Podcast: 9 July 2020

Today is Thursday 9th July, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was autumn.  It would be great if we could all commit to pray for some summer sun to return soon!


Our Bible passage today is 1 John Chapter 2 vs1-6, and we’re going to be focusing on verses 3 and 6:

“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands……Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”

On Saturday I was able to spend the whole day with my daughter Faith – just us – a mum and daughter day.  It’s the first time we’ve been able to do this since lockdown, and the first time we’ve been shopping together since February.  We had a great time – my bank balance shrank considerably, the items of clothing in Faith’s wardrobe and the number of new books on her shelves both grew considerably, and we both learnt that the hand sanitiser in Costa smells foul!

Whilst we were out, Faith was talking about what it feels like to be a Year 6……being at the end of junior school, preparing to move on to senior school, but without having completed or done any of the things that normally identify someone as being a Year 6, or define this year in school.  No leavers assembly, no end of year drama performance, no water fight in Endcliffe Park, no Year 6 disco, no SATS.

Faith is actually really disappointed that she didn’t get to do SATS, because this is what all her learning and hard work in the first part of Year 6 had been leading up to – she wanted to show what she knew, get a good level of attainment, and feel that all the work she had put in was for something.

I know lots of Year 11s and Year 13s who would have been completing GCSEs and A-levels, and university students in their final year, feel the same way too (although maybe you don’t have a water fight in Endcliffe Park at the end of your degree?!)

Sat eating our lunch in the Peace Gardens Faith said, “I don’t really feel like a proper Year 6.”

And the truth is that many of us recognise this response and have asked similar questions about our faith and being a Christian.

Questions like “How can I know that I really am a Christian?  I don’t feel any different.” Or perhaps you’ve had thoughts something along the lines of “I haven’t had the same religious experiences as other people, does that mean my faith is less, or I’m not a proper Christian?”

These are exactly the type of questions that John is answering in today’s passage.

If you remember from yesterday’s podcast the book of 1 John is a sermon written to address some divisive teaching that had occurred in the churches that John was overseeing.

From the wording of the section we are looking at today, it would seem that those who had set up this rival church were not only saying that Jesus was not the Son of God, and that there was no need for forgiveness of sins; but they were also making statements about how a person could claim to know God.

The verb ‘to know’ is used 4 times in these verses, and from this it is clear that, for John, knowing God is not about attainment, the acquisition of religious knowledge, or even completing or having particular spiritual experiences.

For John, knowing God is all about knowing God’s character, and following the way of life that he expects for those who call themselves Christians.  Knowing God is about how you live and behave.

Not doing SATS, not doing A-levels, not going to the prom, not having a graduation ceremony, doesn’t make this year’s Year 6s, Year 13s or final year students any less; these things are not what defines them, and nor does their absence disqualify them from going on to do other things in future, it doesn’t mean they are not proper or full members of their year groups.

Faith doesn’t stop being a Year 6 because she didn’t get an attainment level in SATS.  I know Faith is a Year 6 because of the way I see her acting and behaving, her growing maturity, and the way she conducts herself.

And this is what John says in verses 3 and 6.

“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands……Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”

Coming to know God – being a Christian, a follower of Jesus – isn’t based on a feeling or an experience we have had, and it isn’t judged by the grade we get in an RE exam, or our score in a Biblical trivia quiz.

Growing in our knowledge of God comes from the way we act and behave, our growing maturity in Christ, and the way we conduct ourselves with others.

If we want to come to know God more, we need to start asking ourselves different types of questions:

  • Am I obeying God’s word?
  • Am I living in the way that Jesus teaches and models?
  • Am I following God’s commands to me?

Keeping God’s commands is not a condition of being a Christian or being saved, but it is a characteristic of being a Christian and knowing God.  As verse 4 says, if we claim to know God, but do not keep his commands, then we are a liar.

Now obviously John is not saying that perfect obedience is the only way we can come to know God, because in Chapter 1 he also wrote that if we say we have no sin, then we deceive ourselves.

The question is whether we are trying to keep God’s commandments, actively choosing to live the way that Jesus taught us to, always seeking to obey God’s word.  If we are, and if we make these things our priority and focus, then God’s love will be made complete within us.

What a fantastic promise!

If we keep God’s commands, live as Jesus did, then we will not just have a relationship with God, but he will live in us.

(And that’s far better than the Year 6 disco and a water fight in Endcliffe Park)


Heavenly Father, help us to keep your commands, obey your word and live as Jesus did, so that we can grow in our knowledge of you, and see your love made complete within us.  Amen.

BIBLE READING: 1 John 2:1-6 (NIV)

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.