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
Look at verses 2 and 3 with me:
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.
At first, John seems to be talking in circles: “How do we know that we love God?” We know that we love God when we genuinely love the children of God. “O.k., how do we know that we love the children of God? We know “that we love the children of God, when we love God.” This really isn’t going to get us very far until we see that John adds: “and obey His commandments.” This is something that I wish every Christian in America would grasp: “We don’t define what doing the loving thing is – God does.” In particular, America culture now largely defines “loving” as affirming whatever the person in front of you says. There are still a few areas where we realize that this is a disaster: We really don’t want Medical Doctors telling people with diabetes that they can eat whatever they want – because that is what the patient wants to hear. … But even many Christians have bought into the lie that affirming people in their rebellion against God is the loving thing to do. If you doubt this, see what happens when you refuse to affirm someone’s choice to have sex outside of marriage or if you refuse to affirm homosexual behaviors or their choice to change their gender. And while those are obvious examples, this reality permeates nearly every aspect of our culture – so that when someone tells you that they are embarking on crassly selfish choices, you are now expected to say “good for you” and “you need to take care of yourself first” in response. Of course, to reply like that isn’t saying “I love you.” It is saying “I love me.” In fact, I love myself so much that I am willing to affirm your destructive behavior so that I can be seen and treated as a loving person. The choice of whether we let God define what love looks like or whether we allow our culture to define what love looks like, really comes down to one thing: “Whose praise do we want more?” Are we determined, like Moses, to choose mistreatment with the people of God – rather than enjoying the passing pleasures of sin – because we consider being identified with Christ to be greater wealth than all the riches of Egypt? Or are we going to let those in rebellion against God press us into the world’s mold? The right path begins with seeking our praise from God and it ends with us declaring: “Let God be accounted as true, even if that means every fallen human being must be accounted to be a liar.” Genuine love is not only observable it is also objective. True love is defined by the standard of God’s perfect and infallible word.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 103
Q. 103. What do we pray for in the third petition?
A. In the third petition, which is, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, we pray that God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey and submit to his will in all things, as the angels do in heaven.