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Sermon #41 — 1st John Series
Title: How can I know
that I am one of God’s elect?
Text: 1 John 5:1-13
Subject: Three Witnesses of a Saving
Interest in Christ
Date: Tuesday Evening — July 23, 2013
Tape# 1st John #41
Readings: Bob Poncer and Cody Henson
Everywhere I go, I meet with men and women struggling with the same heavy, heavy burden. How can I know that I am one of God’s elect? That is the question I want to answer in this message. I want to answer it by the Spirit of God and from the Word of God, with the utmost clarity and simplicity. — How can I know that I am one of God’s elect? We all, I do not doubt, at times are compelled to mournfully sigh, with John Newton…
'Tis a point I long to know,
Oft it causes anxious thought,
Do I love the Lord, or no;
Am I His, or am I not?
If I love, why am I this;
Why this dull, this lifeless frame?
Hardly, sure, can they be worse,
Who have never heard His name.
Could my heart so hard remain,
Prayer a task and burden prove;
Every trifle give me pain,
If I knew a Savior's love?
When I turn my eyes within,
All is dark and vain, and wild;
Filled with unbelief and sin,
Can I deem myself a child?
If I pray, or hear, or read,
Sin is mixed with all I do;
You that love the Lord indeed,
Tell me, is it thus with you?
Yet, I mourn my stubborn will,
Find my sin a grief and thrall!
Should I grieve for what I feel,
If I did not love at all?
Could I joy His saints to meet,
Choose the ways I once abhorred,
Find at times the promise sweet,
If I did not love the Lord?
Lord, decide the doubtful case,
Thou who art Thy people's Sun,
Shine upon Thy work of grace,
If it be indeed begun.
Let me love Thee more and more,
If I love at all I pray;
If I have not loved before,
Help me to begin today.
· I know that there is an elect people in this world, a multitude which no man can number, loved by God from eternity, chosen as the objects of his grace, and predestinated to eternal life, who must be saved.
· I also know, from the testimony of Holy Scripture, that the Lord Jesus Christ established righteousness for that elect multitude by his obedience to God as their Representative, bore their sins in his own body on the tree, and died in their place under the curse of the law, satisfying Divine justice, putting away sin, and effectually accomplishing eternal redemption as the Substitute for God’s elect.
· My question is this: How can I know that I am one of God’s elect? How can I know that Christ died for me, as my sin-atoning Substitute? How can I be assured of my own, personal saving interest in the Lord Jesus Christ?
Proposition: I want to show you from the Word of God that there are certain, God-given witnesses by which believing sinners may be assured of their saving interest in Christ.
Turn to 1st John 5. In this chapter the apostle John shows us who the children of God in this world are. He gives, by Divine inspiration, certain, clear witnesses by which believing sinners may know that they have eternal life. In fact, he tells us plainly that the purpose of this Epistle is to give this assurance to God’s elect. — “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (v. 13).
Verse 1 – “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and everyone that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” — John’s statement is emphatic. Anyone in the world, any man or woman, anyone old or young, anyone here who believes that Jesus, that Jesus revealed in the Scriptures, is the Christ, is born of God. — This is exactly the same thing John asserts back in chapter four and in 2nd John 7.
(1 John 4:2-3) “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: (3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
(2 John 1:7) “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”
To believe that Jesus is the Christ is to believe that the man Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. It is to confidently believe that he has accomplished all that the Old Testament prophets said he would accomplish.
Do you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Prophet, Priest, and King? Do you trust him as the Lord your Righteousness? Do you trust Christ as your sin-atoning Substitute? If you do, you are born of God.
Your faith in Christ is not the cause of your being born of God, but it is the evidence. — “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrew 11:1). And the fruit of faith is love. All who are born of God love God and love one another.
The sinner who believes
In Christ’s atoning blood
Is justified from all things and
Saved by the grace of God.
Yet, sin within remains!
