1Jn 3:23-24 “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
In verse 22, John speaks about keeping God’s commandments (in the plural). In the 23rd verse he tells us “this is his commandment.” The pronoun “his” refers back to God and John speaks of only one commandment. I believe John is telling us that all God’s commandments are fulfilled when we are blessed to keep the commandment to “believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.” This is in keeping with the answer Jesus gave when the people asked Him what they should do to work the works (in the plural) of God (Joh 6:28). Jesus answered them in the singular: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent (Joh 6:29).”
Doing God’s will is wrapped up in believing on Jesus. Strong’s defines the Greek word translated “on” in this manner: “to or into (indicating the point reached or entered), of place, time, or (figuratively) purpose (result, etc.).” Believing on Jesus is something we come into here (place), now (time), for His glory and our edification (purpose). We do not get here on our own. The scripture says we do not come to Jesus unless the Father draws us (Joh 6:44). When the Father draws us to Jesus we believe on Jesus. Our believing on Jesus is the work of the Father in both the sense that it is by His action in us and then what He expects of us as a result of that action.
God’s commandment that we should believe on the name of His Son has a specific result. Believing on the name of God’s Son Jesus Christ is coupled with the result of loving one another. Loving one another is the commandment of God’s Son (Joh 15:12). This love is very specific in that we are told to love one another in the same way that Jesus loves us. We cannot “if, and, or but” our way around His expectation that we love one another unconditionally. This grace is ours when we believe on the name of Jesus Christ.
Doing the work or commandment (singular) of God (believing on Jesus) enables us to keep His commandments (plural). Believing on Jesus signifies that we dwell in Jesus. If we dwell in Jesus, then He also dwells in us. Jesus also dwells in the Father and the Father dwells in Jesus. If we are in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father, then we are also in the Father. If the Father dwells in Jesus and Jesus dwells in us, then the Father also dwells in us (Joh 17:21).
How wonderful that He has given us the means to know (the Greek implies to know absolutely) that He abides in us! The origin (see Strong’s definition of “by”) of this knowledge is the (Holy) Spirit which He has given us. These scriptures have declared us firmly in the grip of the Triune God; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It shows all three aspects of God at work in our lives in a vital way. We are no longer under a legal service, but have been brought by a new and living way into the sanctuary (Heb 10:19-20).
May we rejoice in the assurance that belief on the name of Jesus Christ, God’s holy Son, enables us to keep His commandments in the full assurance that we do so because He dwells in us and us in Him!