Some people seem to have the mindset that because they are eternally secure in their salvation, how they live does not matter so much. This is the kind of thinking that John strongly refutes in 1 John 2:4.

Listen to F. W. Farrar practically apply verse 4 in his 1890 sermon on this passage:

“You know God if you are keeping His commandments; if not, you know Him in nowise.” If you be wise you will give heed to these things. Have you an enemy? Then this very day forgive him. Have you wronged, or are you wronging, another? Then this very day make him restitution. Are you slanderer or a systematic depreciator of your brethren? Then cease to speak evil, and fling you unhallowed pen into the fire. Are you in debt? Live on bread and water rather than continue in that dishonesty. Are you idle? Go home and earn your own bread by the sweat of your brow. Are you a swearer? Conquer at all costs that profane and senseless habit. Are you a better or a gambler? Tear up your betting-book, and abandon that brainless and degrading excitement. Are you getting fond of drink? Then loose the grip upon you of that devil’s hand of flame by taking the pledge. Are you living two lives, of which one is a mere self-deceiving hypocrisy? Then tear off your own mask, and in tears before Christ’s throne entreat Him to make you true. Are you stained through and through with impurity? Then come with that leprosy to Him whose answer to the leper’s cry, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean,” came like an echo, “I will, be thou made clean.”[i]

If we were to modernize somewhat Farrar’s application, it might sound something like this:

Keeping God’s commandments is a key piece of evidence in the chain of proof of your love for God. If you’ve got any spiritual smarts about you, you will pay attention. Do you have an enemy? Forgive him today! Have you wronged or are you wronging someone now? Make it right today! Are you a constantly bad-mouthing the brothers in Christ? Then lay off your blog or twitter account and turn your computer and smart phone off for a while. Are you maxed out with credit card debt? Then do some plastic surgery and live on soup and chicken pot pies for a while. Are you lazy? Quit lying around playing video games and look for a job. Do you struggle with cursing or crude language? Remember we have to give an account for every idle word we speak, so clean out your mouth. Do you play the lottery or slink off to the casino? Quit trying to get something for nothing. For you to win, thousands of others have to lose. Are you a social drinker who thinks it’s cool or even necessary to fit in with contemporary culture? Then try abstinence and quit flaunting your Christian liberty. Are you a two-faced hypocrite? Then get right with God and yourself and stop the Jekyll/Hyde charade. Are you sexually immoral? Then quit sleeping around, flee fornication and adultery, and hear the Lord utter to you those precious words: “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Bring all the junk and broken pieces of your life to Jesus. He will forgive you, heal you, restore you, and set you free when you walk in obedience to his will.

[i] Farrar, Truths to Live By, pp. 119, 120.