Posted on August 21, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
The apostle John wrote a very intimate letter to his converts, his “little children.” The book is I John. He is writing to assure them of their salvation and to call them to a lifestyle that honors “the family,” God and His people. He states his conclusion in Chapter 5: 13: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
It is true that this is written to “Christians,” but he gives them reference points, ways to measure their commitment. He says also that our joy will be full when we follow these principles.
Call it my legalistic tendencies because of six decades under its regulations or call it a genuine concern for many friends who present themselves as Christians but show little evidence in their lives, I believe these same “tests” can be applied to their spiritual evaluation.
As each of us examine our lives, how do we measure up?
Test # 1: Acknowledge ourselves as sinners. Chapter one says that if we say one thing and do another, we lie and do not do the truth, but “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1:9)
Test #2: Obedience. “And by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (2:3) He goes on to say that if we say we love him and do not keep His commandments, we are liars.
Test #3: Separation: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him, for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (2:15,16) There may not be total agreement on what “the world” is, but it seems to be accurate to say that if (whatever it is) brings shame on our Father, it is of the world.
Test #4: Love the brethren. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” (3:14) Some Christians can be hard to love for a variety of reasons. But, given the choice, would you rather spend your time with Christians doing “their thing” or time with non- Christians doing “their thing”? The rest of chapter 3 and most of chapter 4 expand this theme. Even non-Christians know there are things that are base and bring out the worst in us but are enjoyable for the moment.
Test #5: The indwelling Spirit. “By this we know that we dwell in Him and He in us, because He hath given us His Spirit.” (4:13) In a way, this is your conscience, but it is more than that: it is the still small voice inside you encouraging you or convicting you with the things you are planning or doing. Chapter 5, verse 10 says that if a man denies that Jesus is the Son of God, God makes him a liar. If you deny, you cannot have the Spirit in you.
Test #6: Do not “practice” sin, that is, you do not stop doing what you know to be wrong, rather, you continue doing it willfully. “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not, but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” (5:18) This is another way of stating James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Have you not experienced a temptation that will not go away, it simply confronts you again and again? But the more you resist it, the easier it is to run from it. The temptation is not the sin, the yielding is!
Test #7: Spiritual understanding. This is John’s conclusion: “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true.” (5:20) All of this helpful teaching of John to his spiritual “kids” (of all chronological ages) is just babble to the unsaved, it simply doesn’t make sense. I Cor. 2:14 clarifies his conclusion: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Are you spiritually discerning?
Have you taken the tests? How did you do? How are you measuring up to these points? Are you even striving to measure up? Rate yourself.
Written By Neil Fichthorn: Rev. Neil Fichthorn is a seasoned conference and camping servant having served at Gull Lake Bible Conference, Sandy Cove Ministries as President, and an interim Executive Director at Pinebrook Bible Conference. He also served in church music for decades as a choir director and arranger. He has been Bill Welte’s mentor and friend for over 45 years.
Think About This: “God dwells in His creation and is everywhere indivisibly present in all His works. He is transcendent above all His works even while He is immanent within them.” – A.W. Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose [g]stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:23-24
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.