The past two Sundays I have preached on the two key issues that the apostle John states are the evidence of a person’s salvation. The first one has to do with our obedience to Christ. John states that whoever practices righteousness is born of Him. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil (1 John 2:29; 3:4 ESV). We obey because we confess we are sinners in need of a Savior. We obey because we come to realize the great salvation that has graciously been provided for us in Christ. We obey because we have been loved by God and He is worthy of our praise. This obedience looks like a pursuit of holiness in our lives because He is holy. Simply put, our obedience to Christ looks like a life lived in pursuit of Christ (Philippians 3).
If someone has been loved by God, then the second result ought to be that they love others. John emphasizes a love for the body of Christ in 1 John 3:14 (ESV), We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.” This love is displayed not simply by words, but in our actions.
John states that this kind of love is Christlike. It is laying down our life for others in the body of Christ. Look at what John writes in verse 17, but if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Love for the body of Christ looks like giving from one’s own possessions to meet the needs of another Christian.
This past Sunday I shared the obstacle of a Christian loving well: “Love of self still gets in the way of love for God and one another” (Paul Tripp, Wednesday Word, August 25, 2021). Knowing this obstacle is of great importance. Why? When we are in that moment debating if we should respond in love, we can remember our problem and choose to love well.
All that said, knowing these biblical truths and intentionally abiding in Christ will give our lives ultimate meaning and purpose. As the apostle Paul says in Philippians 1:21, for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Christ is all in all, in life or in death!
I shared this overview for various reasons. One being in response to an article that I read, “How to Believe against Your Feelings” by Michael Kruger. Take a few minutes to read and reflect. Perhaps you have been in the place the author describes.
There were two things that stood out to me when I read the article. First, when we interpret the purpose of Christianity as “What’s in it for me?” we miss the point. Yes, there are wonderful provisions for us in Christ! But the benefits are enjoyed when a person confesses their sinfulness, repents, and believes the gospel. Too often people believe that Jesus is like a “genie in a bottle”. They see Him as their servant who is there to make ‘my life better’ in the here and now. Of course, this ‘better life’ is defined in our terms. When people see Jesus this way, He can then seem less satisfying.
The second comment that caught my attention was “Christianity is able to provide our lives with real meaning and purpose.” When understood from the biblical perspective (as we have noted the past two weeks), knowing and submitting ourselves to the love of Christ confirms this comment to be true. He and He alone, gives our life true meaning. When we find our life in Him, His purposes for our life begin to become very clear. We were created to love God and love others, for His glory alone!
Take some time to reflect on the truth of the Word of God. Be honest with God and confess that you have times when you tend to care more about yourself rather than God’s purposes. John gives us a great promise in 1:9 (ESV), if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Thank God for His love and grace!
Walking with you,