I John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
John continued God’s challenge to the saints in this passage. God again used the term for endearment here. He addressed the recipients as “my little children”. What a blessing to be a child of God. We notice when God addresses us as little children He does not dumb down His Word. He expects His children to be able to grasp spiritual truths. Too often we address little children in a condescending manner. We do not recognize the mental capacity they have and we do not stretch them to use that mental capacity for good.
We know that the things of God cannot be received by the natural man. God is addressing those who have spiritual life. Spiritual life comes only from God. The challenge here is to be real. It is easy to say things without following through on them. The subject here is brotherly love. It is easy to say we love a brother. It is another thing to actually love a brother. True love will be expressed in deed and in truth. There are people who find it difficult to express true love and there are also people who find it difficult to receive true love. Our love for others needs to be evidenced and it needs to be done in truth. We should not be hypocritical in our actions. We need to express our love from a genuine heart of love.
In verse 20 God is not telling us to ignore our hearts. Keep in mind here that this is speaking of a heart that is changed by God’s grace and mercy. God works in the heart of each of His children. We sometimes refer to our conscience, which is the same thing here. God pricks His child in the heart or conscience to do His will. If He is condemning us for a selfish attitude, He is greater than our heart and He knows what we need to be doing. He wants us to act on what He is telling us to do so that our heart will not be condemning us. We need to be obedient to Him.
The saved person will learn how to hear God directing him or her in their heart. He needs to respond to God’s leading and be blessed in being obedient to the work of God in the heart. In verse 21, God tells us that if our heart is not condemning us, we know we have done the will of God. God knows the needs of His children. His child does not need to go around begging. His child needs to pray and trust God. God will work in the heart of true believers to reveal to them the need of another brother. It is a blessing both to the giver of the gift and to the recipient of the gift when they recognize God’s hand at work. It is robbing ourselves of blessing when we refuse to obey God’s leading.
In verse 22 we are reminded of the importance of prayer. We ask God. We make our requests known to God. We might ask others to pray with us regarding a need, but our focus is on God. He supplies our needs. He works in the hearts of others to meet the needs of brothers. We see here as well that we can ask with confidence because we keep His commandments. This again, is not talking of works salvation. It is talking of doing right because we are saved. Saved people prove their salvation by being obedient to God. God loves a cheerful giver.
In verse 23 we are reminded of the central commandment of God. We should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
The two are tied together. Those who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in truth, need to love one another. This is not some secret trick that God plays on those who are saved. He reveals that fact to them when they are saved. The Christian will not complain and say they would never have trusted in Christ for salvation if they knew what was involved. The saved person is so grateful for the gift of eternal life that they rejoice in being able to serve the Lord with gladness.
In verse 24 we are again given the assurance that keeping His commandments is a demonstration that Christ dwells in that person.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
This is the reality of the Christian life. It is a life of blessing. The blessing comes from knowing the true God through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is given to indwell the true child of God. He will testify to what is truly going on in the heart of the saved person. If you are saved and obedient to the Lord, you will know His peace and blessing. If you are saved and resisting Him, He will make that known to you. If you claim to be saved and are disobedient and claim all is well in your heart, you need to check to see if you are truly saved. God does not lie. He does not give His blessings to those who are saved but disobedient to Him.
Today is the Lord’s day. The true child of God wants to keep His commandments. That includes being a part of a true local church and attending that church faithfully. That is God’s design for His children in this age. He blesses those who obey Him. His children need to believe Him and obey Him. We often neglect His commands and we think that we are okay even though we are not obeying. When His child persists in having their own way, they may find out the hard way that His way is right and they should have obeyed. God chastens His child.
Are you listening to the Lord today? He wants to bless you and make you a blessing to others as well. That starts with being saved and then submitting to His will. Take your counsel from His sure Word, not from those who are disobedient to Him. You will be blessed in listening to Him