Sunday, August 6
1 John 2:1-6 presents some problems. John’s goal (v.1) is to eliminate sin within the church body. The first step is acknowledging that there will always be sin, but that it is covered by confessing it as mentioned in the last part of chapter 1. John moves on to a second step—avoiding sin, rather than continuing to sin with the presumption that all will be forgiven by a gracious God. Here he is dealing with sanctification. A pattern of sin as practiced before conversion would call into question whether a person truly is converted. “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commandments.” A noticeable change would indicate that God is at work in us, and that we are children of God. The converse (v.4) is bluntly put: “The man who says ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar. . .” Underlying all this is the truth that man cannot be made righteous by his own effort. For a man to obey to the degree that he truly becomes like Christ—not that he is ever totally sinless—is a work that only God can do. In additiion to obedience, John (v.5) adds another way to verify one’s standing with God. “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete (fulfilled) in him.” Jesus made a point of this in John 13:34. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Then he made a prediction (v.35). “By this all men will know that you are my disciples . . .” John got the message and is passing it on to others, including us. Our love for God will have an impact on those who are searching for God.