I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13, ESV; all Biblical quotations are from the ESV).
A few days ago my family and I read and discussed “Assurance of Salvation” from The Full Life Study Bible, New International Version (edited by Donald C. Stamps and J. Wesley Adams. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1992; page 1982). However since then between the grade 12 graduation activities of my younger daughter, Shekinah, and the windup of the visit to us by my older daughter and her husband, Allison and Andy, I’ve been too high emotionally to settle down and report here on what we read.
In the article Donald Stamps identifies nine ways set out by 1 John for us to know that we are in a strong relationship with Jesus Christ. Here I’ll list the nine ways and for each give a Bible passage cited by Stamps in support of it.
1. We have assurance of eternal life if we “believe in the name of the Son of God,” Jesus Christ (1 John 5:13, quoted above).
2. We have assurance of eternal life if we are sincerely trying to keep Christ’s commandments. “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him” (1 John 2:3-5).
3. We have assurance of salvation if we love the Father and the Son rather than the world. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:15-16).
4. We have assurance of salvation if we habitually practice righteousness rather than sin. “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him” (1 John 2:29; see also 3:7-10).
5. We have assurance of salvation if we love our Christian brothers and sisters. “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers” (1 John 3:14).
6. we have assurance of salvation if we are conscious of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. “By this we know that he [God] abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us” (1 John 3:24).
7. We have assurance of salvation if we strive to live as Jesus did. “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6).
8. We have assurance of salvation if we continue to hold to the message of Jesus Christ and the New Testament apostles. “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father” (1 John 2:24).
9. We have assurance of salvation if we long and hope for Jesus Christ’s return. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).
In our family reading of the article we discussed if one or all of the ways had to be true for a person to have assurance of salvation. I’d be interested in hearing in a comment on this post what you think.