John challenges us today to consider our actions against our beliefs. In fact, he is quite clear that having faith in Jesus without living like Jesus isn’t true faith at all. It’s darkness which only serves to blind us from our hypocrisy. Time to take stock, people…
3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 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.
Today John connects for us the idea of knowing God to the idea of keeping God’s commands. As many say today, “I am spiritual – I am not religious,” hear the underlying disconnect from John’s teaching.
Many would like to find and know God on their own terms while living their own lives. They stumble on the truth that we all choose to go our own ways (Isaiah 53:6), turning from God’s ways in the process.
Knowing God while walking away from him is a contradiction in terms.
The example John gives is claiming to be in the light of God, yet hates his brother or sister, actually walks in darkness. In other words, faith with inconsistent works is not faith. It’s darkness. And darkness is blinding.
Darkness masquerades as light and leaves us thinking that we are congruent when we are not. It’s time to take stock and test our actions against our beliefs.