1 John – Secure Identity, Sacred Duty
From the Series: Certainty – Absolute Truths That Bring Joyful Assurance
BY MAX FERNANDEZ
For people to feel secure, they need to have an identity that they are sure of. They need to know who they are.
The problem is that most people look to themselves to find out who they are. The real issue though is that there is a God before whom all of us will stand on the Day of Judgment, as our passage points out. The weight of this passage cannot be understood without an understanding of the Day of Judgment (1 John 4:17-18).
The common ground upon which all of us can agree is that there is love and hatred in the world. If God is the Creator of love/hate, then He is also the Standard and Judge for determining the lines of love/hate and those who live accordingly. If God is big enough to create love/hate, to put this sense within all people ever born, and to create the beings who can exercise love/hate; then, how powerful do you think God is? Should we not shudder at the thought of being Judged by a God this powerful?
If you were a Christian who believed that Jesus was the son of God and the One who made you right with God — made you secure with God — but a false teacher began to change the truth of Jesus, then your security would be shaken. Thus, John maintains the reality of future Judgment but shows how those Christians could remain secure in the love of God and obediently love fellow Christians!
For us today, the message is the same. Be secure in your identity in the love of God and obedient in your duty to love fellow Christians!
IDENTITY: Believe in the Fullness of God’s Love! (1 John 4:16b-19)
- IT IS A LOVE CHARACTERIZED BY REAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (v.16)
- IT IS A LOVE CHARACTERIZED BY [FUTURE-LOOKING, PRESENT-LIVING] CONFIDENCE BEFORE GOD (v.17)
It is a love that so secures the Christian because of the identity fixed in Jesus Christ. It is this that gives me confidence for the Day of Judgment, because as Jesus is, so am I in the world. I am as secure in the love of God (while I am in this world), as Jesus was secure in the love of His Father (John 17:23-24, 26).
- IT IS A LOVE CHARACTERIZED BY FEARLESSNESS BEFORE GOD (v.18)
When you know that you are loved by God, there is no fear of punishment. Perfect love casts out this idea of torment.
- IT IS A LOVE CHARACTERIZED BY INITIATION BY GOD (v.19)
God is the Source of this love, and thus we are made to know more about the very nature of God. God wants his children to be secure in His love.
Be ready for the Day of Judgment (real relationship)! Christians must live today with full faith in the reality of the future! Believing in the fullness of God’s love means that you will daily consider who God says you are, and you will believe this. This kind of love changes your perspective on the here and now because of the certainty of the future.
DUTY: Love Fellow Christians in Obedience to God’s Love (I John 4:20-21)
- THIS KIND OF OBEDIENCE IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE LIAR (v.20)
The only way this kind of love is possible is by someone who has been truly changed by the love of Christ, received the indwelling Spirit of Christ, and who intentionally purposes to exercise this love towards other Christians.
- THIS KIND OF OBEDIENCE IS BECAUSE OF LOVE FOR JESUS (v.21)
Why does John say that this is the commandment we have from him? This phrase is calling to mind when Jesus gave the disciples this commandment (John 14:15). Jesus Christ is worthy of our INTENTIONAL love toward our brethren.
What the world is yearning for is to be included, but God makes it clear that you cannot be included on your own terms because it was the terms of mankind that made them to be excluded from oneness with God and with others. Only in Jesus Christ is the love of God experienced. This experience then commands us to intentionally love others as we have been loved.
Christians have a secure identity, but we also have a sacred duty.
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