Summary: What will characterize the life of one who is born of God?
John uses the term "born of God," seven times in this book. To be born again means that we are born spiritually, becoming spiritually alive to God and a personal love relationship with Him. But what is required of me if I am to be "born again?" READ Verse 1a
It's been said that there are three kinds of people in every church:
1. Believers 2. Non-Believers 3. Make Believers
Let's should spend some time at the start of this message to think of what it means to believe in Jesus as one's Savior. I mean, if I believe the Jesus is born of God, the same way one might believe Barack Obama is the president of the United States, have I fulfilled the conditions necessary to be born again? The obvious answer is "no." Why? Because that does not result in a relationship.
To be born of God means that I am now a member of His family, that I now have a relationship with God. The kind of belief we just described regarding the president doesn't result in a relationship, it is simply an acknowledgement of a fact. Belief in Jesus involves acknowledging facts about Jesus, but it is more than that.
"We know that (acknowledgement of the fact that Jesus is the Christ) doesn't fulfill the conditions, because the devil believes it. And we know that the devil believes it because when Jesus came into the world and began to confront the demonic powers of the Devil, they said out loud, 'We know who you are. You are the holy one of God. You are the Son of God.' So the Devil is absolutely orthodox in his belief in the incarnation of the Son of God in Jesus Christ. To believe in orthodox Christology is not to be saved. The Devil is very orthodox when it comes to his understanding of Christ.
So what is missing is not believing in the fact that Jesus is the Son of God but delighting in that fact, embracing that fact, and making Christ the treasure and the Lord of your life by surrendering to him.
In other words, 'belief' is seeing him for who he really is, seeing him as infinitely valuable as the Son of God. It's not just acknowledging the fact that he is the Son but also seeing him as infinitely precious and valuable. Satan, on the other hand, does not view God as precious and valuable. He hates Christ and Christ is a threat to his own value.
But when the Holy Spirit begins to work in our lives we're not deceived like that anymore. We recognize that our value is nothing compared to Jesus' value. Instead, we just want to know him, be with him, enjoy him, follow him, and celebrate him. That transition—that change of heart, so that we are now looking away from ourselves to Christ and embracing all that God is for us in him—that is what faith is. That is what belief is. That is what saves." - John Piper
"Everyone who believes [with a deep, abiding trust in the fact] that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) is born of God [that is, reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose]." - 1 John 5:1a (Amplified)
Do you have a deep, abiding trust in the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and Savior of the world? Have you been reborn from above - spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for God's purpose? John tells us what characteristics should mark the life of one who is truly born of God. One who is born of God . . .
1. Loves God's People - v. 1b
John says one evidence a person is born again is they love the people of God. Now, sitting in church doesn't make me a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes me a car. However, one's relationship with the church is an indication of their relationship with God!
"We know that we have passed out of death into Life, because we love the brothers and sisters. He who does not love remains in [spiritual] death." - 1 John 3:14 (Amplified)
Loving fellow Christians comes naturally to the believer. If you're truly saved, this doesn't mean your love is perfect, but love will be there.
"Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. You’re God-taught in these matters. Just love one another! You’re already good at it; your friends all over the province of Macedonia are the evidence. Keep it up; get better and better at it." - 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 (The Message)
"If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then oh, how some people must love the church!" - Anonymous