Updated: Mar 5, 2022
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked.”
1 JOHN 2: 1-6 (NRSV)
John, having just concluded that Christians should “walk in the light” (ref. 1 Jn. 1:7), continues to develop this thought. John sets forward the expectation that followers of Jesus are no longer to sin, “I write these things to you so that you may not sin.” (ref. 1 Jn. 2:1).
In the Scriptures, the expectation for the follower of Jesus is that we do not continue in sin. However, if a follower of Jesus finds themselves entangled in sin, there is an advocate (Helper; Intercessor) with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. Jesus stands before God the Father on behalf of those who follow after Him. As His followers, we must rely entirely on the faith, mercy, grace, and perfection of Jesus, our Lord, and Savior, not ourselves.
The relationship of knowing Christ is demonstrated in honoring His words. If a Christian claims to know Christ yet does not honor Him in following His words, John says, this person is deceived. A follower of Jesus will demonstrate their love for Him in honoring Him. Jesus Himself made this statement in the gospel of John, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (ref. Jn. 14:15).
We know that we are a follower of Jesus when we walk after Him, following His words, just as He walked.
[Scripture quotations are] from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.