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1 John 5:11-13: A Know-so Salvation

We don't often think of God witnessing to us. We think of ourselves as witnessing for him. But these verses describe the content of God's witness. If there ever was any testimony in the courtroom of life that we ought to listen to, it would be God's testimony.

At the time of this writing we are in the midst of an election year (2016). One of the goals of both candidates is to raise doubts about crime, the economy, jobs and the war on terror, et al. We live in a world that is filled with doubt. It seems that today very few people seem to have any real certainty about anything. How long will it last? How large will it grow? How many lives will be spent in pursuit of a victory and peace? These doubts arise concerning the future. What kind of life will I have in the future?

Of course, the worse place for doubt to arise is in the realm of the spiritual. We seem to be able to handle other forms of doubt better than we handle the doubts about spiritual things. But, doubt does arise there too, doesn’t it? The purpose of John’s letter is to move us from doubt to certainty: “that we may know that we have eternal life.”

Verse 11a: “And this is the testimony…”

John has been writing about the testimony that God has given now he reveals more about that testimony. That testimony reveals eternal life, which is life in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Here, then, is God’s testimony “this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son” (Verse 9). God’s testimony is that believers have eternal life, while unbelievers do not, “he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son” (verse 10). “He who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36b).

Verse 11b: “…that God has given us eternal life

Eternity is forever and ever!

Just few minutes ago I saw a tiny hummingbird outside my window. Now just suppose by some miracle of time-lapse, that tiny hummingbird could take a beak-full of water from your pool and wing its way to some distant planet, say, 250,000 light years away. Then he deposits that beak-full of water on that distant planet and flies back again to earth, then takes a another beak-full and flies again to that same planet and deposits it, then back again, and back again and again, until that tiny hummingbird drains your pool. When he finishes that, he goes to a nearby lake and drains that, then on to the Pacific Ocean and takes, beak-full after beak-full until he drains the Pacific, then the Atlantic Ocean, then every river and lake is drained, one beak-full at a time and flown 250,000 light years away, until every drop of water is gone from the earth. (three-fourths of the surface of the earth is water). Then let him bring it all back to earth, and take it back again to that distant planet, and back again, and back again…After all of that it would only be breakfast time in eternity.

Oh eternity, God has wound up your clock and it shall never stop ticking…and its ticking and chiming will by heard by all the lost…"forever and ever, forever and ever, forever and ever…"

Matthew 25:46, “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” John 3:15-16, “That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting (eternal) life.” If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never "eternal" to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error. John 4:14, “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.’ John 6:51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.” John 6:67-69, ‘So Jesus said to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. "We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God." John 8:51, “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” John 10:28-30, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” 1 John 2:17, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

Where will you spend eternity?

Verse 11c: “…and this life is in His Son.”

You ought to be able to say, “Glory to God! I know I'm saved!” Yet many Christians are not sure about that, they have doubts. A young man in my youth department many years ago would come forward every service for assurance of his salvation. People go around with their shoulders drooping looking as if they had lost their best friend, wondering, and worrying about their relationship with God. Instead of being shouting Christians, they're doubting Christians. Rather than having a know-so salvation, they have a hope-so salvation. Christians can know for sure that they are saved and assured of Heaven! You don’t have to settle for a hope so, or maybe so salvation. You can have real assurance that you are a child of God. John wrote these words so that we could know for sure that we are saved and that we might live in triumphant assurance.

Having doubt does not mean that you are not saved! All Christians doubt at some time or the other. Doubts, however, can be defeating and devastating to your Christian walk. Thank God, we can know! John wrote some truths that can take away our doubts and replace them with assurance.

Now I do not wish to give false security, I don’t want to persuade you that you’re saved if you’re not! I realize that Some feel all is well between them and God when it isn't. They don't understand the truth about salvation and their own spiritual condition. An old spiritual put it this way, “Everybody talkin' about heaven ain't going there.” (From: Walk all over God’s heaven by Thomas A. Dorsey, sung by Mahalia Jackson).

But you can be sure! Did you ask Jesus to save you? Did you mean it? “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2;21). “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13 NLT). “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31).

Do you believe God? Do you believe Jesus? If you called on Him, asking Him to save you, He promises that He will give you eternal life! Jesus said: “I give them eternal life, and they will never, ever [by any means] perish; and no one will ever snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28 AMP).

