An Authoritative Prescription

(1Jn 2:3) By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.

As I have meditated upon this verse it has occurred to me that possibly some believers, especially perhaps new believers could misinterpret this seemingly simple verse from God's Word. When we think of the term “commandments” I believe many of us would be initially be drawn toward the consideration of the Ten Commandments as written in the book of Exodus. Oh yes, I too have disobeyed several of these Ten Commandments, and to this day my flesh still desires to be disobedient from time to time. Such is our fallen human condition. However-most importantly I am saved by grace, my Lord Jesus has paid the penalty for my sin thus I am a born-again believer, and pray that you are as well. So that's some really good news, I stand as forgiven before God the Father. I am no longer under bondage to somehow try not to break even one of these Ten Commandments. Thank God I am not under the Law, but am covered by His grace.

The Apostle John wrote this letter as one of his most intimate of all of his inspired writings. In this letter John writes as if we were a child who committed an offense against his father, and the intimacy is indicated by our sin becoming more of a family matter (the family of true believers) as opposed to a ruling authority structure.

(1Jn 2:1) My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

Perhaps we can get a better idea of what Paul is instructing us about if we look up the definition of “commandments” as used in verse 3:

From G1781; injunction, that is, an authoritative prescription: - commandment, precept.

I sometimes look up the writings of Dr. J Vernon McGee in his verse by verse exposition of the Bible. For those of you who remember he had a daily radio broadcast many years ago (Through The Bible) in which he went through the entirety of Scripture in 5 years using a short daily radio program. What I appreciated about him was his manner of teaching was uncomplicated and straightforward. In a sense it was almost like a daily devotional, but verse by verse in a continuum from day to day while driving to work.

First of all, let me point out that this verse has nothing to do with the security of the believer. John is talking about assurance. As God's children, we are in a family. But how can we have the assurance that we are in God's family? He is telling us that assurance comes by keeping His commandments."If we keep his commandments" does not refer to the Ten Commandments. John is not dealing with any legal aspects; he is dealing with family matters. The Ten Commandments were given to a nation, and on these commandments every civilized nation has based its laws. The Ten Commandments are for the unsaved. J. Vernon McGee

 (1Jn 3:22) and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

(Joh 14:21) "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."

As spoken in 1 John 2:3 if keeping His commandments is not in reference to the Ten Commandments in Exodus-what are some examples of keeping His commandments?

(Luk 6:46) "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?

(Joh 14:23) Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

(Gal 6:2) Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

1Th 1:7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.

1Th 2:7 But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.

1Th 2:8 Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

1Th 2:10 You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers;

1Th 2:11 just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children,

1Th 2:12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

That is only a few verses, we could go on with many more. We can see that the commands of God are based upon how we live our lives, and not upon obeying the laws of the original Ten Commandments. We are to live our lives in a manner pleasing to God, and that our testimony is a reflection of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us.

How do we know that we know God? Let's conclude today with this excerpt:

(J Ligon Duncan)  “Here's how you know that you know God: it's manifested in the way that you live; it's manifested in your obedience.” So, it's very important for us to note that John is not saying that we know God by keeping His commandments. Rather, he is saying, “We know that we know God by keeping His commandments.” Those are two, distinct questions, and we need to keep them distinct. That is, John is not teaching salvation by obedience, nor is he even teaching assurance by obedience; but John is teaching that salvation is evidenced by obedience, and, in turn, that obedience contributes to our assurance.... Compiled by Bruce Hunt-Preceptaustin
Posted by: Dr. Robert Bannister