17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;” (I John 3:17-19)
How do you really know that you are a believer in Christ? Do you ever experience doubts that perhaps you are not truly a Christian, but you only think you are? Maybe it occurs during a particularly difficult trial and you wonder “where is my faith?” You discover you’re filled with self-condemnation as to why you are not stronger in the Lord.
The late Dr. James M. Boice wrote, “Self-condemnation can be due to a number of factors. It can be a matter of disposition; some people are just more introspective than others. It may be a questions of health; how a person feels inevitably affects how he thinks. It may be due to specific sin. It may be due to circumstances. But whatever the cause, the problem is a real one and quite widespread. How is a believer to deal with such doubt?”
2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
There are several false evidences which neither prove nor disprove an individual is truly converted. They include (1) Visible Morality: Matt. 19:16–21; 23:27; (2) Intellectual Knowledge: Rom. 1:21; 2:17ff.; (3) Religious Involvement: Matt. 25:1–10; (4) Active Ministry: Matt. 7:21–24; (5) Conviction of Sin: Acts 24:25; (6) Assurance: Matt. 23; and (7) a Time of Decision: Luke 8:13–14.
What are the biblical evidences which prove that an individual is indeed a child of God by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone? These evidences include (1) Love for God: Ps. 42:1ff.; 73:25; Luke 10:27; Rom. 8:7; (2) Repentance from Sin: Ps. 32:5; Prov. 28:13; Rom. 7:14ff.; 2 Cor. 7:10; 1 John 1:8–10; (3) Genuine Humility: Ps. 51:17; Matt. 5:1–12; James 4:6, 9ff.; (4) Devotion to God’s Glory: Ps. 105:3; 115:1; Isa. 43:7; 48:10ff.; Jer. 9:23–24; 1 Cor. 10:31; (5) Continual Prayer: Luke 18:1; Eph. 6:18ff.; Phil. 4:6ff.; 1 Tim. 2:1–4; James 5:16–18; (6) Selfless Love: 1 John 2:9ff.; 3:14; 4:7ff.; (7) Separation from the World: 1 Cor. 2:12; James 4:4ff.; 1 John 2:15–17; 5:5; (8) Spiritual Growth: Luke 8:15; John 15:1–6; Eph. 4:12–16; (9) Obedient Living: Matt. 7:21; John 15:14ff.; Rom. 16:26; 1 Pet. 1:2, 22; 1 John 2:3–5; (10) Hunger for God’s Word: 1 Pet. 2:1–3; and (11) Transformation of Life: 2 Cor. 5:17.
Obedient living is the truth test the Apostle John sets forth in today’s text regarding an individual’s assurance that they are truly regenerated by the Holy Spirit and converted in Christ. As the believer in Christ continually displays authentic love for people, the assurance that they belong to Christ will well up within their soul.
One commentator explains that, “When we love ‘with truth and action’ (v. 18), this reassures our hearts before God that we are of the truth (v.19). Assurance with God will spring forth in the heart, in the conscience, when we demonstrate genuine and authentic love for others. It assures us that we are children of God. We have confidence in His presence that He is our God and we are His children.”
Take time today to examine your heart as to whether you truly belong to Christ. See whether or not your assurance is based upon false evidences or true, biblical evidences of genuine saving faith.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!