Wednesday, November 14, 2012
1st John Chapter 4 Part 10
4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
Confession of the gospel is a sign that the message has been heard, considered, and believed. Paul writes, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved,” Romans 10:9. Our faith is in a risen, living Savior who has life in Himself, and is capable of giving it to those who believe, John 1:4; 5:26; 17:2. This declaration of faith is the heart of the New Testament. Faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ is what saves; nothing else avails.
It is the message that saved the Ethiopian Eunuch, Acts 8:37. It is the message that saved Cornelius and his household, Acts 10:43. It is the message that justifies the Jew and Gentile alike, Acts 13:38-39; 15:11. This message saved the Philippian jailor and his household, Acts 16:31-32. Faith alone is the criterion God has erected for one’s eternal salvation. Shall we examine the matter more closely? Here are a smattering of verses plucked from the NT.
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him,” John 3:36.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life,” John 5:24.
“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe,” 1st Corinthians 1:21.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5.
John’s epistle is written in part as an encouragement to believers about their spiritual state and the confidence they can have in Jesus Christ, 1st John 5:13. This is contrasted against the false teaching of pseudo-Christians who crept in to pervert the simplicity of the Christian faith, 1st John 2:19, 26; 4:1-6. These teachers apparently did not accept the perfect humanity and deity of our Lord. They did not accept the authority of Scripture and the authority Christ vested in His apostles. They did not conduct themselves in love toward the brethren, but were greedy hypocrites. As John would write sometime later regarding the person of Diotrephes, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God,” 3rd John 1:11. The removal of the doctrine of eternal security (one of the main themes of John’s epistle) always results in works salvation; how can it be any other way? Either we are indeed saved by grace through faith, or we are partners with God on some joint venture. As Paul warns, “But if it is of works, it is no longer grace…the wages are not counted as grace but as debt,” Romans 11:5; 4:4.