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1 John 5:1-5
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
There are certain traits that often indicate whether or not a person is a member of a particular family. For example, it may be something physical, you know, like blue eyes or red hair or a perfect complexion. Or it may be something emotional, like maybe a cheerful disposition or a positive outlook or Job-like patience. Of course, it may be some completely random factor that just makes a person feel at home, like the willingness to eat oyster stuffing or a passion for a particular football team or even knowing all the presidents in order. But the “what” really doesn’t matter, I think for most families certain characteristics separate those who truly belong from those who just hover around on the edge. And even if a person has been officially born or married into the clan, they’ll probably never feel at home until that trait is acquired.
And as this passage reminds us, that applies to God’s family as well. You see, we’re been made the children of God by his will and not our effort. That’s a given. But there’s something we can look at that will enable us to know that we’re part of the family. And it has nothing to do with any physical trait or emotional tendency or random factor. Instead, we can trust that God has made us his sons and daughters when we make the decision to obey the commandments of God. And even though, given the length of the Law, that may seem impossible, I think we need to remember that, according to Jesus, the entire Law can be summed up in two commands: that we love God and neighbor. That’s what we’ve been commanded to do. And when we decide to do it, not only will we know that we’re a member of the family, so will those around us.