Yesterday, reading John’s gospel, I was reminded that, while there are many things I don’t know when it comes to the things of God, one thing I do know is that while I was once blind now I see. But reading in John’s first epistle this morning the question posed is, “Yeah, but how do you know you see?”
If blind from birth, then how do you even know what seeing is? You could still be blind yet have someone tell you that everyone walks in darkness, that’s what seeing is. Or, you could hit your head, rattle the optic nerve or the part of the brain that processes the optic nerve, and start perceiving shades of gray, shimmers of light, and movement of shadows. Would that be seeing? A seemingly authoritative voice might try to convince you so. So how do you know you know you once were blind but now you see? Here’s John’s simple litmus test:
And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. Whoever says “I know Him” but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in Him, but whoever keeps His word, in Him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.
(1John 2:3-6 ESV)
Not to be overly simplistic, not to deny that figuring out the Christian walk can be messy, not saying that the process of sanctification isn’t nuanced at times, but when it comes to knowing that our spiritual blindness has really given way to true spiritual sight, obedience seems to be a pretty good indicator.
Not talking perfection, John’s dealt with that — “if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (2:1b). But we are talking visible practice. We are talking verifiable persistence. We are talking about evidence of the love of God perfected in those who keep His word.
. . . we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments . . .
Obedience, not that we should boast in our righteousness, but that we would marvel in the outward manifestation of having been clothed in His righteousness (Php. 3:9). Walking as Jesus walked — not to brag how much we are like Jesus, but to be amazed at the tangible reality that we really have been crucified with Christ and that “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so. I now love Him this I know for my obedience tells me so.
Again, not talking perfection. More trip ups, slip ups, and mess ups than I care to admit — though, praise God, all of which I can confess and be cleansed of because of the cross (1Jn. 1:8-9). But, if I’m picking up what John’s laying down, a heartfelt desire to follow Jesus and a holy determination to walk like Jesus are pretty good indicators that I am no longer blind but really have seen Jesus.
That’s another thing I can know.
Only by His grace. Only for His glory.