Confidence in Christ
You probably heard the saying; “May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows
you’re dead”. Well this may be funny, but most people in the world don’t know if they are going to heaven, how to get there, nor how to avoid hell. God’s word is clear and gives us a written guarantee here and now in this passage so that we don’t have to wait to find out.
WOW, from this passage it says that we believers have confidence that 1. We have eternal life. 2. We have been placed IN HIM, that is in Christ who is God. 3. We have God’s ear when we know and pray according to his will. 4. We are safe from Satan’s harm. 5. We can know God for real through his Word. This knowledge and confidence should affect the way we live in this world. When we are settled in our minds about our security in the Father, why would we want to live contrary to what God wants for us? This knowledge shows us our responsibility that should govern our choices.
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. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 16 If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. 18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our trademark question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM Jesus – the true God and eternal life. Only I can give you the reason for your confidence. I AM the true God thus I have the power to do all which I promise. I AM eternal life, thus he who is in me, which means, he who relies on my salvation will live forever and is protected from the evil one both in this life and the one to come. I guarantee it.
I AM the God who has done everything necessary for you to have confidence before me. I have left nothing up to chance, or your abilities. I dealt with your sin. I dealt with the devil. I have placed you in my Son and given you His righteousness. I have opened the door for you to come directly before my throne anytime with your petitions, not through some person on earth. I have given you my Word so you can know me and my will for you lives. I have placed my Spirit in you. I have even given your faith. I also have given you the very desire to come to me in the first place. But the choice is still yours as to whether you will avail yourself to all which I have done for you. To live for your will in this life is to live for idols. To live for my will in this life is to live up to that which I have created and saved you for. I AM the God who gave the first choice to Adam and in essence everyday you get that choice too. He chose to live for self in his own wisdom and power rather than in fellowship with me. What about you?
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is verse 13. “These things have been written so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Vs 11-13 God guarantees us in writing. God doesn’t take back what he promises. Last week the previous verses said that “…he who has the Son of God has life.” Like I like to say, “the Gospel is what God did for us through Christ’s work on the cross, not what we can do to earn heaven”. When we believe what He did for us; allow him to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves; God saves us and places us in his Son and his Spirit in us. PERIOD. Believe – receive. God plus nothing. All we can do is to THANK HIM. Consequently this guarantee is what only He can give us. There is nothing we can do to remove ourselves from that position in God. If we could, that would mean that we are stronger than God, or that God goes back on his promises to us. Wrong on both counts.
Nothing we can do can earn heaven
When I was a brand new believer in Christ as a young man, I was talking to a Mormon once (before I knew about their heresy); I mentioned to him how special it was to know here and now that I am now going to heaven. He retorted that we couldn’t know in this life whether we would make it or not. How SAD. Mormon people are so nice. However, they are required to be nice because their view of salvation mandates it. Unfortunately for them, they will be very disappointed when they come to the judgment. No amount of good works, no amount of love, no amount of money, no amount of missionary work, no amount of baptism will ever measure up to God’s perfect righteous standard. We can do nothing good enough to earn heaven. Only those who are in Christ by faith, who have Christ’s righteousness, will be given access to heaven. God guarantees it in this passage.
Pray for each other
We know that God is at work in all things in our lives and circumstances in order to mold us into the image of his Son. We know that He promises us that he will keep that which we have committed unto him until that final day. We know that it is God’s will that his children grow through difficult circumstances and temptations into maturity. Consequently we may pray with confidence for each other as believers when any one of us chooses to walk contrary to God’s character in us. However, some people just won’t repent of it. The Apostle Paul instructed the church in one city to turn one such man over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme. We all know belligerent people who shake their fists at God. But the rest of us need prayer to avoid lingering in and toying with our pet sins. James says to confess our sins one to another so that we may be healed. Pray for each other that God would grant them repentance.
What are idols?
An idol is anything that we hold dear in our lives that occupies God’s place in our lives, and is not limited to craven images but can be our hobbies, children, work, possessions, and even our religious activities such as “doing” church (Religion – they honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me). Rev ch 3 shows us that even Christians can leave their first love of God for the idol of religious activity.
Renew your confidence in God’s Word and promises, repent of the idols in your life, pray for your brothers who are weak and toying with the pleasures of the world, and make a difference in this world.
That is all for 1 John,