[CF Devotionals] 2012-02-05 - Love and Command

In the next section John goes on to say, not only does it matter how we live - but how we live says a lot about whether or not we are actually believers. And, John isn't saying believers don't sin. He is saying our lives are not typified by sin. He also reminds us that when we sin, we have and intercessor, Christ Jesus.

Let us examine the passage, and next we will see just how we have to apply it in our own life. Here we will strive to make the distinction between the law and love. We need to make sure we don't confuse obedience with legalism. We don't want to fall into the trap of using works to validate someone as a believer versus recognizing works as proof of the quality of the walk of the believer. Remember we are called to judge spiritual maturity, not whether a person is save.

  1. Love and Command Verses 3- 6
  2. God's Command Verses 7- 8
  3. An Illustration Verses 9-11
  4. Conclusion

  1. Love and Command

    What is the association between obedience to God and relationship with Him?

    John starts this portion of his letter by identifying himself with fellow believers, "We know…." It is important to realize John's salvation is shown not by the fact he knew Jesus. After all, Judas knew Jesus. It is shown by the reality of God's presence in his life. No one has ever been reconciled to God based on personal merit. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, could never have been saved unless she accepted her Son's death for her sin, in the same way we must.

    "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well" (John 14:6-7).

    And so John's salvation wasn't based on his earthly relationship with Jesus, but in having accepted Christ's shed blood as payment for sin. As a result, John does not use his Apostolic position to stand above other believers. Instead, he identifies with the recipients of this letter. The proof of salvation isn't a verbal testimony, but a life committed to Christ. The child of God obeys the commands of Christ. What were Christ's commands?

    " …Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:37-40).

    The proof isn't a perfect demonstration of love though. John Calvin stated it this way:

    " ...he (John) does not mean that those who wholly satisfy the Law keep His commandments (and no such instance can be found in the world), but those who strive, according to the capacity of human infirmity, to from their life in obedience to God." 1

    In other words, the reality of God's presence in our lives is demonstrated by God's love manifested in our lives…

    1. John Calvin, "Calvin's New Testament Commentaries," 1 John, p. 246.

To be continued.

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