Over the autumn we had the great privilege to go on an adventure to discover authentic Christianity, how to find it and the great joy and assurance that brings. Over the course of our study on 1 John we encountered a number of tests of assurance to help us know whether we or someone else is in fact a believer. Below is a review, not every test, but a sampling of the main points of each week’s passage:
- Do we listen to the apostles message about Jesus (1:3)
- What is our attitude to sin…since God is light and to be in fellowship with Him we cannot be in darkness…therefore do we acknowledge the reality of sin in our lives and seek to confess our sins? (1:8)
- Are we trusting in the blood of Jesus to turn God’s wrath towards our sin into favour? (ch. 2-Christ our advocate and propitiation)
- Do we give evidence of this new relationship with God through Christ by keeping his commandments? (2:4)
- Is this new reality in our life further evidenced by obeying the Great Commandment, do we love God, do we love our brother/neighbour? (2:9)
- Which Kingdom do we love: the Kingdom of the world or the Kingdom of God? (2:15b) Do we have an eternal perspective?
- We have the warning about the anti-Christs: Are we grounded in the truth about Jesus and salvation or are we believing in a lie? (2:23a)
- Do we make a habit of practicing righteousness or do we persist in sin? (3:6)
- Do we love our brothers or hate them like Cain? (3:15)
- Do we believe in the Incarnation, that Jesus is fully God and fully man? (4:2-3a)
- Do we love God and one another? (4:20a)
- Have we overcome the world by faith in Christ? (5:5)
John also gives believers numerous encouragements, which often come out of a positive response to the tests of assurance such as in 1 John 1:5-10, but he offers others as well.
- The joy of having a sure knowledge of Salvation and fellowship with God (1:4)
- The knowledge that Jesus is our advocate and propitiation (2)
- The promise of forgiveness through the confession of sin (1:9);
- General encouragements (2:12-14);
- A future hope in the New Heavens and New Earth (2:17)
- The love of the Father, through Jesus, for His children (3:1).
- (Central and oft repeated) The gift of the Holy One (Holy Spirit) who keeps, guides and teaches Christians and enables us to overcome the world (3:24b), we know because we can sense the abiding presence of the HS in our hearts and see His fruit in our lives;
- We know the love of God through the sacrificial love of Christ, that if you ever doubt God’s love look to the cross (3:16)
- That Christ’s sacrifice takes away the condemnation, guilt and shame in our hearts (3:20).
- That God is love and gives his gift of love to all who receive it by faith in Jesus and that if we have received this gift we do not have to fear judgement because (4:18) perfect love casts out fear.
May we continue to look for a true profession of faith and a life lived that matches this profession.