When vile corruptions rise,
Then Satan tempts us to despair
And God’s free grace despise.
Our flesh with him agrees,
And says we cannot be
Partakers of God’s saving grace
And yet such sinners be.
But faith looks out of self
And trusts in Christ alone.
Our hope is not in what we do,
But what our Lord has done!
His blood and righteousness,
The anchor of our souls,
Assures us in the teeth of sin
Free grace has made us whole!
Verse 2 – “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” — Love is made manifest by works. My love for my wife is not revealed to me by my deeds. But my deeds of love reveal my love to my wife and to others who see those deeds. And our love for God and his children is revealed by our works. It is not revealed and known to us by our works. But it is revealed and made known to our brethren by what we do.
John is not making our works a basis of personal assurance. He is telling us that God’s people identify one another by their works of faith and love (1 Thessalonians 1:2-4; Hebrews 6:9-10).
(1 Thessalonians 1:2-4) “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; (3) Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; (4) Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.”
(Hebrews 6:9-10) “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. (10) For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
Verse 3 – “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” — Love obeys God in all things with a willing heart. In order for me to find personal assurance in my love for God my obedience to God must be both willing obedience and perfect obedience. If my obedience is not perfect, my love is not perfect. I cannot have any assurance if my assurance is based upon personal love and obedience. My works cannot give me assurance. And my love cannot give me assurance. But there is a solid foundation upon which true assurance may be built.
Verse 4 – “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.” — I am certain of this: That which is born of God cannot die. Those who are born of God shall be triumphant. If you and I are born of God, we are more than conquerors in Christ. We shall overcome Satan. We shall trample the Fiend of Hell beneath our feet. We shall overcome the lusts which are in the world, the religion of the world, the cares of the world, and the trials of the world.
Verse 4 – “And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” — Faith, drawing strength from Christ, works wonders in the earth (Hebrews 11:33-34).
(Hebrews 11:33-34) “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, (34) Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”
And faith, drawing strength from Christ, persistently and ultimately overcomes the world. In other words, John is telling us that faith alone is victorious. Faith alone conquers. And this victorious faith is “our faith.” It is the gift of God, as truly as the breath in our lungs is the gift of God. But it is our faith, as truly as the breath in our lungs is our breath.
In verse 1 John said, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” And he assures us that faith produces both love and good works. But he draws us away from love and good works as the grounds of assurance. Our confidence is not in the victory of our love, or in the holiness of our works, but in the triumph of our faith. Because Christ, the Object of our faith, is triumphant, our faith shall be victorious too.
John is laying a foundation for confidence and assurance. But in order to do so, he must show us that neither our love, nor our works will support our souls and give us a confident, assured hope. If we would have assurance of a saving interest in Christ, our assurance must be built upon Christ alone.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the ‘whelming flood:
When all around my soul give way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
Is that not what John tells us in verse 5?
Verse 5 – “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” — It is not faith in myself, or faith in my love, or faith in my works, or faith in my faith that overcomes the world, but faith in Christ, the Son of God. The singular basis of assurance then is faith in Christ, the Son of God. Faith is not a leap in the dark, but the reasonable response of the heart to God’s Revelation.
If we rest our immortal souls on the merits of the man, Jesus Christ, trusting that he is indeed the Son of the living God, we must have undeniable, irrefutable proof that he is the Christ, and that he is the Son of God, and that this great God-man has accomplished eternal redemption for us. Where is such proof to be found? John gives it to us right here in verses 6-8.
Under the Mosaic law, every claim presented in legal matters had to be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses. And every claim presented in a legal suit today must be established in court by two or three. Here, the Apostle John produces three irrefutable witnesses by which every believing sinner may justly lay claim, in his own heart, to eternal life in Jesus Christ, with full assurance.
