[1 John 3:23-24] “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
This is the 35th session in the Lectures on 1 John. In the previous verse, verse 22, it says that we can receive anything we ask of God if we keep His commandments. How blessed a life it would be if we could receive anything we asked! The apostle John is teaching the believers to lead such a life. It is that God answers anything we ask only if we keep His commandments. The following verse 23 elaborates on the previous verses. It says, “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” It says to keep the commandments of God is to believe in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. To believe in the name of Jesus Christ, we first have to know about Jesus Christ. We should know who Jesus Christ is and why He is our only Savior, and we should understand the principle in receiving salvation when we believe in Him. Who is Jesus Christ? He is the Son of the Creator God, and He is the one who created all things with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Son of the Most High God came down to this earth and into a human body about 2,000 years ago, and dwelt among men. He preached the love of God and the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. He healed many diseases and sicknesses and drove out demons. He was crucified when the time came, but He resurrected on the third day, and He ascended into Heaven in the view of many people. He is now sitting on the right hand of God’s throne. In the future, when human cultivation is over, He will come again to take those who believe in Him. You believe in the name of this Lord. Brothers and sisters, the reason why Jesus came to this earth in the form of a human body and died on the cross is for the forgiveness of the sins of all mankind and to save them. It was to fulfill the Law with love. What does it mean by saying that Jesus fulfilled the Law with love? Since the fall of the first man Adam, all mankind became servants of the enemy devil and Satan, and they were destined to fall into Hell. According to the law of the spiritual realm that says the wages of sin is death, all had to receive the punishment of death in eternal Hell. But the God of love knew Adam would sin, and He opened a way for the fallen mankind to live in the light. It was that God gave the Law and statutes including the Ten Commandments through a man of God, Moses. When people violated the Law, they had to give the sacrifice for atonement by shedding the blood of an animal. But as said in Romans 3:20, “…because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin,” it was difficult for people to keep the Law completely. Even if they gave atoning sacrifice with repentance, later they would repeatedly commit the same sin. It’s because they did not cast away the sinful nature from their hearts. So, when they committed sins again, they had to give the atoning sacrifice again. God sent Jesus to this earth to replace those repeated sacrifices through Him once and for all time. Jesus, the spotless and sinless Lamb of God, became the sacrifice to forgive all sins through His blood. Because Jesus took the cross with love, now those who believe in this fact were set free from the curse of the Law. They can be forgiven of all their past, present, and future sins. But just knowing this fact does not mean we actually believe it. We must have the deeds that follow our belief. Some people say they do not have to keep the Law any more because Jesus fulfilled the Law with love. Their misunderstanding is that they think ‘salvation through faith’ and ‘keeping the commandments’ are antonyms. But Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Jesus also kept all the Law, and He became the atoning sacrifice according to the Law. If we believe that the Lord redeemed us from our sins, then we can also keep the Law. If we acknowledge the fact that we are sinners and accept Jesus Christ from the heart, God gives us the Holy Spirit. Once we receive the Holy Spirit, we come to love God and we want to keep the Law. Matthew 7:21 says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” John 14:15 says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” James 2:26 says, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” In other epistles are written that those who commit the works of the flesh cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. We must remember that we can be saved only when we believe in the name of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we have to keep in mind that there will be the deeds of keeping the Law if our faith is true faith.