“But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame.”1 John 2:27-28 NLT
One of the most often used excuses of the foolish Christian is, “I didn’t know.” For the young church, this was a convenient way to shirk responsibility away from its consequences. They could easily say that they didn’t follow Christ’s teachings because they didn’t know. But John makes a claim otherwise. He notes that the commands are obvious and therefore binding because of the Holy Spirit’s active presence in a believer’s life. Beyond this, the excuse of ignorance was a dangerous and favorite exploit of the proto-gnostic teachers. They would argue that Gnosis, or knowledge needed a special and individual revelation from master to apprentice. This would forward a caste system of maturity that would effectively remove personal responsibility to follow God as well as group accountability. It would cause divisions. John’s admonishment is to reject this type of special but impotent revelation as ultimately a lie against Christ and the Holy Spirit. Christian love has no excuses in the body of Christ. Responsibility does not exist behind a paywall and knowledge of right and wrong is without excuse.
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