“Your duty is simple”, so says John

It appears I’ll be wrapping up my personal study of 1 John this week.  I’ve started chapter 5 and would like to comment on the first few verses, displayed below:

1 John 5:1-5  Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.  2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.  3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.  4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith.  5 And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Simple observations for the Apostle:

  • Again, assurance from God that we are His children: belief that Jesus is the Messiah.  Do you believe? (v.1)
  • The natural progression from the love one has for the Father: loving other children of God.  As your love for God grows, does your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ grow and become more tangible? (v.1)
  • Another identifying characteristic of being a child of God: loving God and observing His commandments.  How obedient are you to your Father’s commands?  (v.2)
  • We demonstrate our love for God through our obedience.  Now, what are we really saying when we are disobedient?  Disobedience = Not loving God.  wow.  (v.3)
  • God does not burden us down by what He commands from us.  His commands are not burdensome: they are not too difficult to obey, nor too taxing to weary us along the way.  They are always for our benefit, causing us to grow into His Son’s likeness.  (v.3)
  • Guaranteed victory as a believer.  If we are truly born of God, we are overcomers!  This is a result of God’s gracious gift to us, our faith.  It does not mean that we won’t struggle, won’t fall or fail, but we will overcome!  What wonderful hope for the child of God.  (v.4)
  • And just in case you didn’t catch it in verse 4, the one who overcomes the world is the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God!!  Wonderful encouragement and hope from the scripture and especially this writing of John.  (v.5)

I used this passage in our morning worship service today, allowing it to guide us in prayer before our Father.  I’ll take this time to ask you, do you ever use Scripture this way?  I like to “pray” Scripture alot.  I’m not suggesting its a magical formula to get God to do what you’d like Him to do, but it keeps my distracted mind focused as I pray.  Using this Scripture excerpt, I might be guided to pray for my love for my congregation, gratitude for my relationship with God made possible through Jesus the Christ, petition for perseverance in obedience to His commands and thankfulness for the victory already granted to me in Jesus.  It is a terrific idea, one I first learned from Dr. Don Whitney in a conference session on Spiritual Disciplines.  I have so appreciated his teaching on this subject.  May God bless you as you study His word and communicate consistently with Him!

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