Am I really saved? This thought harasses even the most seasoned Christian. Our lives are filled with uncertainty and reminders that life is short. Too often, we fail, and along with guilt come feelings of inadequacy and fear that God will reject us. God knows that in our human frailty, we wrestle with these things, so He inspired the letter of 1 John, not to make us feel like failures but to encourage us. There are nine indicators throughout the book that we can look for in our own lives to give us the assurance that we have eternal life:
Do we believe in the name of Jesus Christ (1 John 3:23)? Most would answer, “Yes! Of course, I do. I prayed when I was 6.” However, is our life distinguishable from the life of an unbeliever? Do we agree with the hard things Jesus taught? Is our hope based on what He promised to do?
As believers, God gives us His Spirit (1 John 4:13) to comfort us and give us peace. We can feel His guiding influence in our decision-making.
Do we strive to please God by following His commands (1 John 2:6)? Doing what He says should not be a compulsory action but a willing, joyful life of submission to the One who is worthy. His Word should not be a boring book filled with lists of “do’s and don’ts” but a window into the mind and character of the one true and living God, a book of promises that should fill us with hope. Are we walking in the light of Christ (1 John 1:6-7) seeing every obstacle, or are we stumbling in the dark tripping over addictions and distractions and wasted days? Are we grieved by our sin, knowing that it dishonors God? Do we confess (1 John 1:8-9) to Him with true repentance? Do we recognize that our flesh is sinful and plead with God to help us fight against our sin with the intention of violently destroying it, or do we claim grace over and over again with a live-let-live attitude? Do we truly love other believers (1 John 3:18) and demonstrate that love through serving and giving? Is a weekend spent with Christians an uplifting time of joy and encouragement, or is it so tedious that we cannot wait to get back to work, TV, or to our “real friends?” Do we love the things of this world (1 John 2:15) more than we love the things of God? Can we quote the interest rate of our investment account but have not memorized a Bible verse since we were in AWANA? Are our monies, talents, and time spent to further God’s eternal kingdom or our bottom line?
Lastly, have you been ridiculed, teased, avoided, or even assaulted because you are a Christian? The world hated Christ, and it should not come as a surprise that it hates His followers today (1 John 3:13). We should not want to just fit in or fly under the radar. The Bible says true Christians are lights in a dark world, a world that hates light.
God calls us to a life of self-sacrifice and love for others. Our greatest joy should be found in using the gifts He has given us to serve others and spread the Gospel of Christ to unbelievers. I challenge you to pray that He would break you of the love of worldly “stuff.” Pray that He would place you into the hard situation where you have to affirm or deny Christ, share your hope or stay quiet, and give or keep for yourself. If you do this, you will not be disappointed. God will answer so that you may know you have eternal life, overcome the fear of uncertainty, and walk confidently in His grace.