God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel
So We May Know
In the message “Imperishable Seed” we saw our need to plant a message of truth; “no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). The Word is clear: only those who have been born of the Spirit by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin, will be given eternal life. But something as important as eternity begs another question: How do we know when we have been born again?
1 John 5:11-13
“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. 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.”
John wrote this first letter to define the changes which ought to take place in the life of a Christian. The believers understood that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). They knew “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). They had been told the importance of turning from their sin; “repent, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out” (Acts 3:19), and they clearly understood the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross; “God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood” (Romans 3:25).
The believers knew it was through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus that they were forgiven and transformed by His Spirit; but, though they knew the process, they still wrestled with knowing if they were saved.
John provided several indicators of a life which truly believes in Jesus. He said those who are born again “will obey the commands of God” (1 John 2:3-5), “and will not continue to live in sin” (1 John 3:9). He said a born again life is characterized by love: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3:14). John also said our love should not just be with words, “but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
The born again transformation occurs in our heart and spirit, but John is saying that becoming a new creation ought to result in change. We are not the same! And while the growth of many new creations can be painfully slow, over time there ought to be some form of fruit – all healthy creatures grow!
But if the evidence of being born again is missing, please remember that we cannot generate change by trying harder. Self effort never produces eternal life. Rather, we must return to the cross and consider the darkness of our sin and the brilliance of His love; “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:9). For only at the cross is there forgiveness and the power to transform. Let’s truly receive the forgiveness offered through faith in Jesus and then continue to grow with a victorious assurance that we are born again. Let’s trust the truth of His Word, which has been given into our hands so we may know.
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