Read: 1 John 2:3-6

Mention the word ‘commandments’ in our society and see the reaction. Some people stiffen up and the rest feel embarrassed. Sadly, that attitude permeates not only the world but also the church. But the apostle John regards obedience to God’s commandments as a good way to judge whether we know Christ. He said, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4). John wrote this letter to refute the Gnostic heresy that matter was evil and thus Jesus could not have come in the flesh. John also wrote to correct another Gnostic false teaching: licentiousness. Their reasoning was like this: If evil is in matter, rather than in breaking God’s law, then breaking God’s law is not evil. Imagine what kind of wickedness followed.

J. C. Ryle said, “Believers are eminently and peculiarly under a special obligation to live holy lives. They are not dead, blind and unrenewed; they are alive unto God, enlightened, and have a new principle within them. Whose fault is it if they are not holy? On whom can they throw the blame if they are not sanctified? God, who has given them a new heart and a new nature, has deprived them of all excuse if they do not live for His praise. This is a point which is far too much forgotten. A man who professes to sanctification (if indeed any at all), and coolly tells you he ‘can do nothing,’ is a very pitiable sight and a very ignorant man. Against this delusion, let us be on our guard. If the Saviour of sinners gives us renewing grace, and calls us by His Spirit, we may be sure that He expects us not to go to sleep.”

The apostle John says that keeping God’s commandments distinguishes a truthful person from a liar and that His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 3:4; 5:3). The world says God’s commandments are chains to be broken (Ps. 2:3). A child of God loves to keep them (Ps. 119:167). Which attitude characterises you? Do you really know God?

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