1 John 5 (New Living Translation)
Faith in the Son of God
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.
When I was small I used to think that, if I wanted very much to do a thing, that thing was probably wrong. And if I didn’t want to do it, it was probably right.
That is not quite fair to God, for “his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3), not heavy and burdensome.
When I was a (willful) child and missionaries came to speak to our church, I would sit on my hands so that when they asked us, “Who wants to go to Africa and tell the children about Jesus?” — I would be safe and not raise my hand and risk all future happiness. Then this summer when I did go to Africa (well, to Madagascar) to tell children about Jesus — it was absolute JOY. John is right — “his commandments are not burdensome.”
4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
6 And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross—not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. 7 So we have these three witnesses—8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree. 9 Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. 10 All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son.
11 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.
Genesis 2:7 tells us that when God had formed the first man from the dust of the earth, he breathed into him the breath of life, and the man lived.
The psalmist says, “For with you is the fountain of life” (Psalm 36:9).
John says of Jesus, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4).
Peter, in speaking to the Jews of Jerusalem in the temple says, “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead” (Acts 3:15).
Jesus himself said, “I am the resurrection and the life . . . and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).
To his enemies, Jesus said, “You refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:40).
God is the source of life. The alternative to communion with him is death.
–Dennis F. Kinlaw
13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
16 If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life.
from My Utmost for His Highest,
by Oswald Chambers
HEEDFULNESS V. HYPOCRISY IN OURSELVES
If we are not heedful of the way the Spirit of God works in us, we will become spiritual hypocrites. We see where other folks are failing, and we turn our discernment into the gibe of criticism instead of into intercession on their behalf. The revelation is made to us not through the acuteness of our minds, but by the direct penetration of the Spirit of God, and if we are not heedful of the source of the revelation, we will become criticizing centres and forget that God says — ‘. . . he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.” Take care lest you play the hypocrite by spending all your time trying to get others right before you worship God yourself.
One of the subtlest burdens God ever puts on us as saints is this burden of discernment concerning other souls. He reveals things in order that we may take the burden of these souls before Him and form the mind of Christ about them, and as we intercede on His line, God says He will give us “life for them that sin not unto death.” It is not that we bring God into touch with our minds, but that we rouse ourselves until God is able to convey His mind to us about the one for whom we intercede.
Is Jesus Christ seeing the travail of his soul in us? He cannot unless we are so identified with Himself that we are roused up to get His view about the people for whom we pray. May we learn to intercede so whole-heartedly that Jesus Christ will be abundantly satisfied with us as intercessors.
But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. 17 All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.
18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.
This is eternal life, to know thee, the only true God,
and him whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.
21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.
The End of 1 John
John Wesley’s brother, Charles, was a prolific hymn writer. One of my favorites from the Wesley collection is sung HERE by Keswick Praise, out of England — “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.”
For three years I played the organ for a British Anglican church in Naples, Italy. Often I was surprised when I thought I knew a hymn, but found the tune was something different. Here is such an example. I discovered that singing a familiar hymn to a different tune opened my eyes to read the words more carefully; perhaps you will find that, too.
I hope you have enjoyed this week and the Scriptures that point over and over again to the LOVE of God that is so graciously given to us and that we can cheerfully share with others. If you have been particularly touched by anything from 1 John, please share it with us. Just hit Reply/Comment below! And next week we are back in the thick of the Old Testament — the twelve chapters of Daniel. Some great stories ahead!
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.