Lesson Six – Truth Christians know

Truth Christians Know

Introduction

Before we enter into this study we will need to carefully review item three in the Introduction of Part III.  Please give careful attention to the two Greek words translated “know” in this item.  There is a subtle but vast difference in their meaning.  The implications of the words translated “know” are the key for our knowing and applying the intent of this letter.  According to “The Expanded Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,” the Greek oida, translated “know,” implies the fullness of knowledge – what we already know.  Ginosko, the other Greek word translated “know suggests inception or progression in the attaining of knowledge.  It also implies a relationship between what is known and the one who knows.

Jesus used both Greek words in the following sentence.  “Though you do not know (eginoskate) Him, I know (oida) Him.”  John 8:55.  He told His trainee apostles He knew His Father’s will for mankind (John 4:34, 35).  Jesus Christ knew what God thought, felt and the way He behaved (John 5:19-21; 6:39, 40; 8:19).  In this context, “know” (oida) had reference to the value system from which Jesus viewed situations He encountered.  It was how He perceived and interacted with people (John 2:25).  The way Jesus used oida and ginosko in the foregoing scripture can help us know (ginosko) how John used these words in several different contexts in his letter.

As the term is commonly used today, God’s will was Jesus’ “world view.”  Jesus perceived situations, made judgments, taught the kingdom of God and behaved righteously from His desire to completely do His Father’s will.  Paul said, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 2:5.  This is the context for understanding the common use of the word “paradigm.”  Jesus’ paradigm, the way He perceived people and situations, was formed by His love for and commitment to God’s kingdom.  This is understood in how He taught us to pray: “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Matt. 6:10.

Each individual has a way we interpret situations in our daily lives.  We possess a “world view,” whether we recognize it or not.  In addition to striving to adopt the same attitude of Jesus Christ, Christians are developing two lists from God’s word in our memories.  Our faith is “these lists are the truth about what is good and evil” in what is called reality (Rom. 14:23; Jas. 4:17).  This is our value systems from which our paradigms are formed – the way we perceive and interpret situations we encounter.  Jesus’ disciples were not able to see people and situations according to God’s will during their schooling period.  See Luke 9:51-56; 18:15-17.  They were still learning to know (ginosko) God.  This is what Christians’ sanctification is all about – “knowing God.”  John 17:3.

Jesus said, “If you really knew (eginoskete) Me, you would know (eginoskete) My Father as well.  From now on, you do know (eginoskete) Him and have seen Him.”  John 14:7.  In this scripture Jesus told His “trainee apostles,” from now on, you will possess the same paradigm I have of people.  You will see the needs of people as God sees them (John 6:44; 7:16-18).  If Jesus had said, “You do fully know Me,” He would have used the Greek word, oida.  Jesus’ disciples were learning to know (ginosko) Him better as a person in order to know (oida) God (John 12:44; 14:9).  Christians are now Jesus’ disciples; therefore, our goal is to know God (Luke 10:23).

We need to have a clear understanding of the two Greek words, oida and ginosko, to properly read and thereby, understand the word of God in John’s letter.   For instance, John captured the foregoing thoughts in I John 5:20:  “We know (oida) also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding (dianoia means deep thought or disposition – the exercise of one’s mind, understanding and imagination) so that we may know (ginoskomen) Him who is true.”

We need to know (ginosko) the way each of the scriptures listed in item three in the Introduction of Part III has been used in the context of John’s first letter.  The aim of this lesson is to make sure each of us, as Christians, already know (oida) the theologies and ethics the recipients knew.  We must know what John assumed the recipients knew in order to properly understand I and II John.  He said, “I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know (oidate) it and because no lie comes from the truth.”  2:21.  In the next lesson, we will study the scriptures in item three where “know” has been translated from the Greek work, “ginosko.”

Lesson 

And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming.  If you know (Greek, eidate) that He is righteous, you know (Gr. ginoskete) that everyone who does what is right has been born of Him.                                                         I John 2:28, 29

With this declaration, the Apostle John turned his attention from exposing the flaws in the antichrist doctrine to the task of his first epistle.   The spiritual breadth and depth of this scripture is inclusive of Christians’ new birth and identity; our doing what is right in Him while confidently waiting for Jesus’ appearing; plus a manifestation by Jesus of God’s righteousness, by which we can identify children of God.  The brethren had been taught these spiritual concepts; however, they had lost some of their confidence because of the antichrist.  A paraphrase of this scripture may read like this:  If the “dear children” had possessed a proper understanding (eidate) of God’s righteousness, as it was revealed in the manner Jesus walked, they would have been in a position to know (ginoskete) who had been born of God.  In other words, they would have been able to identify the difference between those who “went out” and those who John called “dear children” of God (I John 2:19).  The original and present purpose of John’s letter is so Christians know (oida) we are in fellowship with God.  John said, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know (oida) you have eternal life.”  I John 5:13.  This being the case, the original recipients would have known the antichrists were not “walking in the light.” 

