I John 2 is today's reading. In vs 1 John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, tells us why he is writing his letter: "So that you will not sin." He knows God desires Christians who are pure, blameless and holy before the Father. Jesus "pleads" for us before the Father, the One who lived the perfect, sinless life, the One who "sacrificed himself for our sins" (vs 2) regularly intercedes for us and prays that our sins would be taken away from us. As I read thru this chapter, here are a few insights that really struck me:
1. Vss 3ff: Anyone who says he loves God but doesn't obey his commandments is a liar. Obedience to God's commandments is a primary proof we love Jesus. Jesus said the same thing: "If you love me, you'll obey my commandments." I can tell my wife all day long I love her but if I go and commit multiple affairs, my deeds really prove my beliefs.
2. Vsss 7ff: Another proof we love Jesus: our love for other Christians. Anyone who says they love God, walking in the light, but hates a Christian brother and sister is still walking/living in the darkness They are "lost" (vs 11). Then, in vss 12ff, John tells new believers that their sins are forgiven and that their battle with Satan has already been won. Live such! For mature believers that they should know this truth of God's love to fellow brothers and sisters. Jesus said, "By this the world will know that you are mine by the way you love one another."
3. Vs 15ff: Another proof we love Jesus: we have stopped "loving this evil world and all that it offers you." The lusts of this world are fading. The pride in our possessions won't last forever. All things of this world are fading away. Our primary must passion is Jesus, not the temporary cravings of this world.
4. Vss18ff: Another proof: we recognize "antichrists" all around us. They are people who don't really love Jesus. They are liars. Anyone that doesn't acknowledge that Jesus is God in human flesh is a liar (vs 22). Acknowledging the Son is a proof we really love him!
5. Vs 24: If we remain faithful to what we were taught from the beginning, the basic, orthodox tenets of the Christian faith, it proves we really love Jesus. We will not be led astray (vs 26). We know he lives within us, his Holy Spirit regularly teaching us and leading us into all truth (vs 27). Persevering to the end of our lives, our faith in tact, proves we love Jesus. When he returns, he will find us faithful in every possible way, full of courage, never shrinking back from our faith in shame (vs 28).
6. Vs 29: Since God is always right, those who DO right are God's children. Again, obedience to God's commandments prove we love Jesus.
Do you love Jesus? Is he the master passion of your life? Are your lusts for the things of this world competing with your total devotion to him? Reread I John 2. Give yourself the "proof" test of your love for Jesus. Be honest. It's a very important question to ask.
Love Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind and might. And your neighbor as yourself.
To Christ alone and always belongs all the glory.