Are you “born of God”? John uses that phrase 9 times in his letter, including 3 times in yesterday’s sermon passage, 1 John 5:1-5. Being “born of God” is nothing short of a supernatural process of spiritual rebirth.
Remember the Nicodemus’ conversation with Jesus in John 3:3-4:
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again[b] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
Nicodemus is dumfounded, but his logic is sound.
Nothing short of supernatural regeneration, and the consequential gift of faith, can bring those dead in sin back to life.
John challenges his readers to recognize the 3 identifying characteristics of the children of God: faith, love and obedience.
Do you believe the Gospel?
Do you love others?
Do you obey God?
Those 3 diagnostic questions are repeated throughout the letter, but in chapter 5, it’s clear that the 3 characteristics are unavoidably interconnected. They are inseparable.
Postmodern, popular culture is increasingly embracing a “cut and paste” theology that draws from the most appealing aspects of world religions. But the Christian worldview ought to be grounded in the entirety of God’s word and by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Children of God believe the Gospel, love others and obey God.
As we discussed yesterday, by our words, our actions, our checkbooks and our Google calendars, we are modeling a worldview for the next generation. Does that worldview boldly claim and reflect the necessity of being supernaturally reborn? If we aim to clearly communicate, and even legitimize the Gospel for kids today, then we can’t separate right belief from a genuine love for others and obedience to God.
The beautiful promise of the Gospel is that “everyone born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4a). Jesus overcame the world, the abandonment of God’s will in exchange for the embrace of sinful desires. And in his victory, we have the radical freedom to believe the Gospel, love others, and obey his life-giving commands.