"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that we have eternal life . . . And if WE KNOW that He hears us, whatever we ask, WE KNOW that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him . . . WE KNOW that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. WE KNOW that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And WE KNOW that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that WE MAY KNOW Him who is true . . . " (1 John 5:13-21, NKJV)

Devotion 11 of  32


Knowing that we have eternal life is knowing that we know Him. As it is written, "And hereby we do KNOW THAT WE KNOW HIM, if we keep His commandments" (1 John 2:3). Other versions read, "We know that we have come to know him" (NIV), "we may be sure that we know Him" (NRSV), and "we may be certain that we have knowledge of him" (BBE). Knowing that we know the Lord involves being sure and certain of that reality. What a marvelous thing to consider.

Notice, the text gives the means by which we are made sure that we know the Lord: "IF we keep His commandments." He does not say "obey," but "keep," which is an inward matter something accomplished in the heart. The word rendered "keep" means to attend to carefully, to guard, and hold fast. This keeping precedes obedience, for no commandment of God can be obeyed until it is first "kept" within the recesses of the heart. Moses spoke of the commandments in this way: "Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may LEARN them, and KEEP, and DO them" (Deut 5:1). One cannot keep what is not learned, or obey what is not kept. Moses also spoke of keeping AND doing them: "if ye HEARKEN to these judgments, and KEEP, and DO them" (Deut 7:12). Keeping and doing, or obeying, are two different things and both of them are essential.

Keeping the commandments relates to hiding them in the heart, in order to avoid sin. As David said, "Thy word have I HID IN MINE HEART, that I might not sin against Thee" (Psa 119:11). Jesus also spoke of keeping His word. "If a man love me, he will KEEP My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him" (John 14:23). Here the word "keep" also means to guard, protecting from injury by keeping the eye upon it. The idea is that the individual does not allow anything or anyone to take the Word from him. Using the "sword of the Spirit" and the "shield of faith" he repels the efforts of the evil one to move ones thoughts to lesser things. Where this is done, obedience is sure to follow. Where it is not done, all attempts to obey are powerless, for they do not proceed from faith.

We should know from the very nature of this text that keeping the commandments is not something that is accomplished casually, or fulfilled in a single deed or response. The evidence that is granted in keeping the commandments is too large for something nonchalant to be in reference. This is a means whereby we KNOW that we KNOW God. If we are retaining His Word in our hearts, feeding upon it, and refusing to allow that Word to be upstaged by other matters, that confirms we know the Lord.

The particular knowledge that is confirmed is our knowledge of God that we "KNOW Him," or are genuinely acquainted with Him, having a vital association with Him. Knowing the Lord is what might be called a settled intuitive, or instinctive, knowledge. That is why it is necessary to have confirmation that it is really possessed. By intuitive, I mean a direct knowledge that is not based upon rational thought and inference. This does not mean there is no place for rational thought and inference. It rather emphasizes that they are confirming, not foundational, of what we instinctively have been brought to know. Such knowledge is more related to believing and Divine acquaintance, resulting in confidence and assurance. It proceeds from a new heart, not a keen mind.

Rationality, or the ability to reason, is involved, but at a much higher level. In spiritual life, faith is the fountain of saving knowledge, not natural reasoning. In Christ, a logical mind proceeds from faith, which takes holds of reality, or the way things really are, compelling the individual to think in a certain manner.

To put it another way, knowing we have eternal life is actually believing it more firmly, for faith is the root of true spiritual knowledge. Knowing we have eternal life is being persuaded, or convinced, that we possess it. There really is only one reason for believing, or knowing, we have eternal life God has said so! This, in fact, is the "record," or report, that He has given to us. As it is written, "And this is the record, that God HATH GIVEN to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son" (1 John 5:11).

Again, these clear affirmations are in order.  "He who believes in the Son HAS everlasting life" (John 3:36). "He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me HAS everlasting life" (John 5:24). "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me HAS everlasting life" (John 6:47). "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood HAS eternal life" (John 6:54).

Our text does not allow us to assume we have eternal life. That may appear acceptable, but it does not yield a harvest large enough to sustain you in the difficulties and vicissitudes of life. You need some personal evidence that you have eternal life, or KNOW God, for knowing God IS eternal life. As Jesus said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3).

The confirmation is found in your retention of the commandments of God. If it is easy for you to forget what He requires of you, you do not have real proof that you know Him. If the things of this world can easily blot the commandments of the Lord from your mind, you have no real assurance you do not KNOW that you know Him.

However, no child of God needs to live in this condition. There is power in Christ to keep His Word and commands. It is possible to dwell upon them and feed upon them.

Knowing we have eternal life involves living in a full persuasion of that reality. Such wonderful knowledge brings with it confidence and hope. It enables the soul to stand in trial, and wax strong in spiritual battle. It dissolves the power of delusion, and empowers us to run the race, casting off every weight and the sin that so easily besets us. It answers the many questions that plague the novice, and beat upon the mind of the distracted. How marvelous is this knowledge!

PRAYER POINT: Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You that Your Word and commandments are pleasant to consider. Grant me grace to keep them in the place of prominence.