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. (1 John 5:13)
What a tragedy it would be to go through life uncertain of your eternity. If you have accepted Christ as your Saviour and believe the Bible, then you can know for sure that Heaven is where you will spend eternity. Once you have eternal life, you can never lose it; it is a present possession that no one can ever take from you.
God used the apostle John to write five books of the Bible: The Gospel according to John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation. John 20:31 says, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” This verse leaves no doubt as to why God had John record these accounts of Jesus—so that people might believe in Him.
Looking back at 1 John 5:13, we see that 1 John was written to those who have already believed in Jesus and accepted Him as their Saviour. If we look closely at the book, we can see four reasons why God included it in Scripture:
1. To Encourage Us to Have Joy
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life…And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:1, 4)
If we are lacking joy in our lives, it may be because we have not been spending enough time studying God’s Word and meditating upon its truths.
2. To Help Us Avoid Sinning
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. (1 John 2:1a)
We see from the verse above that God gave us 1 John to help prevent sin. A preacher once said, “Christians are not sinless, but they should sin less.” Another preacher said, “Sin will keep you from this Book, but this Book will keep you from sin.” God’s Word gives us the tools we need to resist temptation.
3. To Safeguard Us against False Teachings
These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. (1 John 2:26)
A wise and discerning Christian will be so full of the Word of God that he will not easily fall prey to those who are teaching things contrary to the Bible.
4. To Give Us Assurance
These things have I written unto you that believe…that ye may know that ye have eternal life…
Reading 1 John 5:13 again shows us that this book of the Bible was written to give us assurance of our salvation and eternal life.
Not everyone who says he is a Christian is a Christian:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1 John 2:19)
Many people would identify themselves as Christians, yet many of them have never truly accepted Christ. Think of Judas Iscariot; he was one of Christ’s disciples. He went everywhere with Christ and saw every miracle, heard every sermon; yet he never made the decision to trust Christ as his Saviour. He was never a child of God.
There are certain characteristics in children that cause them to be identified with their parents. Most often it is shared physical traits, but sometimes it is certain similarities in personalities that make it obvious whose son or daughter that child might be.
When a person accepts Christ as Saviour, he is born again and becomes a child of God. People should have no difficulty in finding evidence that identifies us as children of God. Let us call these identifying marks birthmarks of the believer. These birthmarks, these character traits, should identify us with our Heavenly Father. Let us look into God’s Word to see what some of these birthmarks are and if they are evident in our lives:
The Birthmark of Obedience
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. (1 John 2:3)
Obedience is the first birthmark of the believer. Obedience is doing the will of God and delighting in it. Many people who say they are Christians have no desire to obey the Lord; they are seriously lacking in this evidence of Christianity:
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:4-5)
Verse five above shows us that we know that we are in Christ if we keep God’s Word. A true Christian will always have a heart that is willing to follow God’s teachings; he will not only be a hearer of God’s Word but a doer as well. It is not enough to say we are Christians; we need to prove it with obedience to God.
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (1 John 2:6)
Obedience is an excellent birthmark. Do we have it?
The Birthmark of Love
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. (1 John 3:14)
The second birthmark of the believer is love. 1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love.” How can we possibly claim to be Christians, believers in God and followers of Him, if we don’t love others?
Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:15)
What a strong condemnation from God! God equates hatred with murder. If we aren’t loving others, we are as guilty as if we had killed them. A person cannot be a true Christian without having the love of Christ in his heart.
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. (1 John 3:16-19)
In the verses above, John talks of loving others with the love of Christ. Christ’s love is a giving love, a self-sacrificing love. Do we love others that way? Love is not just some word or feeling; love is a deed, a heartfelt action. It is one of the birthmarks of the believer.
Can others see the above birthmarks in us? Do they look at us and think “Oh yes, I see the resemblance between them and their Father”? May there be no denying the evidence that we are children of God.
Every person on the planet is a creation of God, but not everyone is a child of God. If you have never accepted Christ as your Saviour, please don’t put it off any longer. Click here to view the Bible Way to Heaven and learn how you can KNOW you will spend eternity with God in Heaven.
To read more of the book of 1 John, please click here.