Summary: The acceptance and assurance of salvation
Standing on the Promises
In 1994, the Texas Rangers baseball team called up a young infielder by the name of Benji Gil. The Rangers needed a shortstop and they promoted Gil from their AA team directly to the major league—something rarely done. But Gil had a hard time—especially at bat. So he was sent back down to the minor league. The next year Gil was invited back to the major league for spring training camp where he performed superbly. The manager of the Rangers—Johnny Oates—didn’t want Gil to worry about being sent back down to the minors so he assured him that the shortstop position was his for the rest of the season. Well, Gil had an excellent year. But the next season—in 1996—Kevin Elster had a fantastic spring training and a tremendous year. So Elster replaced Gil in the starting lineup.
Many people view their relationship to God like Benji Gil’s baseball career. They think that if they play well, then God will keep them on the team and they’ll go to heaven when they die. But if they experience a slump, then God will kick them off the team and they’ll go to hell when they die. But what does the Word of God say about the matter? How does a person join God’s team? That is, how does a person become a child of God? And once you join God’s team, can you get kicked off the team? That is, is it possible to lose your salvation? Or can a person know for certain that when he dies, he will go to heaven? The answer to those questions is found in 1 John chapter 5. This morning we want to look at 1 John 5:9-13. There John tells us how a person receives and keeps eternal life. Starting in 1 John 5:9, the Apostle John tells us about the …
1. ACCEPTANCE OF ETERNAL LIFE
1 John 5:9 states, “We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.”
You’ll recall that the Mosaic Law required 2 or 3 witnesses to establish a testimony. Two weeks ago we saw from verses 6-8 that there are 3 that testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And those three witnesses are water—the baptism of Jesus, blood—the death of Jesus, and the Spirit—the Holy Spirit of God.
John continues in verse 10 by saying, “Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.”
And what is this testimony that God has given about Jesus? We’re told in verse 11: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life.”
God has provided a way for man to live forever. You see, each of us is a sinner. We have disobeyed God’s laws and have sinned against Him. And our sin has caused us to be spiritually separated from God. And as punishment for our sin we must go to a place of torment when we die—a place called hell.
Now, what can we do to get our sins forgiven so we don’t have to go this place of punishment? The answer very simply is: trust in Jesus and Jesus alone to forgive your sins—that’s what gives you eternal life.
And that’s what John says in verses 11 and 12: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
It’s that simple. If you possess Christ as your Savior—if you’ve trusted in Him to forgive your sins, then you have eternal life and when you die you will go to heaven. If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Savior—if you haven’t trusted in Him to forgive your sins, then you don’t have eternal life and when you die you will go to hell.
Now, I hope you have accepted the gift of eternal life through Christ. And once you have done that, God wants you to be assured of your salvation. He wants you to possess the continual confidence that your sins are forgiven and that heaven is your home. That’s why in verse 13 John writes concerning the …
2. ASSURANCE OF ETERNAL LIFE
Look at verse 13 with me. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may [what’s that next word?] know that you have eternal life.”
John says that you can know—k-n-o-w—know for certain that you have eternal life. God wants you to have the confident assurance that if you were to die today, that you would have no doubt that you’d go to heaven.