Assurance of Salvation

The book of 1 John is written to show people their spiritual condition -- whether or not they have a real relationship with God. In the book, the Apostle John (one of the original disciples of Jesus) lists five evidences of genuine faith.

In his opening statements, he writes: "This is the message we have heard from him [Jesus] and declare to you: God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him, yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth." (1:6)

Evidence #1 - CONFESSION

1 John 1:9 explains, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Sin can be simply defined as the evil things human beings do, everything from lying to adultery to jealousy to anger. The Bible is clear that in order to find forgiveness from God, a person must confess (admit) their wrongdoing to God.

Often, people aren't willing to admit they've failed or disobeyed God. Such a person is deceived. We must confess our sins to God, or He will not forgive us.

Confession is acknowledging the fact that you have broken God's Law and rejected His authority. It is a heart attitude that says: "Lord, I am nothing without you. I've blown it, I've messed up, I've disobeyed you. I need you to change me."

People who really have a relationship with God are willing to confess their sins to Him, because they want to obey their Lord.

Evidence #2 - OBEDIENCE

"We know that we have come to know Him if we obey his commands. The man who says, 'I know him' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in Him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in Him. This is how we know that we are in him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did." (2:3-6)

If we don't obey the Lord, we don't belong to Him; our obedience is the proof that our faith is real. The famous Apostle Paul said that he would preach that people needed to "prove their repentance by their deeds." He also spoke of the "obedience that comes from faith."

True faith always results in a change of lifestyle. A person who previously was walking in darkness, away from God, changes direction and begins a new type of living. They may not do everything perfectly, but their desire is to learn how to obey Jesus.

Evidence #3 - ALLEGIANCE

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." (1 John 2:15-17)

People who have a real relationship with God don't love the things of the world (pride, lust, and greed). Instead, they ask God to help them overcome their past sins, pledging allegiance to Jesus as their new Master.

There will always be a temptation to go back to sinful living, but God has promised to finish the good work He has begun in our hearts. We must be willing to say "no" to sin, because we love God!

Evidence #4 - VICTORY

"He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains on him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." (3:7-9)

The whole reason Jesus had to come was simple: the devil had lead mankind astray, and Jesus came to restore our relationship with the Creator -- to guide us back home. Jesus came to DESTROY the devil's work -- sin.

People who follow Jesus have a new life "planted" inside them -- a seed of righteousness, that grows every day. If you really have a relationship with God, you won't want to continue living a sin-filled lifestyle, with all the bad habits and evil behavior that used to define you.

As a Christian, you have a whole new definition. "Christian" means "little Christ" or "Christ-follower!"

When Christians do sin, the Apostle John explains that we have Jesus standing in our defense. He knows we are weak, and His goal is to help us on our journey toward getting evil out of our lives completely. He wants us to experience victory!

Evidence #5 - LOVE

"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death." (3:14)

When Jesus takes over our lives, He gives us new desires. Love, the most important commandment in the Bible, is a powerful evidence that God has really come into our lives. If a person doesn't love Him and other people, it probably means they don't really know Jesus.

"We love because he first loved us. The one who says 'I love God' yet hates his brother is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." (4:19-21)

John is conveying a very simple message -- we must love others in the same way that Jesus loved us. We are not talking about "romantic" love here -- this kind of love goes much deeper. It is love that reaches out to the lost, feeds the hungry, aids the poor, shares the Good News of the Bible, and genuinely cares about the needs and feelings of others.

Conclusion: Can I Know for Sure?

Absolutely! It is possible to know if your relationship with God is real. The changes He begins to make in your attitude, lifestyle, and thoughts are powerful evidence that He is at work in your life.

"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." (5:13)

John wrote the book of 1 John so that we could know for sure that we have His life inside of us. There are many pretenders out there -- fake Christians who give the rest of us a bad name. How can I know if I'm real? Remember this simple statement: the proof isn't in the talk, it's in the walk.

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)

The famous poet Robert Frost wrote:

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
and I, I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference."

What Should I Do Now?

1. Read the book of 1 John in your Bible. If you don't have a copy, you can read it online here (you may want to print out the pages so that you can take your time considering God's truths)

2. Begin praying that God would help you walk in the light. What sins are in your life that need to be confessed to God? Ask Him for the power to change.

3. Download our free tool "Keys to Sin-Free Living." It is a Bible study that will help you overcome sins and learn to love God.


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