“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. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk just as He walked.” ~1 John 2:3-6
Besides containing many personal pronouns that are somewhat confusing, this passage is one that many have struggled with. At first glance, we begin to analyze ourselves, asking whether we have kept His commandments and are thus, in Him. Where many people struggle is in thinking that they are not in Him, because they have not fully kept His commandments. This leads them to doubt their salvation. It’s true that, if keeping His commandments was wholly up to us, we would utterly fail. However, because of Christ’s death, that burden has been lifted. He kept all the commandments and so paid the price for our sin. We can never and could never earn our salvation; it has been freely given to us. Yet this does not mean we are not to follow His commandments. That is what this passage is talking about. It is not listing a way to obtain salvation. It is providing a way to see if someone is truly a Christian. We are not free to do whatever we want; we say that we abide in Him and so should strive to our utmost to “walk just as He walked.” As Matt. 12:33 says, “a tree is known by its fruit.” Faith is not evidenced in words, but in actions. As Christians, we should strive to be more like Christ with each passing day. Yes, we will stumble and be tempted, but the Lord is with us in all things. In the U.S. there are thousands of people that claim to be Christians. Yet because they do not change the way they live to focus on Him, their claim remains a claim. We also claim Jesus as our own. We claim that we have eternal life. Let us show by our actions that we do. Believe on the Lord, but as it says many times in Scripture, let your faith be perfected in works. We can say we believe, but if we do not act like we believe, that faith is dead. At the same time, though, works do not save us, but only the grace of God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As Jesus illustrates in Matt. 12:33-37, if a tree is good, it will bear good fruit. The fruit itself does not make it a good tree, but the fruit is the evidence of a good tree. Even so, let us be bold in spreading the Word, not only through our words, but by our actions as well.
Your brother in Christ,