1Jn 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
In my high school Sunday school class of many years ago, one of my pupils, Peggy Roberts, asked a most insightful question. She asked, “Mr. Smith, why is the plural ‘commandments’ used here, not the singular?” She remarked that she was well aware of the one “new commandment” Jesus gave (John 13:34), but she wondered what are the rest of the commandments? Her question led me to a multi-year study of this matter, and resulted in the extensive note I have placed at 1 John 2:3 listing all the commandments of Christ I could find in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and in my newest resource, released one month ago, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury. I have told “the rest of the story” in that note.
Back when I was in high school, even still more years ago, I made a study of the book of 1 John, following the directions I have since placed on this site in the category to the right, “How to Study the Bible.” I placed a note in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge that is retained in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury at 1 John 5:13. I have been sharing that note, point by point, now over some period of time, in these Daily Bible Nuggets.
Our assurance of eternal life is not dependent upon our feelings. It is not a “hope so” salvation. We do not need to wait until we die to find out if we were right. John gives us several marks of true believers in his first epistle.
This assurance is grounded upon the individual believer possessing the marks of a true believer discussed throughout this epistle.
Here is the outline itself:
A true believer lives:
(1) in constant fellowship with God, 1 Jn 1:3; 1 Jn 1:7; 1 Jn 2:6,
(2) true to the Gospel, 1 Jn 2:24,
(3) with love for others, 1 Jn 3:18, 19; 1 Jn 4:7,
(4) in obedience to God, +**1 Jn 2:3 note. 1 Jn 3:23; 1 Jn 5:2, 3, 4, 5,
(5) untainted by the world, 1 Jn 2:15, 16, 17; 1 Jn 5:4, 5,
(6) consistently victorious over Satan, 1 Jn 3:8, 9; 1 Jn 4:4; 1 Jn 5:18,
(7) concerned about souls, 1 Jn 5:16; see +*Jas 5:20,
(8) assured of personal salvation, 1 Jn 4:17; **1 Jn 5:13.
How can we “keep his commandments” if we do not know what they are?
John himself summarizes the commandments of Christ by boiling them down to just two:
(1) That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ,
(2) and love one another, as he gave us commandment (1 John 3:23).
John is very clear that if we truly believe on Christ, we will love one another. He gives that as one of the marks of being a true believer. If we truly have love for one another, we will welcome each other, or (as expressed in Romans 15:7) we will “receive one another.” We won’t shun one another. We won’t disparage one another. We will listen to one another. We will learn from one another, we will share insights and concerns with one another and be blessed by fellowship with one another. We will help one another as appropriate and as opportunity affords. If this is not our practice, then it may be that we do not truly believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, these practices that evidence genuine belief in Jesus Christ are sadly lacking in many places, places that worship God but have not taken care to structure for fellowship. Be sure to always welcome strangers and newcomers to the fellowship you attend. You never know what blessing you may be to them, or what blessing they may become to you (Hebrews 13:1, 2).