Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
The apostle again reminds us that if we believe that Christ is who the bible says He is (remember the bible was written by God as a revelation of Himself to man), if we have the correct Christology about the man who was also God, then we are truly ‘born’ of God. To be born of God you must first die. Being that we are all dead in our tresspasses, that is no problem, but how can a spiritually dead man be re-born? “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” – John 6:37 (words of Jesus). So God decides and chooses those who will belong to Christ. The Father gives them to the Son as his inheritance. Because of this re-birth we are now sons and daughters of God; “children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” – John 1:13. And because we have been born of God, He gives us new life through His own Spirit.
“12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 2
If we have been given this new life, a rebirth into spiritual life through and because of God, we are now living by His Spirit. This third person of the Trinity enables us to love one another because of God’s love for us through the death of His Son. Christ died so we might live. He took the punishment of our sin so that we might be able to commune with the Father. When God gives us new life, He gives us His Spirit. Now we live in constant communion with God. Because of His Spirit inside us we can love as the Father loves – selflessly. We are now able to live a life sanctified to God, but only as we give ourselves over to Him. We must yield to the Spirit’s leading, which only happens if we are making a point to be in communion with Him. We must follow God’s commands.
Love means sacrifice – sacrifice of self to listen and obey. What are God’s commands to us, His children? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. There are many other commands found throughout the pages of Scripture, notably the 10 commandments, but they can all be summed up by the command to love God, and secondly to love your neighbor (those around you). If you have been given new life, and the Spirit lives in you, then you will desire to please God – which means desiring to love Him. Just as with your natural family, the only way to love them is to spend time with them. How do we spend time with God? By reading His word, and through prayer. You cannot have one without the other. Prayer is us talking to God, and Scripture is God talking to us.
As the apostle says in verse 3, God’s commands are not burdensome. He simply desires that you seek after Him. In this you will naturally grow because you will read about who His is, and what His people should look like. We have God’s Spirit inside of us – and God cannot be separated from Himself – He desires to be in communion with the Father. This is why John says in verse 4 that we have overcome the world. Once righteousness has been imputed to your account on behalf of Christ, it is secured. The apostle says the we have ‘overcome’ the world – not that we will overcome it one day. It has been made final. There is no turning back, no undoing of what God has done in the life of someone He has made new. To say that we could lose our salvation would be to say that what God has done can be undone – which means that Christ’s work on the cross was not sufficient. Our adoption into Christ can never be taken away.
We no longer desire the things of this world, but of the next because God lives in us. He gives us the desire to know Him – our faith. How did we get this faith? God freely gives it to us through Christ. Our faith is because of and made perfect through Christ. He is the one that has overcome the world and because He lives in us, we have overcome this world. We believe because God enables us to believe. We have faith because Christ gives us faith. We have love because the Spirit lives in us and gives us love to share with others. While we live in this world we will still fight our flesh and the desires of this world, but we now live with God’s Spirit inside of us, ready and willing to mold our hearts to Him.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3
Lord’s Day 10
What do you understand by the providence of God?
God’s providence is
his almighty and ever present power, 1
whereby, as with his hand, he still upholds
heaven and earth and all creatures, 2
and so governs them that
leaf and blade,
rain and drought,
fruitful and barren years,
food and drink,
health and sickness,
riches and poverty, 3
indeed, all things,
come to us not by chance 4
but by his fatherly hand. 5
What does it benefit us to know
that God has created all things
and still upholds them by his providence?
We can be patient in adversity, 1
thankful in prosperity, 2
and with a view to the future
we can have a firm confidence
in our faithful God and Father
that no creature shall separate us
from his love; 3
for all creatures are so completely in his hand
that without his will
they cannot so much as move. 4