THE DOCTRINE OF ASSURANCE
1 John 5:13
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."
Can a believer know that he is saved and secure concerning his destiny? Some think that this is a denominational doctrine created as an article of faith based on opinion. This is not true as we will observe in this meditation.
If there is one word more than any other which characterizes or describes the times in which we live, surely that word is uncertainty. Everything around us, everything temporal, is uncertain, and consequently men’s hearts are filled with fear, anxiety, and depression.
GOD WANTS US TO KNOW THAT JESUS IS OUR OWN PERSONAL SAVIOUR
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>Paul taught that salvation is a personal matter of knowing Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:12, "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
<![if !supportLists]>2. <![endif]>Then John writes in words to those who believe in Jesus. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” To whom is this text addressed? It is to “you that believe on the name of the Son of God.”
<![if !supportLists]>3. <![endif]>What did John want the believer to know? He says, “that ye may know that ye have eternal life.”
<![if !supportLists]>4. <![endif]>Then John repeats, “and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” John adds this so that we will understand that there is nothing to add to the one condition to our salvation.
<![if !supportLists]>5. <![endif]>This text deals not with what we believe but Whom we believe. The reason is that salvation is dependent upon what Jesus did for us on the cross and what He is doing now. Hebrews 7:25, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." When Jesus took our case, He took it permanently. He will never leave us or forsake us.
HE WANTS US TO KNOW THAT ALL OUR SINS ARE ETERNALLY FORGIVEN
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>The Christian's sins are forgiven. 1 John 2:12, "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake."
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>First, John declares the reason that he is writing them is because their sins are forgiven. When God forgives He forgets; Hebrews 10:17, "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." If you confess sin and it comes back up again, it is not God who brings it up. Satan is the accuser of the brethren and constantly lies to believers concerning past sins. The more Satan can keep you unsettled about your salvation, the less effective you will be about witnessing to others of your salvation.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Second, John wants us to know the basis of salvation is that they are “forgiven you for His name's sake.” Salvation is not denominational, or, it is not personal attainment by our works, it is “for his name's sake.”
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Third, John, in the use of “little children,” wants us to know that they have a child's relationship to the Father. It is Scriptural to say, “I am a child of God. I have been born into His family and He has accepted me as His child.” If God calls me His child, it is right for me to know that is true and assume the title “a child of God.”
GOD WANTS US TO KNOW WE HAVE PASSED FROM DEATH TO LIFE
God does not solicit our faithfulness as a means of salvation or security. Love and willing service is what God asks of us. Missions of Christians over the years have given their lives in service for the Lord expecting nothing but “well done thou good and faithful servant.”
When a person is saved he is passed from death to life. The first thing we must understand is that there are several deaths spoken of in Scripture. There is physical death and I think all of us understand that. Then there is spiritual death. This is where salvation takes place.
When God created Adam and warned him about the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:16‑17, "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and he did not die physically. Now God does not play around with words. When God said, “In the day thou eatest there of thou shalt surely die,” He meant exactly what He said. In this case God was not speaking of physical death but spiritual death.
Adam died the day he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil just as God had said. And when he did he involved all of his descendants. Romans 5:12, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" The spiritual death that Adam experienced passed to the entire human race.
Theology calls this total depravity. Some resist this because when they do, they have to accept that there is not one thing a person can do to justify himself before God. But whether they accept it or not it is a fact. This Bible truth rules out the possibility of salvation by works. It also rules out salvation by a mixture of grace and works.
The question naturally arises about babies that die in infancy? They are safe until they reach the age of accountability. One has to be old enough to believe the gospel and know they are sinners and need to be saved. Romans 7:9, "For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died."
When one is saved it is a spiritual resurrection. Ephesians 2:1, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;"
Jesus declares this same truth in John 5:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>The first step in passing from death to life is to hear what Jesus calls “My Word.”
<![if !supportLists]>2. <![endif]>The second step Jesus says, “and believeth on him that sent me.”
<![if !supportLists]>3. <![endif]>The third step is stated in the words, “and believeth on him that sent me.”
<![if !supportLists]>4. <![endif]>The fourth step is a certain salvation. This is brought out in the words, “hath everlasting life.” The word “hath” translates “echo” and means, “to have (hold) in the hand, in the sense of wearing, to have (hold) possession of the mind.” Most professing Christians believe that there is eternal life to be had. But the difference is where the eternal life begins. Jesus puts eternal life in the present tense.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>This means that eternal life is not pie in the sky by and by. It is an experience here and now. The least that this can mean is that the believer has as a present possession, eternal life.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Jesus said in John 11:25‑26, "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" The Bible is clear that physical and spiritual death are not the same. In physical death the believer's spiritual life is not effected. 2 Corinthians 5:8, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>The next thing Jesus says in this verse is, “and shall not come into condemnation.” The word “condemnation” speaks of a judicial judgment. Jesus is saying that it is not in the future for the believer in Christ.
<![if !supportLists]>2. <![endif]>The last thing Jesus says is, “but is passed from death unto life.” The words “is passed” translates “metabaino” and means, “to pass over from one place to another, to remove, depart.” This is a perfect tense verb. The perfect tense refers to completed action in the past, that remains true in the present. We are saved in the perfect tense and this means what happens in the past (salvation) will always be true in the present.
Salvation has to do with bringing God's lost race back to himself. He does it in a way where He takes the complete responsibility so there won't be any question about it's success. God doesn't fail. This is true in salvation as it is in all other things.
<![if !supportLists]>3. <![endif]>John 10:27‑28, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." There are three things in these two verses that give unmistakable assurance:
The first thing Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice.” Do we hear His voice? Lost people do not have the capacity to hear His voice. It is not an audible voice but it nevertheless is clear to us as His children when He speaks.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>The second thing in this verse is, “And I know them, and they follow me.” These are the words of Jesus. Jesus knows us by name. Not only knows our names but He also knows our strengths and weaknesses. He also says, “they follow me.” This is an essential evidence of salvation. Jesus says, “And I know them, and they follow me.” That is shotgun barrel straight. If you don't follow Him, you don't know Him.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>The third thing Jesus says is, “I give unto them eternal life.” Eternal life is a gift. It is not something one works for. I know that it disturbs a lot of professing Christians when you say that salvation is a gift that cannot be worked for. They say, if you tell Christians that, that they will never serve the Lord. Well, I have been serving the Lord for many years. My wife has done the same. I am not doing it to be saved or to stay saved. I have been given a gift of eternal life and Romans 11:29 says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>The fourth thing Jesus says is a guarantee to the believer: “and they shall never perish.” What a promise that is. This also harmonizes with many other Scriptures. Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>The fifth thing Jesus says in this verse is “neither shall any man pluck them our of my hand.” Satan has his men who constantly challenge our faith in the Word of God. Jesus is clear that He is the one that's holding on. We are saved by His power.
All my doubts I give to Jesus;
I've His gracious promise heard:
I shall never be confounded,
I am trusting in that word.
All I am I give to Jesus;
All my body, all my soul;
All I have, and all I hope for,
While eternal ages roll.
I am trusting, fully trusting,
Sweetly trusting in His word;
I am trusting, fully trusting,
Sweetly trusting in His word.
May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.