And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. (1 John 3:19)
God wants us to be saved and sure. There was a deodorant commercial several years ago that said, “Raise your hands if you’re sure.” Could you raise your hand that you’re sure that you’re going to heaven? Some of you may be saved, but not sure. You have a real struggle with doubt. God doesn’t want you that way. Satan may not be able to take your soul, so he settles for stealing your surety. Some of you may be sure, but you aren’t saved. You have no biblical basis for your claim. It is bad to be lost, but worse to be lost and not know it. God wants us to be saved and sure (1 John 5:13). There is a critical test in 1 John 3.
We can be saved and sure when WE EMBRACE THE DEMAND OF LOVE (v.11). Love is foundational. It is “the message.” Love sums up the law and prophets (Matt.22:34-40). Love is foremost. It is “from the beginning.” Paul stressed the preeminence of love in 1 Corinthians 13 above all virtues.
Along with this when we are saved and sure WE EXCLUDE THE DEVILISHNESS OF HATE (v.12-15). As God is characterized by love, so Satan is marked by hate (John 8:37-44). Those following Satan are destructive (v.12-13). We see it in Cain’s hate for Abel, and it is still at work today. Hate is the root of which murder is the fruit. Hate is the sinner’s domain (v.14). My passport shows my citizenship. The passport of the child of God is stamped with one thing—love. What does this say about your destination (v.15)? God is as much concerned about our internal disposition as our external deeds. We know murderers won’t go to heaven. Now, one can be forgiven of murder—but then he or she is no longer a murderer. Their crime has been removed from the record. But to hold hate in our heart is to dwell in the domain of death and be die physically in that state is to die eternally in what the Bible calls the second death.
We are saved and sure when WE EXPERIENCE THE DEFINITION OF LOVE (v.16). “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Love is abstract term until we look at Calvary and it becomes concrete. There is seen the sacrifice of God’s love. Love isn’t just saying it—it is showing it. This sets the standard for God’s love. Two committed Christians ought to be able to make a marriage work and a local church ought to be able to work in harmony if they would love like this.
We are saved and sure when WE EXHIBIT THE DEMONSTRATION OF LOVE (v.17-24). Love is demonstrated in our compassion (v.17). This command isn’t just for the rich, but the Greek speaks of those who have the basic necessities who are expected to share with those who don’t. Love is seen in our conduct (v.18). Our profession is only validated by our performance. This leads to our confidence (v.19-22). Does your conscience condemn you? Imagine what God will do! Love brings assurance of salvation and audacity in prayer. This is our commandment (v.22-23) Love is evidence of genuine faith in Christ. It establishes our communion (v.24a). The one who keeps the command of love has communion with Christ. It leads to our comfort (v.24b). The Spirit gives witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.