“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”
The word “commandments” carries the idea of precepts. John uses this word 18 times in this epistle carrying the idea of a whole way of life or principles for life. When we yield to God’s commands, we surrender to His authority. These are the marching orders for the child of God. The believer who wants to walk with God has active sympathy with His will.
1 John 3: 22 “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. 24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”
1 Jn 5: 2 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
We gain assurance that we are in fellowship with God by the objective evidence of applying God’s precepts to experience.
We gain assurance of our fellowship with God when we presently apply the principles of the Word to our experience. Present willingness to apply the Word to experience is the sign of a genuine relationship with the Lord and positive orientation to fellowship with Him. Our priorities when we come to Christ.
We cannot reverse this idea. We cannot establish a relationship with God by keeping His commandments. We establish relationship with God by faith in the finished work of Christ. Neither can we fellowship with God by keeping His commandments. We enter into fellowship with God by faith, by appropriating God’s principles of life to experience.
Rom 1: 17 “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’”
Applying God’s Word to experience is not legalism because it comes from a heart of love. It has to do with fellowship. Fellowship with God demands a response.
Jn 13: 34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Jn 14: 15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
Jn 14: 21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
Jn 15: 10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Fathers commandments and abide in His love.”
Jn 15: 14 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”
Spirituality does not come by keeping religious ordinances. Spirituality is not ritual or observance of a set of rules but experiencing fellowship with God. This belief recognizes God’s way of life as the highest life. Fellowship with God is most important.
Keeping God’s precepts or principles is not legalism but apply God’s principles to our experience as a manifestation of fellowship. We do not do what we do out of obligation or out of a sense of compulsion. Spirituality is response to fellowship with God.
Jn 8: 31 “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed…”
Our way of life corroborates our faith. If we hold dear or treasure the principles of life from the Word of God, then we demonstrate fellowship with God.
The Christian life does not rest on compulsion or obligation but appreciation for God’s grace. Gratitude for God’s grace brings concord with God’s principles. Arbitrary acquiescence to laws of God is religion, not spirituality. The kind of life we choose is a manifestation of our faith. The way we live is the test of our faith.