The Basis of Certainty
John wrote many words in his gospel, the three letters and Revelation. Why? He wanted his readers to be certain that they have eternal life. At the end of his gospel he wrote, "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:30-31).
Being certain of salvation is a precious gift of God. Such confidence starts with the Word of God which provides objective evidence of the identity, character and work of Christ. As we believe what He says we enter into a relationship with Him and the Holy Spirit confirms that we belong to Him (Romans 8:16). However that assurance may be challenged by false teaching, sinful living, persecution and painful circumstances; and we may lose confidence that we are in Christ.
That is why believers need God's Word to remind them of the basis of their faith. It is not in our activity or our feelings, but in trusting what God has done for us, as revealed in His Word. That objective and external reminder is necessary because our internal and subjective feelings are unreliable and easily distorted by the world, flesh and devil.
Being certain that we have eternal life is the springboard for our worship, work and witness. We do not have to spend our lives hoping or striving to reach God, but enjoying His presence and serving Him in a way that pleases Him. When worship fades, work becomes a chore and witness an irrelevance - only God's Word can assure us of our privileged place in Christ. That certainty will motivate and empower us to live to His glory.
© Dr Paul Adams