Posts Tagged ‘1 John’

1 John 2

 3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.

John 13

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 14

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.

John 14

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

This weekend I heard a message on the letter 1st John, chapter 2.  The gist of the message was to offer confidence in our salvation.  How do you know you are saved?  What tangible evidence is there available to us that our commitment to Christ is genuine and firm?  The answer given in this weekends was that we can have confidence in our salvation and commitment by the evidence of our obedience to Jesus’ commands.

I think there’s more though.  A significant portion of what I heard this weekend was that we can know that we’re “saved” by the depth and consistency of our obedience- that our obedience is a sort of guarantee and proof.

I suppose that is true.  But I would say that doesn’t offer encouragement of salvation, as much as it offers encouragement to be attentive to the lives we are living- not a bad thing.

But if it’s encouragement you’re looking for- if you are truly questioning your salvation- let me ask this: what do you want to be saved from?

I want to be saved from meaningless-ness.  Oh God!  What if life is meaningless?  That is the very darkness that makes up my nightmare.

If all you care about is what happens after you die, you must have a pretty good thing going.  Or it’s been awful for so long that you’ve grown callous to it.  But let me suggest that evidence of salvation is found in your obedience to Jesus’ commands.  Not because it is proof of something that is coming, but because Jesus’ commands, Jesus very way of living IS our salvation- begun NOW.

An elderly John is writing from his memories of life on the road with Jesus.  He is the last one left, the last man on earth with memories and experience of God in the flesh, born of a woman.  And in his little letter he remembers the words of Jesus, preserved in the testimony of his life with Jesus, the Gospel of John; “Love one another.  As I have loved you so you must love one another.

Jesus commanded us to love one another.  This was the essence of Jesus’ message, year after year; the Kingdom of God is near!  When someone gave him the answer he was looking for what did he say?  “This person is not far from the kingdom!”

As Jesus washed the feet of the disciples on the eve of his betrayal, He told them, as I have served you, so you must serve each other.  This is the ultimate picture of life in the Kingdom of God!  This is salvation, fleshed and blooded!

So, what if the comfort we receive is more than a promise of better things?  What if the comfort is the beginning of the better things?

Here’s another thing- we confess the necessity of God’s Spirit for man to do anything greater than base evil.  If we are in obedience to Jesus’ command- THAT is evidence that the Spirit is active and living in our lives.  The Spirit of God Himself, living in your flesh and mine, doing the good works that Jesus commanded, that James said was evidence of living faith.  Any good that you perceive yourself as having done?  Evidence of God’s Spirit in your body.  Living itself.  Living the community of the Trinity in the flesh of your body.  The life of the Kingdom.  In you.  THAT is comfort that you can take even during a season of distance, dryness, even a season of willful disobedience.  You may have grieved the Spirit by harming the unity of Christ’s body, but that does not have the power to kill the Spirit.  He is still there.  Your salvation is still intact, because your salvation is based on the strength of God.  Not you.  Not your will or determination.  Not your works.

You can be comforted by the evidence and appearance of your obedience.  Not because you’ve accomplished or achieved your salvation.  Or even proved it.  Who are you proving it to?  God?  No.  You prove it to yourself.  Fine.  But it is not your strength achieving obedience.  It is in fact your submission to the strength of Spirit dwelling in you.  It is you falling back into God’s power.  It is the Spirit’s strength rising up clothed in your body, your person.  That is the power of salvation, the deposit of the Holy Spirit, the eternal life that you gained upon confession of Jesus as risen and the Son of God.  It is more than a promise of salvation- it is the beginning, the first steps in your new, saved, meaningful life.  Congratulations.  You will never, ever suffer meaninglessness.