Forthright Magazine

Born again confidence

1 John highlights 5 lines of evidence confirming one’s spiritual birth. Full appreciation of John’s message requires a brief introduction.

John’s Brief Handbook

In John’s day, the umbrella overshadowing those espousing God and Christ comprised a mixed spiritual bag (1 John 1:6,7; 2:4,6,11,24). Surveying this blended religious landscape, John desired to support those walking in the light.

God’s people were facing the challenge of determining what constituted reliable spiritual teachings and practices (1 John 2:26).  1 John provided a brief handbook to encourage God’s people that they were on the authentic path.

One of John’s methods involved identifying qualities that would distinguish God’s people from those in religious darkness. John outlined lifestyle characteristics affirming who had been born of God. The antithesis of his list reveals the dangers threatening his early Christian context.

Writing for a Christian readership, no need existed to instruct them how to become God’s children. Rather, John provided confidence for those in the light by listing characteristics affirming who had been fathered by God.

To be blunt, just being a loving person or ceasing sinful ways does not prove someone has been born of God. Rather, for those who’ve obeyed the gospel these qualities affirm they have been born of God.

5 Characteristics Of Those Born Of God

To those who had responded to the gospel, John wrote they could know they had been born of God if they:

  • practice righteousness (1 John 2:29).  Their lifestyle involves doing what is right in God’s eyes.
  • stop living a sinful lifestyle (1 John 3:9; 5:18). They repent rather than willingly plunge forward in perpetuating sinful ways.
  • love others, God and Christ (1 John 4:7; 5:1)
  • believe Jesus is the Messiah (1 John 5:1)
  • overcome the world’s ways by trust and believing Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:4-5)

John’s words comfort us. They give us confidence. They reassure us Christ’s blood continues to forgive us.

What we have seen and heard we announce to you too, so that you may have fellowship with us (and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ). Thus we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:3-7

1 John does not teach us how to become God’s people. It can reassure us about our fellowship with God and his Son.


Barry Newton
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