That Ye May Know

Over the years I have talked to many people who are not sure of their eternal destiny. Some of them have been sincere and devout followers of their religion, yet they are not sure if they have done what is necessary to ensure their salvation from the penalty of their sins and reaching whatever there perception is of the place of blessing after death. In his first Epistle, John said that he wrote it so we could know that we have eternal life.

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. (1 John 5:13)

He said something similar in his gospel:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31)

Since one must believe on the name of the Son of God, the first issue we must deal with if we want to know that we have eternal life is, who is He? Some may be confused by the use of the title “Son of God.” They may think that this makes Jesus Christ less than God, or they may think the He is one of many sons of God. It is true that God has many adopted sons because all who are “saved,” which means they have had a new birth, a spiritual birth, become God’s adopted children. God only has one Son that was begotten of Him. This means He only has one Son that has His same nature. The phrase “only begotten” is used six time in the Scriptures when speaking of Jesus as the Son of God. Here is one example:

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9)

The Greek word translated “only begotten” means only born. The English phrase “only begotten” means only generated. God’s only begotten Son is the only Son that was born or generated in human flesh with God’s very nature. I’ll say more about this in a moment.

When Jesus said that God was His Father, the Jews knew exactly what He meant.

Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5:18)

This is not the only passage that teaches that Jesus Christ is equal with God. Here is another:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

The Greek word translated “form” means to have the same shape or nature. Jesus had the same nature as God, but He stepped down out of that role, not ceasing to be God, and took on the form, or nature, of man so He could die on the cross to pay the sin debt for every man, woman, and child. As such, He was God manifest in the flesh.

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)

Jesus is the eternal Son of God. He has existed from all eternity past, and will exist for all eternity future.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)

The first question we must ask is, when was the beginning? The very first verse of the Bible gives us the answer to this question.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

The Word was there when God created the Heaven and the earth. Who is the Word spoken of in John 1:1.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Jesus Christ, the Word, was with God and was God in the beginning. Everything that was made was made by Him. Remember, God spoke the universe into existence, that means it was His Word that made it all. The Word was made flesh at the incarnation of Jesus Christ. This is when the Holy Ghost came upon Mary and Jesus was conceived in her womb by His power. Jesus is truly the only begotten of the Father.

We know that Jesus Christ is the Word of God, who became flesh and dwelt among us, and that He is both God the Son and the Son of God. Now we can look at what John wrote about see what he said that assures us that we have eternal life.

Jesus is the all sufficient sacrifice that reconciles men to God.

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)

Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. Propitiation means a sacrifice sufficient to satisfy the one who has been offended, in this case God. His death was a sacrifice, sufficient to reconcile all of mankind to God. Although the sacrifice is sufficient, there is one thing that is necessary for it to become effective for the individual.

And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. (1 John 3:23)

The fact that one must believe in, on, or trust in Jesus Christ for salvation is consistent throughout the New Testament. Believing in or on Jesus means to fully trust Him for our salvation from sin and its consequences. The propitiation becomes effective when we put our faith (trust) in the Blood of Jesus Christ for our salvation.

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (Romans 3:25)

Repentance, which the Bible says is necessary for salvation, is when we realize that our good works are incapable of making us acceptable to God, and turning from them to God for mercy.

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, (Hebrews 6:1)

Notice that the foundation is “repentance from dead works, and faith toward God.” This verse is not putting these things aside, it is moving on beyond them as we grow in our Christian lives. In the chapter before, the writer of Hebrews was chiding them for still being babes in Christ. He is telling them to grow up so they can be teachers of others.

When we realize that our works are dead and insufficient for our salvation, we turn to God (repent) for mercy, and God points us to faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)

This brings us back to our text:

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. (1 John 5:13)

What John wrote had two purposes. One was for us to know that we have eternal life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The second was to bring those who are without Christ to believe on the name of the Son of God. There is no other way to be reconciled to God.

