“The Test of Knowing Him” is the title shown in my Bible for this next passage. “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1 Jn 2:3-6)
We can’t have a passing acquaintance with Jesus; we must have a relationship with Him, where we fellowship with Him. The Lord Jesus made that clear when He said, as is recorded in John’s gospel, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4) We can be in Christ, as a member of the vine, and bear only leaves. That is mere relationship. But if we want fruit in our life, there must be that further attitude of abiding in Him, resting in Him. That is what produces significant results in life for His glory.
The words of the chorus of the hymn “In The Garden” just came to mind: “And He walks with me; And He talks with me; And He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known”. That’s the picture I have in my mind when I talk about having a relationship with the Lord. The sign of abiding is to walk in the same way in which Christ walked. That means to act from the same principle upon which He acted, to reflect the same kind of relationship to the Father that He had. That is the sign of fellowship.
What was the secret of our Lord’s power? He kept telling people what it was. He said (paraphrased): I’m not doing this; the Father who dwells in Me is doing it. I don’t speak these words of Myself, but I speak only that which I hear the Father say. It’s the Father who speaks the words; it’s the Father who does the work. I am a man, available to Him, but He is in Me, and His working in Me is the secret of the things that I do. I am simply counting on Him every minute to be at work and to do these things, and He does them (John 14:10-11).
He walked in total, unrelenting, unbroken fellowship and dependence upon the activity of the Father who indwelt Him. With us, it is the Son of God who lives within us, and He has come to reproduce the effect of His death and the power of His resurrection—to live again His life in us. But we have such difficulty with this. We must relinquish our “I can do it myself” attitude. We are called to have a quiet, unrelenting dependence upon an indwelling God to be always at work in us, reproducing the value of His death and the power of His resurrection. That’s what our abiding relationship is supposed to be, so that we can “walk just as He walked”.
A sure sign of walking with Jesus is the “peace” in our hearts; He gives us His peace (John 14:27), not the absence of trials and tribulations, by His very presence in our life. When we don’t feel His peace, we should see it as an indication we are no longer in right standing with God. As we said yesterday, if we justify our sin instead of humbling ourselves and confessing it, we aren’t cleansed from unrighteousness. But if instead of justifying our sin, we confess it then God promises, “IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Peter said it this way: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” (1 Pet 2:21) We must KNOW Him, and walk with Him in order to know HOW He walked, so that we can follow in His steps. We won’t be perfect in this life, but He is perfecting us (James 1:4) and using His Word to convict us of sin. It is up to us to go before the throne room to be cleansed regularly so that our standing in His righteousness doesn’t falter. The joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known.