Divisions: Everything vital to my soul is here established by three infallible, irrefutable witnesses. Here are three witnesses to…
First, here are three witnesses to the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 5:6). — We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Why? What is the basis of our faith? John tells us: — “This is he which came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.” Here is the witness of the water, the blood, and the Spirit. We know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God BECAUSE HE CAME BY WATER.
What does that mean? Water is an emblem for the written Word of God (John 15:3; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5).
John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,.
Titus 3:5-8 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
We know that Jesus Christ, our Lord, is the Son of God, the anointed One, because he came according to and in fulfilment of all the types, promises, and prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures, the Word of God (Luke. 24:27, 44-47).
(Luke 24:27) “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
(Luke 24:44-47) “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (45) Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (46) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Our faith regarding the Deity of Christ is founded upon the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures. The Scriptures of the Old Testament plainly foretold virtually everything about Christ.
· His Incarnation and Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6)
· His Submission and Obedience (Isaiah 50:5-7)
· His Betrayal (Psalm 41:9)
· His Crucifixion (Psalm 22:69)
· His Substitutionary Atonement (Isaiah 53)
· His Accomplishments (Daniel 9:24)
· His Resurrection and Exaltation (Isaiah 45:20-25; 53:9-12; Psalm 68:18-20)
All the types and pictures of the Old Testament vividly portrayed our Savior’s Person and Work.
· Noah’s Ark
· The Sacrifice of Isaac
· The Passover
· The Tabernacle and Priesthood
· The Mercy-seat
· Daniel in the Lion’s Den
We know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, because he came by Water, by the witness of the Word of God in the Old Testament.
Next we know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God because he came by blood. — Water is used in Scripture to symbolize the Word of God; and water is used in the Word of God to represent the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-38). Our Lord Jesus came being created in the virgin’s womb by the Holy Spirit; and he comes to us in regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Yet, the Holy Spirit comes to us through the Savior’s precious, sin-atoning blood.
When the soldier pierced the sacred side of our Lord Jesus, John recorded the deed and its effects (John 19:34). John was the only Gospel writer who was inspired to tell us about this piercing of our Redeemer’s side and the out-pouring of water and blood from it. Surely, it is significant that he refers to water and blood together here. — Writing about the soldier’s spear piercing our Savior’s side, Robert Hawker, who was trained as a physician before the Lord saved him, said, “That it penetrated the heart, is most evident, because from no other part of the body could blood and water, in a full stream, flow together.”
The Christ of God had to come by water and by blood. It was not by water only, that he came, but by water and blood. The water administered by the various washings under the law, and the blood shed in the innumerable sacrifices, the water and the blood together, pointed to the Lord Jesus as our Savior.
· It is by both the water of regeneration and the blood of redemption that our Savior accomplishes our deliverance from sin and guilt.
· It is by righteousness imparted in sanctification and righteousness imputed in justification that we are saved.
· The salvation of our souls involves both the work of Christ for us at Calvary and the work of Christ in us by his Spirit in the new birth.
· Christ came “by water and blood” (Titus 3:3-7).
(Titus 3:3-7) “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. (4) But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, (5) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (6) Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; (7) That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Let’s go back to our text (1 John 5:6). — “This is he which came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood.” — Had the Lord Jesus met every other stipulation of the Old Testament, had he been a perfect man, of the seed of Abraham, and of the seed of David, had he performed great miracles and even raised the dead, we could not believe that he is the Christ, the Son of God, unless he had voluntarily poured out his life’s blood unto death upon the cross for the atonement of our sins by the satisfaction of divine justice.
He claimed to be the Son of God. He demonstrated his power as God. Then he proved it by his sacrifice. The sinlessness of his life, his obedience to God, and his miraculous powers are not sufficient to prove Christ’s Deity. We see his Deity when we see the death which he accomplished as the sinner’s Substitute upon the cross (Matthew 27:54). His death was…
· a voluntary act (John 10:17-18),
· a vicarious atonement (John 11:49-52),
· and a victorious accomplishment (John 19:30).
