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Read Introduction to 1 John


“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.”


and knows all things

We do not know “all things,” but God does.  We often unjustly judge ourselves.  God knows our motives perfectly.  He is the perfect judge.  There is a great difference between conscience and omniscience.  God is the greatest witness to our soul’s activities.  If we condemn ourselves, we must remember that there is a greater Judge of our souls, and He will always be fair with us. 


The believer must accept God’s perfect judgment on him rather than exclusively his own imperfect judgment. 


God knows self-sacrificing love is not a normal thing.  It is not normal for us to respond to the undermining of our reputation with love.  To return good for evil is a dynamic of spirituality.  A spiritual person can forgive and move on.  He does this because of his new life in Christ.  It is contrary to his fallen nature. 

Since God knows everything about us and loves us anyway, why cannot we accept ourselves as God accepts us?  This does not mean that we rationalize our sin away, but it means that after dealing with our sin, we accept ourselves as God accepts us.  We cannot base fellowship with God on our feelings; we must base it on objective revelation in God’s Word.  God offers forgiveness if we confess and deal with our sins (1 Jn 1:9).  God links His omniscience with His mercy.  Although He knows every secret of our hearts, He still extends His mercy. 

It is the work of our enemy to accuse us (Re 12:10).  Satan will take our sensitive conscience and use it against us.  Our confidence comes from the promises of God, not from our overt behavior patterns.  It is not God’s will that we constantly live in a state of condemning ourselves.  He does not want us to wallow in guilt. 

For example, we put an airplane in an air tunnel to determine whether it is worthy of flying.  However, we do not leave the plane in the air tunnel.  At some point, we test it in the skies.  After the test in the sky, we do not continue to test the airplane.  We get on with the business of transporting people to their destinations.  Christians who live in constant self-examination do not live dynamic spiritual lives. 

Some people constantly raise the question as to whether they are genuine Christians.  Other Christians never arrive at the point of confidence with God.  They live in a state of self-condemnation, “Have I served the Lord enough; am I spiritual enough; have I given what God expects of me?” 

There is a point where we must face ourselves and deal with our objective guilt, but there is also a point where we move on.  My heart is not the Supreme Court; God sits in the seat of the single Supreme Court Judge.  I must accept His judgments on things.  His verdict is final.  My judgment is not final, but God’s judgment is ultimate.  My subjective guilt is not God’s norm for fellowship. 

It is also a warp in our soul if we wallow in subjective guilt.  Objective guilt is one thing, but subjective guilt is another.  Constantly looking within produces spiritual naval gazing.  It puts the Christian into spiritual self-centeredness. 

Objective guilt is a norm for Christian living.  How do we reassure our hearts if we find something truly amiss in our souls?  It is a distortion of immense proportion if we cannot face our own souls.  We do not want to deceive ourselves or live under a deception that we are in fellowship with God when we are not.

The Christian who wants to walk with God desires the evidence against him.  He wants to know what breaks fellowship with God.  He knows that he tends to sweet-talk his own spirituality and thus fool himself.  This is spiritual self-delusion.  He does not want to wait for others to tell him.  His friends may not have the courage to tell him what he needs to know about himself.