Summary: Understand the absolute certainty found in Christian Faith. Know you are saved and no longer doubt.
“Experience is the best teacher.” Most of the learning we do during this lifetime will be through the issues, problems, and joys of just living. Our experiences change how we do different activities and it adjusts how we view our world. If you have ever smashed your thumb with a hammer, that experience taught you a small lesson on the meaning of pain, controlling you words, and how not to swing a hammer and hold a nail. The stigma that younger people aren’t as capable at living life isn’t totally unfounded because the older you get, the more time you have had to experience life. Yet, life experience isn’t the only way to learn and isn’t the easiest way to learn either. Sometimes we learn the hard lesson of life and death very early in life. I learned about death when I was very young with the loss of my grandfather and grandmother. It was a great struggle for me to comprehend how it all worked when I was only 7 and 8.
Sometimes, however, experience doesn’t sink in. Some people don’t learn their lessons and others just don’t think. “Two pals are sitting in a pub watching the eleven-o’clock news. A report comes on about a man threatening to jump from the 20th floor of a downtown building. One friend turns to the other and says, "I’ll bet you ten bucks the guy doesn’t jump." "It’s a bet," agrees his buddy. A few minutes later, the man on the ledge jumps, so the loser hands his pal a $10 bill. "I can’t take your money," his friend admits. "I saw him jump earlier on the six-o’clock news." "Me, too," said the other buddy. "But I didn’t think he’d do it again!" – Ohio Motorist, Reader’s Digest, June, 1994, p. 72.” I am hoping this was a fake conversation because if it wasn’t, this guy must get duped a lot.
Today, we will finish the book of 1 John with the last three verses; 1 John 5:18-21. We have continued our course through this book following the idea that the entire book addresses some aspect of our relationship with Christ. We traveled from the foundation of fellowship found in the first four verses of the book all the way through confession, obedience, salvation, eternity, prayer, and now finally we will speak about three pieces of knowledge every Christian should have. This knowledge isn’t just a book knowledge you would gain by reading but an experiential knowledge gained through sharing life with Christ. John tells these Christians that they should have experienced and know three specific ideas. Let’s investigate these three pieces of knowledge and see how we too should have encountered them.
Know God keeps His Own – V. 18
“We know that those who are God’s children do not continue to sin. The Son of God keeps them safe, and the Evil One cannot touch them.” – New Century Version
As previously stated, this knowledge isn’t book knowledge but an experiential knowledge. It apparently can be felt and known in a personal manner. John tells these Christian people that they can know by experience that God’s children do not habitually sin. The New Century Version does a great job with these verses in translating them from the Greek manuscripts to English. Anyone who accepts Christ and obeys God is a child of God. No one who obeys God can continually sin. These two ideas are polar opposites. A Christian cannot continually choose sin over God and continue to be a Christian. The next sentence makes this concept interesting. The Son of God or Jesus keeps them safe and the Evil One (Satan) cannot affect them. This safety being referred to isn’t a safety from the evils of the world such as bills, pain, and struggles but a safety from Satan taking over the life of a Christian. Once a person accepts Christ, they have been separated from sin and the influence of Satan. They now live safely inside the hands of God and cannot be directly attacked by Satan.
You may ask the question, “So how does bad stuff happen to good people?” If God is protecting Christians from Satan, then why do Christians suffer just like everyone else? Many have asked this question. Think about this, God has a bigger picture than we do of every situation. The girl who refused to deny Jesus Christ at Columbine by standing on her faith, brought thousands of people to Christ. Her parents never wanted her to die, it was their little girl but God used that evil situation for good. Secondly, God gives people the ability to think and act independently of Him. Those boys who did the evil deed were acting contrary to God but God gave them free will to do as they pleased and they chose to act and live out Satan’s will instead of God’s. Lastly, some take themselves out of God’s hands by choosing to sin and choosing to walk away. We will discuss this more in the next verse.