“My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he’s listening. And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.” 1 John 5:13-15 The Message
Is there someone in your life with whom you can be “bold and free” in their presence? Imagine that someone trying to put you at ease by saying, “Trust me, it’s going to be okay.” What would your response be? Mine would probably be, “Oh yeah? We’ll see about that.” But, it would honestly depend upon the level of trust I had in the person reassuring me. That’s why, when it comes to salvation, eternity and Heaven I believe God wholeheartedly. No, I don’t just believe, I KNOW without a doubt that it is really going to be okay. The unity I have with Christ is secure, not because I say so but because I have experienced what God’s Word calls being “born again” (John 3).
However, I have experienced trust issues with people (mostly men) all of my life. Because of abandonment and betrayal early in life I learned to question the intentions of others and protect my heart. It is no fun assuming the worst of people, even nice people. More than that, it is exhausting. Fortunately, God has given me relationships that have redeemed the past and I am slowly learning to trust again. Not long ago my husband helped with this process by wearing a name tag that read, “Your Godly husband who loves you,” during a time when I was struggling with trust in our marriage. Most of our life together my husband was not a believer but a few years prior to the name tag incident he had given his life to Christ and truly was a different person. Our relationship had changed but I refused to relate to him as a Godly husband who would “never leave me or forsake me.” Fortunately, one day my counselor said, “You are not secure in your own reality,” and it struck me that I was not believing truth. You see, even though it was true that Marty and I were married and he was loving I still responded to him the same as before. Self-protection was a comforting habit that created a barrier in our relationship. I was not free to approach my loving husband because I refused to believe it was true. What more could he do to convince me? Nothing. It was obviously true that there was nothing I could do to lose his love. It was all in my mind. I needed to step out of the looking glass by faith, into reality and relate to him based on the truth. This was scary trust. This is what God calls us to do with Him as well…trust.
In the same way, we can offend God by acting like He’s not trustworthy. However, God would not give the free gift of eternal life and then take it back. He would not adopt a child and then disown him. That does not line up with Scripture and it is not the heart of God to leave us in a state of uncertainty. Now, there are those who may believe they are born again but have never confessed with their mouth the Lord Jesus and believed in their heart that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9). These people would rightly question whether they were truly saved. This is not, however, an indication of loss of salvation, rather it is an awareness of your separateness from the Spirit of God who is prompting you to respond to Christ’s invitation to believe on him. If you do not experience intimacy with God in your Spirit then you can ask God to give you the faith you need to believe in Jesus, inviting Him to come into your life and take over as Savior and LORD.
But, for true believers, a consequence of uncertainty is insecurity. John wrote 1 John 5 to ensure those who are God’s children that they have eternal life so their relationship with God would be one of freedom and trust. Look closely at 1 John 5:14-15: “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” If we doubt our adoption into God’s family, unsure where we stand, then we will not be so bold as to approach Him in prayer, asking anything in His name. A very effective tactic of the enemy is to distract and deceive, convincing us that it is no use praying, relieving us of a very powerful offensive weapon in a very real spiritual battle. For this reason, God desires a knowing deep in our hearts that we are His. Only then will we be “bold and free” in his presence.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Further reading: John 10:27-29; Romans 8:35, 38-39; Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:4-5; Hebrews 6:4-6