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God's Love is Confirmed by the Spirit

1 John 4:13-16a
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. (NIVUK)

Believing in Jesus Christ and trusting Him as Saviour and Lord is not fantasy but fact. However, when believers are under persecution, unwell, challenged by unbelievers or undermined by false teachers, how do they know that their faith is real and secure? It is an important question to answer correctly, especially as our personal emotions will follow the good or bad times we experience: we need to know that our faith is rooted in truth.

The founding apostles were all eye witnesses of the resurrection, and had been taught directly by Jesus. Their testimony is clear: Jesus is the Saviour of the world. All of them suffered severe persecution and most lost their lives through the violence of unbelievers. But they continued proclaiming Christ because He was in them, and they were in Him. The inner voice of conscience was confirmed by the Holy Spirit, that they belonged to Jesus Christ and could not be separated from Him.

They did not simply follow Jesus as a great example, but knew that Jesus was inside them. God's Spirit was motivating and empowering them to love like Jesus did. More than that, the Spirit assured them that God had come to live in them when they believed in Jesus as the Son of God. That matched what Jesus had said, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14:23). So, in all their difficulties they relied on the love of the person who was not just with them but in them (John 14:16-20).

When our faith is challenged, our feelings may not be a good indicator of our relationship with God. Firstly we need the apostles' teaching in the Bible to assure us that the only way to fellowship with the Father is through Jesus Christ the Son (John 14:6). When we believe in Him, God comes to live in us and the Holy Spirit confirms that what is written in the Bible is true. He assures us that we are truly loved by God, and that God lives in us and we live in Him. Therefore we can fully rely on His love which is unshakable, whatever the challenge to our faith, our wellbeing or even our life.

Faithful God. Thank You for loving me and coming to live within me when I trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ. Forgive me for my lack of security when I have listened more to false teachers and aggressive unbelievers than to Your Word and Your Spirit. Please use these scriptures to assure me that I do belong to You and so I can confidently continue in my faith because You will never leave me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams