“By this we know that we have come to know Him,” 1 John 2:3
Have you ever questioned whether you really know Jesus? If so, it’s important to deal with that doubt. God wants us to be certain of our salvation. The second chapter of 1 John walks us through a salvation checklist of sorts. These are not ways to become a Christian but practical evidence that we’re following Jesus. This is how we know that we know Him.
The most basic evidence of knowing Jesus is simple – we keep His commands (vv3-6). We obey because we want to, not because we have to. The love and truth of God resides within us, making obedience a joy rather than drudgery. Following Jesus is a relationship built on love – His sacrificial love for us and our love and devotion to Him. Jesus spoke repeatedly about this love relationship with His followers in John 14:15-24. It boils down to this, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” As a result, we live the way He lived.
Another tangible evidence that we know Jesus is love for God’s people (vv9-11). The best way to test this love is by asking, “Is there someone I truly hate?” John says that hating a brother is the product of living in darkness rather than the Light. And “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1:5). Of course, that doesn’t mean we see eye-to-eye with every believer, but handle our differences with Christ-like love.
John not only addresses who we love, but what we love (vv15-17). Loving the world or anything in the world is contradictory to loving God. And it’s evidence that the Father’s love isn’t in us. The lost world lives for the cravings and desires of the moment. Not so for those who know Jesus. The Holy Spirit causes believers to be uncomfortable with the longings of the old nature. In other words, things that promote worldly living aren’t enjoyable for a child of God.
So, does John’s checklist confirm that you know Jesus or increase your doubt? Doubt doesn’t automatically mean you’re not a Christian. All believers struggle from time-to-time with areas of obedience, including frustration with other believers and momentary sinful desires. But God doesn’t want us to continually question our salvation. Pray about any doubts you feel. Make sure today that you know that you know Him!