“But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” 1 John 2:5-6
For three and a half years the disciples had followed Jesus. They’d listen to him teach about the law of God and the kingdom of heaven. They’d watched as he healed all kinds of conditions, even death. They witnessed him take control over the elements and other parts of the natural world. And then after a night of praying they watched his lifeless body as it was laid in a grave. And after three days the impossible happened. He appeared in the middle of a room, alive and whole, except for the nail scars in his hands and feet, and the scar from the soldier’s spear in his side. So once again they listened as he taught, and watched as he worked until that day when they watched him as he was taken up into heaven.
What was it all for?
I submit to you that the three and a half years of following, and working, and being with Jesus were to teach the disciples what it means to have a relationship with God. Some of the things they understood and some of the things they only heard or saw and would come to understand later. The forty days of seeing, and hearing, and being with Jesus were to bring home to their hearts the fact that their relationship with Jesus wasn’t over. While they would no longer see him, face to face, they would still work with him, they would still be taught by him, and they would still be able to watch as he performed mighty miracles in the world all around them.
Friends, everything we’re going to consider as we work our way through John’s letter is about what it means to have a relationship with God. What having that relationship does for you and how it changes you. If you don’t have a relationship you can’t experience, or even understand, these things. And if you don’t experience these things it’s evidence that you don’t have a relationship with God.
There’s a saying, regarding the combining of ingredients in cooking, that applies particularly when the cook is not following an established recipe, “The proof is in the pudding.” It basically means that you know if the cook followed the rules of good cookery if what they’re cooking turns out right.
In our focus text, the apostle is telling us that we can tell if we have a relationship with God by whether or not our lives are characterized by obedience to the teachings of God in his word, by how similar our lives are to the life of Jesus. The proof is in the pudding. A life that demonstrates obedience to the life and teachings of Jesus demonstrates that that life is being lived connected with Jesus.