Study 2 WHAT GOD WANTS US TO KNOW
BREAD ENOUGH AND TO SPARE
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: 1 John 5: 1-13)
We shall consider some of the things about which God wants us, His children, to be absolutely sure. In 1 John 5:13 the writer tells us why he wrote his letter. He wanted his readers to have the assurance that all was well with them for time and for eternity. The Apostle John uses the word “know” several times in this letter: 2:3; 2:5; 3:2; 3:5; 3:14; 3:19; 3:24; 4:13; 5:20.
Surely these references make it absolutely clear that God wants us to have assurance about the things that matter most. We live in an age of insecurity and uncertainty; everything around us which is temporal and material is unstable, so men’s hearts are filled with fear, anxiety, worry and depression (Luke 21:26). God wants His people to be sure, but what is the ground of our assurance? The Word of God is the ground of our confidence. God has spoken, and His Word is sure and it cannot fail (Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:23, 25). God’s Word, the Bible, has been written that we may know – what? Let us think about some of the important things which God wants us to know and be absolutely sure of:-
1. That the Lord Jesus is our own living, loving personal Saviour and Friend
God wants us to have assurance concerning a person, and that Person is His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2 Timothy 1:12 Paul says, “…I know whom I have believed…” Notice the pronoun here. What Paul really says is, ‘I know Him…!’ And this is the privilege of every child of God, every believer, to know Him personally as Saviour and Lord. What a wonderful thing it is that when the whole world is filled with uncertainty we may know the Lord for ourselves and be sure of Him! How can I be certain that I really do know Him and that He is in my heart and life? I can do so by making sure that I have welcomed Him – look up Revelation 3:20; by making sure that I have come to Him and have trusted Him as my Saviour – look up John 6:37. His work for me makes me safe, and His Word to me makes me sure. What other things should we be sure of?
2. He wants us to know that all our sins are forgiven
We learn this from 1 John 2:12. It is not a presumption to believe the word of the Lord Jesus (it would be a greater presumption not to believe His word!). And He says to every Christian – look up Mark 2:5. When the Saviour died on the cross of Calvary He died to put away our sin (Isaiah 53:5-6; John 1:29; 1 Peter 2:24, and when we believe that fact and receive Him into our life we have His pardon (Acts 13:38-39). Compare Psalm 32:1 and Psalm 103:12. Are you sure that your sins are forgiven?
3. That we have passed from death to life
By nature we are spiritually dead (John 5:40; Romans 5:12 and Ephesians 2:1), but when we put our trust in the Lord Jesus and accept Him as Saviour we pass from death to life. We are born again (John 1:11-14); we receive a new life, His life (John 10:10), eternal life (John 10:27-29; 1 John 5:11-12). Now look up the great word of assurance in 1 John 3:14. Do you know that you have been born again and that you have passed from death to life? – look up John 5:24. In John’s first letter there are five evidences of the new birth:-
- 1. 1 John 2:29. Have you a desire to do that which is right in God’s sight?
- 2. 1 John 3:9. Have you given up the habit of sinning and no longer enjoy it?
- 3. 1 John 3:14. Do you love other Christians?
- 4. 1 John 5:1. Do you acknowledge His sovereignty?
- 5. 1 John 5:4. Have you power to overcome?
4. He wants us to know of His loving plan and purpose for our life
The unbeliever drifts through life, hoping for the best, with no assurance when he is faced with life’s problems and perplexities; but how different it is for the believer! He has a wonderful assurance, as we read in Romans 8:28-30. In the intention and purpose of God, every believer is already foreknown, predestinated, called, justified and glorified! What assurance! But notice in particular verse 28, where we read that when we become Christians “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” This does not mean that we are immune from trial, sorrow, disappointment, but it does mean that in and through all these experiences we know – what?
- 1. “All things…” Nothing happens by chance to the believer.
- 2. “God works…” He has a plan for our life and He is working it out (Philippians 1:6).
- 3. “For the good of those who love him…” All that happens is for our good, for the fulfilment of His perfect will (Romans 12:1-2). Notice in these verses that God’s will is “good, pleasing and perfect…” Even if we cannot understand God’s ways now, our assurance is that all is well and that one day we shall (John 13:7). What else can we be sure of?
5. That all that is happening in the world today is moving towards the fulfilment of His will, when Jesus Christ will be King of kings and Lord of lords
This great assurance is brought out in Job 19:25-27. We know that one day our Saviour will return, that He will set up His kingdom and establish His rule and reign of righteousness. Job knew this in those far-off days, and we may know this too. We shall see Him (Revelation 1:7); we shall be with Him in His victory (Revelation 3:21); we shall be for ever with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:17)!