By Kenny Bruce
Pastor Emeritus, Leawood East Baptist Church, Memphis
I John was written to provide believers an assurance of their salvation. That is why the word “know” is used over 35 times in this letter. Believers have a “know-so,” not a “hope-so” salvation.
I. WE ARE CONQUERORS (I John 5:1-5) Because Jesus overcame the world (John 16:33), we have overcome the world (I John 5:4-5). The world is the invisible system of evil we live in that is controlled by Satan. We may succumb to worldly enticements, but we ask forgiveness, then live in victory because the victory was won at the cross and resurrection.
We habitually overcome with our faith (v. 4). Our faith leads us to love God and others (vv. 1-2), and to obey His commandments willfully. We obey them, not out of duty, but out of love because of our desire to please God. Our faith in Jesus overcomes sin, death, Satan and “the world” (v. 4). Our battles are not with flesh and blood, but with the powers of the darkness. We win with the word of our testimony, with the redeeming blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11), with the power of the Spirit resisting Satan (James 4:7), or by fleeing to the door of escape God opens (1 Corinthians 10:13).
II. WE ARE CHOSEN (vv. 11-13) Paul addressed his readers in Colossians 3:12a, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved…” John explains that if a person has been chosen, he has “eternal life and that life is in His Son” (v. 11). We know we have been chosen because the presence of God indwells us through His Son.
He leads us with His Spirit and bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:14-16). Our being filled with a supernatural joy is the proof of God’s presence in us (Psalms 16:11). The crescendo of the book is I John 5:13. “These things” refers to all John has written in the entire letter. The absolute certainty of our salvation, therefore, rests on His assurance given to us in His Word, not on a past experience or a feeling.
III. WE ARE CHILDREN (vv. 18-21) When we were saved, we became children of God (John 1:12). John addresses his readers as children twice (vv. 2, 21). Because God is our Father He hears and answers our prayers, assuring us further of our salvation (vv. 14-15). As God’s children, we no longer habitually continue in a pattern of sin (v. 18). God protects us and keeps the devil from “touching us” (v. 18) meaning that the evil one cannot lay hold of us. God guards us to keep us from falling back to our former ways of life.
Jesus Himself gives us understanding into who He is: “the true God and eternal life” (v. 20). Because of that illumination, we constantly desire to keep Him first in our lives in obedience the first Commandment to not have any gods before Him (Exodus 20:3). The terms conquerors, chosen, and children all point to our security as believers. God’s power keeps us saved and His Word promises us security. His presence in us guarantees us that He will NEVER leave us. Praise God for our “know-so” salvation. B&R