The Reality of Salvation tested
3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
The last section dealt with the “Reality Stated” in that God is light and all that profess to walk with God must walk in the light…this means our sin must be dealt with as God is light. John expressed that to say you have no sin reveals you are a liar (present tense) but If you confessed your sin, God was faithful and just to forgive it. Not merciful, but faithful and just. He also stated in the aorist that if you say you have not sinned (translated in the past tense but looking at sin as a whole) you ultimately are making God out to be a liar and at that rate His word has no place in you. This section deals with the “Reality Stated” coming to its first test “do you obey God’s commands?” John has no hesitation calling you a liar if you are not obedient. This is not perfection but direction as John will cover in chapter 3. Where we’ve been schooled with the mindset “who are you to judge me” (see 1Cor 5:9-13), John doesn’t have a problem calling you out for a lack of obedience.
The perfect verbs In this section are: come to know him, “I know him” and love of God is perfected. This means if you know that you have come to know him…there’s an ongoing action from knowing him. The ongoing action of declaring you know him but not keeping his commands reveals you are a liar. The fact that the love of God is perfected reveals that the antecedent (whoever is keeping his word) has an ongoing action…the love of God is perfected.
So the first test of the Reality of Salvation being tested is revealed in our obedience to God’s commands. So this begs the question do you desire to be obedient? I say desire because we don’t want to walk into perfectionism because John already declared that if we say that we have no sin, we lie and do not practice the truth (1:8). So we will sin but do we desire to be obedient? Paul talked a lot about this issue but no clearer than in Romans 6:17 “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed.” He will go on in Romans 7:15-25 to describe his struggle with sin, but his desire was NOT to sin. This is NOT legalism, this is NOT works salvation this is a desire from the heart to be obedient. The desire to be obedient means the Holy Spirit is conforming us to Christlikeness (8:29).