Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ
has been begotten by God;
and whoever loves the Father that begot him
loves the child whom he begets.
We can be sure that we love God’s children
if we love God himself and do what he has commanded us;
this is what loving God is –
keeping his commandments;
and his commandments are not difficult,
because anyone who has been begotten by God
has already overcome the world;
this is the victory over the world –
Who can overcome the world?
Only the man who believes that Jesus is the Son of God:
Jesus Christ who came by water and blood,
not with water only,
but with water and blood;
with the Spirit as another witness –
since the Spirit is the truth.
John offers a distinctive Christian anthropology. To believe in Jesus is to be a child of God. To be a child of God is to love God and to be loved by God: and is to share, as it were, in the DNA of God – is to love all of God’s children.
Sometimes in John this love can sound like it is for the Christian only, but the vision is also broader than that. God is love and all creation, including all humanity, has life only through him. The world may seek to constrain, discriminate and exclude. In the mercy of God there is love for all. We are invited to overcome the world so we can love the world.
Photograph of Carving from York Minister, depicting creation. (c) 2007, Allen Morris