Journal 1 John 5 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)

Scripture: “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.  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?” 1 Jn 5:1-5

 

Observation: Belief is directly related to obedience to His Commandments.  Does that mean that disobedience to His Commandments is directly related to functional non-belief?  That, no matter what a person says about “believing” or having “faith”, if it isn’t coupled with active pursuit of obedience to His commands, that person’s faith is useless and invalid?

Analysis: Invalid faith; functional non-belief—this addresses an open hole in speaking about the Gospel: Is pursuing God fervently equal to Biblical belief/Faith?  Or does the statement “I believe” meet the mark, the minimum requirement of proclaimed Salvation?

John presents a number of “if/then” statements above, such as, “If I love God, then I obey his commandments.”  But the Church at large is reluctant to put this measure into any Statement of Faith.  Goodness gracious, I noticed that back when I was 15 years old and observing both the preaching and the condition of congregations, opting instead to less challenging language and more “positive” and encompassing statements of mission.

Candidly, I don’t know for sure, but I do know what I think—I just don’t know how it fits in God’s function of Grace and Mercy.  Instead, I write and teach (and preach to my face in the mirror) that I have to ask the Holy Spirit where I am deficient—and trust that where I ask for illumination, He will provide.

What I cannot do is to preach condemnation to specific people without being objective in the Scriptures to myself first.

Example: in 1 Peter and Ephesians, Peter and Paul communicated about Husband and Wife roles in marriage.  They both used gentle but blunt language, very clear, descriptive, and decisive instructions.  I am comfortable talking to Husbands, less so to Wives.  So, what do I do when I have to talk with wives?  “Here is what the Scriptures say, read them for yourself and take your concerns and disagreements to the Father directly.  Do not lean on your own understanding… or mine… (Prov 3:5b)”

Sounds like a chicken, right?  Sounds, walks, talks…must be.  No argument with me.  Want to be bold in Christ?  Try talking about this…

Boldness in Christ is practiced by being bold with the face in the mirror; by asking for illumination and when the Holy Spirit provides it, be recklessly candid with my reflection in the mirror.  2 Cor 13:5 “Examine yourself—See if you are in the Faith.”

“All have sinned, all come short of the Glory of God… (Ro 3:23), even those who think they are pursuing God with everything they have.  It is separating God’s Sovereignty in the Gospel/Salvation from Human Responsibility with clear thinking and understanding.

Being transparent, I know and can enumerate daily where I fail, where I don’t walk worthy of the Gospel.

I also know that I must greet the new day with hope and faith, hitching up my pants for another day to grow in Christ and do what He wants me to do. (cp. Lam 3, esp. v. 19-24)

Prayer: Father, your Word, “But this I call to mind; therefore, I have hope…” has to be one of the most encouraging and visionary verses I have encountered in the Scriptures.  Remembering is necessary.  Not just bringing memorized verses to mind but remembering your specific mercy and grace in my personal life.

I am so very grateful for your Hand, encouraging me to pursue You fiercely.

Revive me, O God

AMEN