By This We Shall Know
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 2 Corinthians 13:5
A few weeks ago, our teaching pastor, Greg Gibson, started a sermon with this verse. He was encouraging us in the way of assurance, not fear and doubt, and went on to explain the difference between superficial and saving faith. You can listen here to the 6th sermon in our “Believe” series at Living Hope Church.
Like the Gospel of John, the book of 1 John has an excellent way of examining our lives. The Apostle describes non-believers with phrases like this: if we walk in darkness, if we say we have no sin, do not keep his commandments, hate our brother, love the world and the things in the world (desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions), deny that Jesus is the Christ, and make a practice of sinning. On the contrary, he gives believers assurance in this way: if you walk in the light, confess sin, keep commandments, love your brother, do the will of the father, say Jesus is God’s son and the Way to the Father, and cannot keep on sinning. “Sin and child of God are incompatible. They may occasionally meet; they cannot live together in harmony.” John Stott
John also encouraged his listeners to abide in the last hour. They were seeing some leave the church. The disciple said if they had truly been of us, they would have continued with us; endurance is the mark of a follower of Christ.
“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. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 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. 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.” 1 John 3:19-24