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 who the Father loves has been born of Him.
By this we know (have the evidence?) 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…” 1 John 5:1-3
Observation: Is John just rambling through his words?
Analysis: Reading through John’s first letter I can’t help but wonder what the cohesive points are trying to be made?
It doesn’t look like John is straying far from a central point: A believing Christian is results based. Anything less than that should promote reflecting questions about their life and their confession.
There are a few things to add to the equations:
- Works, effort, or results are not the basis on which God’s love toward me is based.
- God knows all my efforts are like filthy rags; basically, no intrinsic value contributing to the righteousness scale.
- I am completely dependent on God’s Common Grace; I could not be independent of God by any stretch of my imagination.
- Only by the Atonement presented by the Propitiation of Jesus could I be declared redeemed and righteous and that by Faith that it could be as I just wrote. Cut and dried.
So, is John insinuating that a dry, non-fervent, repetition of a belief is a confession of Faith? Probably not but note that for sure I am drawing a conclusion that may not be supported by the accumulation of the words in this chapter. If someone were to cherry pick a statement here and there a conclusion would be able to be voiced that all a person would have is to “mouth” the words and salvation is found. That can’t be right compared to other scriptures.
In clarity, how would I know if someone’s faith is real or not? I can’t—except to see the fruit of their (and my life) daily.
Am I a believer? Even Paul drags the self-examination principle out on the porch and tells Corinth, “Examine yourselves, to see if you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail to meet the test? 2 Cor 13:5
This statement is to the local church at Corinth, it is not to unbelievers on the street.
What do I employ as my self-examination checklist? Do I keep His commandments? If at any point the answer is no, how does preaching the Gospel to myself affect that?
Prayer: Father, this seems so in the weeds, but I am driven to drive this principle home. The Gospel at the ground level of the believer at the local church is so very important. Love of Your Word, not passing infatuation, is so important even at the shallow level where I live.
I pray for conviction leading to You, not condemnation. Please help.
Ricky Two Shoes