Family Features (1 John 5:1-5)

Family Features (1 John 5:1-5)

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MPS: God’s family has distinct features that include right belief and righteousness.

There are five distinct family features for those that are in God’s family, broken down into two general categories. The first category is right belief, or orthodoxy. This includes belief in Jesus as Savior and belief in Him as the Son of God. The second category is righteousness, which is the right application of orthodoxy. This includes love for God, His children, and joyfully obey His commands.

Right belief that Jesus is the Savior and the Son of God. (1a; 5)

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, 

5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 

The first family feature is belief that Jesus is the Savior. (1a) Christ literally means Savior and to believe in this fact is to show to the world that you have been born from God.

  • To believe He is the Savior we must understand our need for saving.
    • None is righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10)
    • All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Rom. 3:12)
    • For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19)
    • And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Lk. 18:19)

Our second family feature is belief that Jesus is the Son of God. (5) The only one to overcome the world is Christ and we are united to Him by faith. Therefore, the one who overcomes the world is the one who believes that the Overcomer is the Son of God. But what does it mean to be the Son of God?

  • Culturally in the 1st Century it meant that He was divine.
  • It also means that He is pre-existent-meaning that He has no beginning. He has always been.
    • and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”” (Mt. 3:17)

Righteousness is to love God, His family, and commands. (1b-4)

and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Third we see that God’s people love God’s people because they’ve been born from Him. (1b) Does that sound confusing? The reason God’s people love God’s people is due to their being born from the same source. We all share the same Father, who is perfect and loving. We share the same supernatural DNA that is given to us by the Holy Spirit. We share Christ and the blessings that come from Him. We love one another because we are family.

Our fourth family feature is joyful obedience to our Father because His commands aren’t a burden to us. (2-3) Do you know who God’s commands are a burden for? Unbelievers; people who aren’t born of God. But for the people of God, His commands are a blessing because they instruct us in righteousness.

  • God’s commands teach us what is good morally.
  • God’s commands teach us what is good for us spiritually.
  • God’s commands teach us how to live out and practice the faith.
  • If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mt. 11:30)

Lastly, God’s people have overcome the power of the world by faith. (4) This feature seems more like a promise looking towards Christ’s return. There is a sense of that in verse four. However, in our union with Christ by the Holy Spirit we are able to overcome sin and temptation. He spurs us on, strengthens us, and comforts us. We can overcome sin and temptation, which are found in this world, not because we are strong, but He who indwells us is strong. How do we receive such a blessing? By faith.

  • For though Satan continually repeats his dreadful and horrible onsets, yet the Spirit of God, declaring that we are beyond the reach of danger, removes fear, and animates us to fight with courage.” (Calvin)
  • 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” (1 Cor. 10:12-14)


“Christian believers are God’s children, born from above. God’s children are loved by all who love God. Those who love God also keep his commands. They keep his commands because they overcome the world, and they overcome the world because they are Christian believers, born from above.” (John Stott)

Next Steps

—>Do you recognize God’s features in your life?

—>Do you appreciate your family features?

—>Take time to dwell on the love of God in your life.


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