1 John 2 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Gina Han, Gracepoint Davis

What is the relationship between knowing God and obeying his commands?

Knowing God means that you will obey his commands. To be in a certain relationship means that you will do certain things. To be a good and true friend means that when your friend is sick or in need, you will do what you can to help them, although it may mean moving your own schedule around, or staying up to talk with them and be with them through a difficult time. To be a good and true husband or wife means that you will stay loyal and committed to your spouse only. To be a good parent means that you will provide for your children, and sacrifice your own needs in order to care for them. When my friend is in need and I ignore their need, that friendship will soon not be much of a friendship. If I am not loyal to my spouse, the marriage can be considered over. If I take care of my own desire for a carefree and independent life, the child will not have the nurture and security that she needs from a loving parent. When it comes to my relationship with God, to know him and to be in a genuine relationship with him means to obey his commands. God is my Creator and Savior, and as one dependent on him for my very life and breath, for every day, for freedom from the sins that weigh me down, for direction on how to truly live each day by living a life of love, I need to obey his commands. When I lay down the rules for my children, it’s not so that they can have a miserable hard life and because I don’t love them and want them not to have any fun. It’s because I love them so much that I want them to experience a life of true freedom and joy that comes from learning to be mature, to share, to be considerate of others through their words and actions, to be diligent with cleaning their room and doing their homework – all so that they can grow into someone who can be responsible with their lives and use it to love others. God does not give me his commands to burden me, but He is a God of love, who loves me enough that He sent Jesus to die for me. I can never doubt His love, but know that because of His love for me, His heart is for me to live a thriving life not weighed down by my sins, where I destroy my own life and hurt others around me with my sins. So he commands me and teaches me to come out into his light, face the truths about who I am and who He is, to confess and repent for my sins, and to humble myself and deny my sinful tendencies daily – to follow all these commands – so that I can truly know Him, and be in a genuine thriving relationship with my Creator God.

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Submitted by Cathy Park, Gracepoint Davis

What is the relationship between knowing God and obeying his commands?

1 John 2:3 “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” Here, the author John is implying that the evidence of how we truly know God is shown by whether we keep His commandments.  On the onset, it may seem like John is advocating works as an evidence of salvation, but actually, ESV Commentary explains this passage very well, “Assurance of salvation is possible.  First John gives numerous means of self-diagnosis.  Here the test is ethical: do professing Christians have a changed lie and keep the Lord’s commandments?  Obedience to God does not bring about justification (which comes by faith alone), but obedience as a pattern of life does give evidence that one has been born again.  To know Him [God] involves a personal relationship that transforms practical behavior.” (ESV Study Bible, p. 1831)  It is saying that obedience in one’s life reveals genuine relationship with God.  The key here is that it’s about personal relationship with God – a personal relationship that grows and manifests itself in a deeper desire to please Him by obeying His word in a sincere way.  And this is true when I look at my own life and the lives of other Christians.

As I grew in my personal relationship with God and my knowledge who He is, I become more and more aware of His holy character.  One area that I became especially aware of is how He is a God of truth and hates falsehood.  In order to genuinely relate to God and who He is, I had to learn how to speak truth about myself and put off falsehood from my own life, whether it is saying lies to cover up my sins and shortcomings, or trying to present myself before others in a way that made me look better than I really am.  Greater knowledge of God resulted in a greater desire to obey God’s commands.

However, it is not only that knowing God results in obeying his commands, but also, the other way around is also true – as I seek to obey His commands, I also grow in my personal relationship and knowledge of who God is.  For example, just trying to live out one command in His word to not only love those who love me, but love those who do not love me and in fact may even cause hurts in my life (Matthew 5:43-48), resulted for me in having deeper knowledge of what kind of a merciful and magnanimous God that we have.  As I see how hard it is to love people who may not be receptive or appreciative towards my efforts to love them, and sometimes even cause pain in my life, I realized what it took for God to love me when I had also rejected His love.  I am growing in my understanding of God’s generous heart that embraces people, and does not withhold His care towards them just because they reject Him.  It makes me grow in deeper appreciation for who God is, and my desire to obey and follow Him has grown.

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