19 Mar Finding Confidence in Your Salvation: Lessons from 1 John 5:13-17
The Christian life is a journey that is marked by a deepening understanding and experience of our faith. It is a journey of growth, transformation, and assurance in our salvation. In this post, we will explore three essential aspects of the Christian life: finding assurance of salvation in Christ, praying according to God’s will, and interceding for fellow believers. We will delve into the biblical truths behind each of these topics and highlight the experiences of notable figures from church history. By examining these themes, we can gain a deeper understanding of our relationship with God and how we can grow in our faith.
Finding Assurance of Salvation in Christ (I John 5:13)
1 John 5:13 says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”John’s intention in writing this letter is not only to introduce people to the knowledge of Christ but also to strengthen the faith of those who already know Him. His goal is for his readers to have greater confidence in eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Have you ever wrestled with wondering things like: “Am I really worthy of salvation?” “Have I done enough to earn God’s grace?” “What if I’m not good enough?” “What if I’m not doing everything I should be doing?” “Do my shortcomings and mistakes disqualify me from eternal life?” “Why do I feel so guilty and ashamed?” “Will God really accept me?”
The good news is that assurance of salvation does not come from within ourselves but from the person and work of Jesus Christ. We are saved by grace through faith in Him, not by our own works or efforts. By trusting in Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we can have confidence that our sins are forgiven and that we are reconciled to God. As we continue to walk with Him, growing in our knowledge and love for Him, we can have the assurance that we belong to Him and that nothing can separate us from His love.
Praying According to God’s Will (I John 5:14-15)
Prayer is an essential part of the Christian life. It is a way for believers to communicate with God, express their gratitude, and bring their concerns and needs before Him. However, prayer can sometimes feel like a one-way conversation, and believers may struggle with knowing whether their requests are being heard or answered. In 1 John 5:14-15, John offers insight and guidance on how to pray in a way that brings genuine assurance that our prayers are being heard and answered.
John explains that the confidence believers have in prayer is based on praying according to God’s will. He assures us that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. This means that our prayers must be in line with God’s purposes and character as revealed in His Word. When we pray according to His will, we can have confidence that He will hear and answer us.
However, this assurance is conditional on our asking according to His will. It is not enough to pray for something just because we want it or think it would be good for us. We must submit our will to God’s and seek His guidance in prayer. This requires humility and trust in His sovereignty and goodness, even when His answers may not be what we expect or desire.
When we pray according to God’s will, we can have confidence that He is working all things together for our good and His glory, even if we do not understand how at the time. This confidence in prayer is rooted in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, who has opened the way for us to approach God’s throne with boldness and assurance. Therefore, let us pray according to His will, trusting in His goodness and power to answer our requests and bring about His purposes in our lives.
George Müller is a great example of someone who understood the power of praying according to God’s will. Müller founded several orphanages in Bristol, England, including the Ashley Down Orphanage, and he was known for his strong faith and dependence on God to provide for the needs of his ministry.
One of the most famous examples of his reliance on God’s provision was when the children in the orphanage were in desperate need of food. Müller gathered the orphans together for their daily Bible study and prayer, knowing that they had no food for the day. He prayed a simple prayer, thanking God for providing food for them and asking Him to send help. Shortly after the prayer, a baker knocked on the door and offered to donate enough bread to feed all of the children. Shortly after, a milk truck broke down in front of the orphanage, and the driver offered to give the children the milk rather than see it spoil. This was just one of many instances where God answered Müller’s prayers for the needs of the orphanage, demonstrating his unwavering faith in God’s provision.
Müller’s life serves as an excellent example of how we can align our prayers with God’s will to receive genuine assurance that our requests will be heard and answered. By seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit and aligning our requests with God’s plan, we can deepen our relationship with God and trust Him to provide for our needs. As we follow this path, we can experience the transformative power of prayer in our lives, just as Müller did.
Interceding for Believers: Understanding the Sin That Leads to Death (I John 5:16-17)
In this passage, John writes about the need to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. He says, “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that” (1 John 5:16-17 ESV).
This passage speaks about the importance of intercession, which is praying on behalf of others. We are called to pray for our fellow believers, especially when we see them struggling with sin. We are to ask God to give them life, which means spiritual life, strength, and the ability to overcome sin. However, there is a sin that leads to death, which means eternal separation from God.
While the exact nature of this sin is unclear from the text, in his sermon titled “A Clear Conscience,” Charles Spurgeon explained that “the sin that leads to death” is the sin of unbelief, which is a persistent rejection of the gospel message.
He warned that those who commit this sin have no desire for forgiveness and will never repent. They will continue in their hardened and unbelieving state and will never be the subject of holy influences, for they have crossed over into the dark region of despair where hope and mercy never come.
