The Apostle John wrote his first epistle to the church at Ephesus. The main purpose he wrote this epistle was to give them assurances of their salvation in Jesus Christ.
1 John 5:13KJV
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
The word “know” in 1 John 5:13 means knowledge gained by observance or perception. John did not want them to have an emotional knowledge of their salvation. Our emotions are fluid and constantly adjustable to a variety of external events. There are circumstances when my emotions tell me that I am not saved. These times are usually associated with having a bad day or being depressed. John wanted their confidence in salvation to be more concrete than their emotions by giving them an overall view of someone who has been converted. Assurances of salvation are not decided by one moment in time (praise the Lord) but an overall change that occurs over a period of time.
There were two ways John could assure his audience of salvation: he could go back in time to the day they confessed their love and loyalty to Jesus Christ; or, he could demonstrate the validity of their confession by showing proof of their love and loyalty since their confession. Many Christians choose the first avenue to assure someone of their salvation but John chose the second avenue. A changed life is the best evidence of someone being authentically saved.
Another thought to see in 1 John 5:13 is the importance of having assurances or knowing with certainty we are saved. John links our assurances of salvation with “believing on the name of the Son of God.” Several years ago, I heard a pastor preach a sermon entitled the church member who died and went to Hell. I would not disagree with his premise. He made a point in the message that I could not disagree with more. He said, Satan never plants seeds of doubt regarding your salvation. If you have doubts about your salvation this is coming from the Holy Spirit. I remember him saying: “What good is it for Satan to tempt you into questioning your salvation.” Certainly, John would disagree with this preacher’s assessment. Satan is actively pursuant to creating doubt in the heart of the believer. John wanted the church at Ephesus to conquer this doubt by giving them assurances of their salvation. Satan has an invested reason in creating doubt in the heart of the believer. A Christian who doubts their salvation will lack the power of God and confidence in God. The power that moves us to do extraordinary things is faith If we do not have confidence in God, we will not have confidence in our faith to do these extraordinary things that threaten the Kingdom of Darkness. John believed this also. He knew a person who questions their salvation will lose heart in believing “on the name of the Son of God” for daily power.
Over the next few months, we will look at these assurances of salvation that John gave the church at Ephesus. My aim is not to convince people they are lost but to affirm their salvation in the sea of doubt and confusion.