Week 13: Really Loving by Faith!
(1 John 5:3-15)
Our thirteenth week of daily devotions in the Book of First John center on the John’s discourse on resisting the world. You’re going to need your Bible and I’ve provided the Study Notes on this website that you can either bookmark, or print. Be sure to scroll down to the notes outlining and commenting on the 1 John 5:3-15. Or you may want to download the word document:1jn5.3-15nn. I hope this helps those of you who are committed to journaling this year.
Tuesday: 1 John 5:3-15: Can’t Never Did Nothing!
When I was a little boy, my mother’s dad was one of the few noble people in my life. He took time to teach me about life and challenge me to greater achievements. To most he was just a simple farmer. To me he was profoundly wise.
I always knew what he would say to me when I protested his guidance with the phrase, “I can’t.”
“Eddie,” he would say, “can’t never did nothing!”
Yes You Can!
This is a good summation of John’s teaching in 1 John 5:3b-15.
In his little book on the joy of fellowship John teaches that it is only for those who abide in Christ by keeping His word—especially His foremost commandment to love one another (1:5-2:27). In his extended discourse on the confidence of the believer at Christ’s coming (2:28-4:19) John exhorts his readers to abide in Him by loving God and their fellow Christians with the pure love of God and promised that the maturity of this love would be a key source of confidence on that Day. In the final segment of his epistle, he applies all he has said about love to the everyday life of every Christian.
Without apologizing for his demanding teaching on the absolute necessity of loving our fellow Christians, the Apostle dedicates three paragraphs to removing every excuse believers offer for not loving one another with the love of Christ (4:20-5:17):
- Love every believer in Christ: If they confess Christ, they are your brother or sister—love them because they are His children! (4:20-5:3a)
- Love with the power you have already received: If you believed in Christ, you have the power to love—love them because you can! (5:3b-5:15)
But That’s Too Hard!
A common reaction to the absolute requirement to love every believer is, “You don’t know how difficult this will be for me. I can’t do this; it’s too hard to love that Christian!” Yes you can. Your faith in Christ made you a world-conqueror, a new creation with the capacity to keep every command by His grace. Only faith in Christ brings the new birth that makes obedience to God’s command an achievable goal.
Christ invites His weak and exhausted followers to a rest of obedience to His commands (Matthew 11:28-30). When we take on His yoke, He pulls with us. And we discover that His commands are not burdensome but easy, and His burden on us light.
On Sunday I taught our people this one sentence to help us remember the primary teaching of the 1 John 5:3b-15: Love the unlovely Christian because you can!
Is there a Christian in your life that you have told yourself and God you simply cannot love any more? When the Father says, “If you love Me you will love my child” do you answer, “I can’t!”
Can’t never did nothing!
With this unlovely fellow believer in mind, read Matthew 11:28-30 slowly and out loud three times.
Apologize to Jesus for your insistence that this is too hard for you…stop telling Him you can’t and start telling Him you can!