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12)

Jesus, Himself, said that He is the only way to the Father:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

We are not saved through the name of any church, religion, or religious leader. We are saved through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is putting our faith in the sufficiency of His blood, shed on the cross, that saves.

We must be careful because there are many who would teach otherwise.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

How do we try the spirits to see if they are of God? It is really not that difficult, we try them by the teachings of the Scriptures. Many of the false prophets came up with their own scriptures that are supposed to correct the Scriptures of the Bible. All of them have contradictions within them. None of them have the perfect record of fulfilled prophecy the Bible has. None of them can stand the scrutiny that the Bible has gone through and still stand as the Word of God.

Through the years I have been in situations where it was necessary for me to spend time learning what another religion really believes. When I was a missionary in France that main religion I had to learn about was Catholicism. Surprisingly, I also had to learn about what Jehovah Witnesses believe while I was there also.

Our Lord told us that there would be many false prophets in the world, and there are many on every hand. Most of the religions these false prophets start disappear with the death of their “prophet,” but a few have persisted. The oldest being the Catholic Church. Next in line is Islam, which began about 600 years after Christ. In the 1800’s there were several started, and those that have survived are the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and the Seventh Day Adventists. Each of these has other groups that have split off from them.

When I have talked to them, I found that they all have many similarities. They all claim that Christianity had become so corrupted that God or an angel told them to start a new religion to fix the problems. They all start by adding to the Gospel as found in the Bible. Without exception they add works that a person must do to earn God’s favor, The first to do this was what became the Catholic Church. Many of them add baptism as a necessary step to salvation, even though the Bible clearly teaches that salvation is necessary to baptism, not the other way around.

A final change that they all make is, one person becomes the final authority for what they believe. As the founder leaves the scene through death, the next leader, like the next Pope in the Catholic church, becomes the new final authority. History shows us that the new “popes,” or “prophets” as they like to call them, contradict what was said by the previous ones. The followers of these new religions are taught not to think, but just to blindly follow the leader. It is a sin to question what the “prophet” says.

The reason I decided to write this article is, those in these false religion have no assurance of their salvation, what ever salvation means to them. For example, the Jehovah Witnesses do not know if they will have been good enough not to be annihilated, or whether they will be among the 144,000.

One person I spoke to in one of these new religions said, “We are just trying to figure it out.” I am so glad that our Lord gave us what we need to know about our eternal destiny. He led His apostles to write what we need to know so we can, first of all, believe on Him, and secondly, know that we have, right now, present tense, eternal life.

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John 5:11)

Remember, the Son of God is the eternal Word of God that was in the beginning with God and was God. All things were created by Him. He is the only begotten Son of God, and He is God the Son. He and His Father are one, not just in agreement, but in essence. Genesis tells us thhat God created everything and John tells us that Jesus Christ, the Word of God and the Son of God, created everything. We are told that God raised Jesus from the dead, and that Jesus raised himself from the dead. Everything that is attributed to one, is also attributed to the other because they are one God in three persons. It is three persons, but not three individuals.

For those of you who don’t understand this, join the crowd. No human can understand God because He is so far beyond what we are. Let me close with this passage of Scripture:

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:6-9)

We are to seek the LORD (Jehovah, the eternal God) while He may be found. We are to call upon Him while He is near. We are to forsake our wicked ways and thoughts, and turn to Jehovah for mercy. When we do, He (God, Elohim) will abundantly pardon us.

We cannot understand Him because His thoughts and ways are higher than ours. It would be like expecting an ant to understand the thoughts and ways of a man. It is an impossibility. We only know what we know about Him because He has revealed it to us in His Word, the Bible.

What I want you to get out of this article is, He has revealed enough for us to believe on Him, and to give us assurance that we have eternal life. He wants us to know that we will spend all eternity with Him in blessing. We don’t need any more that what we find in the Scriptures that we call the Holy Bible.

Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved

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