November 18, 2021 - Pastor's Corner
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).
Today, the apostle speaks plainly to believers concerning the main theme of his letter in 3:19-24. Please take a quick moment to read these verses anew. From this passage come the following brief insights:
- John reveals that the certainty of our faith in Jesus comes by way of specific actions based upon truth. He says, “By this we shall know [or come to know] that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him.” And the “this” the apostle is referring to are the three specific areas of Christian living, which are seen in verses 22-23: “we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him,” “we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ,” and we “love one another, just as He has commanded us.” All three actions go together and are not isolated from each other.
- The obedience area speaks to our doing what pleases God for He alone is the determining Factor of what pleases Him, which He has revealed in the Scriptures. John is here referring to a lifestyle of obedience to the commandments in the Bible, not selective obedience nor occasional disobedience. He says, “we keep His commandments,” and he adds, “whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him.” Moreover, this lifestyle of obedience is empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who is another assurance of belonging to God (v 24b cf. Eph 1:13-14; Rom 8:1-17).
- Believing in the name of God’s “Son Jesus Christ,” is to believe in His unique dual-nature Person: fully God and fully human in One Person. Practically, this means that Jesus being God has the absolute right to tell us how to live. Likewise, being human, Jesus has shown us how we are to live in obedience to God. Moreover, believing in Jesus is to trust all that God says about His Son, including Him being the only way to be saved from our sin.
- Loving other Christians is another act of obedience, and a specific assurance of belonging to God. For loving the unlovable imperfect people that God has set His love upon is to demonstrate that God Himself lives in us; such actions are supernatural.
- No Christian perfectly lives the three areas of assurance. Knowing this can and often does cause believers to wonder if they are indeed God’s people. This is why John says God’s determination of who is His “is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.” God is the perfect judge who rightly assesses who belongs to Him. The three areas taught by John are for us (v 21). And to ensure we rightly apply these truths to our lives, we ask God to make them true of us, and we trust and act like He has already done so. For “by this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him.”
As mentioned before, beloved, we will be taking next week off from our study to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families. We will return to 1 John on December 2, 2021, focusing 4:1-6.
Grace and peace be to you.