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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | 1 John 5:9–13

If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son.

Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (NRSV)

This first letter of John was addressed to a Christian community that was divided over the humanity of Jesus. The author intends to encourage those who have not split off that their confession of the earthly Jesus as the Christ and the Son of God is true. God’s testimony should be believed even more than human testimony: it is our highest authority. The best witness that Jesus is God’s Son is God’s own self. How can believers know the earthly Jesus is, indeed, the Christ, the Son of God? It is validated by the experience of the faith community, which has heard, seen, looked at, and touched the evidence for itself (1 John 1:1–2). Moreover, this truth is the possession of each believer who carries the testimony in their hearts. This is the testimony: God gave us eternal life. This life is in God’s Son. Whoever has the Son has life.

Both the Gospel of John and 1 John understand eternal life to be a present reality as well as a future promise. “Life” has to do with a quality of existence that death cannot destroy. More than “eternal” meaning “lasting forever,” it signifies an ultimate quality of life that is manifested in the here and now.

The most persuasive evidence for eternal life is seen in the extent to which the faith community walks in the way Jesus walked (1 John 2:5–6) and demonstrates love for one another (1 John 4:11–12, 20—21). Laying down one’s life for others, sharing the world’s goods with those in need, loving one another as Jesus commanded—these are hallmarks of eternal life.

Thank you for your encouragement, Divine Love, that following Christ, which means showing love, is the path to abundant and eternal life. May I generously, fearlessly love you and my brothers and sisters. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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