1 John – Arriving at Reliable Knowledge
From the Series: Certainty – Absolute Truths That Bring Joyful Assurance
BY MAX FERNANDEZ
One of the earliest threats to early Christianity was Gnosticism. This teaching featured the “need for additional knowledge” or to “be in the know” in order to communicate with or know God. The teachings included: “men of God” who were uniquely gifted with knowledge that others did not have – including visions or revelations from the Holy Spirit; a view of the material world as evil; and a view of the makeup of man as three parts (spirit, soul, body).
This should lead to obvious questions for us today, “How do we know what we know?” or “How are we sure that what we know is absolutely true?” and “Do we have all that we need to know today?” If you were speaking to Dr. Harari (professor at Oxford), he would tell you that human knowledge evolved by chance. If we were speaking to certain individuals from within our culture, they would want you to believe in Research Justice—a type of experience-based knowledge.
What both of these ideologies miss is objective truth. Within biblical Christianity, experience is tethered to absolute truth; and we can be sure of this truth. It is easy for Christians today to live based on their emotions or their experiences, but do we really need to live that way?
We must be sure we know the love of God and that we can rely upon it!
1 John 4:16a “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
This verse answers the question, “How do I know the love of God, and why can I rely upon it?”
Because of the Real Gift of the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:13)
The gift of the Spirit implies certain truths:
- God kept his promise to the apostles (John 14:26, 15:26).
- The apostolic eyewitness testimony in the New Testament scriptures is foundational to knowing and relying upon the love of God (Ephesians 2:19-20).
- There is an experience to the Christian life, one which strengthens/emboldens the inner man (Ephesians 3:16).
Kids’ Pause: God’s Word is the Record of the eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life, and God’s Holy Spirit is the real Person given to all who receive Jesus as Lord. God’s Word and God’s Holy Spirit go together.
God can always be trusted to keep his word. You are not speaking on behalf of the Holy Spirit if what you are believing/saying is against the truth of God’s Word. Believing and living the Christian life is not something you do on your own. Even though Research Justice would say that knowledge comes from the experience of the marginalized and the Cognitive Revolution would teach us that what we know is a matter of chance development, the scriptures are actually the source of Absolute Truth, and the Spirit of God is God’s gift to us so that we might know the absolute truth of God’s Love.
Because of the Spirit-empowered Confession About Jesus [as the Savior of the world] (1 John 4:14-15)
First, there is the content of confession.
- the Father sent confirms the economic subordination within the Godhead. There is nothing wrong with being told what to do. One of the beautiful ways that Christians manifest Jesus Christ is through submission.
- the Son—the passage is Trinitarian. In addition, Jesus’ Sonship is unique and a material incarnation. We know God’s love through the incarnation of Jesus.
- to be the Savior of the world. By implication, the world needs saving, and Jesus came to save or to deliver (John 4:42).
It is this message that the Holy Spirit indwells/empowers people to proclaim.
Second, the act of confession is evidence of possession by the Holy spirit. When you genuinely believe that Jesus is the Savior, you will show evidence of this belief in what you say about Jesus. “How do I know the love of God, and why can I rely upon it?” Because of the Holy Spirit and his work through me to openly confess Jesus as Savior.
Absolute knowledge does not begin with research justice, nor does it begin with a study of a theory of evolution. Absolute knowledge is based on absolute truth. Absolute truth does not eliminate experience. Christian experience comes by way of the Holy Ghost who is given to us, and this Christian experience is connected to the absolute truth of Jesus Christ in His word.
Research Justice falls short of Christian experience because Christian experience is connected to ABSOLUTE Truth.
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