Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Do you have Eternal Life?

"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13


The purpose of the apostle John's letter is to help believers know whether they have eternal life or not. John looks at the evidence or fruit of the life of one who is truly saved to help us know what the life of a believer should look like. Before we look at some of the fruit of a born again believer we need to understand what it means to be saved.


Many Christians think that salvation is about believing in Jesus Christ so that when they die they will not go to hell but will be given eternal life in heaven. Although that is true, it is only a limited understanding of what salvation is all about! What many people don't understand is that through faith or trusting in Jesus Christ, the believer is "born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable" (1 Peter 1:23). That means that the believer receives life that is imperishable - eternal life. This eternal life is not an impersonal force but the very presence of the One who lives forever because He has conquered sin and death - Jesus Christ. The believer therefore receives the indwelling presence of Eternal Life. John writes,

"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." 1 John 5:11,12

Eternal Life

So we see that eternal life is not just something believers receive after they die, but it is Jesus living in them, the moment they believe in Him and confess Him as Lord of their lives (Rom. 10:9,10; 1 John 4:15). Those who don't believe in Christ Jesus are separated from Eternal Life, the life of God, but anyone who does believe, "God lives in him and he in God" (Eph. 4:18; 1 John 4:15).

The proof of Eternal Life

The question then is, "How can I know that I am born again and have received Eternal Life?" The apostle John explains that believers can know that they have Eternal Life because,

  • the Holy Spirit testifies with their spirit that they are children of God (1 John 3:24; 4:13; 5:10)
  • they are walking in the Light and don't keep on sinning (1 John 1:6; 3:6,9; 5:18)
  • they don't deny their disobedience when they have sinned (1 John 1:8)
  • they obey God's will (1 John 2:3,4; 2:17; 5:2)
  • they are like Jesus (1 John 2:6; 3:2)
  • they love the children of God (1 John 2:9,10; 3:14; 4:7,11; 5:1)
  • they overcome the evil one and the world (1 John 2:13; 4:4; 5:3)
  • they don't give in to their sinful desires (1 John 2:15-17)
  • they have an anointing from the Holy One (1 John 2:20)
  • they know the truth (1 John 2:21)
  • they are confident and unashamed (1 John 2:28; 3:21; 4:17; 5:14)
  • they do what is right (1 John 2:29; 3:10)
  • they have hope (1 John 3:3)
  • they love with action and in truth (1 John 3:18)
  • they have peace with God (1 John 3:19)
  • they please God (1 John 3:22)
  • they speak from God's viewpoint (1 John 4:5,6)
  • they live in love (1 John 4:16)
  • they don't fear punishment (1 John 4:18)
  • they receive understanding (1 John 5:20)
The reasons for lack of fruit

The fruit of Eternal Life is simply the revelation of Christ in the believer. The problem, however, is that many believers are not seeing the fruit of Eternal Life in their lives. Does that mean that they are not saved? I believe the lack of evidence is due to three reasons. Clearly there might be the possibility that the person is just a nominal Christian who has not entirely surrendered his life to Jesus as Lord of His life and is therefore not born again. The second reason is that believers don't respond to the Eternal One in them. They simply continue doing their own will and ignore the presence of God in them and with them! The third reason believers don't see more evidence of Eternal Life in their lives, is simply the fact that they don't remain in fellowship with God

Fellowship with God

Fellowship with God means I live my daily life with an awareness of God's presence in me and with me all the time. This awareness of God means I include God in every aspect of my life. As I do so I become sensitive to His presence and learn to respond to His leading. I get to know God and learn what grieves Him and what pleases Him. I spend time in the secret place to draw near to Him in worship, to meditate on His Word and to receive from Him. I learn to acknowledge His presence and become sensitive to His every movement as I go into the day. As I become increasingly sensitive to God, I have my mind on what the Spirit desires so that I avoid giving in to the desires of the flesh. Fellowship with God will cause me to produce the fruit of Eternal Life! Those who remain in Christ know that what John describes as the evidence of Eternal Life is possible! (Rom. 8:1-16; Gal. 5:16-25).

Fullness of joy!

Jesus came to give us fullness of life (John 10:10)! Those who truly believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, receive Christ who is Eternal Life itself. Having received fullness in Christ, the believer has received everything he needs for life and godliness and can participate in the Divine nature as he remains in Jesus and continues to have fellowship with Him (Col. 2:10; 2 Peter 1:3,4; John 15:4,5).

I encourage you today, to spend time in God's presence and enjoy fellowship with Him. Practice the presence of God and you will produce the fruit of eternal life as you obey Him. I write these things so your joy will be complete (1 John 1:4).


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Walking in the Light

"The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may also have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make your joy complete." 1 John 1:2,3

Fellowship restored

Jesus came to reconcile man to God so that man can enjoy fellowship with God not only in heaven but already on earth. Those who trust in Jesus have access to the Father to enjoy intimacy and close fellowship with God on a daily basis. This is the joy of salvation - being made right with God to enjoy His presence and fellowship! God demonstrates His love for us by giving us His Son so that we can have fellowship with Him. God has done everything for man to be close to Him! 

