Summary: Life is often difficult, even for the strongest believer. It is easy to focus on the trials we endure instead of the Lord. While we are unable to fully comprehend all our Lord is, our faith is increased as we look at Him by faith.
A Compelling Conclusion (Part 2)
1 John 5: 13-21
As we continue to consider the closing words of John in his first epistle, we are mindful of the many difficulties and obstacles the early church faced. John has dealt with false doctrine, the spirit of antichrist, personal sin, and the great need to love one another as well as the Lord. He knew living a life pleasing to the Lord, while possessing an attitude of love, would be quite difficult within the confines of their society. The only way to overcome and enjoy a triumphant Christian life was to rest in the strength and provision of Christ. 1 John 4:4 – Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1 John 5:4 – For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Times have changed, but the difficulties we face share many similarities with those of John’s day. The same holds true for the modern church. If we are to overcome and live pleasing unto the Lord, being productive in the journey, we too must abide in Christ. He is the source of our salvation and the source of our strength. We can overcome in Him.
In our last study, we began to examine the aspects of life John discusses while considering: A Compelling Conclusion. We looked at:
I. The Certainty in Life (13-15)
II. The Conviction in Life (16-17)
Finally we discover:
III. The Confidence in Life (18-21) – Here John offers a final exhortation as a reminder of the many benefits we enjoy while being in Christ. There is great confidence in Him. He speaks of:
A. Our Character (18) – We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. There is no doubt John is speaking to the church, to those who are born again in Christ. He deals with the great need for upright character in our lives. Many would look at this verse and claim John reveals the possibility of sinless perfection. He refers to those who are born of God not engaging in sin. The key is considering what he has said within the entire context. We keep ourselves from the world, and in doing so, the enemy loses his ability to tempt and mislead us. This is speaking of the desire and habit of continual sin. Those who are in Christ are not perfect, in that they never sin, but they no longer enjoy sin or purposely seek an opportunity to sin.
As we consider this exhortation, we must also recognize the great need for sanctification. Those who are begotten of God are to keep themselves (refraining from the lusts and desires of the flesh.) This is an element of Christian character that is little discussed in our day. We are bought with a price, and no longer our own. We belong to the Lord and are obligated to live in a way that pleases Him. James reminds us we are to remain unspotted from the world.
Also John mentions those who keep themselves from the desires of the flesh, avoiding sin at all costs, are not touched by the wicked one. That is not to say we will never be tempted or face trials and adversity brought about by the devil, but he will not have dominion over our lives. His attempts to lure us away will be ineffective as we walk in close communion with the Lord.