In a lot of ways, the word “Christian,” is applied to far too many people. Many people claim to be Christians, but by their lives show themselves to be anything but.
At this point, many people may scream at me for being judgmental. But Jesus himself said,
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ (Matthew 7:21-22)
In a modern context, people might say, “Lord, Lord, didn’t I go to church? Didn’t I put money in the offering basket? Didn’t I do this good thing and that good thing?”
But Jesus will say to them,
I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! (Matthew 7:23)
In short, your life cannot be divorced from your actions. And your actions prove who you are.
That’s what John is saying in this passage.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. (1:5-6)
Too many people live in their sin, explaining away scripture in some cases, blatantly ignoring it in others.
But John tells us that God is light. There is no sin in him at all. And so if we live in utter rebellion to what he has taught in his Word, explaining it away or blatantly ignoring it, and we still claim to have fellowship with him, we’re liars.
John is very straight here. He says, “You are a liar. Truth is not in you.”
But then he says,
If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1:7)
If God is in light, then if want to have fellowship with him, we need to walk in light too. Because God certainly isn’t going to join us in the darkness of our sin. But if we will step out of our rebellion to him and submit to him as Lord, then Jesus’ blood will purify us from all our sin. But we need to step out of that rebellion. To stay in rebellion against God and to claim fellowship with him is pure impossibility.
In case there is any doubt as to what John is saying, he goes on.
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. (2:3-6)
In short, we can tell if a person has a relationship with God by their attitude toward Him. Is God’s love so complete in them that they respond with loving obedience? That they desire to be more like their Lord and to walk as he did? That they mourn over their sin when they fail and repent? If not, then there should be serious doubt as if they are truly saved or not.
How about you? What does your attitude toward God show about your relationship with him?