John identifies three spiritual birthmarks every Christian has in these verses:
I. Our Love and Obedience to God Insure Our Love for Christians – (vv. 1–3).
A. Love to God Insures our Love for Christians (1)
The first birthmark of a believer is love.
John speaks about the new birth and our family relationships in Christ.
- Every child is born into some family.
- Every baby has certain physical characteristics of his parents.
It is a natural thing for a child to love his parents and other children in the family.
B. Obedience to God Insures Our Love for Christians (2-3)
The second birthmark is obedience. (2)
How do you show your love for God? Do what he says! (3) (1 Sam 15:22)
“The life of God within makes obedience to the commands possible, and the love which the Christian has for God and for other Christians makes this obedience desirable.”
II. Our Faith in Christ Insures Our Victory Over the World – (vv. 4–5)
The third birthmark of a Christian is faith.
Our faith in Christ, expressed initially at conversion and continually thereafter, is the conquering power that overcomes the world.
Christians have three great enemies:
- the world
- the flesh
- the devil.
All three are overcome by faith.
Victory over them comes through a:
Power (4) Neuter subject in Greek; present tense
Principle (5a) Neuter subject in Greek; past tense
Person. (5b) Masculine subject in Greek: present tense
Understanding all three and being connected to all three brings victory over the world.