There are certain fundamental doctrines Christians must know (oida) to form proper ways for viewing and making righteous judgment in our life encounters.  One fundamental theology is this: “But you know (oida) that He appeared so that He might take away our sins.”  3:5.  Christians make it our practice to do right; that is, we obey the faith we have in God’s righteousness that was revealed by Jesus’ walk (I John 2:6; Rom. 1:5, 16, 17).  Simultaneously, we have faith in Jesus Christ’s Priesthood; therefore, Christians are being counted righteous as Jesus is righteous (I John 2:1, 2; 3:4-7).  See Part III, Lesson Three.

God’s gift of righteousness allows other graces to reign over our lives “in Christ.”  See Rom. 5:21; I John 1:7.  We know we are born again because we practice righteousness; in other words, Christians’ habits are the mirrors of our faith (Jas 1:22-25; Rom. 6:13).  We do not make sin our practice; however, if we sin we have an advocate, “who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ.”  I John 2:1.  “All wrong doing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.”  I John 5:17.  Therefore, faithful Christians have peace with God (Rom. 5:1).  Through our paradigms formed from having peace with God, we view and “work on” our weaknesses with guilt free consciences (Heb. 10:1-7).  Because we are able to examine ourselves with clean consciences, we are willing to confess sins and thereby, we unveil our deeper character problems.  See my book entitled, Sermon on the Mount, Part IV, Lesson Four, “The Antidote for Fear.” The book is posted on my website in English and Telugu; www.whydidgodcreateyou.com

Another fundamental element that is an absolute necessity for a healthy spiritual value system is our identity – who we are.  Along with this, we need to see the end of our life at the beginning of our new birth (I Pet. 1:3-5).  Every Christian needs a spiritual paradigm of our “self” exiting our physical bodies (Jas. 2:26).  John presented the theologies Christians must know (oida):

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know (oida) that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.  I John 3:2, 3

The innate needs God created in the spirits of all people demand we have the identification as “sons of God.”  See Rom. 8:16, 17; Phil. 2:14-16.  We must have this identification because it is the one and only reason for our being created (Isa. 43:6, 7; Heb. 2:10).  Sonship gives us hope for the satisfaction of our needs for achievement and glory.  God planted in each human being a strong security need; therefore, Christians have an “open door of faith” that lets us see ourselves as children of God with our inheritance of life in God’s kingdom in our resurrected body like Jesus now possesses.  See Acts 14:27; I Pet. 1:10, 11; Rev. 21:7.  The odds for our survival of physical death are not good because, “one out of one dies” – unless Jesus comes before it happens.  Even then we will need a body like Jesus now enjoys (II Cor. 5:1-5).  We know the personality and character of Jesus.  We do not know the kind of bodies God has for each faithful Christian.

These “what we know” theologies are complex studies every Christian must make in order to properly read the scriptures and enjoy his or her Christian life while growing from glory to glory (II Cor. 3:18).  There is not enough space for a full study of each of these topics in this lesson.  Our purpose for introducing these “elementary teachings” in this lesson is only to understand how John organized the last three chapters of his first letter (Heb. 6:1-3).  He arranged the content around these two Greek words translated “know.”  John’s writings are very simple documents; however, we cannot properly understand them with a simplistic approach to our study.  We must use sound principles of biblical interpretation.  These principles are simple because we use them each time we open a secular letter.

Now let consider two other doctrines we need to know (odia) “deep down” so we can live free of fear.  John introduced both of these items of value for our “selves” in the same thought:

We know (oida) that we have passed out of death to life, because we love our brothers.  Anyone who does not love remains in death.  Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know (oida) that no murderer has eternal life in him.  I John 3:14, 15

Fear and guilt are two great “stumbling blocks” Satan was able to place in the “pathway of life on earth” of human beings.  He was able to do this because we inherited the capability of knowing good and evil through Adam’s trespass (Rom. 5:15-17).  However, Jesus removed the power of death from Satan for God’s family (Heb. 2:9-15).  Death has a root meaning of separation.  Separated from God’s fellowship in Christ is one definition of death.  The more complicated definition of death is that death is a low quality of living, or existence that cannot be called life; howbeit, people in the world do (Rom. 8:6, 7).  Jesus will not know people whose lifestyle is of the world (Matt. 7:23; I John 2:15-17).  This is the death we passed out of when we were “begotten by God.”  The characteristics of our “old man” Christians are putting off is death (Eph. 4:22-24).  Of course, we know (oida) “to hate people” is not an eternal life quality.   All human beings spirit came from God and they were designed in His image (Heb.12:9; Jas. 3:9-12).  We stop hating by starting to accept God’s command to love every one.  We will not be able to live “in neutral.”

