“We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.” - 1 John 2:3
Obedience yields assurance, according to the Apostle John. How can a person know he has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Obedience - it is the sign of a converted heart. It is the signature of the Holy Spirit living inside. An obedient life is the outward fruit of a peaceful heart – a heart that is eternally secure.
Please don’t misunderstand…John didn’t write, “We know that we have come to know Him because we obey His commands.” Obedience does not produce salvation. It is, however, evidence of salvation. Remember, this passage in 1 John is dealing with assurance of salvation, not the theology of salvation. John is addressing those who believe in Christ, or at least profess a belief in Him.
Why does God hold up obedience to His Word as the way for someone to be sure he is truly saved? After all, Christians have been set free from the law, haven’t they? Why, then, the emphasis on obedience? John isn’t merely emphasizing obedience, but the desire to obey. A heart that is fully surrendered to Christ and thus inhabited by the Holy Spirit will be radically different from an unconverted heart. The new heart desires Christ and His will; and the presence of the Holy Spirit moves a believer to obey (Ezekiel 36:27). And while Christians will still struggle (because sanctification is a process), the Holy Spirit is there to remind, guide, teach and correct.
The connection of obedience and assurance serves as a warning, as well. It reminds those who profess faith, yet have no evidence of a changed heart, to examine themselves. The Apostle John had a clear concern, as does God, for those who profess Christ yet don’t follow Him. We should be equally concerned. There is no biblical basis for such a faith.
The bottom line is this: salvation is a personal relationship with the living Lord Jesus Christ. The fruit of this relationship is obedience. Why? Because it is only through His strength and presence in our lives that we can consistently obey and follow Him. It is only because of His gracious intervention (while we were dead in our sins) that we want to follow Him. When we see ourselves growing and changing – obeying and yielding in areas where we formerly didn’t – we know it is Him at work in us. And there is no better feeling than that!
Father, I am grateful that You are the One who changes me. You have given me a new heart – one that desires to know You more and obey Your Word. Please help me to trust You in all areas of my life. If there is anything that I am holding back from You, please reveal it to me and give me Your strength to surrender it to You. Thank You for loving and saving me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.