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. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? – 1 John 5:1-5
Karen Jobes writes:
One could argue that without John’s moral vision centered in the cross, all ethical behavior would be just going through the motions. It is good to feed hungry people, but if those same people are heading toward their judgment without Christ, is it loving to give them bread but not the Bread of Life? Is it loving to affirm Christian brothers and sisters in their sin rather than call them to live as God has revealed in Scripture?
John does expect his readers to care for others in need (3:17-18), but the real and present danger of that moment was that his readers might be led astray and not continue in genuine faith in Jesus Christ. As Köstenberger concludes:
John’s moral vision is simple yet profound. Knowing the world’s spiritual and moral darkness apart from the light, Jesus Christ, John holds out no hope for those without Christ. … He does not explicitly address the issue of righteousness other than to urge rejection of sin; he does not engage the issue of works, other than to report Jesus’ answer to those who asked Him what they must do to perform the works required by God: “the work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.”
In a religiously pluralistic society (as we live in today), the greatest at of love – the sharing of God’s love in Christ – is increasingly perceived as a self-righteous power play that is taboo in polite company. Jesus was sent into such a world, and as He was returning to the Father He said, “Pease be with you! AS the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” This call to continue to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in a pluralistic society increasingly hostile to the idea of exclusive spiritual truth will be the church’s greatest challenge in the years to come.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 101
Q. 101. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. In the first petition, which is, Hallowed be thy name, we pray that God would enable us and others to glorify him in all that whereby he maketh himself known; and that he would dispose all things to his own glory.