Friday, June 27, 2008

Evidence of a Regenerate Heart

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.”
- 1 John 3:14

“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”
- 1 John 3:14-16

“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;”
- 1 Peter 1:22-23

“In his Farewell Sermon to the Northhampton congregation, he (Jonathan Edwards) admonished his parishioners not to think of themselves as Christians unless they ‘fervently love all men, of whatever party or opinion, and whether friendly or unkind, just or injurious, to you or your friends, or to the cause and kingdom of Christ.’”
- Quoted by Gerald McDermott in One Holy and Happy Society, p. 109

“Love is the supreme manifestation of the new life, so much so that any one who fails to manifest is shows that he has never entered into the new life; ‘he abides in death’.”
- F.F. Bruce, The Epistles of John, p. 96

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

How do we know that we are a Christian? We know we are a Christian by our trust in Christ alone as the satisfaction for our sins, but is that all? Are there objective criteria pointing to saving faith? To be sure there are certain propositional truths that we must believe, but are there other ways we can perceive the evidences of saving faith? Too often we relegate saving faith to the cerebral. If we just believe these certain propositional truths we have assurance of our salvation, but God’s will revealed through His Word is much more particular. The Apostle John records one way to recognize saving faith is in the evidence of love we have for our brothers and sisters. When the gospel takes hold in our heart our affections are changed from being primarily self-focused to being primarily others-focused. A true Christian loves other Christians and looks for ways to express that love to them. They are members of the same family and there is familial love evident between them. There is a grace-given effusion of love welling up within the Christian that is to be poured out in affection for others. Because the love of God has been poured out upon us in Jesus Christ we have been given new life and a new nature to love one another. The Christian cannot help it; love is part of his new DNA. Love is demonstrative. Love forgives. Love shows mercy. Love meets needs. Love protects. Love doesn’t keep score. Love serves. Love is longsuffering. Love bears burdens. This is the way that everyone knows we belong to Christ; we love one another.

I am grateful to be part of a church where the evidence of regeneration in genuine love is manifest. You are His disciples, because I’ve seen it.

With much affection, Dan

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