#DailyDevotion Are We God’s Children?
1 John 5:1–5 Everyone who believes Jesus is the Christ is God’s child. And everyone who loves the Father loves the Father’s child. 2We know we love God’s children when we love God and do what He orders us to do. 3Loving God means we keep His commandments. And what He orders is no burden. 4Every child of God conquers the world. Our faith is the victory over the world. 5Who conquers the world but he who believes Jesus is God’s Son?
John writes here that everyone who believes Jesus is the Christ is God’s child. Well this passage seems easier than the other passages in John’s letter about being God’s child. Elsewhere in the letter he writes, “Everyone who is God’s child refuses to sin,” “everyone who loves is God’s child and knows God.” “Anyone who doesn’t do right or love his brother isn’t God’s child.” “Anyone who knows God listens to us.” So in this place and other passages God’s children refuse to sin, love one another, do right and listen to the apostles.
John has high expectations for the children of God. Since this is God’s word and not John’s word then we should have this expectation of ourselves. He is describing you. Perhaps we don’t reach this pinnacle all the time. When we don’t we have the word at the beginning of the letter, “If anyone sins, we have One to plead for us with the Father — Jesus Christ, Who is righteous. He is the payment for our sins, and not for ours only but for the whole world.”
So we as children of God love the Father and love his children. Loving God means we keep his commandments and his commandments aren’t burdensome. Now when he says we keep the commandments he isn’t referring to the Ten Commandments. He has told us elsewhere in this letter, “He orders us to believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and to love one another as He has ordered us to do.” It appears to me by Jesus reaction to the Pharisees and his sermons “on the mount” and “on the plain” that Jesus has a different Spirit concerning the 10 Commandments. When we go to the upper room and Jesus gives his disciples “a new command” that they are to love one another what does that mean there? For what that means there is what it means here.
To love one another as Jesus commanded his disciples in the upper room is to wash one another’s feet as he washed his disciples’ feet. Did Jesus mean to just wash feet? No. He is our Master and he took on the form of a servant. We too, bearing his image and likeness are to not think of ourselves as masters of others but rather we are our brothers’ servants and to act accordingly. When we serve them and not ourselves we love as he commands us. To serve one another for the other’s sake and not out own is the love Jesus has for us and we for one another. Loving this way is not a burden. We don’t need long laundry lists of things to. Just as we come across one another during the day and we have opportunity to be of service to others, we serve them.
Finally we have here that as God’s children we conquer the world. Our faith in Jesus, that he is God’s Son and has shown his love toward us by his service for us on the cross overcomes the world. If this is your faith then you have this victory.
Heavenly Father, by your will you cause us to be born from above and give us your Holy Spirit through the Word and Sacraments. May your Holy Spirit so move us to believe in Jesus and to love one another that it may be manifest we have overcome the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.