These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God (I John 5:13). Confidence (John 5:14) and assurance (I John 3:19) are products of the above verse. They are the birthright of the faithful (Hebrews 12:14–16). Radiating from confidence and assurance is hope. It means:…favorable and confident expectation. It has to do with the unseen future, Romans 8:24,25. Hope (a) the happy anticipation of good (the most frequent significance) e.g., Titus 1:2; I Peter 1:21; (b) the ground upon which hope is based, Acts 16:19; Colossians 1:27, “Christ in you the hope of glory;” (c) the object upon which the hope is fixed, e.g., I Timothy 1:1 (W.E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 232).
We may conclude that, if one cannot know his salvation, it is then impossible to have confidence, assurance, and thereby hope. Without these we are no better off than the alien sinner (Ephesians 2:12).
How sad when men are so self–willed, contentious, and hard–hearted that they will deny the simple and plain teaching of I John 5:13. Assuredly it is pride and willful ignorance gone to seed! But, as if denying these spiritual blessings were not enough, some must publicly teach contrary to I John 5:13. Lamentably, they must be marked for the false teachers they are (II Thessalonians 3:14–16).
We understand better why some are always troubled, perplexed, and distraught. They are sure of nothing and trust not the promises of Christ. Such is nothing less than refusing to take Christ at His Word. It is disbelief! Assuredly, the “eternal life” of I John 5:13 for the earthly pilgrim is in promise. It is yet to be and it is conditional (Revelation 2:10), but we have no more evidence what will be than we do of that which has been. It all rests on the truthfulness of Christ’s Word. We know our alien sins are forgiven by the same evidence that gives us knowledge pertaining to our eternal inheritance (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; I Peter 3:21; I John 1:7; 2:3–5, 29; 3:19–21; 5:11–14; II Timothy 1:12; I Corinthians 15:58). How then is it possible to know the one and not the other? We might as well declare that one cannot know he is lost as to teach that one cannot know he is saved! The evidence for knowing either one comes from the same divine standard—the Bible (II Timothy 3:16–17; II Peter 1:3–11). To all the doubters, we say with James and Peter:
“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.… Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (James 1:21; I Peter 4:19).
With these sentiments in mind, we can, with confidence, sing:
I know that my Redeemer lives, and ever prays for me;
I know eternal life He gives, From sin and sorrow free.
I know that unto sinful men His saving grace is nigh;
I know that he will come again to take me home on high.
Any Christian (?) singing the preceding song, and at the same time declaring that we cannot know we are saved, is not aware of his inconsistency, is hypocritical or mentally unstable. In any case, the Lord’s Word has little or no effect on his thinking.
A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself (Titus 3:10–11).
David P. Brown