The Teachings of

Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow, Robert Wilkin
(The Grace Evangelical Society)

and the extreme teachings of J. D. Faust

Keeping God's Commandments


"And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:3-4).

The Teaching of Zane Hodges and Joseph Dillow

The fruitful believer
The partaker or heir
The believing believer
The overcomer

The barren believer
The carnal one (non-heir)
The saved person who stops believing
The non-overcomer

The believing believer keeps God’s commands and thus demonstrates that he is having fellowship with the Father.

The carnal believer does not keep His commandments. This disobedient one is saved but he is not having fellowship with God.


Hodges and Dillow understand this passage (1 John 2:3-4), not as a test of salvation, but as a test of fellowship (see Dillow, p.407). That is, obedience to God’s commands does not demonstrate that a person is saved, but it demonstrates that a person is having fellowship with God. According to this view, disobedience to Christ’s commands is not necessarily a mark of being unsaved.

The key question that must be answered is this. What does the expression, "I know Him" mean? If a person "does not know Him" then does this mean that the person is unsaved or does this mean that the person is not enjoying fellowship?

The New Testament teaching makes it very clear that KNOWING GOD is equivalent to having eternal life (see John 17:3) and not knowing God is another way of saying that the person is unsaved (see 1 Thess. 4:5 and 2 Thess. 1:8). Hodges and Dillow teach that "knowing God" in John 17:3 means something very different from "knowing God" in 1 John 2:3-4.

The position of Hodges and Dillow is that a person can persist in deliberate, willful disobedience to God’s commands, and yet this person can be saved. "I’m saved, but I refuse to do what my Saviour tells me to do!" We certainly would agree with Hodges and Dillow that true believers can struggle with times of disobedience.  Which one of us could say that we have never disobeyed our Saviour?  The apostles themselves had their times of rebellion against the revealed will of God.  Certainly Peter was not being obedient when He denied his Lord three time.  And yet if you were to look at the lives of the apostles as a whole, you would have to conclude that their lives were characterized by obedience, not disobedience. That is why Jesus, who knew all of their faults and failures, said of them, "They have kept Thy Word" (John 17:6).   If you took a snapshot (still picture) of Peter denying the Lord, you would conclude that he was a disobedient believer.  If you took a video of Peter's entire saved life, you would conclude that he was an obedient believer.  He knew God and obeyed Him!

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