2013-01-30 - Factors in the Life of a Believer
The Epistles of John ~ Part 92 ~ 1 John 5
The three factors that are found in the life of the believer are faith, love and obedience. Their presence is both the outward sign of salvation, and the product of that salvation. As we abide in Christ, these qualities grow in proportion to our dependency on Him.
The absence of these factors, in an individual, is an outward sign of the likelihood of the absence of salvation. John has explained all this specifically to help believers learn to distinguish false prophets from true teachers of Gods word.
This means we can hear someone teach something that is incorrect, and not automatically write them off as a false teacher. For example, take the evangelical who has recently accepted the alienation theory. He now believes that the lost do not spend eternity in Hell, but are destroyed at judgment. While clearly this is contrary to the teaching of Scripture, nevertheless, his faith in Christ remains orthodox. He always demonstrates the love of God in his life. And his life is a testimony to his obedience to the Lord. Being wrong in a teaching of Scripture doesnt make one a false prophet.
On the other hand, to be wrong about who Christ is, precludes one from being a believer. And if the person rejects the Christ of Scripture, while purporting to speak for Him, then that person is a false prophet and a liar. And from Johns perspective the most obvious clue to these individuals is their lack of love.
John makes it quite clear that for the Christian, love must be as much a part of the life as salvation itself. If we do not allow Gods love to flow through us, we must repent. We must turn to the Lord, and ask Him to show us what we need to do to demonstrate His love towards others. And the first thing we must do is take this truth from the theoretical, and accept it as an absolute must for our lives.
Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me