1 John 2:1-6 - A Believer Will Walk As Jesus Did
Let’s look at 1 John 2:1-6,
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
This passage is about the believers assurance of salvation. John believes that those he is writing to are saved and he calls them ‘My little children’. This text is not discussing justification and the need to be saved; but it addresses that we are to know that we are saved. This really is the subject of this entire letter. John says in 1 John 5:15, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.”
Some may doubt that they are saved because they cannot remember the day that they were saved. Otherslack assurance because they do not know if they did it exactly right. Many others begin to doubt when they look at themselves more than they look at Christ and the gospel. Others wonder if they are saved because they have sin in their life. All of these things rob a believer of their assurance.
In this letter ‘knowing God’ is synonymous with having fellowship with God. The false teachers claimed to know that they were saved through some special knowledge that they did not get through the apostles teaching. These false teachers denied the person and work of Jesus Christ; and as a result, these believers were confused and lacked assurance that they had come to know God. John writes to these believers and says, ‘We know that we have fellowship with God when we come to know Jesus Christ, and that realization happens as we obey the Word of God.’
There are two Greek words that are translated as ‘know’ in 1 John. These wordsare used 40 times in this letter. The Greek word used in verse 3, ‘And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments’, is ‘Ginosko’ and it speaks of a knowledge gained indirectly through experience or instruction. A believer will take the Word of God and apply it to their lives and one of the fruits that results is that they grow in assurance and in their fellowship with God.
These two Greek words for ‘know’ are in two different verb forms. The first one is in the ‘present tense’. This speaks of the fact that a believer is continually growing in their knowledge of their relationship with God. A child continually learns about their relationship with their parent and that never stops. This is true in our relationship with God.
The second verb is in the ‘perfect tense’. This means that our fellowship with God demands that we know that this happened sometime in the past, it continues in the present, and it will continue in the future. God wants us to have this assurance. And this assurance is gained through our obedience to keep His commandments. We are to be consistent in hearing and obeying the Word of God. The word ‘keep’ means to ‘watch over, guard, observe, to heed’. We are to continually be protecting and guarding the word of God so that our lives line up with it.
This ought to comfort you that God wants you to have assurance. I once went to a church where every Sunday, people that had professed Christ and who had been baptized, would continue to come forward each week to be saved again. I was grieved by this and asked the pastor why we did not clear up any confusion regarding this and give them the assurance that they desperately needed. The pastor told me that he would never do that. He believed that if you gave someone assurance they would be less fruitful as a Christian and not more productive as John here describes.
John writes to these believers who once knew the truth but false teachers had come in and brought great confusion. They had gotten their eyes off of Christ and they were struggling because of it.
My son, Ian, has always liked frogs, toads, turtles and even snakes. Because of his love for these reptiles he began to watch a show called ‘Turtle Man’. ‘Turtle Man’ was Ernie Brown Jr. and he would catch anything with his bare hands.
It was always fun to watch that show with my son but little did I realize that his love for the show would soon have Ian imitating whatever the ‘Turtle Man’ did. To be clear, I did not care if Ian wanted to catch crayfish, toads, frogs and most turtles by hand, but I did not want to see him catching snapping turtles and snakes. But that is exactly what my son would eventually do.
I am sure that all of us understand what was going on in the story that I just shared with you. God has given my son a love and appreciation for reptiles. And when he began to watch Ernie Brown Jr., he began to imitate him in literally every way. He hunted like the ‘Turtle Man’, he used the ‘Turtle Man’ call, and he displayed the boldness and bravery of the ‘