1 John – Evidence Proves Identity, NOT Identity Creates Truth
From the Series: Certainty – Absolute Truths That Bring Joyful Assurance
BY MAX FERNANDEZ
We must be able to give clear, objective truth.
In our culture, it is becoming increasingly accepted that a person’s oppressed identity is the better source of truth rather than reason and evidence:
“Social Justice scholarship takes umbrage with anything that foregrounds reasons and evidence as the way to know what is true…demands ‘epistemic justice’ …it means…lived experiences, emotions, and cultural traditions of minority groups… [should be] given privilege over reasons and evidence-based knowledge.” (Pluckrose & Lindsay, Cynical Theories, 187).
For this worldview, “Identity creates truth.” In the scripture though, we are given a different pattern. Notice that 1 John 2:1-2 shows how Jesus Christ is the Advocate and Propitiation for sinful men. Our identity is that we are sinful people who have a sufficient Savior.
You Can Be 100% Sure That You Have Eternal Life (1 John 2:3)
There were some things that had happened in the life of the Christians that caused them to lack assurance as to whether they had the truth—whether they had eternal life. John assures them that what is being written is so they might know that they actually know the Lord. What is the evidence that you know the Lord? It is obedience to his commandments. You will have to test whether you have eternal life or not based on your present obedience to the Lord’s commandments—commandments both of heart and of life; commandments towards God and towards your fellow brethren. Therefore, we must be committed to the scriptures wherein we learn his commandments.
The Bible Tells Us the Truth About Eternal Life, Even If How We Feel May Be Different (1 John 2:4)
We often tell ourselves lies, so we need God’s word to help us see the lies we tell ourselves and to help us see if others are lying about themselves. We must believe what the scripture says about us over what we say about us. There are some professing Christians whose hearts are so bitter and cold, full of hatred and unforgiveness; this ongoing pattern is disobedient to the commandments of God and shows that they do NOT have eternal life (James 1:26). There are some Christians who feel tremendously insecure wondering if they have eternal life, but their life shows an increasing pattern of obedience to the Lord—their desires for him, love for the brethren, giving of themselves for the body—these patterns prove that they do have eternal life (James 1:22-25). The source for your confidence must not be you. Scripture is the true reflection.
The source for your confidence must not be you. Scripture is the true reflection.
The Lord Gives You the Love to Lovingly Obey Him (1 John 2:5)
It is not mere obedience that proves you have eternal life; it is loving obedience that proves you have eternal life. A true believer both loves and obeys God because God has made this possible through the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ. You should decide whether you will trust in the effectual working of God or in yourself. Trusting in yourself to live the Christian life is pride. Trusting in the Lord for the strength to obey requires a God-given humility, which means that we should be more committed to seeking the Lord through prayer.
You Should Obey Like Jesus Obeyed the Father (1 John 2:6)
In the Christian life, we often get our eyes on everyone else and off of our Leader, Jesus Christ. We are so concerned with the disobedience of other people that we forget we are to walk as Jesus Christ walked. Read the words of Jesus in John 4:34, 6:38, and 17:4. Read about the obedience of Jesus in Hebrews 5:8. Intentional study of the life and ministry of Jesus should be a part of our life.
When someone receives eternal life, they repent of sin and believe on Jesus as Lord. Jesus becomes their Master, and their lives should increasingly look like their Master’s. Who is the Lord of your life? Your Christian life should not be characterized by defiance or rebellion but by submission. We need to be people who are learning obedience from Jesus. The evidence of obedience proves your identity. You and I don’t create truth because of our identity.
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