Lesson 10 -- fourth quarter 2003
November 9, 2003
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications
Love: proof of life
We humans require proof and tangible reality before we can experience assurance. That is true in many areas of our lives, but let's focus particularly on the issue of salvation. "How can I know for sure that I am saved?" has got to be one of the key recurring questions in the church. Something as tangible and experiential as baptism doesn't prove it. And if the experience doesn't prove it, then a baptismal certificate certainly won't do it either. So how can we know we are saved then?
Today's lesson reveals one very practical evidence of regeneration: "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" (1 John 3:14). Forgiveness frees us to love others. Redemption cleanses us from self and sin, turning our focus from ourselves and thus enabling us to think of and love others. Grace empowers us to love others. The Spirit within us fills us with God's own love. Yes, our love for others give us the certainty that we are saved!
In the following chapter we are further blessed with three more verses that give us the same certain proof and assurance of salvation. Listen! "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God" (1 John 4:7). "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us" (1 John 4:12). "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16). Without the love of God within us, we cannot love as He loves. Furthermore, without God Himself within us, we cannot love as we ought. So most definitely, if we love others we can be certain of our salvation!
Jesus declared in John 13:15 that everyone (even we!) will know that we are His disciples, if we "have love one to another." Godly love for others is a most unnatural commodity in the world. Only the redeemed have it . . . and having it, express it.
But what is love? And how do we show it?
Life: proof of love
As humans we do not perceive the spiritual realm and its realities well at all. So that presented God with a "problem" -- how to reveal to us the love He has always had for us. His solution was to do something. Since doing and living are inseparable, we could also say that God's solution was to live His love for us.
"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us" (1 John 3:16). Had He not put our lives ahead of His own, we could not have known His love for us. The conclusion of that same verse tells us how to make our own love perceptible to others: "and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." To show my love for others I must live it by putting their best ahead of my own.
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him" (1 John 4:9). God demonstrated His love by paying a high price for the purpose of blessing us. Without that demonstration, we could not even know about His love. To show my love for others I must live for their blessing, not my own.
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