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Can we KNOW that we are saved? 1 John 2:3-6

15/02/2014

Can We KNOW that We are Saved?

Text.1 John 2:3-6
John, in this passage, four times uses the word KNOW.  We can KNOW that we KNOW Him. we can see here how we will recognise, looking inwardly, that we are saved – the EVIDENCE that conversion has been effected in our lives by a divine work of God the Holy Spirit.  First, let’s have a negative look at assurance.

1.The Opposite of Assurance.
When John talks here about ‘Knowing that we know Him’, he is not referring to:
•    Philosophical knowledge.   God can’t be worked out, can’t be known by philosophical thought or human intellect.  Remember – even the devil believes!
•    Emotional knowledge.  The idea that we know that we know him, because we ‘feel something inside us.’ Early Christianity eschewed all of that.  There was no appeal to the emotions, no stirring music…  Just prayer and fellowship and baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and Preaching and praise that was modelled on the restrained worship of the Jewish synagogue.
So, if assurance is not human philosophy or feelings, what is it. How DO we KNOW that we are his?

2. The Principles of Assurance.
The theology of assurance is all wrapped up in this verse.  We know that we are his, because God’s own WORD tells us so.  Take your Bible now, and mark these three phrases:
a.    We KNOW HIM.  How do we get to know him?

– By believing in him. John 17:3  Beeke points out here that in the NT, Knowing and Believing are almost synonymous. In 2 Tim.1:12, Paul writes, I know whom I have believed…
– By having a personal relationship with him.  To know is also to ‘experience’. For the believer, our knowledge of Christ is very much experiential. Philippians 3:8-10,
– By prayer and communion with him.  You see, the believer has constant access to his presence, and he communes with The Lord in prayer, attends to public worship, come to the Lord’s Table…

b.  We are IN HIM.  This is one of the constantly recurring themes in the NT.  Paul uses the phrase IN CHRIST over and over again. 2 Cor. 5:17  There is a unity between Christ and the believer.  We are engrafted into him, – There is part of Christ implanted within our souls.
c.    We ABIDE IN HIM.  Now that we are engrafted into Christ, we are his, and we remain there, drawing all our strength from him, and growing and bearing fruit for him.  John 15:4
Now, all of these things are FACTS.  Not facts because of our philosophical ideas or our feeling – but because the Bible says they are so.  Our Assurance is based on God’s Word, which tells us what Christ has done for us, and assures us of it.

3. The Proof of Assurance.
So we have God’s word, that our salvation is accomplished and applied.  Now, how can we practically examine ourselves, to see if these things have actually happened to us,
a.    We will Obey His Commands.

a.    This is a desire to please God by obeying his law. 3And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  Do we deliberately disobey him when we should know better?
b.    This is EVANGELICAL obedience, not LEGAL obedience.  Obedience to the Law cannot save us, – we fall far short of the Law and it condemns us.  But as believers who have experienced God’s saving grace, we then have a desire to obey him in grateful response.  Reformed theologians call this ‘The Third Use of the Law’.
c.    Can we lose that assurance? – We certainly can’t lose our salvation, and the assuring facts of that redemptive act will not change or decay, but sometimes, perhaps because of our wilful disobedience, perhaps God might withdraw that assurance from us, and that in turn will affect our service for him.

b.    We will Keep His Word.  To be saved is to have a high regard for God’s Word.  We will love the Word of God, we will search it and apply it, and strive to know it better every day.
c.    We will Walk in His steps.  John 15:5  If we are his we should be starting to reflect his image in our lives.  We call this ‘Christlikeness’. Now we cannot be like Him, we cannot be perfect this side of eternity, – but is there not a tiny little bit of Christlikeness budding somewhere in our hearts?  Is there not even a little bit of a desire to be like Him?

a.    Are his priorities our priorities?    John 6:38 
b.    Are we finding satisfaction in his law?  Jesus loved the law of God, – are we like him?  In the Messianic words of Psalm 40:7-8, 
c.    Are we developing some compassion for others?  
d.    Are we doing unto others what we would have them do to us?  
e.    Are we starting to show the love of Christ in our own lives? 

These are the evidences that we are His.  We will know that we know Him, if we are obeying his law, keeping his word and walking in his steps.

Can we know that we know him?  Yes we can, both empirically and experimentally.

One Comment
  1. Excellent post!

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