However, Spurgeon also provided comfort to those who are troubled about this sin. He emphasized that those who repent of sin and trust in Jesus Christ are freely and fully forgiven. Therefore, they have not committed a sin that will not be forgiven. He also reminded his listeners that those who are born again, cannot commit this unpardonable sin. They are kept from it by sovereign grace against this dreadful damage to their soul.
Example from Church History:
St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated last Friday, and his life serves as an excellent example of someone who had genuine assurance in salvation, prayer, and intercession. Patrick was born in Roman Britain during the 5th century but was captured by Irish raiders at the age of sixteen and taken as a slave to Ireland. He spent six years in captivity before he was able to escape and return to his family in Britain.
Following his conversion to Christianity, Patrick felt called by God to return to Ireland as a missionary. He spent the rest of his life evangelizing the Irish people, establishing churches and monasteries, and training other missionaries. He also wrote a Confession, which is a testimony of his faith in Christ and his belief in the doctrine of the Trinity.
While there are certainly differences between St. Patrick’s theological underpinnings, and how we interpret the Bible, throughout his life, Patrick had a deep sense of assurance in his salvation. Despite his humble origins and his previous life as a slave, Patrick knew that he was saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. He had no doubt that he was a child of God and that his eternal destiny was secure in Christ.
Patrick also had a strong prayer life. He wrote, “I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation” (St. Patrick’s Breastplate).
This prayer, known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate, is a powerful declaration of faith in the Triune God and a request for His protection and guidance. It shows Patrick’s deep dependence on God and his desire to align his prayers with God’s will.
In addition to his personal prayer life, Patrick was a great intercessor for the people of Ireland. He had a heart for the lost and the hurting, and he spent much of his time praying for their salvation and healing. He also trained other missionaries to pray for the Irish people and to intercede on their behalf.
One of the most remarkable stories from Patrick’s life is his intercession for the people of the kingdom of Munster. According to legend, the king of Munster was opposed to Christianity and threatened to attack Patrick and his followers. Patrick and his companions prayed for the king’s conversion and for the safety of the people of Munster. As a result of their prayers, the king had a change of heart and became a Christian. He not only spared Patrick’s life but also granted him and his followers permission to evangelize throughout Munster. This story illustrates the power of intercession and the importance of praying for our enemies and those who oppose the gospel.
Sermon & Sandwiches
- What does assurance of salvation mean to you? Have you ever struggled with feeling like you are not good enough for God’s grace? How has knowing that our salvation is based on Jesus’ work and not our own efforts helped you?
- How do you approach prayer? Do you ever struggle with feeling like your prayers are not being heard or answered? What do you think it means to pray according to God’s will?
- What do you think it means to intercede for someone in prayer? Have you ever prayed for someone else’s needs or struggles? How can we pray for others in a way that is aligned with God’s will?
The Daily Devotion
Take some time to reflect on your own assurance of salvation. Have you ever doubted your salvation? What causes those doubts? Spend some time in prayer and ask God to reveal His truth to you about your standing with Him.
Choose a specific area of your life that you’ve been struggling with and commit to praying for it according to God’s will. Spend time studying what the Bible says about that area and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your prayers. Trust that God is working in that situation, even if you don’t see immediate results.
Read through 1 John 5:16-17 and meditate on what it means to intercede for fellow believers. Consider specific people in your life who may be struggling with sin and commit to praying for them regularly. Ask God to give you a heart for intercession and a desire to see others grow in their relationship with Him.
Take some time to study the life of George Müller and how he relied on God through prayer. Consider ways in which you can deepen your own prayer life and trust in God’s provision. Ask God to reveal areas of your life where you need to rely more on Him and less on yourself.
Reflect on the life of St. Patrick and how he lived out his faith through evangelism, prayer, and intercession. Consider ways in which you can follow his example and share the love of Christ with those around you. Pray for opportunities to serve and minister to others in your community.
As a parent, it’s essential to teach your children about the truths of the Christian faith. Here are some ideas for discussing the essential truths from this week’s sermon and blog post with your kids in a way they can understand.
- Start by asking your children what they know about Jesus and His love for them. It’s important that they first understand what sin is before they’ll understand why they need a savior. To help them with this, review the 10 commandments and help them to see where they have personally broken these. It’s then important that they understand that their sin is serious and deserving of punishment, so take them to Romans 6:23, and then share with them that Jesus took the punishment of death so that we wouldn’t have to.
- Use I John 5:13 to explain to your kids that believing in Jesus means they can know that they have eternal life. Ask them what they think eternal life means and what it will be like.
- Read I John 5:14-15 with your children and talk to them about how prayer is a way to talk to God. Explain to them that we should pray according to God’s will and ask them if they know what that means. Talk about how sometimes we might want something that isn’t best for us, but God always knows what is best.
- Use I John 5:16-17 to talk to your children about interceding for others. Explain to them that we can pray for our friends and family members who are struggling and ask God to help them. Ask your children if they have any friends they would like to pray for.