I John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
It is important to remember in any Bible study that context matters. Too many false doctrines are built by not paying attention to the context and then trying to make God’s Word say something it does not say.
In I John, John was directed by God to write of the necessity for authenticity in the Christian life. It is possible to fool people with false testimonies, but it is impossible to fool God. God does not want us to be fooled, nor to be fools.
In chapter 5 John is again reminding the readers of the importance of believing the truth about Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Christ. He is the anointed Son of God. He is the Messiah. Those who believe the facts about Jesus Christ are born of God. It is not possible to take the careless approach of the New Evangelical crowd if we pay attention to what God says. The person who believes that Jesus is the Christ, humbly follows what Jesus taught. The born again Christian cannot live in sin. The born again Christian cannot claim to be sinless.
We see further that there needs to be a love for God the Father and God the Son. The two are one. God gives us these truths not to make us self-righteous judges of others. God does not want us to be deceived. We need to know the truth and build on the truth and with the truth.
In verse 2 we are given a very practical test of truth. We can know who are the children God. Those who are His children, love God and keep His commandments. It is not possible to love God without demonstrating that love. God knows our hearts. We cannot fool Him. However, we can deceive other people. God does not want us to be deceived.
Keeping His commandments is important. This is not “legalism” as too many people like to accuse others of. Legalism is making any law of God a means of salvation. We know that salvation is a gift of God. We know that we are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We know no human works can be involved in salvation. We also know that salvation will change the recipient of God’s gift. The true child of God desires to keep God’s commandments and he seeks God’s strength to be able to do so.
This does not mean we can blame God if we do not keep His commandments. God’s strength is available to every born again Christian.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
God is unique. He saves people. He expects His children to obey Him. He provides all that is needed for man to obey Him. No Christian can say they cannot obey God. They can say, “I do not want to obey God” but if they are truly saved, God will not allow that to stand.
In verse 3 John reminds us that it is the love of God that enables us to keep His commandments. The love of God requires something from Its recipients. That something is defined by God. God never expects anything we cannot do. He tells us that His commandments are not grievous. God’s commandments are not “weighty” or “burdensome.” God’s commandments are liberating. We do not need to try to come up with some humanistic ways of serving God. He has already told us how we do that. There are many rituals that people try to add to the truth.
Many charismatics claim that tongues speaking is necessary to be in the inner circle of their brand of Christianity. The gift of tongues speaking was finished in the first century. There are many different languages in our world. It takes time and effort to learn how to speak a foreign language. There are some people who come from other countries who assume they can speak good English, when in fact they butcher the English language. If I was to try to speak Italian, I know I would butcher that language until I took the time to study and learn that language. I would need a good teacher to help me with that. The same is true for learning any new language.
Many religions try to teach that keeping the Ten Commandments is a must for “salvation”. The seventh day adventists hold to this. They cannot keep them, but they expect their followers to think they can keep them. Their brand of keeping the Sabbath is important to them. They cannot keep it but they teach that keeping it is essential to “salvation”.
There are many man-made rules that religions use to try to force people into their mold. God’s Word tells us that His commandments are not grievous. His commandments are there to show His children how to live the Christian life. The world needs to know what a Christian looks like. God’s Word tells us what a Christian looks like. Those who are saved need to be part of a true church where they can be taught what God expects of them. A true church needs to teach God’s Word faithfully so that others can come to know the truth and be forgiven and saved and then grow in the Lord.
Faithfulness in a true church is necessary in order for a saved person to grow properly. A self-taught person will be deficient in their Christian life. God’s design is clearly laid out in Ephesians 4:11
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
The following verses in that passage tell us Christians cannot be stable if they are not fed by this group. You cannot grow in the Lord if you do not believe the Word of God. You cannot grow in the Lord if you are not taught the Word of God properly. You cannot ignore what God says and still suggest you are doing the will of God. You must submit to His will and then you will grow and be able to help others to know the truth and grow as well. His love within His child enables His child to do His will with a joyful heart.