Thursday, August 6, 2009

8-7 I John 5:1-5 The Victory

(Belen- shack city of 80,000 on Amazon)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

8/7- I John 5:1-5 Faith in the Son of God

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Calvin abridged: Yet another reason is given to show that faith and brotherly love are united; Since God regenerates us by faith he must necessarily be loved by us as a Father; and this love embraces all his children. So faith cannot be separated by love. Christ alone is the object of our faith and the basis of our being born of God. The only true way of believing is when we direct our minds to him who is our righteousness, life, every blessing that can be desired, and God in all that he is. The title “Messiah” or Christ designates the office that the Father has appointed to the Son. To the Messiah was given full restoration of all things, righteousness and happiness. Jesus cannot be received as Christ unless salvation be sought from him, since for this end he was send by the Father, and is daily offered to us. Faith is far above the human mind, so that we must be drawn to Christ by our heavenly Father. 5:2- “By this we know” people are rightly and duly loved, when God is first in their lives. Mutual love should be done in such a way that God is honored, and we do not simply love for our own advantage. We learn here too that the keeping of the law is not a matter of fear, but of love- from the heart.
5:3- “His commandments are not burdensome” – This has been added so that our zeal will not dampen when we face difficulties. Many start out with a cheerful heart and great ardor pursuing the holy life, but soon grow weary and their strength gives out. But some may say this doesn’t square with reality. For the faithful, though ruled by the Spirit of God, still carry on a hard fought contest with their own flesh; The faithful, however, find no real enjoyment except in following God. He is not talking about the law only, but also included is the paternal indulgence of God- which lightens the burden. Since we are forgiven when we sin, we are more inspired to obey (Psalm 130:4). 5:4- “This is the victory” – Our victory depends on faith. He says that we have overcome that we may fight more courageously and more strenuously. “World” is whatever is against the Spirit of God (the corruption of our nature, lusts, crafts of Satan). We must contend with a strong enemy. We would be conquered already had not God promised the victory. This secures to us the invincible power of God, but it takes away (destroys) from us human strength. He only conquers who does not rely on himself, but on Christ’s power alone.

Thought: Faith brings us victory over evil. Unlike our secular viewpoint, Calvin sees a spiritual struggle going on. But the outcome is assured- Christ (and we are linked to him by faith) wins! So when we are weary, tired, struggling, tempted to give up- we should remember who will win- and keep on in Christ. Going back to the states tomorrow. Leaving so much work here. Belen is a place with little gospel influence, and 80,000 people living in filth. But as I told the group- remember our vicotry- is not up to us- but to the Lord. We have lit a candle instead of giving up in the darkness. We have done so little, even by God's grace. Yet we should not despise the small things (Zech. 4:10). God helps us- and part of that help is not thinking that evil is going to overwhelm us.

Prayer: Help us O Lord to not give up the fight- for you have won.

No comments:

Post a Comment