|Volume 21 Number 10 October 2019||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
The word “know” appears 32 times in 1 John (NKJV). Brock Hartwigsen observed in 1 John “that man can know 23 different things” (19). He enumerated:
We can know Jesus (2:3; 5:20). We can know that we know Jesus (2:3). We can know we are in Jesus (2:5; 5:20). We can know it is the last times (2:18). We can know all things (2:20). We can know the truth (2:21). We can know that Jesus is righteous (2:29). We can know that everyone that does righteousness is born of God (2:29). We can know the when Jesus appears we shall be like him (3:2). We can know that Jesus was manifested to take away sins (3:5). We can know that we have passed from death unto life (3:14). We can know that no murderer has eternal life (3:15). We can know that we are of the truth (3:19). We can know that God dwells in us (3:24; 4:13). We can know who has the Spirit of God (4:2). We can know God (4:6). We can know that we dwell in God (4:13). We can know when we love the children of God (5:2). We can know that we have eternal life (5:13). We can know that God hears us (5:15). We can know that God will answer our prayers (5:15). We can know that we are of God (5:19). We can know that Jesus has come (5:20).
Two different Greek words are translated as “know” in 1 John—ginosko and oida. “The differences between ginosko and oida demand consideration: ginosko frequently suggests inception or progress in ‘knowledge,’ while oida suggests fullness of ‘knowledge’…” (Vine’s). Instead of being a blind leap of faith as ignorantly lunging into unknown darkness, the child of God can know that he knows his Savior—Jesus Christ. “Now by this we know [ginosko] that we know [ginosko] Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3 NKJV). However, Jesus is only one’s Savior if he obeys Him (Hebrews 5:9). “In the NT ginosko frequently indicates a relation between the person ‘knowing’ and the object known” (Vine’s). Hence, Christians know that they know the Savior—Jesus Christ—through their sustained relationship with Him (1 John 1:7), which equates to ongoing obedience to the words of our Lord (John 8:31; 15:10).
Consequently, then, a faithful child of God can know that he knows that he is saved from his sins and that eternal life awaits him, as long as he continues to heed the words of Jesus Christ. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know [oida] that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13). That is, the faithful child of God can have ‘full knowledge’ that his sins are forgiven and that eternal life awaits him. Eternal life is as certain as one’s ongoing belief and obedience. Eternal life remains conditional upon continued obedience, but nevertheless, eternal life remains certain, but conditionally.
Note: Proper belief, believing or faith are equivalent to obeying or obedience. For instance, when Moses disobeyed God, striking the rock when he was told to speak to the rock, God charged him with disbelief (Numbers 20:12). Therefore, to “believe” and to “continue to believe” in 1 John 5:13 involves obedience. Remember, Jesus is “the author of salvation to all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:9).
The denominational doctrine of the “Perseverance of the Saints” or “once saved always saved” is false. That a person cannot know that he is saved and that eternal life awaits him is equally false and ought not to be embraced by any child of God. To say or to think “I hope I’m saved” or something comparable either impeaches God and discredits the Word of God, or it indicts anyone who says or thinks such a thing as being guilty yet of sins. As long as our sins have been forgiven (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38) and are being forgiven (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:7, 9), we have boldness, through Jesus Christ, by which we can approach Almighty God in His throne room (Hebrews 10:19).
Hartwigsen, Brock. “We Can Know.” Firm Foundation Aug. 1996: 19.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. CD-ROM. Nashville: Thomas Nelson P., 1985.
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
September 11 is a very special and memorable day indeed! On that day, 2,977 lives were lost, and countless other lives were forever changed by the events of “9-11” that took place on American soil 18 years ago. September 11, 2001 marked a day that will surely always be remembered. Many are made to reflect where they were on that day. Some can recall what they were doing when the air waves came alive with the horrific news that airplanes were crashing into our most awesome structures. Then and the days following, I vividly remember many desiring to turn back to God. The little congregation of which my wife and I were a part was filled the Sunday following these events. However, shortly after those days, many minds began to forget God once again, just as many had done prior to that day. Tragedy has a way of causing folks to look upward. However, as tragedy gives way to time, many begin to look everywhere but up! As I look back to the awful events of “9-11,” I see the same truths that some have forgotten. As we look back, we should always remember the following.
God is the only control! Especially during times of calamity, we sometimes forget this awesome truth. No matter what happens, it is God Who is still in control of everything! Job, in answering Zophar, clearly stated the truth that in God’s hand “is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10). Jehoshaphat boldly declared the same, “…O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? And rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? And in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?“ (2 Chronicles 20:6). Given the events of “9-11” the wise man’s inspired testimony is refreshing: “There are many devices in a man’s heart: nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand” (Proverbs 19:21). As I look back to that terrible day 18 years ago, I am reminded of the fact that God’s “…kingdom ruleth over all” (Psalm 103:19b), “and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou” (Daniel 4:35). Dear Readers, no matter the tragedy, God is in control!
God is the only compass! During the catastrophe of “9-11,” many folks began to look toward God. One can only imagine the multitude of prayers that were sent to the throne room of Heaven that day. Atheism was no resource, agnosticism gave no direction, and materialism certainly did nothing to help guide America through those devastating days. Even though some soon forgot, God became our compass of what to do and where to go. Jeremiah’s words of old are as fresh as the day they were first penned: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). We obviously need a moral mandate, a directional discipline and a greater guide than ourselves! “Where there is no vision the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18). Mankind may look everywhere to find guidance, but God is the only true compass!
God is the only comfort! Where could all those poor victims’ families find comfort? Where could every American find true and lasting solace? Real, lasting comfort comes from Almighty God! Paul referred to God as the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3b). Every tribulation we face can only be calmed by God (2 Corinthians 1:4). “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, will not we fear, though the earth be removed…” (Psalm 46:1-2a). Isaiah was guided to write of God’s comfort to the troubled people of Judah. “Behold, God is my salvation: I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song: he also is my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2). Outside of God, there is no lasting comfort for life’s difficulties! Even in death and destruction, God is the Comforter. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
September 11, 2001 was and is certainly a memorable day—one that Americans and much of the world will never forget. As we look back, may we learn to lean on the Almighty more and more each day! May we never forget that God is the only control, God is the only true compass, and God is the only true comfort! Please, America, turn back to Him!