Walking in the Light

"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from every sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. if we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only ours but also for the sins of the world." 1 John 1:5- 2:2

God is light. He is holy and expects His children to walk in holiness (1 Peter 1:15,16). Those who walk in fellowship with God will walk in holiness. As children of Light we are to produce the fruit of the Light (Eph. 5:8,9).

John recognises that even though the believer seeks to walk in the Light, he may occasionally sin. That is a very different walk to the one who continues to walk in sin or darkness. Clearly those who continue to walk in darkness, produce the fruit of darkness and are not in fellowship with the Light, even if they claim to know God and walk with Him! John is repeating what Jesus says in Matthew 7:16 concerning what is revealed by the fruit of one's life.

The effect of sin

John's concern for his spiritual children that they don't sin is based on the fact that sin affects our fellowship with God and one another. If it didn't, then there would be no need to confess our sins! Through Christ, however, the Father has made provision for man to enter His presence and to remain in His presence. Occasional sin does not sever our relationship to God but it certainly affects our fellowship with Him. When a child of God sins, he grieves the Spirit of God (Eph. 4:30). Grace isn't given to cover our sin but to empower us to live in the Light (Titus 2:11,12).

The carpet of grace

If grace is a carpet that we receive from God, then we must understand that it is not given to sweep our sins under. That is to say we have no sin (1 John 1:10)! Rather, the carpet of grace is given for us to stand upon with our sin before God. The mercy and grace of God give us access to enter the presence of God with our sin and to deal with our sin with Him to restore intimacy with Him. On the carpet of grace we are not judged and condemned but rather we are loved, forgiven and empowered to overcome our weaknesses. 

Many Christians still live according to the Old Testament where man had to first offer a sacrifice before being allowed in the presence of God. Similarly many believers feel they must first deal with their sin before coming before God. That way, when they feel good enough they feel they can enter God's presence. The problem with approaching God this way is that it is unbiblical and self-righteous. When do you feel good enough to really know you're good enough? 

True confession and repentance

Confession is not based on what man thinks is wrong. Confession is agreeing with what God sees as wrong! Repentance is not promising God never to do a particular wrong again but changing our minds and living according to God's revelation. Those who continue to sin have not accepted God's word and allowed it to dwell in them and change them - it has no place in their lives (1 John 1:10).

The throne of grace

The writer to the Hebrews says we can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Heb. 4:16). Those who live under law, approach God's throne not with confidence, but with fear of punishment and a great sense of guilt and condemnation. But that is exactly what Jesus came to resolve (Rom. 8:1). The reason we can apparoach the throne of grace with confidence in our time of need (when we have sinned or need strength to overcome) is that we rely on the mercy and grace that is available to us when we stand in the presence of God with our sin! It is in His Light that we truly see our sin the way God sees it. The result will be godly sorrow over our sin rather than worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and life in the Light (holiness) but worldly sorrow is temporary and leads to death (2 Cor. 7:10-11).

Value the presence of God

God longs for His children to walk in fellowship with Him. He has done everything possible for man to enjoy His company and to be a friend to Him. Don't let sin destroy your intimate walk with God. Walk in the Light and deal with your sin in the Light. The more you become aware of His presence the less inclined you will be to sin. Include the Holy Spirit in all areas of your life. In every danger zone acknowledge the holy presence of God before rushing into something you will later regret. Value the presence of God and you will walk in holiness, enjoying fellowship with God!


Friday, 6 April 2012

Still looking for chocolate eggs?

I love Easter! As a young lad I always looked forward to my uncle Christoph's visit over Easter because he always brought the biggest chocolate egg -the kind you open and find all sorts of other chocolates inside. Yummy! I didn't have to search for the egg. Uncle Christoph came and I was ready to receive.

The Gift of life is not hidden away for man to look for and discover. We don't have to search behind every bush and under every cushion to find the egg. The Father offers everyone the Gift of life - a giant chocolate Easter egg full of wonderful things inside!

The Word of God tells us,

"He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." John 1:11-13

We don't have to look for life. It is not hidden from us so that some find it and others don't (I wonder how many eggs remain unfound over Easter). The Father loves His creation so much that He wants people to simply receive His Gift of Life! He doesn't expect people to be good enough or to search enough before He will hand over the Gift. He simply wants people to trust in Him and His Gift of life so that everyone can discover what is in this wonderful Gift.

Many people try to find life in the created and the temporary but as the angels said to the women at theempty tomb,

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he is risen!" Luke 24:5,6

You won't find eternal life among the temporary. Don't look for life among the dead.

Those who receive the Father's Gift, are blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  Receive God's free gift of life today and enjoy the goodies in the egg for eternity !

I think I'll have a chocolate egg now....

Have a blessed Easter as you enjoy fullness of life in Christ!