We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:18-21 ESV)
Assurance of Salvation is Found in the Person of Jesus and the Promise of God
So much of what John has said in this letter is to look at our lives, our directions, and our loves as indicators of whether we are born of God or not. But his final word is not to look at us but to look to God. We know God preserves us. We know God birthed us. We know Jesus is Savior. All my self-evaluations about my life and my faith and my loves and my directions, they are all subjective and can be self-deceived. They are helpful but there is one thing most helpful—looking unto Christ. As Robert Murray McCheyne said, “For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.”
I think much of our struggle with assurance is that we do the opposite. For every look at Christ, we take ten looks at ourselves. What do we see? We see weakness. We see inwardly that we are more selfish, prideful, and worldly than we’d ever post on Facebook or want anyone to know.
I don’t persevere in the faith because I am strong. My moral walk is never good enough. My loves are weak and circumstantial. When my assurance is grounded in any way on me, I will live in terror that I am not saved and facing eternal judgment.
“I looked at Christ and a dove of peace flew into my heart. I looked at the dove and it flew away.” (Charles Spurgeon) John didn’t write that, but he could have. That is what he is saying here. The true God is known through his true Son Jesus, who is the Son of God, and through whom we enter into spiritual fellowship by faith which connects us to the eternal life of God.
So as you search for assurance and if you are struggling to find it, is it your introspection and self-focus or self-obssessive conscience that keeps you from finding it? Don’t look in, look up. Look at Christ ten times for every once at yourself. Look to Christ, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him…so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:2-3)
Look to him and there will come to your soul a dove of peace and assurance to give you unshakable confidence that you are a child of God.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
©2013 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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