are born of God, truly, we will no longer make sin our practice because we now have God living within us strengthening and helping us to not sin and helping us to resist the devil. But this is not saying we will never sin (1 John 2:1-2).

Bottom Line

We can’t be in relationship with God/Jesus and still walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin. If we profess faith in Jesus Christ but then we keep on living like we did before, then we are not truly in Christ. If we profess to know God/Jesus, but we do not make obedience to his commands our practice, we do not know him. And if we deliberately and habitually sin against other humans to do them harm, which is hate, then we don’t love God and we don’t know God and we are not in relationship with him.

The only way we can know God and to be in fellowship with him and with Jesus Christ is if we die with Christ to sin that we might live to God and to his righteousness, but not just once, but daily putting sin to death (Luke 9:23-26). And we must walk (in conduct, in practice) in obedience to our Lord, in holiness and in righteousness, and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. And we must love one another by doing good to one another and not evil, for if evil is what we practice, that is hate, not love.

In other words, there is only one way to salvation from sin and to eternal life with God, and that is through genuine repentance and obedience to our Lord and surrender of our lives to him which results in changed attitudes, thinking, speaking, and behaviors. But the heart has to be transformed of the Spirit of God first, and then we can be empowered of the Spirit to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Titus 2:11-14).

For many people are going everywhere but to God for their salvation from sin and to have eternal life with God. Some of them may do so naively, thinking they are truly seeking God, while others do so deliberately and habitually as a way to avoid having to forsake their sins and to walk in obedience to the Lord. And they are those who know the truth but who refuse to do what they know to do because it means giving up their control over their own lives and their ability to make their own choices and it means denying self and dying daily to sin and walking in obedience to the Lord.

They want to believe that they are in relationship with God even though the Scriptures are very clear on that subject that if sin is what they practice, deliberately, and often premeditatedly, and if obedience to the Lord Jesus are not what they practice, that they are not in Christ, and they don’t know Jesus, and they are not in fellowship with God. But they don’t want to accept that and so they go in search of another gospel which will tell them what their itching ears want to hear.

But the reality here is what the word of God teaches, not what other humans are saying about what God says. And the reality is that there is only one path to God and to salvation from sin and to eternal life with God, and that involves dying to sin daily and walking in obedience to the Lord, as a matter of life practice. For Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21-23). Take this to heart, please!

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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