My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. (1 John 2:1-7)
Christianity is about a man. It is about the Man, Christ Jesus who was born, suffered and died for our sins and the sins of the world that we might be at peace with God, no longer enemies, but sons and daughters even as Christ is His Son. This is the gospel. This is the truth. But this Gospel, this truth isn't simply an idea that should mold and shape our thoughts, change our hearts and effect our behavior. It isn't simply something that points us in the direction of the best way to live life and be happy. It is about a Man. Any obedience, any change, any peace begins with a Man, is because of the promise of a Man, through the strength of a Man and for the sake of the Name of this man, Jesus.
...And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. Whoever says "I know Him" but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him...
Christianity is about a Man. It is about knowing the Man, Christ Jesus. Knowing Him changes us and produces obedience to His commandments. Keeping His commandments teaches us more about Him and His character. Walking in habitual faithfulness allows us to know and love Him more. There is no knowing without obedience and there is no obedience without knowing.
... I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)
There are many wonderful teachings out there on "living the life"...some very practical applications of biblical truth. But without purposing to do as Paul did and "know Christ and Him crucified" first and even to the exclusion of other things, if necessary we've simply subscribed to a set of rules and regulations...our faith is in a system, not in the Man who died to save us, who lives to interceed for us, who is our advocate with the Father and who loves us freely.
Oh, may we have fresh vision for knowing Him. May the Lord give us a clear revelation of our level of pursuit to know Christ and increase our desire for Him. May He bring us to a place where we feel we know Him far better than a doctrine or teaching or application. May He then take our theology and understanding and application and make them about knowing Christ, about becoming like Him, and about proclaiming His glory. Lord, make our faith and practice less and less about us and more and more about Your Son!