Thursday, November 29, 2012
1st John Chapter 5 Part 1
5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
John returns to the essence of the gospel message. It bears repeating many times over because the simplicity of the gospel is easily perverted either through ignorance or deliberation, 2nd Corinthians 11:3. The monument of Roman Catholicism is an enduring picture of grace perverted into a religion and system of works. It is a sharp contrast from the simple message John proclaims: whoever, whoever at all, believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.
Jesus our Lord warned “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again,’” John 3:5-7. We are reborn by “the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5. This spiritual cleansing occurs, not by water baptism or sacraments, but “with the washing of water by the word,” Ephesians 5:26.
The gospel is a message that must be believed, Mark 1:15; 16:16; John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 7:38; 8:24; 9:35; Romans 1:16; 3:22; 3:28; 4:5; 10:9-10, 17; 1st Corinthians 1:17-18, 21; 15:1-2, Ephesians 1:13; 1st Timothy 1:16, etc. The grace that the gospel imputes is entirely divorced from human works, Acts 15:8-11; 16:30-31; Romans 3:20, 27-28; 4:3-6; 11:6; Galatians 2:16-21; 3:2-9; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:4-10; 2nd Timothy 1:8-10; Titus 3:4-7, etc. Forgive my little “carpet bombing” but I wanted to impress the congruity of this message as we find it throughout Scripture. I was once challenged with this angry question: “where is it written that someone is justified by faith ALONE?” My response today would be, “Where isn’t it written?” We will believe what we want to believe at the end of the day, but God has made this message so constant, so simple, so consistent, that we ignore the reality of the gospel at our own eternal peril. It is the everlasting gospel (Revelation 14:6) that has saved since the world’s foundation, Galatians 3:8; 2nd Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2. It was grace that saved Abraham prior to the Law (Romans 4:3), and grace that saved David during the Law (Romans 4:7-8), and it is grace that saves us today. God’s means of saving has never changed.
The result of believing this amazing message of salvation is the reception of eternal life as a present possession, kept by God’s power, 2nd Timothy 1:12; 1st Peter 1:5; Jude 1:1. Our response should be love from a pure heart, cleansed by God’s Spirit. If we truly love God it would only be natural to love His children. Recall that John said earlier: “We love Him because He first loved us,” 1st John 4:19. John simply anticipates that, realizing what God has done on our behalf, we should overflow with love for Him. He has forgiven our sins in Christ. He has imputed the righteousness of His Son to us and made us joint heirs. He is conforming us into Christ’s likeness and gives us His Spirit to help us in our daily battles with sin and temptation. He promises an eternal, Heavenly home where sin is no more but God’s presence is intimate and forever. We could go on, but this should suffice to provoke an answer of love to a God who has given so much of Himself to us at the price it cost Him to purchase us.
It is a little like a very wealthy man buying a shanty at an outrageous price. Everyone who hears laughs at how much he invested and the loss he suffered, but he ignores them. Instead of seeing the shanty he purchased he sees the future home of the young woman he intends to wed and bring into it. He goes to work renovating the house from within, fixing this, changing that, removing and adding what needs be to make it a fit home for his loved one. When it is perfected, she shall move in and they shall be together always. He wants the best for her, even if she may not deserve such treatment, because he loves her. When the bride-to-be discovers the lengths he went to in order to give her a home she is humbled and it provokes respect and love.
Our fellow Christians are being fitted in such a way. They too will have Heavenly homes, immortal bodies, be joint heirs with the Lord, dwell in the eternal city, be free from sin’s presence, and be in our God’s presence forever. If God so loved them while they were His enemies, so too ought we. The saint who loves God ought to have our love. My question to everyone (myself included) is this: does your love for God reflect in your conduct toward His children?