1 John 2:3 (ESV)
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
In this verse John is giving us a test. This test is one that speaks of knowing. “And by this we know that we have come to know him.” Know is used twice in this sentence. It is the Greek word ginóskó, which Strong’s defines as to come to know, recognize or to perceive. HELPS puts it this way:
1097 ginṓskō – properly, to know, especially through personal experience (first-hand acquaintance). 1097 /ginṓskō (“experientially know”) is used for example in Lk 1:34, “And Mary [a virgin] said to the angel, ‘How will this be since I do not know (1097 /ginṓskō = sexual intimacy) a man?'”
How can we recognize that we know Christ? John gives us the answer; “If we keep his commandments.”
There is an action here, “If we keep.” Keep is the Greek word téreó which is defined as to watch over or to guard. Thayers Greek Lexicon further breaks it down as to observe. and Helps explains it as:
5083 tēréō (from tēros, “a guard”) – properly, maintain (preserve); (figuratively) spiritually guard (watch), keep intact.
What is it we are to keep? His entolé or commandments, or simply stated his Word.
Observation: I think it was no coincidence that this morning I was reading from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Spiritual Depression, and he was addressing justification versus sanctification. He writes:
“My tests is a positive one. Do I know God? Is Jesus Christ real to me? I am not asking whether you know things about Him but do you know God, is God the centre of your life, the soul of your being, the source of your greatest joy? He is meant to be. He made man in such a way that was to be the position, that man might dwell in communion with God and enjoy God and walk with God.”Lloyd-Jones, Martyn. Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures. HarperCollins, 1965
John is saying, how can you know if you know Christ? You know this because you keep his word. This is not how we are saved but the result of our salvation. We desire Him. To please Him and to keep His commandments. We are still not sanctified but in the process of it. I was forced this morning to examine myself and ask those questions. I too often listen to myself rather than preach to myself. I have heard it said that God’s Word is a mirror that we should use to see ourselves. His Word is the truth that we need in our lives. We are sinners in need of a savior.
Father, today we ask the question do we know You? Do we know Christ? Give us the hope of assurance that as believers we can have through Your Word. For those of us who are not believers, let us see our need for Christ. Let us see that Your Word holds the key to salvation. It is the Gospel that saves. So often today we see man’s efforts, which are often mislead in a false sense of saving ourselves. We cannot save ourselves from Your wrath. I ask the question if Your Word is true, and I believe it to be because it claims to be, but if it is true than Your judgement will come upon this fallen place and we have a hope. His name is Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and savior who will come again. And the church says come Lord Jesus come. Amen.
God bless you,