The famous line says “Do as I say, not as I do!”. This is the hypocrite’s motto. Unfortunately too many people live by this standard. They speak one way but act another. I admit that nobody can line up 100% with what they speak (since most of us speak to our best but we’re not always our best). I’m not referring to those whose actions are slightly off from their speech, but those whose actions are literally 180 degrees from their words.
It is this group of people that John was referring to when he said, “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.” (1 John 2:4-6)
John likewise is not expecting that every believer reaches perfection in all commands (for that is impossible). He is however saying that anyone who claims to know Christ would work to keep His commands, making every effort to walk in the same way that Christ walked. James stated quite the same when he said, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (Jam 2:17) Read the full passage here. They are both stating that an outward proclamation of faith is not what saves us, but only by a transformation of the heart, can we be changed.
This is why Paul says that there are TWO things required for salvation; one is a public proclamation and the other is in the heart. “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
(Rom 10:9) The public proclamation is a way to continue the spread of the gospel so that people know WHY you were changed. But the real change comes from the heart. A complete surrender of your heart to the Holy Spirit. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20)
Neither James, John nor Paul thought these things up on their own. They simply put into their own words (guided by the Spirit), what Christ had already said. “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.” (Matt 7:16-17) Not their words, but their fruit.
In this age of sound bites, memes and social media… it’s easy to get caught up in the nice sounding rhetoric of someone who says all the right things. But we should never judge someone by their words. We need to be a fruit inspector. We need to hold up their fruit as a mirror to their words to evaluate if we should value the words at all. After all, Paul did not say, follow me because I and such a good speaker. He said, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1)
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.