walk in the word
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. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him (1 John 5:13-15, ESV).
The apostle John didn’t leave us guessing as to why he wrote his letter. The reasons are stated clearly in 1 John, “I write these things . . . so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
You can be assured of eternal life. Some might say, “I think it’s kind of arrogant when people claim they know they’re going to heaven.” But it’s not arrogant; it’s biblical. The Holy Spirit inspired John to write these words and God wants you to have this certainty.
In this letter John included several marks of an authentic Christian—indicators that give evidence, not perfectly but increasingly, of those “who believe.”
We love deeply. A true follower of Jesus Christ loves deeply. You love God more as time goes on. You love other people more than you used to. You often reflect on the Father’s love through His Son Jesus Christ. It’s different than any other love you will ever experience from any human being. The love of Jesus is totally unselfish, and it lasts forever. It is a love that knows you completely, and is perfect. A true follower of Jesus loves like Him.
We obey faithfully. You used to do your own thing. That was before you came to know Christ. Now you’re becoming more concerned about what God wants you to do, and you’re obeying faithfully and increasingly.
We live authentically. In his first letter, John can hardly wait to share what he’s got. That’s the cherry on the sundae of the Christian life—leading someone to Christ and sharing what God has done for you. But you must have it to share it. Your old behavior may have been to put on a mask and make people think certain things about you. But now you don’t want to play games; you want to be authentic. True followers of Jesus strive to be real, honest, open, and transparent.
We believe confidently. You used to be filled with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. But you’ve learned to trust God with your life. You don’t know what’s coming up ahead, but with His help you’re going to get through it. This is the Good News; you don’t have to go to hell to pay for your sin yourself. And sitting here and reading it won’t get it done for you. You have to say to God, “I need it. I want it. I choose it.” Jesus offered Himself as our substitute and took upon Himself the payment for our sins. Your salvation is secure in Christ.
These are marks of authenticity—challenge yourself to pursue them. Be diligent in your pursuit, and by God’s grace these marks will be increasingly evident in your life.
Which of these marks do you strongly identify with at this point in your Christian life?
Do any of these marks seem out of reach to you right now? What can you do to pursue it?
Father, thank You not only for the promise of transformation in Your Son, but also for the personal details of Your work in me so I can track my progress and allow You to correct my failures. Thank You for the deep thrill of knowing I have eternal life, not by any merit of my own, but fully and freely given to me by You. And I’m so very thankful to Your Son, Jesus, who made all this possible. In His name I pray, amen.
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