Sunday, December 23, 2012
1st John Chapter 5 Part 8
5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
We come to another cardinal point that John is writing about. He begins verse 13 by addressing believers. These things (referring to the epistle as a whole thus far) I have written to those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. In other words this letter, like the rest of the Bible, is a letter for saints. Unbelievers can truly extract one thing from Scripture: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved, Acts 2:40; 16:31.
There is a two-fold purpose John has in mind presently. The first is a consolation to Christians everywhere that each of us should soberly take to heart. John wants us to know that we have eternal life. The Greek verb translated “know” is “eido” which we have discussed previously. This verb is apparently employed in certain past tense usages. It is also translated “perceive, be aware, have knowledge, be sure,” etc. John isn’t reminding them of a coming future state the Christian will eventually enjoy; he is writing to explain and remind us that we presently have eternal life. He wants us to know this, because knowledge of it will bring clarity, comfort and peace that is otherwise hindered by fear and doubt. This is exacerbated by knowledge’s adversary: ritual and self-effort. John wants us to know that we need not strive to retain or gain eternal life. If we have trusted in Christ He has come to dwell in us through faith and eternal life is ours. Ritual presents an ongoing sacrifice that rejects the finality of Christ’s work. Self-effort rejects its sufficiency, says Christian author Dave Hunt. Both are blasphemous.
The second point John wishes to make was that we “may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God,” NKJV. This encouraging reminder from the apostle is his prompt to continue walking as we have begun: in faith. John encourages his spiritual children to walk in the same manner they began following Christ, and rejoices when he so finds them doing this, 2nd John 1:4; 3rd John 1:4. John is stressing our continued walk of faith and reliance on the Lord, which will only serve to strengthen us inwardly and glorify our God. Paul writes: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect(mature), be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.” Philippians 3:13-17. John wrote likewise when he diverted Gaius’ example away from disobedient Diotrophes to godly Demetrius, 3rd John 1:11-12.
Paul writes that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ,” Philippians 1:6. Trusting in the Son of God we are counseled to continue “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” Hebrews 12:2. In Him we have our faith, who has promised and will fulfill what He has begun in each one of us. God is faithful, 2nd Timothy 2:13.
Our walk of faith is our legacy in this world. It is the epistle read by men as they come near us, come to know us, and see the consistency of our confession. Do we preach Christ and live like the Devil? Our actions will speak more loudly than our doctrine, and until our actions conform through the Holy Spirit to the doctrine that accords with godliness, we will not win a single hearing with the unsaved world. They look and they notice either a consistent character that aligns with the Christian faith, or they see a walk contrary to grace, mercy, love and purity that is the hallmark of the Christian confession. We do well to walk in the steps of those whose faith has been tested and rewarded; as the apostle says, we have them for an example. They direct us to the center of our faith, the focus of our life, the provider of all good things, Jesus Christ. He is our ultimate example, and the inspired counsel is that we should continue trusting solely in Him as we trek on through this sometimes bitter life, Proverbs 3:5-6.