We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.1 John 5:9, 21
… Little Children, keep yourselves from idols
“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit” (1 Jn 4:13, emphasis mine throughout) “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life” (1 Jn 5:19-20).
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3)
Our Lord and God has given us the Holy Spirit so that we might KNOW Him. And what is it to know God? It is to know both the Father and the Son. And what does the Spirit do? He creates fellowship with the Father, Son, and us, for “… indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn 1:3b).
Our Father’s greatest desire is that we might KNOW Him. What is it that glorifies God most? I would say it is to “walk” with Him. If we walk with God, we are in fellowship with Him, naturally. So, the Spirit has come and given us understanding of the Father and the Son. But this is not head knowledge only, this is experiential. In the Old Testament to “walk” with God was to be a part of His “divine council” around the throne room of God, like a Prophet, one who stood in God’s “council.”
For a moment let’s think of the “Temple of God” in the Old Testament. Who could go in that Temple, into the “Most Holy Place” where God’s presence dwelt? It was only the High Priest right, and only once a year, and only after much purification! And NOTHING unclean or “unholy” was allowed in the Temple, ever! After all, God is HOLY. So tell me, now, after the “New Covenant” through the blood of the Lamb, is it any different? YES, of course, it is different!!! We no longer have to be of a certain “tribe,” wear certain “ceremonially” clean clothes, or have to perform some ritual to get to God! But does this mean we are to treat the presence of God as a “common unholy thing”? NEVER! Our God is still HOLY, HOLY, HOLY (Isa. 6). So how are we to approach Him then? We are to approach Him as “HOLY Vessels.”
It is certainly true that the blood of the Lamb has purified us of sin, and we now are “free to approach the throne room of God” by faith. And yet, our “God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:29). So back to the point from the beginning, that of KNOWING we are from God, and of KNOWING God. So then, if we know we are from God and if we know His greatest desire is that we know Him, then if we know these two truths, we will not only know we are free to approach His throne room whenever we want … but we will also naturally desire to walk in HOLINESS since THAT IS THE NATURE OF THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT! And since “we are FROM God that is also our nature.”
Now, since we are from God, bearing His very nature, would it not be our “nature” then to “present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual worship … [and wouldn’t we, therefore, desire to] … not be conformed to this world, but [to] be transformed by the renewal of [our] mind,”? (Rom 12:1b-2a). For if we truly believe we are “born from above/heaven” then wouldn’t our nature live as though we are born from God? And wouldn’t it be our nature to desire to renew our minds in the truth of that nature so that we are aligned with God’s thoughts? You would think. So what’s our problem? Well, the real problem we have going on looks something like this: We are disconnected from what is real. We are disconnected from reality. In otherwords, we struggle with the truth of our … IDENTITY. I come up against this problem every single day, don’t you? We know we are “Christ”-ians; We know we are “born again,” and we even know we have the “HOLY” Spirit living in these Vessels. SO THEN WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO LIVE ACCORDING TO REALITY? Here might be a couple of reasons: 1) We really don’t believe it. Or 2) We don’t practice it enough to make it our reality.
Have you ever wondered why John ends his book “1 John” with these very words, which appear out of place, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols”? I want to argue that the theme of the book is centered around “knowing” the Father and the Son, and that we know them through fellowship with the Spirit who dwells inside us. And this is at the heart of our “identity” as children of God. And since we have fellowship with God why in the world would we ever allow something like an idol to profane God’s “Temple,” which is US! God will never compete with an idol! An idol would never be allowed in the Temple of God in the Old Testament! So why in the world would we ever allow an idol to set up home in our hearts, in these temples? For Our God “is a jealous God”! Since we walk with God, in His throne room, and His throne room would never have an idol in it, therefore let us cleanse our hearts from all that would profane these temples, for Paul says, “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, … and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Cor 6:16 – 7:1).
So then, whether the problem is one of unbelief (we say we believe it but do not live like it) or if we believe it but do not habitually practice it, the solution is the same. We begin by acknowledging where we have gone wrong, then we ask God for help to believe what is true about our identity in Christ as beloved children of God, and then we ask for wisdom and insight to grasp that reality as we pray and read His Word today, tomorrow, the next day, until it plants this truth deep within our being so that we respond to life according to our identity “in” Christ. Now ask yourself, according to your daily life, activities, the thoughts you entertain, how you spend your free time, etc do you KNOW you are from God?