Read His Words Before Ours!
I love shocking our kids with our vast amount of life experience knowledge. Our son sat down to dinner one night and then suddenly made a face as he quipped to his sister in that just-between-you-and-me-secret way, “Oh no, I forgot my “sitting thing”.
Chris and I just looked at each other and smirked as he said, “You mean a whoopee cushion?”
“What?! How did you know?” our son questioned in disbelief.
“You forget that I was a boy once too,” he laughingly quipped.
There are some things we know because we’ve been told and we believe the source and can study the evidence, like history. Then there are things we know because we’ve lived it and the reality of it is so embedded in us that we simply can’t deny it.
When it comes to knowing the future, there’s simply nothing that we can know as solidly as the past. What’s done is done, but what will come….well, we can only make our best guesses, except for maybe death and taxes. 🙂
But like in everything else, Jesus offers us more.
More depth, more knowing, and infused in it all, more hope.
If anyone could claim to have known Jesus best while He was on the earth, it would have been John. He was even known as the disciple whom Jesus loved. The letter of I John opens with a poetic and persuasive picture of John’s experience:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you. I John 1:1-3
John had truly experienced Jesus. He saw Him preach, heal, love, get angry, be tired and hungry, and after 3 years of walking with the Light of the World, John declares with absolute confidence that “whoever has the Son has eternal life; whoever does not have the Son of God, does not have eternal life.” I John 5:12
John’s life, career, relationships, and the trajectory of his every day were drastically altered by his hands-on experience with the Savior of the world and he pleads with us to know Christ with the same kind of intimacy. 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. I John 5:13
John claims over and over in his letters that we can absolutely, most assuredly know that our eternity is safe, but he also makes it clear that not everyone will inherit it. John prods us to ask ourselves if our salvation is genuine. Nowhere in the entire Bible do we find that “praying a prayer”, “walking the aisle”, “filling out a card”, or “attending a class” is the process of salvation. In fact, it’s entirely possible for people to “think” they have Christ, but indeed not have His inheritance at all.
Laying hold of salvation isn’t a matter of checking off a box, but radically being remade. It’s seeing your sin, seeing how unholy you are before a perfect God, and realizing you have no way to bridge that gap unless by complete trust in the righteous sacrifice of Christ given on your behalf. It’s recognizing that there is no life apart from Jesus and surrendering yourself entirely to Him.
Salvation isn’t a mental activity, but a heart choice that transforms your everything.
Just as the law of gravity says that what goes up, must come down, the law of love says that you cannot go unchanged after encountering it. Genuine love changes our hearts; it’s impossible to continue with the same heart and mind once you have authentically received Christ’s love. John cautions us, Matthew warns us, and Peter begs us, check your heart for radical transformation.
How can we know? John ties it all together for us with another solid assurance, 19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. I John 3:19-24
If you could pull up a chair with John, sip a hot mocha with him, look him square in the eyes and ask, “John, how can I know for sure that my eternity is secure?” His answer would be 2-fold, just like the verses above. He would say you can know that you belong to the Truth and have complete confidence before the righteous God of the universe if you follow His commandment to 1) believe (genuinely and authentically with your heart) in the saving Name of Jesus Christ as atonement for your sins and 2) love one another. “All of this”, John would beckon with a wide smile and eyes fiery with passion, “is made possible by the Holy Spirit of God, whom has been given to us by God Himself.”
Salvation isn’t possible without God.
Loving others transformatively isn’t possible without God.
But all is ours through Jesus and made secure by His righteousness.
The proof is evidenced by the living and breathing of the Holy Spirit working out love in our everyday lives.
Can we know for sure that our eternity is secure? For Certain, beyond a doubt.
How are our souls kept safe? By the Holy God.
Not by our ability to obey, not even by our ability to love well, but by the gracious, good, all-powerful God whose Spirit lives and moves and breathes in us.
It’s the Spirit’s presence that seals us. Ephesians 1:13-14
Christ who continually transforms us. Colossians 1:21-23
And God the Father who stands guard over us, keeping us safe until that glorious day when we finally are welcomed home for eternity. I Peter 1:3-5
As we lean into Him, He transforms us with His beautiful fullness, meeting us right in the middle of our everyday lives and calling us ever deeper into more.
Ready for more? Dig Deeper!
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