1 John – Evidences of Victorious Faith
From the Series: Certainty – Absolute Truths That Bring Joyful Assurance
BY MAX FERNANDEZ
Everyone believes something, and even Christians need to assess their faith and the Object of their faith. The question is whether the faith you are actively exercising is in Someone or something that has guaranteed true, ultimate success or not.
THE FAITH OF A SECULAR HEDONIST
It is a belief that if someone lives true to themselves (or who they perceive themselves to be) and does what makes them happy, then they have reached the goal of life. In the end, this is faith that is being exercised by an individual.
THE FAITH OF AN ATHEIST
For some, they may say that they don’t believe in God, but even that conviction is a matter of faith. Are you able to disprove the existence of God? No. Positive or negative conclusions about God’s existence are matters of faith.
THE FAITH OF MODERN-DAY GALATIAN CHRISTIANS
Modern-day Galatian Christians are Christians who received the gospel of grace but tend to find their identity in how they perform Christian duties to meet the expectations of others.
True, full joy is NOT found by faith in the pursuit of personal happiness, faith in the non-existence of God, or even faith in being good. What would John tell us today? Live joyfully obedient through genuine faith in Jesus Christ. Consider the full joy that John wants for his readers (1 John 1:4). We cannot assume that we are exercising this kind of faith. For this particular lesson, we will see how this victorious faith in Jesus is described—how it is distinguished by evidences.
LOVE for Your Christian Siblings (1 John 5:1)
Particular confession is in 1 John 5:1, 5 that Jesus is the Christ of God. Only those individuals who continually affirm this confession have this kind of faith.
This love is gospel love that is manifested towards others like the love God had shown to these believers (1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:16). Here, the basic truth is that those who really believe that Jesus is the Christ are born of God, and they will love their siblings.
Joyful OBEDIENCE to God (1 John 5:2-3)
Notice that the commandments of God are not burdensome. There is a freedom — a liberty — associated with obedience to the commandments of God. The kind of love in this passage is one that is evident by joyful obedience to God’s command — in particular the command to love your Christian siblings.
JOYFUL — Our hearts have been changed by God.
OBEDIENCE — Our lives manifest the heart change for God.
Our hearts have been changed so that we might live lives for God. If you are truly believing in Jesus Christ, then you are joyfully obeying the commandments of God.
VICTORY over the World (1 John 5:4-5)
THE WORLD – 1 John 2:15-17
The world, for John, is inclusive of all the lusts and pride noted earlier in this letter.
OVERCOMETH – Conquer
John can say this because Jesus overcame the world. Jesus became flesh, and manifested love, joyful obedience, and victory as he lived in this world. Anyone who has true faith in this Jesus will reflect the same love, obedience, and victory.
What is the greatest obstacle to living out this truth? For some, a misplaced faith. The greatest obstacle to your joy is unbelief or a misplaced faith in seeking happiness through fulfillment of your lusts. For some, the greatest obstacle to this truth is seeking happiness through fulfillment of lists.
Do not attempt first to love, obey, and conquer. First, come to Christ, who gives you the heart to love, joyfully obey, and conquer (Psalm 40:8). For Christians, we battle against our sinful nature. Our greatest obstacle is ourselves. Christian, your love, joyful obedience, and conquering must have the right starting point. The finished record—imputed to you—is that starting point.
Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:29-33). Jesus has modeled this kind of selfless love. Jesus has equipped us for this kind of selfless love. The commandment to obey is not burdensome because Jesus has given to us the perfect record of obedience to this command. In this perfect record we can rejoice, and from this perfect record we can joyfully obey.
Christians, your starting point is forever and always the finished work of Jesus Christ.
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