“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” ~ 1 John 5:13
Explanation of the Text: As John has written so much for one to ponder over in the mind, it is not until this point in his writing that he proclaims the singular purpose of his writing. His writing is meant to reassure and indicate to believers that they are children of the gospel who have eternal life. The purpose echoes his words in his gospel saying “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). Both deal with assurance of who Christ is and that through Him one has eternal life, but there is one very striking difference between the two. In the gospel, John writes so that they may believe, but in his epistle he writes to those who already do believe. This is indicative of the audience to whom he is writing. For his gospel, he is teaching them the testimony of who Christ is and who man is so that people will come to believe upon Christ. However, in the epistle he writes to those who already believe and instead is wanting to assure them that they do have eternal life.
John unites the faith of a believer with the assurance of a believer, two vital aspects to the Christian life. After all of the testimony to who Chris is, the logical conclusion is for one to place his or her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And now, after being misled by false teachers and unsure of who Christ is and who they are in Christ, John provides hope. Here he indicates that they have had faith which has proven evident, and thus believers can be assured that they have eternal life.
Examination & Application of the Text: This eternal life that John speaks of is a wondrous thing. It’s not merely that a person will go on living forever, but that eternity will be spent in the presence of Christ. There can be no greater thing in the Christian life than being freed from the bondages of sin and dwelling in perfection with the Perfect One.
Sometimes it is easy to doubt. We fall into the trap of sin and despair whether or not we are a really a believer. Sin no longer has its grip on us, but we certainly continue to falter into sin at times. Our lives are not habitual enslavement into sin, but instead are moments of weakness in which we seek God to conquer that sin for us. Thus, John provides hope for those doubting and despairing times. He tells us here that his epistle demonstrates the evidence that we are indeed a believers. As the Holy Spirit provides testimony to who Christ is, the Holy Spirit also provides testimony to who we are apart from Christ and in Christ.
Do not doubt your salvation. Rather walk in the ways of the Lord, and know that when you have failed, God is faithful to forgive us when we confess to Him those failings (1 John 2:9).
Questions to Consider:
- Do you ever doubt your salvation? Why or why not?
- Does your life provide testimony to your salvation?
- How should this verse provide comfort and impact you in those times of doubt?