1 John 2:4-6
Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him, truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
John says Christians OBEY
Here John addresses the subject of obedience. In verse 3 John says “that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” In verse 5 John says that “we know that we are in Him” if we “keep His word.” In verse 6 John says that we must follow Jesus example by “walking just as He walked.” Three different ways of saying the same thing. It would be like saying the airplane is big; the airplane is huge; or the airplane is large. All three phrases are similar.
And so in keeping the Lord’s commandments, in keeping the Lord’s word and in following His example – we’re all saying the same thing. A Christian’s desire is to be obedient to the Lord and to His teachings.
Notice John also repeats the words ‘know’ and ‘keep.’ These are John’s favorite words – over the course of this book – he says ‘know’ almost 40 times and he says ‘keep’ about 10 times.
And then in v6 John says a Christian ‘abides’ – that means ‘not to depart from’ to ‘walk with’ to ‘continue with’ and to ‘live as one.’
You see, the principle about obedience involves following after Christ’s example; and that’s a huge task. But isn’t that how Jesus lived? Wasn’t his a life of obedience to God’s will? Was it easy? No, it cost Him his life. However, it was his goal, to fulfill God’s will. It was the goal of His life to submit to His Father’s way.
And so Jesus’ life of obedience needs to become our road to follow.
Look at 1 John 3:16-18
‘(what?) deed and in truth.
Listen to what John is saying, is he talking about love as a feeling? Is love an expression or is it words on paper? No. John says that love is an action – For John, love is the TEST of obedience. Christ laid down his life for us and we must do the same for others. He says, “let us not love in word or talk, but in deed….”
And then he says a little further in 1 John 3:23-24 And this is his commandment,(ok, so here it comes – this is your marching orders) … that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us…
And what’s funny is initially this looks like a commandment to love, but it’s not – when John says “by this we know that he abides in us” he’s not talking about love he’s talking about obedience. John says, the “TEST” for Christians – to call yourself a Christian and to be known as a Christian is to be someone who loves and by this you are “keeping God’s commandments.” (in other words, someone who obeys)
Of course we are to love one another and we’ll see that next, but we only “love one another” BECAUSE that’s what Christ told us to do – love is the TEST of obedience.