Saturday, August 10, 2013

Do we have "the life"?

Yesterday in my Bible study time at work, I had a good discussion with my brothers about some deeper theology and around the question of whether our salvation is really secure in Christ for eternity. I've been thinking about it since then and then this morning I was reading some Scripture from a couple of Daily Bread devotionals and it lead me to two passages that just really confirmed for me the answer to this question.

The first passage is from John 14:
1  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Notice in the second part of verse 2 how Jesus is confirming the truth of all that He is saying. He is basically saying, "what I am telling you is true. Why would I tell you otherwise? I can only tell you what is true." This is an important concept that I believe is applicable to all of Jesus' words, including the verses that follow this.

Now, notice verse 3. Jesus says that He will come again and that He will take us to Himself (in heaven). Jesus doesn't say "I might", or "I will if you're good enough", or "if I feel like it at that time". No, He simply says, "I will". This is the promise of our risen Savior- His promise. If Christ is sinless and completely faithful, as we know He is from the Bible, then how can He break His promise of "I will" ? If He did break that promise, He would no longer be who He says He is. Our faith would be useless because we would be serving a liar. Jesus cannot break His promises. His promise is that He will come for us.

Clearly though, the promise is not to the whole world- its to individuals. How can we be a part of His promise? Thankfully, the answer follows. Thomas has the exact same question. Jesus has just made this great promise and now Thomas says in verse 5, "How do we get this? What is the way?" Jesus answers in verse 6 that He is the way- He is the answer. Those who get to the Father (get to heaven) must come through Jesus. From countless other scriptures, we know that this means humbly placing our whole faith in Jesus, His redeeming work for our sins and His resurrection, so that He then becomes "the life" in us, because He says right here that He is "the life". If we become partakers of His life and His truth in us, then we become partakers of His preceding promise, that He will come again and take us with Him; there is no question about this.

The second passage I was reading this morning is from 1 John. It was really a confirmation of the above. If we claim the promise from John 14, how do we know that it is true of us? How can we claim that we are saved and that Jesus will come for us?

In 1 John 5:13, John says that everything he has personally written is so that we will know that we are saved; that we are one of God's children and part of Christ's promise:
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

The book of 1 John is full of reasons why we can know that we are saved (or that we are not). Here's just a few highlights that I read today:

4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

4:13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

4:17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.

4:19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

5:6 ...And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

5:11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

There is so much in these verses to unpack. The main points are that we can be confident before God at the end of our life. If we have been saved, then God through His Spirit will show us that; there will be a change and we will know it and those around us will know it. The Spirit is the truth and does not lie to us. The Spirit confirms the truth of these verses to us and confirms our salvation to us. Our actions will also confirm to us and others the truth of whether we are saved or not. If we have no love for others and no love for being obedient to God, then there is a strong chance that we are liars and deceiving ourselves and that we are not truly saved. But, if we are truly saved then there is no reason for us to fear the day of judgment. God wants us to live in joyful anticipation of that day- not dread. We cannot fully serve Him in perfect love in this earthly life if we are constantly worried that we might lose our salvation or that He will just take it away. That would directly contradict His promise in John 14 and we know that we do not serve a God like that. Its not of His nature. Praise His name!

1 comment:

LizC said...

Yes, praise His name!! To be reminded of these truths is like food for the soul.