(Matthew 27:54) “Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.”
We know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God because he came by Water and by blood.
And, third, we know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, because God the Holy Spirit bears witness to his Deity. — “It is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
· John the Baptist recognized Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God, by the descent of the Spirit upon him at his baptism, in the form of a dove.
· On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit bore witness to Christ’s exaltation and enthronement as King, by his descent upon the assembled church.
· And the Spirit bears witness to Christ’s Deity and dominion through the preaching of the gospel, convincing sinners chosen and redeemed by him that he has the power as the God-Man Mediator to give them repentance and the forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:30-32).
(Acts 5:30-32) “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. (31) Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. (32) And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”
Every believer knows, with absolute assurance, that Jesus Christ is God the Son, the Son of God, our sovereign Lord, and our almighty Savior by the witness of the Word, the witness of the Blood, and the witness of the Holy Spirit. That is the meaning of verse 6.
Look at verse 7. Here are three witnesses to the accomplishment of redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 5:7)
(1 John 5:7) “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
“There are three that bear record in heaven.” Bear record of what? That Jesus is the Son of God? No. Heaven needs no evidence of that! These three bear record in heaven that God has given us eternal life, in strict accordance with his just and righteous law, by the merits of Christ’s obedience and death as our Substitute.
The three Persons of the Holy Trinity bear record in heaven that Christ has accomplished redemption for God’s elect by his blood atonement. — “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
God the Father bears record that redemption is accomplished by his acceptance of Christ as our Representative, Surety, and Sacrifice (John 16:8-11; Hebrews 1:1-9; 6:19-20; 10:11-14). — When the Father raised Christ from the dead and received him back into heaven as our Mediator, he accepted all his elect in Christ and bare record that redemption’s work was done (Ephesians 1:6; John 17:1-5). – “Of righteousness because I go to my Father!”
(John 17:1-5) “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: (2) As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (3) And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (4) I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (5) And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”
God the Son, the living, eternal Word of God, the second person of the blessed Trinity, bears record of his people’s right to eternal life by his perpetual advocacy and intercession at the Father’s right hand (Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2; Hebrews 7:24-25; Hebrews 6:20). — The record he bears, which secures the eternal salvation of God’s elect, by which we merit heaven and eternal life, is twofold:
· his righteousness as our Representative
· and his satisfaction as our Substitute.
Illustration: The Rent Veil
(Romans 8:33-39) “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the holy Trinity, bears record of the accomplishment of redemption, by effectually applying the blood of Christ to the hearts of God’s elect in effectual calling (John 16:14; Hebrews 9:13-14).
(John 16:14) “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.”
(Hebrews 9:13-14) “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
The Spirit of God takes the merit of Christ’s blood and righteousness and reveals to God’s elect their acceptance with God by the gospel.
In effectual calling chosen, redeemed sinners hear the gospel. But they hear more than the bare word of the gospel. They hear the Spirit of God speak in their hearts! Each one hears God speak pardon to his own soul by the gospel of his salvation (Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 5:16).
(Ephesians 1:13) “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”
(2 Corinthians 5:16) “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”
This is the record of heaven. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit point to the blood and righteousness of Christ and say, “It is finished! Redemption is accomplished!”
“And these three are one.” — The three Divine Persons are one God. But more, the record of the Father, the record of the Son, and the record of the Spirit are one. What is that record? Redemption is accomplished by Christ alone! Every chosen sinner has the right to enter into heaven by the blood gate, by the merits of Christ. — “God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
But how can I know that I am one of God’s elect? How can I know that God has given me eternal life? How can I be assured of my own saving interest in Christ?
Read verse 8. Here are three witnesses to the believer’s saving interest in Christ. — “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, the Water (the Word), and the blood: and these three agree in one” (1 John 5:8).