Listen to God:

Ephesians 1:13, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” If believers did not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be to the day of redemption, but only to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief. Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Notice it is “He” who has begun a good work in you…” “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). 2 Timothy 1:12, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” Jude 24, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”

Verse 12a: “He who has the Son has life…”

So according to God's testimony, the way to have life is to have the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

If our greatest need would have been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, He would have sent a scientist. If our greatest had been financial, he would have sent an economist. If our greatest need was pleasure, He would have sent an entertainer. If our greatest need would have been psychological, He would have sent a psychologist. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us His Son, the Savior. “Salvation is found in no other, for there is no other name under heaven, given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;

He came to love, heal and forgive;

He lived and died to buy my pardon,

An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

–Bill Gaither–

Galatians 3:26, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Colossians 3:3, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

I wonder if you we really realize what we have in Christ? God has given us everything in Christ….everything. “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). God gave all that He had, so we could have all that He has!

We have peace with God: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

We became a child of God: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

We are no longer living in darkness: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13,14).

We are forgiven: “To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43 NLT).

We are given eternal life: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).

We are sealed with the Holy Spirit: “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13). “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).

We have God’s riches: “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NLT).

We are adopted by God: “Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself (Ephesians 1:5). “To redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:5).

We get a to live in the heavenlies: “(He) raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 4:18). That’s now, today! I can hang up my hang ups at the cross and live in heaven on the way to heaven!

We have an inheritance: “We are heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus…”(Romans 8:17). “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Galatians 3:29).

We are a new creation: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation” (Galatians 6:15).

We are accepted: “To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).

We get our name written in the Lamb's book of life: “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Revelation 21:27). “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).

We have a mansion in heaven: Jesus said, “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

We no longer have a spirit of fear: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’ (2 Timothy 1:7).

We become priests: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: (1 Peter 2:9).

Verse 12b: “He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” “Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father” (1 John 2:23).

Matthew10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, “When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power…”

Verse 13a: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God…”

“These things” refer to the entire letter. John wrote this letter so that his beloved children will not fall prey to false teachers. If they believe in the name of the Son of God, then they know that they have eternal life. John doesn’t want us to hope so, but to know so. You can know because God’s testimony about His Son is trustworthy. Your faith must rest in Jesus Christ alone, not in anything or anyone else. If your faith is in Christ, then you have the witness of the Spirit! “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). You have the evidence in your life that He has changed your heart. You now believe the truth about Jesus. You obey God’s commandments. You love God and others.

John’s gospel (John 20:31) was “written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” First john was written so that you who already believe in the name of the Son of God would not be shaken by false teaching, but rather, “so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Verse 13b: “that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”

Many Christians live with nagging doubts about their salvation. They long for some reassuring word—some evidence that they are truly saved.

An elderly man said to H. A. Ironside, “I will not go on unless I know I’m saved, or else know it’s hopeless to seek to be sure of it. I want a definite witness, something I can’t be mistaken about!” Ironside replied, “Suppose you had a vision of an angel who told you your sins were forgiven. Would that be enough to rest on?” “Yes, I think it would. An angel should be right.” Ironside continued, “But suppose on your deathbed Satan came and said, ‘I was that angel, transformed to deceive you.’ What would you say?” The man was speechless. Ironside then told him that God has given us something more dependable than the voice of an angel. He has given His Son, who died for our sins, and He has testified in His own Word that if we trust Him, all our sins are gone. Ironside read 1 John 5:13, “You may know that you have eternal life.” Then he said, “Is that not enough to rest on? It is a letter from heaven expressly to you.” God’s Spirit used that to bring assurance to the man’s heart. –D.J.D., Our Daily Bread, October 8

At the opening of this letter, John said ”these things we write to you that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:4). What is it that brings us joy? Fellowship with God and His Son and His saints! In other words it is the assurance that we possess eternal life. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

John Stott tells of an English Salvation Army drummer who was beating his drum so hard that the band leader had to tell him to pipe down a bit and not make so much noise. In his cockney accent the drummer replied, “God bless you, sir, since oi’ve been converted, oi’m so ’appy, oi could bust the bloomin’ drum!”

If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy;

Let Jesus come into your heart;

If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy;

Let Jesus come into your heart.

Your sins He'll wash away, your night He'll turn to day,

Your life He'll make it over anew;

If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy;

Let Jesus come into your heart.

– Joseph D. Carlson­–

Do you have the joy of knowing you’re going to heaven? Do you know for sure that you are going to heaven?

Where did we get this eternal life? “He who has the Son has life” (verse 12). “That we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (verse 20). God sent His Son into the world “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). That's exactly what verse 13 says. "If you believe in the name of the Son of God, you may know that you have eternal life." All God's life is in Christ and all of Christ's life is in us. It is frankly an astonishing reality. We do not await our eternal life, we have it now!

Trust Him today!

**NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB).**

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