I’m a liar, and so are you.
In his first letter to believers, the apostle John wrote: “If someone claims, ‘I know God,’ but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth” (1 John 2:4).
That’s quite a tough pill to swallow — at least it is for me. But it’s a pretty simple concept, really, even if it’s not all that easy to live out.
I spent some time the other day talking with author Nik Ripken, who has spent years working with persecuted Christians around the world. He pointed out our propensity to place the burden of sacrifice entirely on Jesus’ shoulders. After all, it was Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that bought our salvation.
Jesus’ death and resurrection is enough for our salvation, but Ripken is right that the story doesn’t end there. The apostle Paul, in his letter to believers in Galatia, said those who put their faith in Jesus must also set aside their own wishes and work, however imperfectly, at living more like Christ.
Isn’t that what we do in any healthy relationship? We learn what’s important to the other person — what matters to them, how they communicate, what hurts them, and what builds them up — and reflect it in our actions and words. That’s how we honor other people: by valuing what they value.
If someone told me they loved their spouse, but there wasn’t enough evidence for me to figure that out without that person telling me, I’d have a hard time believing it. The same is true of our relationships with God.
Since we can’t have face-to-face conversations with God, we have to rely on Scripture. The Bible gives us a glimpse into the heart and character of God. So we can assume if it’s commanded in Scripture, it’s probably pretty important — and for our ultimate good.
We honor God much like we would honor our parents, siblings, friends, and spouses. We honor him by valuing what he values.
John went on to write in the following verses: “Those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”
I’m a liar, and so are you. But because of the cross, we don’t have to stay that way.