1 John 5

Read 1 John 5.

When I was a teenager, I was introduced to my grandma’s sister Helen. We had met before when I was much, much younger, so we needed an introduction to get re-acquainted. Whoever made the introduction–my aunt, I think–told Helen that I was planning “to become a minister.” Helen immediately said, “Oh! How can you be that good?!”

I was not prepared to answer that question, but John was. Here in 1 John 5:2-3 he told us that keeping God’s commandments is loving him. When we love God, we keep his commands. Why? Because when he saved us, he imparted to us a new nature, one that desires what he desires. Like a son admires his father, we admire our God. His holiness, his love, his goodness, his mercy, and all the other things that are true about him become things we desire, not things we try to avoid. This is why verse 3b-4 says, “his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.”

Like an infant, our ability to love God and keep his commands is weak when we are new Christians. Over time, and with the feeding of his word, the development of the church, and the power of the Spirit, our love for God grows as does our desire to obey his word. We never become perfect in this life, but over time we grow and become stronger. The pull of our sin nature and the seduction of this world becomes weaker and we more naturally choose to do what pleases God because we WANT to do those things.

Do you see this in your life? Do some of the sins that used to really fascinate you now seem repulsive? Are you growing in your faith and in his word? If so, it should not be a burden to hear what God wants. It should be like a light shining into a dark hole, calling you out, giving you hope, and making you joyful as you grow in grace.

If this isn’t true in your life, then you have to consider whether you belong to Christ or not. As verse 5 says, “ Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” Only faith in Christ can save you and only he can change you by the grace of God.