As noted the Apostle John finishes this letter with a summation of what he has been writing. His topic: Fellowship with God through New Birth. The question John emphasizes has to do with “How can a person truly know if they are SAVED?” Is our salvation “Just an intellectual profession?” “Is it just a matter of having the right answers?” Throughout this letter the Apostle teaches that our “salvation” isn’t about having the right information instead it’s about having a right relationship with the RIGHT PERSON, Jesus who is God the Son.
This can NOT be seen in having just the right information but instead by being personally TRANSFORMED which will be seen two ways:
- What a person loves: NOT the things of the world but instead the same things that Jesus loves!”
- How a person loves: NOT because of the object of our affection but instead in SPITE of it!”
The 5th chapter of 1st John has shown that “our faith” is based upon “a single fact that Jesus is God the Son and that trusting in Him alone comes with “four assurances” that when trusted continually by the believer will cause “four consequences” in our life:
A. THE FACT: Vs. 6-10 Jesus is God the Son
B. The Consequences: Vs. 11-21
- Vs. 11-13 Confidence in this truth will give us: Assurance of “Eternal life” which will produce the consequence of a change in our destiny
- Vs. 14-15 Confidence in this truth will give us an: Assurance of “Answered prayer” which will produce a consequence of a in change our communication.
- Vs. 16-19 Confidence in this truth will give us an: Assurance of “Continued transformation.” Which will produce the consequence of a change in our direction.
- Vs. 20-21 Confidence in this truth will give us an: Assurance of the “Completion of our race.” Which will produce the consequence of a change in our confidence.
This morning we will examine the first of these four assurances: The Assurance of “Eternal life”.
Vs. 11-13 A change in destiny…Eternal life
Vs. 11 The result of the believers trust in Jesus is NOT only their salvation but their “Eternal life” John declares. There can be no assurance of “Eternal Life” apart from the acceptance of the Father’s testimony as to Whom our salvation was dependent upon, God the Son. “Life is in the Son” which John will reemphasize in verses 12-13. The Apostle offers this “assurance” that has permanently changed our destiny and in so doing I notice that John emphasizes, “Four truths about our Eternal Life”. These Four Truths are based upon Four Words that John uses in these verses.
- Vs. 11 GIVEN: We read that, “God has given US eternal life”. There are 3 truths in this verse that are designed to qualify the Gift of eternal life.
A. The Giver: Eternal life is a gift that even before we are given the understanding of it, the reader can BEST understand it by knowing Who gave it. Some presents we receive do NOT need to be opened for us to be excited about the contents as the moment we read the name on the tag we already know that what’s inside will be amazing because we Know the Name of the Giver. As such it screams into our hearts “Open this one NOW, before all the others!” The words “Eternal Life” are best understood in the context of the Giver who is God. The word “Eternal” doesn’t just convey the continuation of “LIFE”. Instead, “Eternal Life” is qualified by the phrase “and this life is in His Son”. That phrase doesn’t just speak of the ONLY way in which a person can receive this gift of eternal life, but it also qualifies the gift as “the continuation without end of all that we enjoy now because of Jesus.” “God’s love, His Peace, His Joy, and a His Fellowship” that will never be interrupted by our sin! Union without communion, quantity apart from quality is NO gift. A continuation of life without Christ is hell not heaven! Instead, we are granted the “duration of the Divine Gift of communion with the Living God”! And because of this LIFE is in the fullest possible degree above anything that we can now imagine. We also must never forget that “Eternal Life” is a GIFT and not obtainable by, education, effort, or environment!
B. The Means: Notice that Eternal Life is not just a “Present” it is a present that is a “Person, Jesus Christ”! Look again at the phrase “and this life is IN His Son”. Observe that “Eternal Life” is NOT only FROM Christ but according to John it is also equally only IN CHRIST! “Eternal life” is only possible because it is FROM Christ and only be fully enjoyed IN Christ! A person may “EXIST” in the natural sense apart from a relationship with Jesus but only in a relationship with Jesus will a person manifest all that life in Christ has to offer!
C. The Destination: The last thing I notice is the two-letter word “US”. We have noticed that the label of the Gift was FROM God, but His handwriting was also used on the TOO part of the label as we read that it is TOO US! And the US has already been determined are those who have trusted ONLY in Jesus as being the Son of God! God doesn’t not scatter His gifts to those who do not wish to receive them! There is NO salvation apart from transformation and no eternal life for those who have made the decision that that they don’t want to spend eternity with the Only One who has given His life for that opportunity.
2. Vs. 12 HAS: The second thing John reveals about “Eternal Life” is that it has two amazing features that are both explained by this one word HAS:
A. “He who HAS the Son HAS life”: This first quality of Eternal life is found in the “Present tense”, and it describes that was gained in the past that we can enjoy in the present! This quality also confers the truth that our of enjoyment can START NOW and doesn’t have to wait until the future! Because of faith in the Person and work of Christ; Eternal Life is not a gift that we have to wait for until we can enjoy it. The moment we opened the gift when we trusted in Jesus we started to enjoy eternal life and will continue to enjoy it forever and ever! Jesus is both the only means to OBTAIN as well as RETAIN our possession of eternal life!
B. “He who does not HAVE the Son of God does not HAVE life”: Though this is placed in the negative so as to reveal to unbeliever the seriousness of NOT having the Son of God, the opposite of this is true for those who HAVE the Son of God. The word “HAVE” is a word in the Greek that means “to have and to hold” which speaks of a certainty of not mere hopefulness. The person who doesn’t want Jesus will be given what they wish for all eternity as Jesus said in John 5:40 “You will not come to Me, that you may have life.” But that negative certainty also possess an equal positive certainty and that is equally as true and that is the believer in Jesus as the Son of Good can KNOW NOW that they will enjoy eternal life and not have to wait AND SEE!
3. Vs. 13a BELIEVE: “These things I have written to you who BELIEVE in the name of the Son of God..” In John’s gospel in 20:31 John wrote that the purpose of recording the events were so “that you may BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ.” The gospel was written primarily to those who were NOT YET Christians in order to lead them to become Christians. It was written to assure the reader that Jesus is the Christ. But here in 1st John the difference is that John is writing too Christians and purpose he says is to lead them into FULL ASSURANCE regarding their salvations and its benefits. He writes this letter so that the reader can make sure that we are Children of God. The Gospel of John “exhibits” Jesus as the Son of God whereas the letter of 1st John “commends” Jesus as the Son of God. The phrase, “the name of the Son of God” speaks of the character and attributes of a person. For a person to “HAVE” eternal life the Object of their faith must be ONLY in Jesus possessing the character, nature, and attributes of the Godhead apart from this they don’t have eternal life as it is ONLY in the Son. What God GIVES we can only obtain by FAITH that God Himself has bestowed that we can believe. Faith is the key to receiving, possessing, and knowing! To not believe is to make God a liar but to believe will lead to a greater and growing in God’s abundant grace.
4. Vs. 13b KNOW: “that you may KNOW that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” The knowledge that is revered too here is not “experiential” knowledge instead it is “absolute” knowledge. Only those who believe have the possibility of this absolute knowledge of eternal life… Oh what “blessed assurance” of the blessings that God has granted us because our faith in the Son. All such failures in our life come from the lack of confidence in the unsearchable treasures that are already ours in Christ! We all have a continual need to know that we are and will always be long to God.