Do you have confidence? I’m not talking about self-confidence, but confidence in God. Many people today just aren’t sure. They aren’t sure of God, they aren’t sure of His motives, they aren’t sure of His intentions, nor His character. Many people are afraid that God will strike them down. And they are afraid to ask God for help or provision or just plain fun because they are afraid that He will think they are being greedy or unholy. And then when they do manage to find the courage to ask God for something, they are on shaky ground, because they mostly expect Him to deny their request for a variety of reasons – from God trying to teach them a lesson, to having sin in their life – basically any reason mankind can come up with as an excuse for God not granting their request.
This kind of thinking about God has caused a lot of pain over the years. It is easier for our natural mind to assume the worst about God, than to see a God that actually wants to grant our requests. Our default mindset is “We can ask God, but don’t get your hopes up!”
However today I want to share with you the truth about God straight from the scripture regarding this issue. Not what man has said about God, but what He says about Himself. And the truth may surprise you.
For this, we must begin with the proper foundation, and that is salvation itself, found in 1st John 5:10-13:
“He that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself: he that believes not God has made him a liar; because he believes not the record that God gave of his Son.
And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.
These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
It seems almost silly, but a surprising number of people who call themselves “believers” are unsure of their own salvation! I’ve heard people say “well, we can’t really know who is saved or not – I can’t even know if I’m really saved!”. I’ve also had men whom I consider to be brothers in Christ confess to me that secretly they are afraid that their salvation is not genuine.
My dear friend, these things should not be. Take notice of verse 10… he that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself. We see in the previous verses that the witness is indeed the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is inside of all those who believe on Jesus. And notice also that to believe on Jesus is different than merely believing in Him. To believe in Jesus is to simply believe that He exists, like any historical figure… but there is no personal application there.
However to believe on Jesus is very much different. To believe on Jesus means that you are resting o Him in much the same way as this bottle is resting on the table. The bottle is being supported by the table, the table is upholding, uplifting and supporting the bottle. The reason that the bottle will not fall is because it is secure on the solid foundation of the table.
In the same way, when we are believing on Jesus… it means that we are resting on Him as our foundation and support. He is the one uplifting us. He is the supporting us. He is the one upholding us and keeping is from falling – just as with the bottle on the table.
It is this foundation of belief on Christ that is vital to our assurance. Here’s why: because if we are not resting on Jesus and allowing Him to support us, then we would be relying on something else (typically ourselves and our own works and efforts) to support us – and it just plainly doesn’t measure up.
I used to live that kind of life (and I use the word “live” very loosely here) because in-reality it was no life at all. It was hell. I would try to work to earn favor with God. I would try to perform for my blessings and “sing for my supper” and I would never feel as though I had done enough. And I existed that way for many years. Never really sure of anything because as good as I thought I was, I would always fail somewhere, and since Jesus said to “be perfect” and I used to think that meant perfect behavior, I just wasn’t cutting it, and so I never had a strong foundation or confidence to approach God about anything because I was looking at myself for my assurance. Do you see? I wasn’t resting on Jesus, I wasn’t believing on Him, I was trying to believe and rest on myself and my own works… and all the while I thought I was being holy and righteous by trying to perform, when in reality, I was rejecting the real source of holiness and righteousness, which is Jesus Christ.
Take a look at verse 11 of the scripture: And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
There are several things here that we can miss if we just skim over the text. The first of which is that God has given us eternal life. I want you to always remember that it is a gift. It is not wages earned for work. It is not a reward for good behavior. It is not payment for services rendered, and it is not a privilege for a specific few, or people of a certain class or caste. It is a gift given to us, by God. It pleased God to give it to us – even though it cost Him everything. He loves you that much. Don’t ever forget that.
The second thing to see here is that this life is in His Son. This is where you find God’s gift of eternal life. Nowhere else but here, in His Son, Jesus. You cannot find it in your works. You cannot find it in your efforts. You cannot find it in your church attendance, or your sacrificing or your fasting or a Bible reading plan. It cannot be found in a conference, or any religious activity. The grace of Jesus Christ is not a doctrine, or a theology, or a religion. Grace is a person. And His name is Jesus, Yeshua, the only begotten Son of God.
