Here are my lesson notes for this week’s epistles lection, 1 John 5:1-6. There are only a few verses, but they are packed. I relied on commentaries from Word Biblical Commentary series and the Bible Speaks Today series. I also found some great quotes from Eugene Peterson, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Karl Barth. I made a few comments on the Greek text as well. There are 14 pages of notes for you to peruse. Be Blessed. jerry
Epistles Lesson, 1 John 5:1-5, Jesus our Love, our Law, our Victory
‘Born of God’ rings with echoes of John 3. But what John is talking about here is a supernatural birth. He is not talking about becoming something new or different or even improved by the exercise of human prowess or ingenuity or techniques. John is talking about the kind of birth that is a radical, violent collision of our old self with what God means to make us. It is not enough for us to be merely remodeled. We need to be radically overhauled. CS Lewis talks about us being completely undone and remade into an entirely new creature. Heart transplant—Ezekiel style recreations, Jeremiah type transplants. Born of God is an indication of something we cannot affect on our own and I don’t think we can predict the outcome either. But submission to God in this rebirth will allow his Spirit to upend us and challenge all our ideas. We cannot measure it, control it, or predict it. Born of God means that only God has the depth and measure of knowledge about how and where our growth will occur. As Jackman says, “It is only God who can give life.” (137) See also John 5:25.
It all begins by loving God. It starts with loving God. If we love God, and if we are born of God we will love God, then we cannot help but love those who are also born of him. It is simply incompatible with our heritage and parentage to not love those who belong to the family of God. There should be no civil war in the family of God. But sometimes it seems that the family of God is so fractured that it is perpetually defeated. It makes one wonder how often the enemy capitalizes on this? It makes one wonder what those literally not born of God think about those who claim to be born of God. What sort of family do they believe us to be? What sort of fractured family are we?
Jackman writes, “This will apply, first to our love for the only-begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, but also all of God’s adopted children, as verse 2a makes clear. Since this is set in the context of a new family life, we are in fact proving our membership of that new unity by sincerely loving our new brothers and sisters. For without love of the brother and sister whom we have seen, any claim to love the invisible Father is a lie (4:20).” (138) I think there is application here, especially, in relation to people who come from broken families or dysfunctional families. When they become a part of the family of God with new brothers and sisters the healing can begin. So what did Jesus say?