This month's Series looks at I John verse by verse. (Here is the link to the beginning of the Series: I John Introduction.)
Yesterday's post summarized I John 3:18. Here is the summary:
John has added more to his definition of love. So far we know:
LOVE is a QUANTITATIVE ACTION that SPECIFICALLY involves GIVING.
LOVE is Profitable.
LOVE is a Right WHAT (giving) with a Right HOW/WHY. However, John has not explained the Right HOW/WHY yet.
Today, we will look at a section that some Calvinists twist to justify predestination...
I JOHN 3:19-22
"19 Hereby shall we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before him:
20 because if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things."
WHAT THIS SENTENCE DOES NOT MEAN:
Some Calvinists use this sentence to say that since God knows all things, He must know SPECIFICALLY EVERYTHING that will happen in the future...and if He knows SPECIFICALLY EVERYTHING that will happen in the future then it has already happened. If God didn't know SPECIFICALLY EVERYTHING that will happen in the future, then He wouldn't know all things.
Actually, God knowing ALL THINGS means God knows all things that exist. The reason God would know the future AT ALL is God knows the current Causes that will DEFINITELY result in SPECIFIC Effects in the future. If you want more explanation, check out the following links:
To say that God knows the future is to call God a liar when it comes to several passages in the Bible including:
"30 For the children of Judah have done that which is evil in my sight, saith Jehovah: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to defile it.
31 And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded not, neither came it into my mind." (Jeremiah 7:30-31)
These people did something that did NOT come into God's Mind! How would a Calvinist rationalize this relative to God "knowing all things"?
"1 And the word of Jehovah came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of Jehovah. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city, of three days' journey.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." (Jonah 3:1-4)
Nineveh was NOT overthrown. We saw in the post on Prophets how God operates relative to the future and HOW we can PROVE who is a prophet and WHO is not.
"1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith Jehovah, Set thy house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.
2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto Jehovah, saying,
3 Remember now, O Jehovah, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
4 And it came to pass, before Isaiah was gone out into the middle part of the city, that the word of Jehovah came to him, saying,
5 Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the prince of my people, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee; on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of Jehovah.
6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake." (II Kings 20:1-6)
We have seen HOW the ONLY conclusion someone can make from this passage is that either the future hasn't happened yet or God is a liar. Even if He wanted to get Hezekiah to pray and extend his own life, the Calvinist has to say that God lied in order to make this happen. This is DANGEROUS.
God knowing ALL THINGS cannot mean God knows SPECIFICALLY EVERYTHING that will happen in the future to the exclusion of our free will. This belief is NOT supported by the Bible.
WHAT THIS SENTENCE MEANS:
John is again telling us HOW we can KNOW THAT...we are of the truth. John isn't ONLY interested in KNOWING the truth. His purpose in writing this letter is for us to KNOW THAT we know.
John is ALSO saying that KNOWING THAT we are of the truth would result in being assured in our heart when we are before Him. Remember, I John 2 ended with John stating And now, my little children, abide in him; that, if he shall be manifested, we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. John is again coming to the end of a Feedback Loop with the perspective of HOW we OUGHT to be before Jesus. KNOWING THAT we are of the truth will assure us before Him.
These two verses (one sentence) are stated to set up the REASON WHY we KNOW THAT we are of the truth: our heart does NOT condemn us.
Remember the difference between "conviction and condemnation"? Conviction deals with the action. Condemnation with the person. Conviction ought to cause us to confess and repent...to grow...to take more direction from the Holy Spirit. Condemnation is judgment that is based on deception.
As we saw with the Spiritual Warfare Series, the only way we would condemn ourselves is if we agree with the deception from the enemy...if we are taking direction from the devil and therefore are NOT of the truth.
Said another way: we KNOW FOR SURE we are NOT of the truth if our heart condemns us. John states that SINCE God knows all things, if we KNOW THAT our heart condemns us, then God also knows we are NOT of the truth and we shouldn't be bold before God. In fact, the rest of this passage PROVES this interpretation:
"21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have boldness toward God;
22 and whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight."
John states if our heart does NOT condemn us, then God will NOT condemn us and we can be bold before God. In fact, John goes further: we can receive of Him whatsoever we ask...WHY?
Because WE keep His commandments and WE do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
Remember, John has shown that those who are walking in the light do so by CHOOSING to be guided into all truth by His Spirit which would result in keeping His commandments...one of which was to LOVE others. So, John can state FOR SURE that we would receive WHATSOEVER we ask BECAUSE we would ONLY ask ACCORDING TO HIS SPIRIT!
Notice, the REASON WHY is up to us!
It is OUR fault if we don't have boldness towards God because WE would CHOOSE not to be guided by His Spirit. Believing in predestination actually makes EVERYTHING God's fault and justifies us...which is The Original Sin!
This is a classic Calvinist tactic...take one verse, make it mean what you want it to mean, ignore the foundation the verse is built on, ignore the verses immediately following the verse that was manipulated!
Whenever a Calvinist supports their claims with a verse, read the chapter from which they cited the verse. Usually, all you have to read is the verses immediately before and immediately after to realize the are misinterpreting the Word of God.
John is beginning to bring this Feedback Loop to a conclusion.
John referenced being bold before Him as the conclusion for HOW we can KNOW THAT we are of the truth.
Previously, John was beginning his explanation for love and told us to love in DEED and TRUTH. Today's post showed us HOW we can KNOW THAT we are of the truth...which would allow us to KNOW THAT we are TRULY LOVING.
Tomorrow, we will see HOW John concludes this Feedback Loop which added LOVE and doing His commandments to the foundation of abiding in Him through His Spirit.