Finding Encouragement in God’s Word by Gary Chaffins

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

At first glance it may not seem as if there is anything here that seems to have the WOW factor that passages like Romans 8:28 carry.  However, upon a deeper examination of the text I think there is great comfort for those who love God, those who desire to be conformed to the image of Christ, those who find their sin to be exceedingly sinful, the brother or sister in Christ who loves God’s Word and whose heart bears witness with the Psalmist when he said “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” (Psalm 119:25).

We immediately notice this text is warning us that those who claim “I know Him” but do not walk in line with His commandments, that is the teachings that are in sync with His Word (as seen in v. 5), are liars.  They demonstrate that they are false by not attending carefully to the truth of the Word.  This ignorance of doctrine, this failure to hold fast to the Word makes it apparent that the Spirit is not leading them into truth and that they are liars.  Their profession is nothing more than words with no life to follow.  However, to the one who says “I know Him”, the one who “keeps” His Word….you are not a liar!

 I want to be sure that we don’t skim over and miss some very important words found in this text “whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected” (v. 5).  Did you catch that? If someone is consistent in their daily intake and application of Bible doctrine, something amazing is happening behind the scenes. The love of God is being perfected in them.  We should not take this to mean that God’s love becomes greater towards us as we keep His Word; but we should take it to mean that God’s love manifests itself in greater measure as we dive into the riches of His Word. His love is completed in us or as one commentator stated “In the Christian who maintains God’s truth, God’s love has truly come to fruition” in our lives.

The outworking of this truth is very evident; both objectively and subjectively. That is to say that the proof is in the pudding! As God’s love is perfected in us, we can know that we are of Him, because of how His love works itself out in our lives. In other words, as we experience the riches in Christ as revealed in the pages of scripture, the more we will seek a more intimate relationship with Him and the more we will desire to live like Him. This divine love that we experience through keeping His Word becomes the source of love from the believer to God and to others.  This is a continuous process of growth and is vital to our understanding of the role scripture plays in regards to our sanctification.

As we take in God’s word, His love is perfected in us and through us; that is the proof that we are not liars and that the truth is in us.  The true believer loves the word, guards the word and responds to the word like Jeremiah when he said “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16).  As a result, you will continue on in a pattern of diligent study as the Spirit illuminates and applies His word to your heart and life. The effect of this is that you will desire to walk in a lifestyle of obedience as you are being conformed to the image of Christ.

So you may ask: where is this Romans 8:28 kind of impact? What’s the WOW factor? Please consider this, regardless of your circumstances, regardless of how you feel, regardless of what others around you say and do; the believer can go to God’s word to find food for their soul.  As we listen to God’s voice as found in the pages of scripture, we are also taking in and experiencing His love, which causes us to “walk as He walked” (v. 6) and “By this we may know that we are in Him” (vs. 5). This should be the only WOW factor that the child of God desires!

Please consider the following words from the song “My Hope” written by Pastor John MacArthur:

 “Oh to be like Thee dear Jesus my plea
Just to know Thou art formed fully in me
On with Thy beauty, Lord off with my sin
Fixed on Thy glory, Thy likeness to win

Oh to be like Thee, Thine image display
This is the Spirit’s work, day after day
Glory to glory, transformed by His grace
Till in Thy presence I stand face to face

To be like Thee Jesus
To be like Thee Jesus
For this I live, to the day I’ll die
It is my hope, my prayer, my cry

Oh to be like Thee, Thou lover of men
Gracious and gentle, compassionate friend
Merciful Savior, such kindness and care
Are only mine when Thy likeness I share”

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” (Psalm 28:7)

Gary Chaffins, is co-pastor at The Grace Community Church at Bigelow in Portsmouth, Ohio. He has 1 beautiful wife, 2 rotten kids, a big-white dog, and carries a large NASB.

2 Responses to “Finding Encouragement in God’s Word by Gary Chaffins”
  1. Chreryl Arn says:

    Thank you Pastor Gary for this wonderful word of Scripture. I do see the “wow” in this Scripture.

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