Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Loving through obedience - 1 John 5:1-4

"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith." (1 John 5:1-4)
When Jesus came to restore us back to God, He did not come to restore us as subjects but as family. Jesus came, not to make us subjects of a king, but to make us children of our Father. John wrote of Jesus, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13) God has plenty of subject, most walking in rebellion, but what He wants is children; children born of His grace and love; born into a new life with Him.

Jesus is the door way to this new life with God. Jesus said of Himself, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:9-10) And, speaking of our access to the Father, He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6) Our new life with the Father and our new birth as children of God begins with our faith in Jesus. He is our Savior and He is our way back to God. There is not other way, no other salvation, and no other name by which we may be saved.

Having been born of God, we love Him and, if we love Him, then we ought to also love those who are born of Him. I believe that, here, John is not speaking specially of Jesus but of all who are born of God. In the very next sentence, John shows us how we can love the children of God; love those born of Him; showing us that he speaks not of Jesus alone when he refers to those born of God. In loving those born of God, it is not enough to just love Jesus. We ought to also love our brothers and sisters in Christ.

So how do we love our brothers and sisters? By obeying God's commandments. To love God is to obey God. If we say we love God and yet disobey His commandments, then we lie and do not know the truth. By obeying God's commandments, we are loving God, and in loving God through obedience, we will also be loving the family of God. Paul said of love, "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:10) Obedience, obedience to God's will and word, is the expression of Love.

John reminds us that the commandments of God are not burdensome, not because they are trifling, but because the Father has made us able to keep them. The commandments are substantial and many are weighty. They require us to deny ourselves and the world and to live by a new standard of living. We are called to exchange our worldly way of living for a heavenly one; to lose our conformance to the world for our conformance to God. Such commands are momentous and not without contest against the flesh. However, He has granted us His grace and has made us to be overcomers in all things that we might rule and "reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17) We are overcommers and by His overcomming power whereby His commandments have been rendered unburdensome to our lives.

This victory over the world that we have won is not a victory of might, strength, will, or endurance but a victory of faith. Victory is not found when we win but when we believe. At the moment of faith the battle may still be before us but victory has already been assigned to our account. Faith will carry the day. Let us not fear to take upon ourselves the commandments of God in an expression of loving God and loving one another for in these things He has made us "more than conquerors." (Romans 8:37 NKJV)

David Robison

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