Wednesday, 18 March 2020
He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 John 2:4
John just spoke of knowing Christ. We can make this claim if we keep His commandments. Now, he makes an antithetical statement which begins with, “He who says, ‘I know Him.’” Here is a person who says He knows Christ. But if what he just said is true, such a claim would be contingent on this person obeying God’s commandments. However, this person is now said by John to be one who “does not keep his commandments.”
The two thoughts are mutually incompatible. But that brings us back to what “His commandments” means from the previous verse. The main idea of what is contained here is found in the gospel of John. As noted in the previous verse, it is found in John 6:29 –
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’”
One must, before all else, believe in Jesus Christ. It is He who was sent by God. Without this work, it is impossible to please God. Only in accepting the gospel can one be put into the right relationship with God which will then allow Him to look with favor on the obeying of any other commandments of God.
One can love, but without being in Christ, the love is not God-centered. One can obey the words of the apostles, but without receiving Christ first, that is a meaningless waste of time. The parameters have been set. Faith in Christ must precede anything else for God to be pleased with obedience to any of His commandments. This thought is similar to what was stated in 1 John 1:6 –
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
After saying this, John noted that by walking in the light, one can have fellowship with other believers, and “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Without that, the sin remains, and only enmity between God and man is found. Therefore, for a person to say that he knows God, but who does not first come to Christ, John says he “is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
The Greek is emphatic, “in him the truth is not.” There can be no truth in a person who claims to know God but who does not believe in Jesus Christ. His statement cannot be reconciled with the reality of the matter. He remains in Adam, he belongs to the devil, and he does not know God.
Life application: As stated in the previous verse, John’s words are not speaking of the Law of Moses. They refer to faith in Christ which is then followed through with learning about Christ and what faith in Him expects, and then in applying that knowledge by applying it to one’s life.
It must be understood that one cannot do what God expects as a believer unless that person is instructed in what to do. Thus, salvation through faith in Christ logically precedes obedience to the commandments for a right walk with God in Christ. If a person believes, and is saved and sealed, but then is never given instruction in the word, it is impossible for that person to be fully obedient to the other commandments.
Everything must find its proper place in our walk with God, but the first thing that must occur is belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Be sure to speak out that life-saving message as you go forth into the world full of lost souls.
Lord God, please help us to understand Your word and to think its precepts through clearly so that our lives and our doctrine will be sound. May we never fail to obey that which is ordained by You and may our lives as Christians be evident to those around us so that You will be glorified through our actions and their conversion. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.