Everyone believes in something. Many believe that they are part of the highest form of animal life – and that this life is all there is for them and so they live to make the most of it. Our chapter in John’s letter today begins, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him” (5:1). Here is a word picture of a precious fellowship of believers bound together in love.
Our thoughts go to Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus that John recorded in his gospel; remember what Nicodemus was told? “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God” (3:3). “Born of water” refers to baptism – to put on the name of Christ. That physical act must be accompanied by a rebirth of the mind, anew way of thinking; Paul spelt it out plainly in writing to the Ephesians, “… be renewed in the spirit of your minds … put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (4:23,24).
In his Epistle John goes on to say, “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (verse 3), as had been the laws and rituals in keeping the laws through Moses.
Verse 4 challenges us! “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith”. True faith flows out from a heart that is full of the “conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). John writes, sure that his readers have this conviction of faith, and says he “writes these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (verse 13).
That is a challenging concept of thought! “Death” becomes in a sense non-existent, as this life is completed we move into God’s time, which is time-less, it is like “the twinkling of an eye” death “has “no sting” (1 Corinthians 15:52,55). May we all be treading with ever surer steps on the narrow way because we have been truly “born of God” and “God protects him and the evil does not touch him” (verse 18). Furthermore, “we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ” (verse 20) for we truly have “been born of God” (verse 1).