1 John 5:1–12: Faith
We closed the previous chapter with words from 1 John 4:7: “Beloved, let us love one another, for the love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” This kind of supernatural love, John explains, is something that comes only from God. So, those who act out this kind of love show evidence that they have been born of God and that they know God. The opposite statement is also true: whoever does not love has not been born of God and does not know God.
Love comes only from God. There is no way to produce love in your own life apart from the omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit’s ministry, as he shines light on the gospel of Jesus, illuminating Christ’s beauty so that you cannot help but to look upon Jesus, believe in him, and be saved. From there, the gracious, life-giving Spirit only continues his work to produce love in your life, causing the roots of the gospel to grow deeper and deeper into your heart.
But what about faith? Where does it come from? Based on what the Apostle John has just written, we can agree that love comes from God, but where does our faith come from? Is faith the piece that we bring to the table, our own small contribution that gives God formal permission to begin applying his work of salvation in our lives? Or, does faith also come from God, in the same way that love comes from God?
1. What surprises you most about what John teaches us regarding the new birth?
2. How should it affect our evangelism if the chief witness the Holy Spirit uses to convince people to believe in Jesus is life and not logical arguments?
3. If you are honest, do you place more value on the benefits we gain from Jesus (forgiveness of sins, social standing, better friendships/marriages/parenting/jobs, etc.) or on the fullness of life we experience through knowing Jesus?