Thanks, John, for the Assurance

My favorite of all the apostles is John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” I love his Gospel, the three epistles that he wrote, and Revelation. One of our scripture readings in church on Sunday was from 1 John 4:7-21.

There are a couple of things I love about John’s writings:

  1. He reminds his readers that he was an eye witness to Jesus life, death, and resurrection.
  2. He clearly sets out the evidence for Jesus’ divinity.
  3. He focuses, particularly in the epistles, on the love of God.
  4. He reveals the power and purpose of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers.
  5. He provides believers with an assurance of salvation.

It is this last point that I want to write about today. Early in the history of the Christian faith, deceivers had come into the church who taught that one had to achieve sinless perfection to be saved. John wrote his first epistle to combat this heresy. The same type of heresy has crept into many legalistic denominations even today. By outwardly following the rules, such people claim to be without sin. But as John writes:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10 (NIV).

John here provides assurance that the fact that the believer sometimes sins does not negate their salvation, because Jesus is faithful and forgives our sin. One of the definitions of assurance on is “full confidence; freedom from doubt; certainty.” Throughout this epistle, John provides further assurance that those who trust in Jesus can be assured of their salvation even though they are not sinless and perfect. The word “know” appears 42 times in this short epistle because John wants to make sure believers know that God loves them and that they can rely on His promise of salvation. In each of the chapters of the epistle, John includes his assurance:

I am writing to you, dear children,
   because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
I am writing to you, fathers,
   because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
   because you have overcome the evil one.
1 John 2:12-13 (NIV).

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. 1 John 3:21-24 (NIV).

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. 1 John 4:15-16 (NIV).

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. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:13-14 (NIV).

None of us is perfect and completely sinless. If we were, we would not need a savior. But we do need Him, and we thrive best knowing that He is faithful in His promise of salvation for those who believe.

Now don’t get me wrong. John does not advocate living a life in which we sin willy nilly simply because we know we can be forgiven. Those who truly believe in Jesus, and trust in Him for salvation, will desire to keep God’s commands. His Spirit living in our hearts will help us to overcome the temptations of the world and to love as He has commanded.

You may be struggling today with worries that you are not good enough, or that God will give up on you and you will lose your salvation. But remember – God is faithful in His promises and He has promised eternal life to all who believe in Jesus and allow His love to live in them. He has not hidden the truth from us, but has made Himself known through His Son and the witness of the apostles so that we can be assured of our place in His Kingdom.

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


10 Responses

  1. “The word ‘know’ appears 42 times in this short epistle because John wants to make sure believers know that God loves them and that they can rely on His promise of salvation. ”

    That really is something.

    This really is a well thought out post! I am so glad that you shared it. I think I will come back and look at it again. I am so glad that you wrote those five statements at the top. They are really something I want to look at again.


    • Theresa, I knew you would like this. And I am hoping at some point to do some additional posts on the other points that I’ve noticed from John’s writings. Peace, Linda

  2. That ‘not good enough’ is quite a baggage — “Whatever I do will not be good enough to pay for my sins thus I’m not going to heaven!” Why is it so hard sometimes to accept that He loves us?

    Thanks for the reassurance Linda! 🙂

    • Rea, I think it is hard for some people because of pride. We don’t want to let go of the notion that we could do it ourselves, we could be perfect, if only we would just try hard enough. I read a great post yesterday at Out of Eden Ministries (see my blogroll for link) about God’s Unreasonable Love. You would enjoy it. 🙂 Peace, Linda

  3. While i am not familiar with the bible and the bible stories, i can see that your faith in it is very strong. Thanks for sharing and God Bless, Lisa 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting. The interesting thing about faith is that it comes directly from God and He will give the measure of faith a person desires to have. I can’t imagine life without Him. 🙂 By the way, your White Chocolate Coconut Blondies were a HUGE hit at work, where I had to take some to prevent myself from eating almost the entire pan myself. I will be checking out some of your other recipes, too. Peace, Linda

  4. Linda . . .God bless you for such a powerful and plainly written account of God’s love for us and His promise of salvation. You are right, John has a different appeal in his recording and now I can see that it’s the assurance that he wants us to have in Christ as our Savior and in our salvation through Him. I got that desire from you too, for us to know Him and His love for us, for everyone to know that He has come to save.
    Thank you!!!!!

    • Deb, Like John I believe knowing, truly knowing, God’s love is so important and a message worth sharing. If I can help just one person be sure of God’s love, then I have done something that is pleasing to God. I think of Theresa Moore’s posts about not being sure when she was a new Christian, and I just don’t think anyone should have to be unsure. Peace, Linda

  5. Thanks Linda

    “None of us is perfect and completely sinless. If we were, we would not need a savior. But we do need Him, and we thrive best knowing that He is faithful in His promise of salvation for those who believe.”
    As a new believer, I was advised to read John’s record of the Gospel first. I read it, but I didn’t get it… It was many, many years afterwards that I could see the distinction in the way the books were written.

    I too am thankful for the assurance of salvation. It’s great to know that Jesus chose to love me, regardless.


    • Ann, When I was baptized my husband gave me an NIV study Bible. It was while I was in law school. For some reason, I decided to start with Job. I didn’t make it very far and it was a long time before I picked up my Bible again. Sometimes I wish I had started with John because his account of his experience walking and talking with Jesus has been such a blessing to me. Peace, Linda

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