being free

I like being free. I like the way it feels.

03 December 2009

reflecting on knowing God

Recently in my daily mediation I have been reading in the book of 1 John. What emerged from the mediation was a deeper understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. It started in 1 John 2:3-6. From there I began to ask questions and search the Bible for clues. All this led me deeper into the biblical message of what it really means to know God. Below are my gleanings.

1 John 2:3-6
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
If someone claims to know God, they must follow his commands and live as Jesus did. What then are his commands?

1 John 3:23-24
“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them.”

1 John 4:21
“And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
The commands, according to 1 John, are to believe in Jesus and to love another as he commanded us. But what does it mean to love one another as he commanded us?
John 13:34-35
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
To love one another as he commanded us is to love one another as Jesus loved us. How then did Jesus love us?

1 John 4:9-11
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

1 John 3:16
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
Jesus loved us by laying his life down for us. He took upon himself the consequences of our sins. He who was without sin, become sin for us, that we may be forgiven and restored in our relationship with God. And all this because of love.

My conclusion is this: to know God is to obey him by believing in Jesus and loving others through laying our lives down for them as Christ laid his life down for us. When we live like this we are living like Jesus and thus show true knowledge of God. If a person who claims to know God does not live a life of sacrificial love, then they are lying and not living by the truth. Stated differently:

1 John 4:16-17
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.”
More thoughts on love:

1 John 4:7-8
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 John 4:12
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

Galatians 5:6
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Galatians 5:13-14
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

1 Peter 4:8
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Romans 13:8-10
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Ephesians 5:1-2
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13
“If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."


Post a Comment

<< Home