This week we read through 1 John. I would summarize it as the Assurance of Salvation book. How can we know we're saved? How can we be sure our salvation is certain? I have just finished listening to Chuck Swindoll's sermon series on the same book, so I was excited to study it through BSF as well.
To begin, the early Christian church was becoming inundated with false teachings which taught that because there is no sin in God, eventually true Christ followers become immune to sin and do not sin any longer. John wrote this book to refute that teaching.
Although we are Christ followers, we are still sinners and desperate for Christ's atonement. And we must never forget it. There is nothing we can do to earn the grace which God has given so freely through His son Jesus. Furthermore, to claim to be without sin is to deny Christ. Without sin, we don't need Jesus. Do you see?
This is so incredibly true today. There is no amount of good works that get us into Heaven. There is no secret way to obtaining salvation. There is no transcendental pathway to God. The only way is through Jesus Christ.
And we can know we are followers of Christ by our obedience to Him. We must love others in word and deed, and we must obey Jesus' teachings. Good works look like obedience, but they are not obedience necessarily. Obedience is soul-deep; good works are shallow.
This is definitely one area where I seem to struggle. I want to obey, and good works come through that. But I get sucked in by pride in what I've accomplished. I think that's where I fall.
How does one do good by obeying God and not stumble with pride in one's actions? It seems to me that I must acknowledge that no good comes from me, it is Christ's work through me. Just as God is the source of all love, he is also the source of all goodness. Nothing in me is good. Only what Christ does through me is good. So, how can I take credit for any of it?
The assurance of my salvation is in the total acknowledgment that without Christ I am dead. It is a paradox. It is only when I admit I am nothing and have nothing good in me is when I am sure that God loves me and has given me his Son for my sin.