Saturday, August 6, 2011
Assurances of Salvation - The Christian's love for God's Closeness and the scriptures
Yesterday we noted that assurance of salvation refers to "knowing that I know that I know that I am a Christian". We also observed that a true believer in Jesus Christ is known by what he or she loves, and what he or she hates. From this point onward, 1 John gives us affirmations of assurance based upon various things that the Christian loves. Truly if we say we love Jesus Christ, then it will be exhibited by loving the things that He loves. As we progress into 1 John, let me mention the key verse of the letter, 1 John 5:13 "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." So what particular areas should a true believer in Jesus Christ see themselves growing in love with as they walk with the Lord? What areas indicate, bear witness, give evidence that I truly am saved from the wrath to come, and have a true heart of faith in Jesus Christ? Below are a couple of key areas that a true child of God should see more and more love.
1. True Christians will ultimately love closeness above comfort
1 John 1:7-9 states: "but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Positively speaking, to fear God means that I will make it my aim to not let anything get between me and my closeness with the Lord. John especially is fond of describing the believer's walk in terms of "walking" and "light". Do I find the pattern of my life gravitating more towards those things which will build me up in my relationship with Christ, or do I go for those things that will gain me favor in the eyes of men?
As we noted yesterday, there will be those moments when the true Christian may choose the things of this world above the things of Christ. However, the true heart of faith cannot persist in such a state. That is why verse 9 is included, since a true believer will correct their course and ultimately strive towards the light. Their love for Jesus, ultimately, is greater than anything they could have towards the world.
2. True Christians have a growing love for His word
1 John 2:3 states - "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments." Jesus says a similar statement in John 14:21"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” The way I regard the written word of God is directly related to how I regard the living word Jesus Christ. Love for the scriptures is the response of a human heart that is open to and touched by the work of God's Divine Grace. When I find myself wavering in my love and passion for the word, I find the words of Psalm 119:18 helpful " Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law." We need God's grace to enable us to love the things He loves. A true believer, over time, will not only learn to love the scripture, but to live to love the scripture. Why? Because it is the written word of God that points the Christian to their first love, Jesus Christ.