That We Keep His Commandments
1 John 5:1-3 ESV
“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. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
When we are studying the Scriptures, we need to study them in context, and we need to read them at a deeper level other than just a surface read. We need to consider what the words mean and not take them at face value only. Especially since so many biblical terms are being distorted and made to mean something else, it behooves us to do a thorough examination.
For example, the word “believe” today, at least here in America, has been reduced to a mere acknowledgement of who Jesus is and of what he did for us in dying on the cross for our sins, only that is also diluted. Or they think of “believe” as praying a prayer to invite Jesus into one’s heart but that it doesn’t really require a lifestyle change, but it still promises them heaven.
But the word “believe” means to be persuaded, and in this case to be persuaded by God. For, the Scriptures teach that we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ, and it teaches that our faith is not of ourselves, but it is a gift of God, and it teaches that Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith.
So, if God is persuading us, what is he persuading us to? What do the Scriptures teach on that subject? Both in the Old and in the New Testament God persuades people to believe in him, and he describes belief in terms of obedience to him and he defines unbelief in terms of disobedience. For, he requires that we turn from our sins and that we follow him in obedience.
All throughout the book of 1 John it follows that same message that to believe in Jesus is to turn from our sins and to walk in obedience to our Lord and to his commands (New Covenant). For, if we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (in conduct, in practice) in darkness (sin), we are liars who do not practice the truth.
But if we walk in the light (truth, righteousness), as Jesus/God is in the light, we have fellowship with God and with others who are in fellowship with God, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. For, if we confess our sins, not just say we sinned, but we agree with God about our sin, which is evidenced by us turning from sin, God will forgive us our sins.
For, we know that we have come to know God if we keep (obey) his commandments. If we say we know God, but we are not in the practice of obeying his commandments (New Covenant), we are liars, and the truth is not in us. And if we say we love God, but we hate our brother or sister in Christ, then we are still in darkness.
As well, we are not to love (prefer, choose, long for) the world or the things of the world, for if we do, the love of the Father is not in us. And if we deny Jesus Christ by our lifestyles, by our disobedience and our ignoring his commands, then we don’t have God as our Father. And we should know that whoever practices righteousness has been born of God.
Added to that is the understanding that if we make sin our practice, we don’t know God, i.e., if after professing faith in Jesus Christ we keep on living in sin as a matter of practice and we don’t turn from our sin to walk in obedience to our Lord, we don’t know God. For, if we have been born of God, we have been delivered from our bondage to sin (1 Jn 1-5).
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]
Overcoming the World
1 John 5:4-5 ESV
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Well, Jesus overcame Satan, hell, death, and sin, via his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead, so that we can now overcome the world of sin by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus, and in his strength and power. We can be overcomers because Jesus went before us and overcame sin for us. We just have to submit to him and follow what he says to do.
For, Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we save our lives (hold on to our lives of living for sin and self) we will lose them. But if we lose them for his sake (if we die with him to sin and to self) we will gain eternal life with him (Lu 9:23-26).
Also, God’s grace to us is not free license to continue living in sin, only now without guilt. God can still see when you sin. If he can’t, then we should throw out most of the New Testament which reminds those who profess faith in Jesus that they aren’t supposed to live like they did before and so they need to put off their sins and they need to follow Jesus in obedience.
God’s grace, which brings salvation, trains us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. For, Jesus gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14; cf. Eph 2:10; Php 2:12-13).
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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