1 John 5:1, NASB, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.”

Don’t tell me that you love me, but that you don’t really care for my wife.

Those were the words of one of my seminary professors, Dr. Gray Allison, commenting on those who claim to love Jesus, but who admittedly have little or no affection for His bride, the church. And his remark was as logical as it was memorable. You don’t truly love Jesus if you don’t love His bride; if you don’t love the ones whom He loves! And, of course, the inverse is also true. If you do love Jesus, you will love his bride.

The apostle John speaks similarly, and powerfully, above. If you love the Father, you will surely love His children! “Whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.” And, of course, the inverse is also true. Don’t tell God that you love Him if you patently do not love His children (or even some or one of His children)!

And who are these children? They are those who have been “born of God”; who have been “born again” to use Jesus’ phraseology from John 3. They are those who have been made new creatures in Christ. And how do we identify such people? How do we know who is “born of God”? One way, according to our text, is that “the child born of God” is distinguishable by his or her faith in Christ! “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” The new birth is evidenced by trust in Jesus!

And so the logic of the text is plain, is it not? If we love the Father, we will love His children. And His children can be recognized by their faith in Jesus as the Christ. And therefore, if we love the Father, we will love those who have such faith; we will love our fellow believers!

Some of them may not always be as loveable as we would like them to be (and they might say the same of us!). But if we love the Father, we will love His children, warts and all. Not all of them will believe like us on certain secondary and tertiary matters – biblical, political, or otherwise. But if by believing on Christ, they give evidence of being born of our Father, then we who love that Father will love these, His children, as our brothers and sisters.

Will we love them perfectly? Not in this life. But if we love the Father, we will certainly love His children truly.

So the question is begged: Do you, reader, love the children of God? Is your church family precious to you? Is the wider church a part of your prayer life? And do you genuinely love the individual Christians in your life? Can it be demonstrated, from your love to His children, that you genuinely love the Father of whom they were spiritually born?

These are convicting questions for me, too! But I must deal with them head-on. And so must you. Don’t tell God that you love Him if you do not truly love “the child born of Him.”

Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org.