~by Randy Bushey
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God (1 John 3:21).
What is it to have confidence?
Sometimes athletes are said to have raised their game because they have rediscovered it.
Politicians attempt to sell their policies by exuding it, but can also fall in the public opinion polls by demonstrating excessive amounts of it.
Good leaders are those exhibiting a knife-edge balance of humility and confidence – 2 qualities that are often viewed as being antithetical.
The Greek word parrhesia is a noun that occurs 31 times in the New Testament. In addition to confidence, it is also translated as boldness, or speech that is plain, open, public.
But near the end of the first century, John’s concern was for Christ-followers whose Gospel confidence was brittle, fragile. These 2nd and 3rd-generation believers were struggling with confidence in the validity – and therefore, the reality – of their salvation.
He was talking about authenticity approved assurance in their eternal standing before Holy God.
And so the aged disciple of the Lord Jesus – the lone living apostle at this time and quite possibly the only surviving eye-witnesses to the ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ – offered a 7-part test demonstrating genuine salvation in his short letter, which we refer to as 1 John.
Here they are:
1.Confession of sin – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1:9).
2.Obedience of God’s commands – We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands (2:3)
3.Love for the brothers – Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble (2:9,10).
4.Not loving the world – Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (2:15).
5.Practicing righteousness – If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him (2:29).
6.Confessing Jesus as God in human flesh – the Incarnation – And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God (4:14,15).
7.Possessing – and realizing the witness of – the Holy Spirit – And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us (3:24).
Takeaway – the Lord clearly intends for His children to be confident in their salvation.
We know that because in addition to John, other apostles of the early church encouraged Christ-followers to engage in self-testing, a sober and objective assessment of the authenticity of their salvation:
Paul to the Philippians – Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed— not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence— continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
Peter, shortly before his martyrdom – Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:10,11).
…graphic from Julian Freeman-Woolpert, freeimages.com