This is a question people have been asking for the past 2000 years.  Christians want to know if they can be sure that they belong to Jesus Christ.  Or, how can we be sure we have chosen the truth or that we are Christians?

There are two questions the Bible tells us to ask: Do we obey God’s Word and do we live as we know Christ wants us to live?  Scripture tells us that we can know without a doubt if we are obedient to God’s Word.  Do we accept and submit to God’s will?  Do we live to the best of our knowledge as Christ said we were to live?  (Matthew 28:20 – “and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”)

1 John 2:3 – 6 – “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.   Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.   But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”  Anyone who claims to know Christ but lives a worldly, unrepentant life shows the truth is not in them and they are a liar.

We must understand what God wants us to do.  We are to continually strive toward spiritual perfection through study, prayer and worship.  The result is our love for God and for others.  The intensities of our love can be a measurement of our spiritual maturity.

John writes that he is bringing us a new command based on an old one.  Leviticus 19:18 – “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”  This new command, brought by Christ, is found in John 13:34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  Christ showed us the definition of love in the new commandment.  It is a practice of love.  The old was not an unconditional love.  John 13:35 – “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

I John 2:9 – 11 – “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.  Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.  But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”

You cannot have love if you have hate in your heart.  You cannot have light if you live in darkness.  Darkness represents sin and evil as Scripture instructs us.  We may dislike people and hate what they do but there is a difference in hating someone.  Not everyone will agree but I believe this means we are not to hate anyone.  If we believe God loves everyone and He hates no one, then why would there be an exception for us?  There will be people who make us angry, but our reaction or response must not be to hate them.

John says if we love we live in the light.  If we hate we live in darkness and it sounds like we live in sin and evil.  Or, we are not grounded in the Word and can be easily led astray.  Believers who hate are in darkness and not light, in sin and not in fellowship with God.  They wander in the darkness and don’t know where they are going.  They have lost their spiritual perspective and sense of direction because the darkness has made them blind.

John continues to tell us when the Father is not in us.  I John 2:15 – 16 – “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.   For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”

John warns us it is very easy to love the world and worldly things.  We are born into the world and live as the world lives until we accept Christ.  It is not easy to change habits.  Our carnal self-centered nature wants what others have regardless of what they have done to get it.  How many of us actually believe if we are living as the world lives and putting worldly things first in our lives that the love of the Father is not in us?  We have read that where our heart is that is where our treasures will be.

Sinful man is self-serving.  Spiritual man is God-serving.  Sinful man craves satisfying his or her physical desires and boasting about what he or she has done.  Spiritual man values self-control, a spirit of generosity and a commitment to humble service.  It is possible to avoid worldly pleasures while still harboring worldly attitudes in our heart.

We must get rid of our excessive wants.  Wanting something too badly can cause stress in our lives.  Sinful man will never fulfill his wants.  No matter what they have they will want more.  This is why many people call themselves Christians but truthfully they do not qualify according to John’s teaching.  However, if Christ is the priority in our lives we will have fewer wants and the wants are not really that important.

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