Monday, January 18, 2016

Jesus makes Us Sons and Daughters of God (1 John 5:1-2)

"Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!"
(Matthew 12:50)
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments
(1 John 5:1-2, NLT).

The Apostle John feels so strongly about what he is trying to say that he repeats the same truths several times. But he keeps bringing up new applications or examples to make his message clear. In these first two verses of chapter 5, John reminds us that we are born into a family – the family of God. We do not live like nomads in the jungle so we can keep away from other people or tribe. Instead, we grow as we remain close and care about these other family members.

It’s kind of like our human families. Though there are exceptions, most of us are born or adopted into a family which includes parents, and maybe some brothers and sisters. We may have other relatives like cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. In a healthy home, parents love their children. And the children will love and appreciate their parents, since it is with their parents they have their first experiences of feeling cared for and loved. Unless our parents are abusive or mean, this love is a natural feeling for our parents and for us. When we love our parents we will naturally love the other family members as well. Most often, the same feelings we have for our parents tend also to be expressed towards our brothers and sisters.
[Not that some arguing isn’t natural. In most families, mine for sure, fighting and disagreeing seem to be a part of learning how to love and communicate. But, hopefully, there’s more in the family relationship than just conflict and tension.]

It is kind of like that with God’s family (The Father as our parent and we’re God’s children). We really can’t be members of God’s family unless we love and respect God “obey his commandments”; that’s part of what builds a healthy relationship. And if we love God, we will also care and “loves his children” too. We just can’t have one without the other. When the teachers of religious law asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus Christ replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God will all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31). Both are equally (like, similarly, resembling) important.

Notice again how John summaries what we need to do as growing Christians: to believe Jesus is God’s Son; to obey what God wants us to do; and to love God and other people. To be a follower of Christ, then, involves our minds, our feelings, our actions, our values – everything. Whatever we are and whatever we do will be touched by our commitment to Christ. This is what it means to live life to the fullest! Amen.


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