In fact, all of our attitudes and character weaknesses that fall short of the mark is sin (Rom. 3:23).  The quality of life Jesus reveled is the mark.  By the grace of God “in Christ,” we have a justified life.  We are sons of God with full rights (Gal. 4:5).  This is our view of ourselves.  We know (oida) we have passed out of death and into life “so we can know (ginosko – learn and grow) and rely on the love God has for us.”  I John 4:16.  The point is, there must be theologies and ethical values embedded in the value system of Christians before we can learn the divine life of Deity.

In his closing remarks, John offered two more “rocks” on which to build a foundation for viewing situations and deciding how to work through them for the glory of God and our own spiritual growth.   We will certainly encounter the “testing of our faith.”  How we see tribulations will make all the difference in how we deal with them.  The Hebrew writer wrote, “Endure hardships as discipline; God is treating you as sons,” and then he asked, “For what son is not disciplined by his father?” Heb. 12:7.  Our faith testing may be painful unless we see the test as a learning exercise.  John began his closing statements by stating his purpose in writing this letter:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know (oida) that you have eternal life.  This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know (oida) that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know (odia) that we have what we asked of Him.  I John 5:13-15

There is an axiom that says: “If something sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.”  Since the Apostle John had been told by Jesus that he would receive information from Him by the Holy Spirit, we believe this scripture is the truth (John 16:12, 13).  Let us follow the Holy Spirit’s line of thought in the Bible so we will have John’s declaration as a solid foundation for our prayer life:

  • We must believe in the name of the Son of God.  This will move us to think about the description of what is life, if we believe He is the law of our individual life (John 1:3, 4).  He is the author of life and our Prince and Savior (Acts 3:15; 5:31).  He is our advocate and atoning sacrifice (I John 2:1, 2).
  • Our proven faith in all of the above is how we know how to respond to life with the full understanding of knowing we are in fellowship with God and we shall always be His child.  We know God (John 17:3).
  • We have a good understanding of the will of God.  When we accepted Jesus as our Lord, we accepted the will of God because Jesus always did and is still doing the will of God.
  • We know how to pray in different situations (Luke 11:1-4; John 17:1-26; I Tim. 2:8).
  • We are confident He hears and understands our prayer (Rom. 8:26, 27).
  • We fully believe He will answer our prayer (Jas. 1:5-8; 5:14-18).
  • We have analyzed our present situation before we asked God for help and told Him what we plan to do with what He will give us after we ask.  Note the three points in Jesus’ asking type prayer in John 17:1.  Jesus knew what was about to happen to Him.  He desired to glorify God so He asked God to glorify Him while hanging on the cross so He would glorify His Father.
  • We can pray for our brother who is caught up in sin, if it is not a sin unto death (I John 5:16).
  • We do not pray for those who are committing sins unto death.

John closed out his letter with several more “we knows (oida).”  They are fundamental to a Christians’ set of faith values.  They form the way we look at life each hour of our lives.  Wow!  It is wonderful to look at the world through the eyes of God, our Father, Jesus our Lord and the Holy Spirit who inspired John to write this letter.

“We know that anyone born of God does not continue in sin.”  5:18

“ We know we are children of God, and the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” 5:19

“We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know (ginoskomen) Him who is true.” 5:20.

The next lessons will continue with the John’s list about what we can know (ginosko) because we know (oida) these fundamental theologies, ethics and practices.  They are Christians’ value system for perceiving what is going on around us and how to respond in righteousness.

Questions for Discussion

1.  How do the two Greek words translated, “know” relate to John’s purpose for writing his first letter?  Explain the difference in the meaning of these two words.  In the processes of “knowing God,” which of the two words represent the first learning process?  (See Jesus’ declarations in the introduction of this lesson).  How do Christians accomplish the first process in order to know God, our Father?  How did John relate the foregoing learning processes to how the recipients could know who were their brethren?

2.  Explain how the doctrine of justification works for Christians.  How does guilt affect relationships with God, others and our own “self?”

3.  How does Christians’ identity as “sons of God” satisfy one or more of our innate needs?  Christians have become children of God by grace.  What is one of the key principles for developing faithful children for men and for God?  List two of Satan’s tools for capturing God’s children.  How did Satan attain these tools?

4.  John told the recipients how they could know they were born of God in the following scriptures.  Please give his answer:  I John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1.

5.  If John could accomplish the aim of his letter so that the “dear children” knew they had eternal life, what was the additional thing they could know?  Please explain the boundaries for this additional thing they could know.

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