Love One Another, Pt. 3
1 John 3:19-24
February 9, 2014
Many people struggle with the question of whether or not one is saved. John Piper gets to the central issue about assurance when he writes:
The most agonizing problem about the assurance of salvation is not the problem of whether the objective facts of Christianity are true (God exists, Christ is God, Christ died for sinners, Christ rose from the dead, Christ saves forever all who believe, etc.). Those facts are the utterly crucial bedrock of our faith. But the really agonizing problem of assurance is whether I personally am saved by those facts. [“The Agonizing Problem of the Assurance of Salvation”]
It is this topic of assurance that John addresses repeatedly in the book of 1 John. He is writing to assure those who have been saved about the security of their salvation and he is writing to confront those who claim Christ and still joyfully engage in lifestyles of sin that they do not have fellowship with God or Christ.
John provides assurance for those who are doubting and wavering throughout the book, and we find one of those sections in the passage before us today. In the last half of chapter three, John has been teaching and explaining the implications of the simple declaration, “love one another” (v. 11b). And in verses 19ff, he draws those implications to a close by affirming assurance for those who love. His point is that —
An essential evidence of our life in Christ is our love for one another.
As a reminder, in chapter three John made six assertions about love in the body of Christ (vv. 11-15). And then he followed that with an example of Biblical love and an application for how to love biblically (vv. 16-18). And then finally he ties all this to assurance of the believer’s salvation (vv. 19-24), which he does by answering three unstated questions that might arise in the believer’s mind:
- How Do We Know We Are Saved and Have Assurance? (v. 19)
- How Do We Deal with Our Condemning Hearts? (vv. 20-21)
- What Does God Promise to Those Who Believe? (vv. 22-24)
- He promises to answer our requests (v. 22)
- He promises to command (v. 23)
- He promises to remain (v. 24a)
- He promises His Spirit (v. 24b)