It is a personal relationship with Him that is being spoken of here. Not a religion or a set of rules. To receive what He has done for you, personally. To understand that His perfect work and sacrifice for you is what gives you the gift of eternal life. And that is a much bigger thing that most people generally realize. Sadly most Christians today are trying to work and sacrifice because they are still trying to earn what has already been freely given. However God wants you to know that the work has already been done – the sacrifice has already been made… and it was perfect. Complete. Lacking nothing.
This is why verse 12 continues the way that it does, so that you can be absolutely sure that it is one-hundred percent Jesus and none of yourself. Look at what verse 12 says: He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.
There’s no gray area here. No maybe, no extra stipulations, a simple true or false evaluation with only one variable. If you have Jesus, you have eternal life. That’s it! And if you don’t have Jesus, you don’t have eternal life.
Do you see? Your own works and efforts don’t even factor into the equation! It’s all Jesus. If you have Him, you have life. If you don’t have Him, you don’t have life.
All of the people who are on shifting-sand and shaky foundations, living in fear because they messed up earlier in the week. Wondering if that somehow voided their salvation… all of it is wasted energy. Let the truth of scripture bring you peace today. Let the truth of God’s word set you free. You have Jesus, therefore you have life. Yes. It really is that simple.
Then we have verse 13: These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.
In-case there was any lingering doubt. In-case there was any remaining skepticism at all. The very purpose for these verses being in your Bible is made absolutely clear. These things were written for one singular purpose. That you may know; that you may be absolutely sure that you have eternal life; and that you may believe on the Name of the Son of God.
It all comes back to Jesus. It all revolves around Him. Life can only be found in Him, and nowhere else.
Now I began this study talking about confidence, and I specifically mentioned prayer. So In closing today, I want to mention the two following verses that address prayer, and our confidence in it. Because a lot of people lack confidence when it comes to prayer – specifically because of what we have been studying today. So take a look at verses 14 and 15 now:
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us:
And if we know that he hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
Really quick, because this is simple… If you understand what we have been studying today, about everything resting on Jesus and not on yourself. If you understand that your identity is in Christ and His perfect work, performance and sacrifice, and not your own work, performance or sacrifice. If you truly own the fact that everything you are and all that you have is tied directly to Him, then these verses should make perfect sense.
You have this confidence in Jesus Christ. That anything you ask according to His will, He will hear. And also because we know He hears us, we also are not left guessing about the answer… we know that we have whatever we ask.
These verses totally shred to pieces the typical modern man-made theology today that tries to paint prayer as some sort of spiritual gamble or roll of the dice! God cares far too much for us to leave us in the dark regarding His will or His response! He gave us Jesus! He gave us everything with Him! And He gave us these words to make sure that we know it!
We don’t need to guess at His will… just look at Jesus. We don’t need to guess whether He hears our prayer… we know that He always does because we are not standing in ourselves but in Jesus. And we don’t need to guess whether His response is yes or no… because in Christ and according to His will, all responses are yes and amen.
I have talked with people who think that God will shut His ears to anyone who has sin in their life. Well if that were true, He would never have heard you when you cried for salvation to begin with! He would never have heard you when you cried for forgiveness!
And if you still think He shuts His ears today, then you have missed what we have read. Take a step back and look at the text again. Let the Spirit of Christ speak to your spirit. If you were indeed standing in yourself and approaching God in your own merits, then you might be in trouble. However, look at what these scriptures are telling you… If you are believing on Jesus; if you are letting Him support you, then you are absolutely not standing in yourself, you are standing in Christ Jesus, and God will never shut His ears to His Son (John 11:42) and you being in Christ Have that same promise!
So I encourage you today. Jesus is the source of your confidence. Now take a deep breath, and rest in that.