Family traits…we all have them. What is it about your family that is alike, the same, or familiar? As some of you know, my wife Deirdre is an identical twin. In fact, when Deirdre and I dated in college and I saw the twins from a distance, I had a lot of trouble telling them apart. They both looked exactly the same! Even on the phone it was tough because Deirdre and her younger sister sounded the same. So by appearance and even by sound, anyone could tell these girls belonged to the same family.
In much the same way, our text today teaches us that Christians are all from the same family…the family of God. 1 John 5:1 says Christians have been “born of God.” That means we all have the same Father, and we are from the same family. And as such, that means that Christians should have the same family traits: identifications that we all belong to the same family. Just as Deirdre and her sisters could be identified by their appearance and speech, the Apostle John teaches us that there are three identifying “family traits” that all children of God should have.
Now before I mention the three that are found in our text, please know that these should already be familiar to you based on our former sermons. You see, these three family traits are not just found in this one section of 1 John; rather, they are laced throughout this book, from beginning to end, as the core identifying marks of a believer. But as we look at this text today, see if you can spot the three tests of family traits of a Christian:
- Love Test: Do you have love for God and your brothers? (v.1)
- Moral Test: Do you live righteously? (vv. 2-3)
- Doctrinal Test: Do you have a proper understanding of who Jesus is? (vv. 1 and 5)
Now let’s be clear…the Bible is not saying that if you do these things you merit your salvation by doing them. That is not the case at all. We know that we are justified by grace through faith in Jesus; rather, living out these tests give evidence to the fact that you are a Christian. As James would say, “Faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26).
Adam Mumpower, Senior Pastor