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Read Introduction to 1 John


Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.


Verse 3 makes a transition into a new line of thought.  This verse begins the first of three tests for fellowship with God.  These three tests for fellowship is a response to the three false claims in chapter one (1:6,8,10).  John gives assurances of this fellowship (2:3,5). 

This section launches three claims to intimate fellowship with God articulated by the word “knowledge.”  This is how the believer can know that he knows the “God of light” (1:5).  Walking in the light not only reveals our omissions but also our obligations, not only our disobedience but also our duties. 

If we walk in the light, there will be a threefold response:

Fellowship with God (2:3-4).

Appropriation of the principles of the Word by faith (2:5).

Constant fellowship with God (2:6).

These 3 tests show us how we validate whether we are in fellowship with the Lord or not. 

Now by this

We know that we know God by appropriating the attorneyship of Jesus Christ to our experience.  Our appropriation of the advocacy of Jesus assures us of fellowship with God.  This is “by this.”  Jesus will never lose a case before the Father.  His defense is always the same – His work on the cross for past and present sins. 

we know

There is a test whereby we know that we have fellowship with God – if we safeguard the principles of the Word of God for daily living. 

The Gnostic false teachers claimed to know God in a transcendent way.  The word “Gnostic” means knowing ones.  They thought all that they needed was sublime insight.  They aspired to embrace the deity to which they formed a part.  Their knowledge of God was mystical and rhapsody oriented. 

The Gnostics knowledge was so ethereal that they did not have time to practice the principles of the Word.  They knew God only in an abstract way but not personally as knowing someone intimately.  The believer knows God through personal knowledge of the incarnate Son of God, the “Word of life.”  We know God in Christ. 


Fellowship with God cannot exist apart from the application of the principles of the Word to experience. 


Knowing God is not speculative knowledge about God but personal knowledge concerning Him.  Biblical knowledge is more than intellectual knowledge or having accurate information about Him.  Rather, it is to have intimate fellowship with Him. 

There is a clear distinction between relationship and fellowship between union and communion.  We establish a relationship with God at the moment of salvation, never to lose it again.  However, we can lose fellowship with God.  When we desire and decide to apply God’s Word to experience, then we fellowship with Him. 

There is more than emotion here because emotion flees with the wind.  There is also more than cold intellectualism here because that does not have a dynamic fellowship with the Lord.  Both emotion void of content and academic deadness are not indications of fellowship with the Lord.  Emotions satisfy our senses, but they do not satisfy the mind. 

Either Christians today do not want principle, or they do not want the application.  Those that do not want principle want pure emotion.  They live their Christian lives devoid of exposure to the principles of the Word.  Others want the principles of the Word, but they do not apply those principles to their experience.  These people do not respond to the teaching of God’s Word but live by the seat of their pants. 

Both are wrong. 

Je 9:23-24, 23 “Thus says the Lord:

Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,

Let not the mighty man glory in his might,

Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;

24But let him who glories glory in this,

That he understands and knows Me,

That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.

For in these I delight, says the Lord.”