Monday, February 25, 2013
1 John 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—
Yesterday we considered two distinctions within the doctrine of perseverance: eternal security of the believer and assurance of salvation. We also briefly considered four ways we can see God being the Fountain of Christian Assurance of Salvation:
1. Work of Christ - Evidence of God being the Fountain of Assurance. 1 John 1:1
2. Will of the Father - Eternal Foundation from whence comes the Fountain of Assurance. 1 John 1:2
3. Work of the Holy Spirit - Effects Fellowship between believers and God who is the fountain of Christiann assurance. 1 John 1:3
4. Word of God - Explains fully how the Triune God is the Fountain of Christian Assurance. 1 John 1:4
Since we only briefly touched upon how it is God is the Fountain of blessed assurance in 1 John 1:1-4, I thought we would take some time in today's post to expand upon the four main thoughts listed at the end of yesterday's post. So how it it that God is the fountain of Christian Assurance in the Persevering of Christians in their salvation?
1. Work of Christ. 1 John 1:1
John starts out his letter by noting the Lord Jesus Christ and his firsthand witness of Jesus' life and ministry. Curiously John does not say in 1:1 "He who was from the beginning, whom we have heard, who we have seen with our eyes, whom we have looked at and touched with our hands..." Rather John states: "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life" using the terms "what" rather than "who". Why the impersonal pronouns in this opening verse? John is concerned with establishing the foundation for Christian perseverance and blessed assurance in salvation. In using these neuter pronouns, John is focusing our attention upon the work of Christ, rather than the Person of Christ. Passages such as John 5:24, 10:28-29, 17:24 and Hebrews 7:25 also testify to Christ's work as being the evidence of God being the Fountain of assurance. Christ Himself is God who came in human flesh. We know from other passages that salvation is from the Lord. (Jonah 2:9-10) It is because of the once and for all finished work of Jesus Christ that we who have by grace through faith believed can know that we know that we are forever saved. John closes out this first verse by using the title "the Word" as a reference to the Eternal pre-existence of God the Son, which He had written about in the prologue to his Gospel. (John 1:1-18). So the Work of Christ is the evidence of God being the fountain of Christian assurance, but notice secondly...
2. The Father's Will. 1 John 1:2
1 John 1:2 tells us - "and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us." Notice that term "manifested" in this verse - it refers to something previously huidden that is now made fully revealed. God the Father and the Son in eternity made a covenant that redemption would be sought and bought by the action of the Son coming to take upon Himself a full human nature. John 3:16 and other passages tells us that it was the Father's will for the Son to be virgin born, live a perfect life, die on the cross and be raised from the dead. But now notice the two word phrase at the end of the verse: "to us". That little phrase carries a lot of weight, since it tells us that God willed salvation for all who by His grace would believe. (John 1:12-13) It is God's will for the Christian to be kept until the end. (1 Peter 1:5) God the Father is the One who has willed for Christians to make it, persevere and to appear before His throne with great joy in eternity. (Jude 24-25). So the work of Jesus Christ the Son is the evidence and the Father's Will is the eternal foundation for God being the fountain of Christian assurance. But notice thirdly....
3. The Work of the Holy Spirit. 1 John 1:3
1 John 1:3 states: "what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." Now you may ask where we find the Holy Spirit in verse 3? As is often the case throughout the scripture, the Holy Spirit's job is to point our attention to Jesus Christ, who in turn points us to God the Father. The Holy Spirit, though co-equal with the Father and the Son, chooses to be submissive to the Father's will and the Son's work when it comes to the Triune God's plan of salvation. The Holy Spirit is the One who makes the fellowship spoken of here by John a reality. (Romans 8:16)
At salvation, the Holy Spirit is the One who seals the Christian and gurantees that the Christ Whom they have believed in will deliver on His promises. (Ephesians 1:13-14) It is the Holy Spirit who applies the graces of assurance to every Christian who is in fellowship with Him. (Romans 5:1-5) In salvation, God the Father plans it, the Son purchased it and the Spirit applies it. It is the Spirit Himself Who tells me that He as God is the Fountain of my assurance. It is in His work that He brings to me the Person and Power of God the Son, Who then reassures my heart with the love of the Father. (1 John 3:1-3) So with the work of the Son, the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit we see God as the Fountain of Christian assurance. But lets notice one final truth..
4. The Word of God fully tells us that God is the fountain of Christian Assurance. 1 John 1:4
John communicates in 1 John 1:4 - "These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. " As John has communicate the Eternal Security side of Christian perseverance in 1 John 1:1-3, He now deals with the assurance side, our experience, of such security. We find out that by the scriptures are we able to see that God is the Fountain of Christian assurance. It is by them that we are saved and believe. (James 1:18; Colossians 3:16) Furthermore, it is by the scriptures that we are able to persevere in hope. (Romans 15:4) Thus through these four truths of Christ's work, the Father's will, the Spirit's work and the Word of God, we can see how God is the Fountain for Christian Assurance as we endeavor as believers to persevere in the blessedness of such assurance.