The Believer's Spiritual DNA - Part 3 of 3

by Wayne Barber

Wayne BarberWe've been talking about our spiritual DNA from 1 John 4:7-9. John has shown us the Person of this love, who is Jesus Himself, who now lives, in the person of His Spirit, in the hearts of believers. John not only shows us the Person of this love but also he draws a picture of what this love is. He begins verse 9 by saying "By this the love of God was manifested in us." The words "in us" are important because they mean "in our case."-"By this the love of God was manifested in our case." In the Greek, "manifested" is phanero, meaning that it was made clear to us as the children of God. We, as God's children understand this manifestation of the love of God.

"The love of God was manifested in our case by this...." By what? "That God has sent His only begotten Son into the world." In the Greek, "sent" is apostéllo which means to be sent on a mission with a message and with credentials to accomplish something. The credentials that Jesus had in His mission here on this earth were His miracles that were a sign of who He was.

Speaking of the miracles that Jesus did, John said in his Gospel: "But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:31). His mission was to die for our sins on a cruel cross so that we might have eternal life in Him. His message was recorded in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

"By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him" (1 John 4:9). The term "only begotten Son" translates monogené s. It combines monos, meaning "only one," with genos, which means "kind or gender"-hence the only one of a kind. So, "only begotten Son" refers to Christ, the unique, the one and only Son of God who became the Son of Man. Tremendous error has occurred in misunderstanding this term "His only begotten son." You see, there are two views and one of these views confuses everything. One view is that genos, the one and only, came from the word gennao, which refers to a man and a woman coming together and creating a child that has never been. It would have the idea of "begat" and would lead one to think that Jesus was begotten by Mary and Joseph, which the Gnostics would have said in 1st John.

But the other understanding is much more clear. It is that genos comes from the word ginomai which means "to become." This would be in the same sense as in John 1:14: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." "The only begotten Son" means that His Sonship was unique and that He is the Only one of His kind. Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God by whom all things were created! He became the son of man by virgin birth as He came to earth for the express purpose of dying for our sin. "By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him" (1 John 4:9). 

He is the divine picture of what love is as He, who was without sin laid down His life on the cross for us, who are sinners. His coming from glory and dying for us on the cross is the picture of what real love is! This Love is who God is! So, when we love one another, allowing Christ to manifest His love through us, then we will be willing to "lay down our life" as John tells us in 1 John 3:16. 

I've always loved to snow ski. But, I've found out that I learn better when I can follow someone down the slopes and do what they do. It's like a picture that is being drawn for me that helps me to understand better what I'm supposed to be doing. John has just drawn us a picture of the way Jesus enables us to love one another.

Are you getting the picture? How's your love life?

Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico

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