Thursday, June 06, 2024

2024.06.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 John 4:21–5:3

 Read 1 John 4:21–5:3

Questions from the Scripture text: What do we have from God (1 John 4:21)? What must one who loves God also do? What is true of the one who is in a condition of believing in Jesus as the Christ (1 John 5:1)? Whom does the born-of-God one love? What/whom are also loved by those who love Him Who begot? How can we know that we truly love the children of God—what/Whom else will we love, and what will we do (1 John 5:2)? What is the love of God (1 John 5:3)? What does someone who loves Him in this way think of His commandments?

How good are God’s commandments? 1 John 4:21–5:3 prepares us for the second serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God’s commandments are such blessings as are designed to foster assurance that we are His.

After considering how love for one another gives us boldness before God (1 John 4:17-20), the apostle turns back to the goodness of God’s commandments. Surely, the one who finds God’s commandments burdensome (1 John 5:3) knows neither the nature of our God nor the nature of His commandments. How good they are!

In this case, the apostle is referring again to that “new commandment” from John 13, which is the commandment that the church has had from its beginning—the commandment that arises from that glorious event in which our Lord Jesus culminated His ordination to His “Great High Priest”-hood and offered Himself for us, once for all. Do we love Him? Then we must keep His commandments. And His commandment is that we must love our brother. So the one who loves God must love his brother.

And, of course, this love is more than just keeping His commandment. It is also bearing His image, being His child, being part of the family. There is no other way to come into saving faith (1 John 5:1) than by a heavenly birth. But what does being begotten by God, spiritually fathered by God, necessarily produce? It produces love for this dear Father! And how can it produce love for Him, except that this love also extend to all who are fathered by Him? This love is not just God’s command, but the characteristic family trait.

Finally, for those who have this genuine love, coming organically from being fathered by Him, we want to know if our love is genuine. It is not enough for us that others think that we love them, or that we think that we love them. We want to know that we love them in truth. So, the Spirit directs the apostle’s hands to give us a proof: how can we know that we love God’s children? The only place from which that particular love comes is the same place from which love for God comes, and therefore from which keeping His commandments comes—from which comes a view of His commandments that considers them all blessing and no burden. What grace, that we would so come to know God’s law! 

It’s all or nothing. They all hang together, dear reader: being born of God, savingly believing in Christ, loving God, loving brother, keeping God’s commandments, and counting those commandments blessing. They all hang together; it’s all or nothing. The Lord grant that they would all hang together in you!

How do you think/feel about God’s commandments? Toward what brothers do you harbor ill feelings or even ill will? How have you been making use of God’s commandments to pursue assurance that you are His child?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for so loving us that You would give us commandment for the very things that enable us to be bold in the day of judgment. But forgive us for how we have treated Your commandments as if they are burdensome. And forgive us that we have at times thought or acted as if we could love You without loving those who are born of You. Grant unto us increased life and growth from our heavenly birth, that by Your Spirit, we might live like Christ and love like Christ, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

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