“You may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13)
Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? This is the most important question every single human being needs to address. This is not a question to throw into the back of your mind but it must be answered. You may ask, “Why?” The answer is simple yet profound: Your eternal destiny is at stake. The book of 1 John is an evaluation test of genuine salvation. John wrote this book so that “you may know that you have eternal life.”
John gives us many characteristics to evaluate our hearts so that we may have confidence as we wait for the return of Christ. He first speaks about the fellowship that believers have with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. This fellowship is enough, more than enough, to complete our joy (1 John 1:3-4). This is an amazing truth considering who we are as sinners. God did not send his Son for those who believe they are without sin. There were many in John’s day and in ours as well that claimed to be good people therefore they had no need for the atoning sacrifice of Christ. This is the pride of man that Christ came to die for on the cross. Those who will not confess and repent of their sin have no covering for sin therefore they have no fellowship with God and walk in the darkness. “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6-7).
A key element to understand in the book of 1 John is not that believers are perfect people but the practice of their lives is walking in righteousness empowered by the Holy Spirit. John talks plenty about the pattern of righteousness compared to a pattern of sin. If he was teaching that Christians were instantly made perfect he would have no need to talk about Christ being our advocate. “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Our former love for the world is being transformed into a love for Christ. Our desires change through the power of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. We no longer are enslaved to the darkness because the light has shown upon us. We can now be obedient to the will of God because he has made us his children. John does not sugar coat it when he says, “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.” This sounds impossible and with man’s strength it is but this is the very reason God sent his Son: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:7-9). If you are a Christian this ought to blow your mind. By God’s grace he has given us the power, in Christ, to submit to his will rather than our own. How are you doing in this area? Do you see the power of Christ working in you? What grace!!
There is so much in this little book. I would encourage each of you to pick up God’s Word and read 1 John. As you read it ask yourself if this represent your life or not. If you read it, as I have in the past, thinking this is impossible than you have your trust in the wrong place. This book is a great test to see whether you are a Christian or not. For those who are may all doubt cease as you read John’s words: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” What confidence we can have in our loving Father who sacrificed his Son in order that we may be called his children for all eternity.
Grace upon grace,