Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
As John nears the end of his epistle, he reiterates the purpose of 1 John in 5:13- “that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” He has taken a painstaking effort to help the believer find the evidences in themselves of their conversion. He has given the three following key evidences of the conversion of a believer: faith in the accomplished work of Jesus, love for God and all of God’s children, obedience to the commands of God.
John has made it expressly clear that without these, there is no fellowship with God. John also carefully places them in an order that is essential to healthy spiritual growth.
First, one must have faith. Faith is the well-spring from which all other Christian virtues flow. It is a trust that nothing in ourselves earns us favor with God. It is resting safely in the truth that because Jesus died, we won’t be judged. This faith leans on a loving, forgiving, merciful, redeeming God Who extends His justifying grace.
Second, having been filled with a secure trust in the saving work of God through Jesus, we love. We love Him, because He first loved us. Then, we love all of those that He loves. The ones that are closest to Him are closest to us and we love them with a familial, brotherly love. This is the first command He gives, but from a heart of gratitude, it is no command for us, because it is part of our new inherited nature. It is just natural for us to radiate with this radical, selfless, sacrificing love for God and for others.
Third, when we love Him, we keep His commandments. And those commandments are not grievous; they do not weigh us down. Rather, in a life of obedience to those commandments, we find liberty from the darkness and bondage brought through the deceit and destruction of sin. The real way of life is found in being submissively, repentantly obedient to His desires, because He only desires what is good.
Faith, Love, and Obedience- and when we search ourselves, do we find these things? When we examine our hearts, do we find at the root of our actions these noble motives?
Food For Thought: What are the three evidences of conversion according to 1 John? Is the order in which they appear important?