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Read Introduction to 1 John


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


that we know Him,

The Gnostics taught that intellectual achievement was the highest good, but Christians realize genuine fellowship in applying truth to experience. Raw academic knowledge is not good enough. We must engage ourselves with the Word of God.

The two occurrences of the word “know” emphasize the idea of fellowship with God. “Know” occurs 23 times in 1 John, so it is obviously an important word. The idea of knowledge here is knowledge gained by mediation by fellowship. The idea of knowing in the Bible involves more than understanding but entails the whole person.

Sometimes the Bible uses “know” for sexual intimacy. Knowing God involves sharing His life (2:4,6). This involves doing His will. Knowing God is a corollary to “walking in the light.” It is the reality of our fellowship with God.

Jn 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

The tense of the word “know” carries the idea that they knew fellowship with the Lord in the past with present reality. The result of our past relationship with the Lord has present effects.


We validate experience by a certain consequence of our desire and decisions.


It is not our claim to fellowship that is important, but whether we validate it by appropriating principle to experience. A changed life is a sign of a changed heart, and an unchanged life is a sign of an unchanged heart. How can we be sure that we are in fellowship with the Lord? Only by present taking action on living out God’s principles for life can we know that we have authentic fellowship with Him.

“Knowing” is knowing more than that we are Christians, but this carries the idea of knowing that we “abide” in fellowship with the Lord. Application of the Christian way of life to our experience (principles of the Word) determines fellowship. This is the prerequisite to fellowship.

God demands that we respond to His ordained authority for life. Submission to that authority involves the desire to please the Lord. God will not open Himself to fellowship with us without our recognition of His rights as the Sovereign God of the universe. Our nature rebels at this. When we rebel against God’s authority, we run into problems of fellowship.