December 23, 2021 - Pastor's Corner

Melvin-head-shot

Dear Church Family,

The key verse of 1 John is 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life,” and the main theme of his letter is Certainty of Faith in Jesus Christ and Our Subsequent Practice. This assurance is addressed in multiple ways throughout 1 John through contrasts, direct statements, and three specific areas of Christian living—moral (obedience), social (love), and theological (Jesus is the God-man)

In 4:15-21, John expresses in clear terms what our subsequent practice should be because of who God is and His actions towards His people. Please take a quick moment to read these verses anew. From this passage come the following brief insights:

  • Right away, John declares that true believers are those who fully agree with God—we literally say and embrace the exact same things that the Triune God does—concerning Jesus. This means we believe Jesus is Sovereign, He is Lord, He is God! And therefore, we fully submit to Him and obey His commands in the Scriptures. Moreover, the result of fully agreeing with God concerning Jesus is the internal abiding presence of God Himself within us.
  • Because the aforementioned is true, God now enables us to grasp His work on our behalf in the gospel; He made us His through Jesus because He loves us. And this understanding continues to grow resulting in confidence that we have been transformed by God’s love; therefore, we can’t remain the same in our interaction with God, others, and ourselves.
  • Doing the highest good for others in increasing measure without expecting reciprocity becomes what we’re known for. This looks different for every believer as our giftedness and personalities are varied. However, intentionally using what has been entrusted to us by God to benefit other believers is a mark of true believers in Christ.
  • Granted, people can “act” loving, and still be in an unregenerate state. The exposing phenomenon of a person’s heart toward Jesus is fear. For fear drives us to protect ourselves above all others, not depending on God to be our protection. Fear makes us hate people, and in this text specifically, other believers. John defines hate as withholding doing the highest good for other believers in need when it is in our ability to help (cf. 3:11-24). This help can either be physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological in nature. And if we’re honest, we are all guilty of this type of withholding, and fear of failing God grips our hearts (4:18).
  • But God encourages true believers with 3:20. You see, fear is a powerful, self-centered emotion that only God can liberate us from, which He has in demonstrating His love for us by Jesus’ sacrificial death for our sins. Thus, those in Christ who have God living inside of us can show others true love, which demonstrates our love for God.

As always, I encourage you to read ahead to prepare for our time next week—1 John 5:1-5.

Grace and peace be to you.

Pastor Melvin