John 5:1-5 - Born of God
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Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 1 John 5:1.
Dickson* was one of the most unhappy students I ever had in an African Church History class. While others collected oral histories and artefacts and presented them enthusiastically, Dickson muttered and grumbled his way through the semester. When he finished the module, I expected him to avoid registering for my classes again but surprisingly, he put his name down for biblical exegesis. He began the module true to form and half-way through, he disappeared. When I asked where he was, students told me that he was preparing sermons and they invited me to come and listen to him that evening. Curious, I went along and witnessed a complete transformation. When Dickson came forward to preach, his face was happy and radiant. He expounded the passage and passionately pleaded with the congregation to come to Christ and be saved. Later that week he came into my office and explained that as he was reading the Bible passage in preparation for class, he had been born again and completely transformed by the love of God for him in Christ.
Dickson had not truly put his faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, until he was convinced from reading the Scripture that Jesus died to save him. Calvin comments on v.1, “Jesus cannot be received as Christ, except salvation be sought from him, since for this end he was sent by the Father and is daily offered for us” (p. 250).
In v.1, John assures the church that what they believe about Jesus is of vital importance because those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah show that they have been “born of God” and have received salvation (see John 3:1-12). In addition to faith in Jesus Christ, the mark of true believers is that they “love the Father” and they love the Father’s children or, “whoever has been born of him”.
Thus, there is a double proof for identifying the spirit that governs teachers in the church (1 John 4:2-3). True believers have saving faith in Jesus Christ and love God and one another (v.2). They have assurance that they fall into the category of those who love their brothers precisely because they love God and keep his commandments (v.2-3). Jesus reminded his disciples that the summary of the law is first, to love God and second, to love one another (Mark 12: 28-31). Thus, the whole of the law can be summed up in the command to love. This, as John points out, is not burdensome (v.3). True love sets us free from the oppression of sin!
The truth is, that those who are born of God have overcome the world in all its sin and evil (v.4). In 1 John 3:12, John urged the church not to be like Cain who was under the power of “the evil one” and murdered his brother. Here, he reminds them that victory over evil is already assured by their faith. This is not just a vague belief but, as Calvin noted, a saving faith in Jesus the Son of God (v.5). This, we have seen, means believing that God sent his Son into the world to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins and to give us eternal life (1 John 4:9-10).
We may sometimes feel overcome by evil. False teachings seem to abound, and the world can seem oppressive. The word today is that those who are “born of God” have already overcome the world by faith in Christ. Let us therefore take courage and seek to love one another in full assurance of his victory.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13-14).
Father, we thank you today for the assurance that in Christ we have victory over the world. Thank you for the privilege of knowing you and being “born of God”. Help us to love you and to love one another in full assurance that we are yours.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who has redeemed us and forgiven us our sins,
Pray with us today's prayer request:
United Adoration is part of the Gafcon Global Mission Partnership Network. They have frequent creative workshops and retreats each month. This October they are having a three-day conference in the U.S. (residential with online capacity) on developing creative communities. Pray that creatives and their pastors will hear about this event and be bold to register. (see www.unitedadoration.com/ua21/ )
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