Are You Sure You’re Secure?
A Summary of 1 John
August 31, 2014
There are many reasons why people might not be sure of their salvation —
- Spiritual laziness
- Satanic attacks
- Trials or harsh circumstances (even having several young children at home so that the affection the mother had prior to children is replaced by diapers, etc., and she wonders how she can be a Christian and not spend time with God…)
- Illness or temperament (e.g., William Cowper)
- God seems to withdraw a sense of His presence and blessing
- Conversion came at an early age; because he doesn’t have a “dramatic” conversion, doubts arise
- Lack of significant growth after conversion
- Ongoing presence of sin or temptation
But the reality is that too many believers are unsure of the security of their salvation. That is true today, and it was true in the first days of the church. So the apostle John wrote his first letter to address that very issue. And as we sum up this book this morning, we do well to remember the theme of 1 John:
First John is written to assure readers of their salvation through tests of their doctrine and morality — what they believe and what they do (5:13).
First John is designed to be a comfort to believing readers, assuring them of their salvation.
As we address this topic one final time, let me remind you of the definitions of two related terms:
- Security is the reality that God has saved us and is keeping us so that we cannot be lost once we are saved (e.g., Jn. 10 — no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand…). This is objective truth. The life that God gives us is eternal (e.g., 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13, 20); if it is eternal (and not 6-week) life, then we are secure.
- Assurance is the subjective experience of one’s salvation. So while we every believer in Christ is secure, not every believer experiences assurance. An individual may be saved, though he may have little assurance of that salvation. A genuine believer is always secure; he may or may not feel assurance (1 Jn. 5:13).
There are also those who have false assurance — they believe they are saved when they are not. Remember, not all who profess Christ have been converted by Christ (2:19; Mt. 7:22f).
John is writing because there are some who should have assurance who do not and there are some who believe they have assurance who should not.
This morning, we will summarize the message of 1 John and then summarize the doctrine of assurance:
- Five Key Verses to Remember the Message of 1 John
- You will sin — and it’s not hopeless (1:9)
- Do not love the world — and it will tempt you (2:15)
- Christ came to take away sin (3:5)
- Love each other — and sometimes that’s hard (4:7)
- Be sure of your security (5:13)
- Three Questions to Ask About Your New Life in Christ
- Do I believe in Jesus Christ, the eternal God-Man?
- Do I obey God?
- Do I love God’s people?
- If There Are No Signs of Transformation…
Download the rest of this sermon on 1 John.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.