Obedience is nonnegotiable in the Christian life. The reality of salvation by grace alone does not negate the necessity of obedience, as John (and Paul) makes abundantly clear. The order is what is crucial. John does not say, “Obey in order to be forgiven.” Rather, he says repeatedly that anyone who is truly in Christ will obey him. John’s concern is for his readers to recognize the telltale signs of one who knows God. If someone shows no concern to submit to God’s commands, even— indeed especially—when these commands cut across our cultural ideas or our comfort, we must question the spiritual state of that person.