“We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with the Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts”
(1 John 5:18-21, NLT).
The Apostle John highlighted three important “we knows” statements at the end of his letter. First, we know that we can be freed from the power of sin. This doesn’t mean that we never sin but we “do not make a practice of sinning” or habitually sinning anymore. We do not have to be helpless slaves to sin; it does not have to be a constant habit. Even though in reality the devil is dangerously active in this world and his power is great, we are assured that Jesus is more powerful and greater! He is with us and for us, no matter what happens. Jesus holds us “secured,” and that is why “the evil one cannot touch” us!
Second, we know that we draw our very existence from God. God is like our life support system. We receive all that we are and have from God, even though we know that Satan has tremendous power in “the world around us” (for a while). There are many people who are in the influence of the evil one. They have chosen to live their lives apart from God. Know that the Bible only divides the people of the world into two groups: light or darkness. Either a person chooses to live with and for God, or for the powers of evil in this world. There is no third choice. So, with God on our side, there is really no battle too great or disappointment too large that can cause us to be defeated. “We are” – after all – “children of God.”
Third, we know that we believe in the true God. There certainly are many counterfeit gods today. But we know that through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we can “know the true God.” One way we know this is that our God does not make us feel confused, instead, He gives us “understanding.” In other words, being a Christian doesn’t mean that we have to put our minds in neutral and commit intellectual suicide (or blind faith or simpleton faith). Nor do we have to be obsessed with unanswerable issues (complex theological and philosophical arguments). The truth of God and about God requires faith-understanding, and thus it stimulate our thinking so we will know what is fundamentally right (or wrong) and true (or false), especially as we face false teachings and false gods. But notice that we not only know God, we are also “live in” God. It mean we not only have an acquaintance with God but also live in fellowship in Him and He in us. This is a much deeper experience than a mere passing acquaintance might be. “We live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with the Son, Jesus Christ.”
Then John ends his letter with the affectionate phrase: “Dear children…” John’s love reflects God’s love for all of us, His children. This is wonderful! He then challenge us to “keep away from anything that might take God’s place in [our] hearts” (In Greek it translation simply: “Keep yourselves from idols”). In John’s time it mainly refers to physical images of false gods but for today it can also refers to the influences of false faiths around us; in educations, religions, social media, etc. John wants us to avoid counterfeit gods – anything or anyone that claims our values, our time, our relationships, and our hearts from “the only true God.” We must avoid anything that deny Jesus Christ of His full deity and humanity, any human idea that claims to be more authoritative than the Bible, any royalty that replaces God at the centre of our life. Therefore, “Keep yourselves away from idols!” with exclamation mark “!!!”
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.