Fellowship with God: Confidence in Christ, Lesson 6

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:7-11)

In last week’s lesson we learned that we can be assured that we are in Christ when we obey God. God’s love for us and our love for him in return motivate us to obey his commandments. Obedience motivated out of love for God takes the shape of love for God and for others, so love and obedience overlap. This overlapping continues as we now come to the second test of assurance of faith: the social test, or, the test of love. Framed as obedience to God, John now narrows the obedience to a particular command.
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Fellowship with God: Confidence in Christ, Lesson 5

 

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:3-6)

 

 

We now come to 2:3-6, in which we find the first test of assurance of faith: the moral test, or the test of obedience.  This opens a discussion which will occupy much of our study—assurance of faith as evidenced by obedience to God’s commands. But note the order in which John has approached his topic: keeping God’s commands comes not before, but after the cross. We are first justified by Christ’s sacrifice, only then are we given the ability and desire to keep his commands. God’s imperatives for our holy living always follow his indicatives of what he has done to make holiness possible for the believer. Because Jesus is our propitiation to atone for our sins, and our advocate when we do sin, we no longer need to perfectly obey every commandment of the Law of God in order to be saved. So, when John writes that our assurance is found in keeping his commandments, he must have something other than perfect obedience of the law in mind. 

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Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 23

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By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

This week, with the context of Peter’s warnings against the false teachers fresh in our minds, we turn to his encouragement to believers. The broader context of this epistle as we have read thus far has included the certainty of the return of our Lord and the day of judgement, the trustworthiness of the Scriptures, the ultimate punishment of evildoers and the rescue of the godly. Peter now turns to the specifics of the scoffers’ denial of the return of Jesus and encourages his readers to be strengthened in their faith by remembering the prophecies and history of the Scriptures. Continue reading “Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 23”

Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 20

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By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

In last week’s lesson, we studied Peter’s discussion of the apostolic witness to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This week we will look at how that train of thought flows into his discussion of the divine origin of Scripture. Remember, this is important to Peter’s readers—and to us—because of the false teachers who were—and are even still—infiltrating the church with subversive doctrines and attempting to woo believers away from the truth. Continue reading “Standing in the True Grace of God, Lesson 20”