Because I like his ability to act on the big screen, I’m hoping he doesn’t take it personal that I stole the title of one of his films to write this blog.
Actually, this post is more interested in providing evidences from the pages of the Bible for ‘knowing’ where we stand with God. How do we ‘know’ we’ve experienced the ‘new birth’ in Christ Jesus. Surely something of this magnitude and eternal importance comes with some guarantee.
Rest assured, it does. John penned his first letter to believers with exactly this purpose… to give them assurance in their faith. He wrote this letter so they could rest in the promises of God (1 John 5:13).
But these words are sometimes harsh. Especially when we begin to weigh them against our own lives. So, without further ado, prepare for the Holy Spirit’s exam.
John says those who are truly the children of God will:
… Recognize their sin, confess, and repent (1:8-10)
… Love God and keep His commandments (2:3-6),
… Love others (2:7-17) (3:11-18) (4:7-12), [by the way, this isn’t simply saying, ‘I love you,’ it’s sacrificial giving to meet needs, just as ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son’…]
… not love the world and the things of the world (2:15-17),
… overcome the world (5:4-5).
Notice what’s not in John’s list? He doesn’t mention a visible morality, intellectual knowledge, or even religious involvement. John doesn’t offer an emotional reaction to a sermon, walking an aisle, signing a card, or being dipped in a pool of water. While all of these may be positive reactions to Jesus’ call on our lives, none of them make John’s list of evidences of true faith.
As a matter of fact, everything John teaches about the security of salvation, along with Paul, Peter, James, and most importantly, Jesus, is written in the perfect tense. They are saying, don’t look to the past, look at the current evidence… right now! Are you living for Jesus right now? If not, Paul says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are of the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).”
(Our pastor is currently working through the first letter written by John in the Sunday morning services. So not only have I stolen a title from Nicholas Cage, but also pieces from my pastor’s sermons. Guess I better re-read my post… ouch!)