It is quite normal for children to have the same passions and interests as their parents. When we are born again, we begin to take on the identity of our spiritual birth. In 1 John 5, we see that there are traits that we display which indicates that we are born from above, that we are Christians.
Verse 1 begins, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.”
This passage is all about belief and faith, and the word used for belief refers to an ongoing action. In other words, our salvation is not based on a one-time decision to trust in Christ, but rather it is an ongoing trust and belief in his completed work that saves us.
The primary evidence of this new birth is that we love God the Father and obey His commands of loving others and loving God (1 John 5:2). John is referring to what Jesus said in Matthew 22:36-40.
What is ultimately the best way to show love towards others?
We can meet peoples’ felt needs like, clothing, food, education and the likes, but none of these meet the eternal need of every human being, the need to be made right with God (Mark 8:36).
Our love for others in the form of missions and evangelism must strive to meet felt needs, but we must lovingly declare the Gospel, the only way to salvation.
As we have seen throughout John’s letter, he frequently comes back to the theme of obedience. Loving God and obeying God are inseparable. But this obedience is not a chore, it is not burdensome (1 John 5:3).
Does this mean that I will never get tired in doing what God calls me to do? No, we will get tired, but it won’t be a burden, because of our love for God (Matthew 11:29-30).
John Piper said, “What you desire to do with your whole heart is not burdensome to do.”
Loving God is not simply right behavior, it is a longing to do His will, stemming from the desire that He places in our hearts. People who are not saved kick against obedience to God, but when we are born again, we are changed, and it is our delight to serve the Lord.
1 John 5:4 says, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
Is there a difference between faith and belief? This is a hotly debated topic in some theological circles. In the original language, both words have the same root, but faith has a deeper meaning. Belief often means and intellectual acceptance of a reality, whereas faith in our modern English, means to trust or to commit to someone. For example, I can look at a rope swing and believe it could hold me, but I don’t really have faith in it unless I climb on it and swing out over a river.
In the same way, many people have a belief in the facts about God, even an intellectual belief in the Gospel, but they have never fully put their faith in Jesus Christ as their savior.
True faith changes our behavior, true faith changes the way we live out our belief.
“…And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 1 John 5:4b. Our victory over the world is the result of our faith. We have faith in God because we know He loves us, and we love Him.
John uses the phrase, “overcome the world” three times in this passage. As overcomers, John is not referring to “super-Christians”, he is referring to every true follower of Jesus. Everyone who has been born again, is called to be an overcomer. Through faith we can overcome; fear of man, fear of failure, addictions, temptations and the lies of Satan.
We are overcomers, not by our own strength and willpower, no we are overcomers because of the completed work of Jesus on the cross.
John Piper wrote, “Faith sees that Jesus is better. That is why faith conquers the world. The world held us in bondage by the power of its desires. But now our eyes have been opened by the new birth to see the superior desirability of Jesus. Jesus is better than the desires of the flesh, and better then the desires of the eyes, and better than the riches that strangle us with greed and pride.”
1 John 5:5 is the bookend that takes us back to believing in Jesus, the Messiah. We can be overcomers because of our position in Christ. We struggle to grasp this, but it is vital for our Christians walk. Our understanding of our position is everything (Ephesians 2:4-6).
The victory in life comes from knowing our position, when we claim our position in faith, we share in the victory that Jesus has won. As Christs ambassadors, we have a position far above all the enemies of Christ.
The key, of course, is faith, this has always been God’s key to victory. The great men and women named in Hebrews 11 all won their victories by faith. They simply took God at His word and acted on it, and He honored their faith and gave them victory.
Faith is not simply saying that what God says is true, it is acting on what God says because it is true.
“Faith is not so much believing in spite of evidence but obeying in spite of consequence,” Clarence Jordan.
Victorious faith is the result of maturing love. The better we come to know and love Jesus Christ, the easier it is to trust Him with the needs and battles of life.
How is your faith today?