Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011 … Obedience to God’s Word

Passage of the Day: 1st John 2: 3 – 6 … 3 We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. 4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys His word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: 6 Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. [see bold and underlined text for emphasis – wrb]

My Journal for Today: Let’s get right down to the “brass facts,” … the truth about this matter of assurance. And these facts are clearly expressed by the Apostle John in today’s passage, the third of the telling criteria for being sure one is saved. And that is whether the “believer” knows, believes, and chooses to obey God’s truth – i.e., His word. Read 1st John 2: 3a underlined above. Is there any part of John’s exposition of God’s truth in this passage that you don’t understand? It’s clear as a crystal bell, isn’t it? And the understanding of this truth is both convicting and assuring … at least to this humble Christian. These are tough words from John for believers; because obedience to God’s commands and His truths is always challenging. However, if one has a driving desire to know and obey God’s word, as I do, these words, give me great confidence [i.e., assurance] that my trek to follow Jesus, even when I occasionally – or even repeatedly – fail, is because God’s Holy Spirit is in my heart, drawing me to Himself as one of His own [see John 10: 4; 27].

Jesus was also quoted by John, teaching the same truth from another angle in John 14: 21, where our Lord said, “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” And it’s obvious to me that if I desire to experience the love of God in my own life that it must be my choice to obey His word which becomes the expression of my love for Him. Then, and only then, will I feel the love of God being manifest in my life.

Yes, John is tough on those who claim to be “in Christ” (i.e., “Christians”) and yet flagrantly or habitually turn away from God’s commands or truths, especially those who feel no remorse or conviction for their sin when they make such choices. As you read above in 1st John 2: 4, John calls them “liars.” And the Apostle Paul taught his protégé Titus that such hypocrites were … “detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” (see Titus 1: 16)

So, John is helping believers in this valuable text from his first epistle, teaching that we can, in one sense, know our salvation by the degree to which we are convicted or drawn to be obedient to Gods’ commands in His word. And so when we read Christ’s mission statement in Luke 4: 18 or His “Great Commission” in Matt. 28: 19-20, we should feel drawn to become true disciples and follow Christ’s commands or His ways. In doing so, and we are drawn to follow God’s truth, we should KNOW, beyond doubt, that we are saved to fulfill these purposes.

Now I know that there may be a depressed reaction to this teaching from someone who recognizes and is repentant over past patterns of recurring sin. I think of some whom I know who desperately hate the reality of recurring sin habits … maybe years of gluttonous eating patterns or recurring hits of sexual sin. And I want to make it clear here that such recurring patterns of sinfulness do not indict one as being unsaved; but they would indict one to hell if such a one had no sensitivity to such sin or the agony of guilt and remorse that come with God’s conviction of these sin choices. Remember the lesson from yesterday, … that sensitivity to sin, according to God through the Apostle John, is one of God’s first assurances of salvation. And it is equally an assurance of salvation when one is driven (by his own heart) to show his love for God by desiring and pursuing the avoidance and/or elimination of sin patterns in life.

So, dear reader, … if you look into the mirror of truth from what I’ve written here and you see yourself in God’s light, recognizing that there are things you must do to show your love of God, then, as the old Nike commercial used to say, “Just do it !” If you know you need to lose weight because your eating is sinful, DO IT – for God, not for yourself. If you simply must eliminate sexual lust from your mind, DO IT – for God’s sake! If you want to show more love for God through your purity and commitment to Christlikeness, DO IT – for Christ’s sake (and I mean that literally)!

And thank God that your conviction in this regard, which absolutely shows you that you are saved!

My Prayer Today: Draw me to obedience, Lord! Amen

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