Thursday, July 19
A Magnificent Gift
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life."
One simple phrase in 1 John's epilogue closing the letter. Clearly the author was writing to a community of believers. Interestingly, they don't say, "you have eternal life if you believe." No, they state, "...so that you may know that you have eternal life." The gift is already given.
Ok, you argue, but like I said, the letter is written to believers. Point taken. But... if eternal life is dependent on our believing, that raises a lot of difficult questions. Like, believe in what? That Jesus is God? That God is God? That Jesus saves? Saves who, how? The phrase states, "who believe in the name of the Son of God." What does it mean to believe in a name? Is it that the name is Jesus? Is it that the name identifies Jesus as God? Or simply identifies Jesus as God's son?
As you can see, it's never going to be as simple as, "believe and be saved."
But it can be simple if we hang our hats on this: "know that you have eternal life." If the gift is God's, rather than a carrot dangling in front of those who dare to believe -- if the gift is not dependent on our ability to believe, interpret, or understand, then it is truly a magnificent gift!
Narrative Lectionary Text: 1 John 5:13
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.