Part 2: It’s what you do.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God,
so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13.
The ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. How do I know I’m going to heaven?
One day Jesus will come and separate everyone into two groups like sheep and goats. He will say to one group “Come into the Kingdom prepared before the world” and to the other group, “Go into the eternal fire prepared for the devil” (Mt.25:31) How do I know that I’m in the God group? It must be the most important question of all time.
Last week we said if you want to know for sure, look at what you believe.
Do you truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God?
This week, if you want to know for sure, look at what you do.
It starts in 2:3. We know we have come to know him if we obey his commands.
Read on. The man who says I know him but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him but if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him. Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. What is all this saying?
& v. 29b. Everyone who does what is right has been born of Him.
It’s there 4 times. You can know you’re a Christian if you:
- obey His commands (3)
- obey His word (5)
- walk as Jesus did (6)
- do what is right (29)
In short. You are a Christian if you are doing good things. Can you see a problem here???
a) doesn’t the Bible say that salvation is by faith in Jesus and doesn’t depend on what we do? Where? Ephesians 2:8,9. Yes and no. v.10 says faith is the door into good works.
What does Jesus say.? Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven but He who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Mt. 7:21.
Or what about the sheep and the goats? Those people entered in because they fed the hungry, visited the sick, clothed the naked, welcomed the stranger.
Conclusion: the doorway into the kingdom is free you just have to ask for it. But if after that, you are not living like Jesus, you probably didn’t go in.
b) Back to our verse 2:3 We know we have come to know him if we obey his commands My other question is this. How good do I have to be? I say “I pray to God and try to live a good life. I recognize that I’m not perfect. I slip up from time to time. But God forgives that. That’s the right balance isn’t it?
Then I read 1 John 3:6. No one who lives in him keeps sinning.
Wow! Does that mean what it seems to mean? I read on. v. 9, 10. No one who is born of God will continue to sin. Because God’s seed remains in him he cannot go on singing because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are. Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.
So now we have
3:6 no one who lives in him keeps on sinning and
1:8 if we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
Which is true? or is it half and half?
The Bible is never half true God wants us to live in both worlds.
a) I am a Christian I will never sin.
b) I am a Christian I will never excuse my sin but will confess it and the blood of Jesus will deal with it.
The Bible wants to rip the carpet out from anyone who will say I'll try to be reasonably good most of the time.
“Mt. 5:48, you must be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect. He is saying there is only one acceptable standard for my people you will set your sights on perfection. How do I do that? 3.3 everyone who has this hope purifies himself How do you purify yourself? You take out the trash. So purifying yourself will involve giving up a few pet pleasures. We will give up the pleasure of passing on a juicy piece of gossip, of c riticizing another person, of breaking the speed limit, of c riticizing the government of cheating on government forms. We will live in perfect harmony and humility with our spouse. We’ll be covid compliant without complaining. That’s going to cost. But we will be so clean. Christians ought to be known as the most law-abiding most generous most forgiving mast loving people in town.
A friend of mine was once well served by a shop assistant and he said to her “you’re a really kind person. I reckon you must be a Christian.” I wouldn’t be that game. But in fact she said, “Yes. I am a Christian. I am still challenged by that. Do people apologise when they swear in front of you? Why? That at least is something. The trouble is if I slip up, have I blown the whole thing? 2.1 sums it up. My dear children I write this to you so that you will not sin. . . .But if anyone does sin we have one who speaks to the father in our defence Jesus Christ the righteous one and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. So what should be my position? My life will not be perfect. But my aim will be. . I will not opt for mediocrity I will aim to live like a saint in the old sense of the word. I will not water-down God’s requirements but every practice every desire that displeases him I will nail to the cross and humbly follow my Lord Jesus.
So what do we take away from today?
1 a good test of a real Christian is that you’ve stopped sinning.
2 but you won’t claim to be sinless
3 when you do sin you will confess it to Jesus and the blood of Jesus will cover it.