This pastoral passage was first written for LRBC on February 1 2015.
Many of you have probably read the Gospel of John and noticed the reason he gave for writing it: “… so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). John’s ministry as an evangelist aimed to lead people to faith so that they could have eternal life with God. John’s First Letter takes his ministry in another, more pastoral direction. Towards the end of the Letter he mentions the hope that he had for writing: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1John 5:13). The aim of John’s Letter was assurance in the lives of his Christian brothers and sisters.
Do you have assurance of eternal life? Assurance is a blessing we should not go without. Assurance that we are accepted and loved by God the Father will change your outlook on life because you know that no matter what happens in a day, what ultimately matters has been sorted out. Assurance means we know God, and he knows us.
John gave his readers several ‘tests’ by which they could have assurance that they had eternal life. They are: 1. Do you keep his commandments? 2. Do you love your Christian brothers and sisters? And 3. Do you hold firmly to the truth of the gospel? (1 John 2:3-6, 7-11, 18-25). Reflect on these tests. If you can say ‘yes’ to all three, you can have assurance of eternal life. If you can’t say ‘yes’, then strive to change your answers so that you can take hold of that assurance which is yours as one of Christ’s people.