WALKING IN THE LIGHT MEANS OBEDIENCE
If we take sin seriously and avail ourselves of the ministry of Christ as our righteous Advocate and the propitiation for our sins so that we never need to despair despite our failures and shortcomings, we also will take obedience seriously. These two go together — our view of sin and our perspective on obedience. Remember the Gnostics: sin was no big deal because their spiritual relationship was not affected by the deeds done in the body; therefore no real incentive towards obedience either.
Obedience = a simple practical test that we can apply to our verbal profession.
I. (:3-5) OBEDIENCE TO THE REVEALED WORD OF GOD INDICATES ONE IS WALKING IN THE LIGHT
A. (:3) The Issue is One of Assurance of Salvation
“And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”
There are certainly degrees of knowing God; but the key issue for John is do we know Him in a saving sense or not. Certainly it is also a valid extension of this argument to challenge believers to grow in their knowledge … but that is not the core point.
B. (:4) Disobedience indicates darkness regardless of the testimony
“The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;”
No religious experience is valid if it does not have moral consequences that promote holiness (cf. the Pharisees who wanted to substitute obedience to traditional externals for obedience to the moral law of God in one’s heart). The same damning indictment that was pronouned in 1:8 against those who say they have no sin is here pronounced against those who falsely claim to know God. The two are related: if you can’t recognize sin, it is because you don’t know the God who is holy. Not taking God’s commandments seriously is closely tied to not taking sin seriously.
Remember, John sets forth absolute tests — he is not trying to define and categorize all of the exceptions and clarifications that come to our mind because we are not consistent in obeying Christ’s commands.
C. (:5) Obedience indicates the light of love dwelling in the believer
“but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.
By this we know that we are in Him.”
What is the test of mature love? Our actions … not our fellings. As we obey God’s commands, His purpose of showering His love upon us is accomplished. Let’s be careful not to present a gospel that fails to have holiness as its goal. Let’s not paint the Christian life as one where holiness is only an option. Holiness does not earn our salvation, but it does prove the genuineness of our relationship to God.
“perfected” = brought to its intended goal; our love for others should have s similar goal; the law of God is trying to take us to the place where we keep His commandments.
His Word is interchangeable with His Commands and with His Truth:
– Word = divine revelation; sum total of God’s revealed will
– Commands = divine standard for our conduct; specific requirements
– Truth = objective reality
II. (:6) OBEDIENCE TO THE REVEALED WALK OF GOD IN CHRIST INDICATES ONE IS WALKING IN THE LIGHT
A. Obedience to a divine standard is an obligation not an option for the believer
“the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk”
B. Christ’s walk is the standard for the believer
“in the same manner as He walked.”
Not: how do most Christians that we know walk; or how do the believers in our church walk. Study the gospels and the life of Christ. That is why Christ challenged the disciples: “Follow ME!”
– His life of Prayer
– His life of Praise
– His life of Proclamation
– His life of Purity
– His life of Love = went about doing good