Notice the order in which these witnesses are given. The witnesses to Christ’s Deity are, first, the Word, then the blood, and then the Spirit. The witnesses to redemption’s accomplishment are, first, the Father, then the Son, and then the Spirit. The witnesses to our saving interest in Christ are, first, the Spirit, then the Word, and then the blood. — A saving knowledge of Christ begins with the revelation of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).
(1 Corinthians 2:9-10) “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (10) But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
No one on earth can know and be firmly persuaded that he is one of God’s elect, one of those for whom Christ died, but by the special revelation of God the Holy Spirit. No man can, or should, convince another of his salvation in Christ. Only the Spirit of God can convince a sinner of grace and salvation in Christ (John 16:8-14). And if he convinces, you are convinced.
(John 16:8-14) “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9) Of sin, because they believe not on me; (10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. (12) I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. (13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. (14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.”
He is called the Comforter because he conveys to our hearts the comfort of our election, redemption, salvation, and eternal acceptance with God (Romans 8:14-17).
(Romans 8:14-17) “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
At the time appointed, he manifests the glory of Christ’s Person and the merits of his work, creating faith in the hearts of chosen, redeemed sinners (2 Corinthians 4:6; Galatians 1:15; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Titus 1:2-3; 2 Peter 1:18-20).
(2 Corinthians 4:6) “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
(Galatians 1:15) “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace.”
(2 Timothy 1:9-10) “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
(Titus 1:2-3) “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; (3) But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour.”
(2 Peter 1:18-20) “And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. (19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
This saving knowledge of Christ is based upon the record of the written Word of God, symbolized by water (Titus 3:5). I remind you that when John uses the word “water,” he is almost always talking about the Word of God. The Spirit bears witness on earth, and the witness is given through the Word. The revelation of God’s Spirit and the record of God’s Word always agree.
The Spirit never operates independently of his written Word. He reveals Christ supernaturally in the hearts of men. But he reveals Christ only through the instrumentality of gospel preaching. He takes the record of God in his Word and makes it the voice of God in a man’s heart! He declares in our hearts that our redemption is accomplished by Christ’s obedience and death as our Substitute (Hebrews 9:12-14)
What is the record of God’s Word?
· Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
· Christ has accomplished redemption for sinners.
· Every sinner who believes on the Son of God has eternal life!
This saving knowledge of Christ is neither more nor less than faith in his blood. This is my assurance, all my assurance, my only assurance. God the Holy Spirit has revealed Christ in me by the Word of his grace, effectually causing me to trust him, his blood and his righteousness, for the whole of my acceptance with God. Trusting Christ, I have assurance of my saving interest in him.
Faith is the echo of my heart to the voice of God’s Spirit speaking to me by the gospel. The warrant of my faith is the Word of God alone. And the warrant of my assurance is faith alone (1 John 5:9-13). Faith fetches full assurance to the believer’s heart, not from within, but from without, from the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and the naked Word of God.
“Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving.
I trust the written Word of God.
Naught else is worth believing!”
Read the Word of God one more time. Assurance is never connected with love, or works, or joy, or repentance, or even perseverance. In the Word of God assurance is always the fruit of faith alone.
(John 1:11-12) “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
(Acts 13:38-39) “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: (39) And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
(Romans 15:13) “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
(Colossians 2:2-6) “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; (3) In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (4) And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. (5) For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. (6) As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:”
(Hebrews 10:22) “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Faith takes God’s bare Word, without any other testimony or evidence, and finds the comfort of full assurance in the finished work of Christ alone. If we seek assurance upon any other grounds, by signs, feelings, evidences, good works, or anything else but faith in Christ alone, we make God a liar!
Will you, or will you not receive the witness of God? Will you, or will you not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?
(1 John 5:9-13) “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. (10) He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. (11) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (12) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
 While love is, as the Scriptures everywhere declare, an identifying characteristic of God’s believing people, our love for God and for one another is so shallow, fickle, and sinful that we dare not make it a basis of personal assurance.