Who has Been Born of God?

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 read such words as these we need to read them in the whole of the context in which they are written, for if we don’t, it is possible that we can walk away with the wrong understanding of what they are teaching. And then sometimes we just need to break down sentences word for word and look at the meanings of those words for they don’t always mean exactly what they may appear to mean on a surface read.

So, when this says, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God,” it is not teaching that we can merely make an intellectual assent to who Jesus is and thus we are born of God. So, it is a good practice, as well, to compare Scripture with Scripture, for many other Scriptures, even in 1 John, don’t teach that a mere acknowledgement of who Jesus is means that we are now born of God.

In fact, in chapter three we read, “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:6,9-10).

And, in chapter two we read, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him” (1 John 2:3-5).

So, obviously believing that Jesus is the Christ involves much more than just an acknowledgment of who he said he was. It is being divinely persuaded of God, convinced of God as to who Jesus is, that he is the Christ, the Messiah, the promised seed of Abraham through whom all nations are being blessed. He is the Savior of the world, and he died to save us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so we would now be slaves of his righteousness.

Also, the Scriptures teach us that to love God is to obey him, so if we don’t obey him, in practice, we do not love him. And we do not know him, so we are not truly his, and we are not saved of our sins, and we do not have eternal life with God. For God requires obedience as part of believing faith. And he requires repentance, i.e. that we forsake our lives of living in sin and for self to now follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:16; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Php 2:12-13; 1 Co 6:9-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Col 3:5-10; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 4:17-24]

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?”

So, what does it mean to overcome the world? This is not talking about us conquering the people of the world but its ungodly influences on our lives. We are not being ruled or led by the philosophies, morals, values, thinking, and traditions and customs of this sinful world. But Jesus Christ rules our hearts and minds. For sin no longer has dominion over our lives to where we obey its lustful desires but we are now being led by the Spirit of God.

The world and its sinful pleasures have no more pull on our lives. We no longer prefer the ways of this sinful world over obedience to God. We are not walking any longer according to the flesh but now according to the Spirit of God in holiness and in righteousness. Our desire is to please God in all that we do and not to please our sinful flesh. So, we are no longer drawn into the pleasures that this ungodly world has to offer us but we serve Jesus Christ.

But we don’t do this in our own flesh. We can’t do this in our own flesh. We are only able to overcome the influences of this ungodly world via God-given faith in Jesus Christ. And since this faith comes from God and it is not of our own doing, this faith will submit to God’s will and purposes for our lives. For we can only come to faith in Jesus Christ if God the Father first persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of our sins and to follow Jesus in obedience.

[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 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]

Victory in Jesus

Words and music by Eugene M. Bartlett

I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

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