Summary: The close relationship between what born again people believe, and how we live.
ASSURANCE OF FAITH
Jesus asked His disciples, ‘Whom do you say that I am?’
Peter replied on behalf of us all:
‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’ (Matthew 16:15-16).
John picks up these two elements of Peter’s testimony:
Whoever “believes that Jesus is the Messiah” is born of God (1 John 5:1);
Whoever “believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5) overcomes the world.
John tells us elsewhere that ‘whoever believes’ in the only begotten Son of God ‘has everlasting life’ (John 3:16).
There is a close relationship between such “believing” - and being ‘born again’ (cf. John 3:3).
This is the substance, and the empowerment, of “our faith” (1 John 5:4).
In this letter, John enumerates some of the marks of the new birth:
Doing righteousness (1 John 2:29);
A faith that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).
The argument in 1 John 5:1 continues on the assumption that those who are “born of God” will also love God. Furthermore, part of our love for God is demonstrated in our love for fellow believers within the family of God.
This letter addresses the challenge of assurance.
How do I know that my love for the brethren is anything other than empty, if well-meant words? Measure it by your love of God (1 John 5:2).
How do we know that our love of God is real? When His commandments are not grievous to us (1 John 5:3).
How do we know that our keeping of His commandments is not just a legalistic attempt to win His favour? By the faith within us: a faith which has already overcome, and is overcoming the world (1 John 5:4).
It is interesting to note that 1 John 5:4 begins “all that is born of God” overcomes the world. On just this one occasion, this is written in the neuter.
The deeds of faith performed by born-again people are just as much begotten of God as the people who perform them. This should give encouragement to day by day Christian service.
We have spoken of “the faith” that overcomes: but what is “the world” that it overcomes? This is the world of rebellion against God, the domain of sin and death, which Jesus overcame in His death and resurrection. Our victory is based in His victory, and we also are overcomers (1 John 5:5).
We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and put our trust in Him. He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world, and therefore you are able to overcome the lies of the devil and his cohorts (1 John 4:4).
Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:5).
He became incarnate in the world of men, and was acknowledged by the Father at the waters of His baptism (Matthew 3:17).
His blood was shed at Calvary, on our behalf – a death certified by the might of Rome.
Yet we know that that was not the end. Death could not hold Him: Good Friday gave way to Easter Sunday; death to life; seeming defeat to certain victory.