If we were to sit down for coffee and be honest with one another as Christians, I would dare to say we have all faced a time where we struggled with finding assurance of salvation. I believe this is, in part, to an issue we observed last week. Just as love too often is defined merely as a feeling, we tend to base our assurance of salvation on our feelings. We say or think, “I really don’t feel saved right now.” The problem with such a mindset is it is not biblical. The ruler for assurance of salvation is not a subjective basis of our feelings. The ruler for assurance of salvation is founded on the basis of the objective truth of God’s Word. Our hearts are not reassured as Christians by how we feel. Our hearts are reassured as Christians by knowing we are of the truth because we know the One who is truth (3:19). While we may feel our heart is condemning us, we can be sure God is greater than our hearts because He is the One who knows everything and yet still have saved us by His grace (3:20). Our confidence for assurance of salvation does not come from our feelings but from our faith. We can be confidence of our salvation due to the righteousness of Christ. We stand before God in the righteousness of Christ. The evidence we are in Christ is we desire to obey what we have received from Him, His Word, and we keep His Word for the purpose of pleasing Him (2:22). The pinnacle of obedience to the Lord is seen by believing in the name of the Son of God and extending love to one another. Belief in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the truth by which our hearts can be reassured we are God’s children and belief in His person and work is the only channel through which we can properly obey God. Without faith in Christ, our attempts to obey the Word of God are in vain. To approach and apply Scripture in our own power is to miss the point. We must begin with trusting in who Christ is and what He did for us. Once we see the Son of God rightly, then we will confess our sins against Him and turn to Him in faith. As a result of our faith in Him, we can love others. The love we receive from God enables us to love Him and to overflow into love for one another. This is particularly important for us to understand in the church. Some professing Christians may remark, “I love God but I cannot stand the church.” While the church is made up of those who are saved sinners, the Bible is clear for Christians to be those who love God and love one another. The reassurance we can have to know we are genuinely Christians is based on objectivity, not subjectivity. It is not based on our feelings but based on how we live our life. Are we living a life characterized by love for those in the body of Christ? Of course, none of us obey and love perfectly. There is not one of us who would claim to love is an easy task. But God has given us the means to accomplish it. Better yet, God has given us a person to enable us to display it. The Spirit of God is who enables us to love one another. By loving one another, we are shown to be keeping His commands. When we keep His commandments, we are revealing we are abiding in God. It is in God we find our hearts are reassured.
- As a Christian, what do you attempt to place our assurance of salvation on: in how you feel or in faith on what God has said in His Word?
- Why does John focus on belief in the Son of God and love for one another as the commandments we keep for evidence of our salvation in Christ?