Assurance of salvation is within the grasp of every individual Christian. While an attitude of self-examination is certainly healthy (cf. 2 Cor 13:5), we also can and should be confident in our forgiven state. Paul, who called himself the “chief of all sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15), was still able to gratefully proclaim his innocence in the blood of Christ (1 Tim 1:16).
The book of 1 John is all about having confidence in our salvation. John defines our confidence this way: “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Our concern, then should be with what it means to “walk in the light.” Consider:
A Submissive Walk — God always has and always will demand obedience from people. The question for us becomes, “Am I willing to submit to God’s will in every facet of my life?” Jesus was our perfect example of obedient submission. He said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16). In the garden He prayed, “Not what I will, but Your will be done” (Matt. 26:39). The inspired apostle said of Jesus, “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death” (Phil. 2:8). O to have the courage, faith and wisdom to submit like that! Far too many people are “riding the fence” where God’s will is concerned. Our lives should always be lived in obedient submission to the Lord’s will. Do we honestly seek His kingdom above all else (Matt 6:33)? Is our one ambition in life to glorify God (1 Cor 10:31)? Do we truly want to be more like Christ today than we were yesterday (1 Peter 2:21)? Does our continuous course of action involve an honest and sincere effort to keep from sin (Romans 8:1)? If these things are so, we can be confident in the promise of God’s salvation (1 John 1:7)!
A Uniting Walk — “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). 1 John 1:7 tells us that as we walk in the light, we will have fellowship with others of the same mind. What a beautiful thought! Unity in the Lord fosters some of the deepest, most meaningful relationships we’ll ever have in this life. The Old Testament prophet asked, “can two walk together except they be agreed” (Amos 3:3)? You simply cannot be friends with the world and a friend of God at the same time (James 4:4). And you cannot harbor ill-will toward your brethren and walk in the light at the same time (1 John 2:9)! How many Christians are in danger of God’s judgment because of our attitudes toward fellow believers? One way to answer the question, “Am I walking in the light?” is to ask, “Do I truly love my brothers and sisters in Christ?”
A Cleansing Walk — Walking in the light procures the blood of Christ in our lives (1 John 1:7). God does not forgive half-way. We can stand before Him totally cleansed of our sin because of the power in Christ’s blood. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). Our need, then, is to have confidence in the cleansing power of Christ’s blood! How grateful we should be that we serve a God who chooses to forgive and forget our iniquity (cf. Heb. 8:12)! While we continually need to examine our attitudes, actions, and motives, we also need to remember that God forgives those who truly repent and obey His will. What about you? Are you willing to humbly submit yourself to a life of sacrifice and service, or are you more interested in serving yourself? The paths are clear. The choice is yours (Matt 7:13-14). – John Baker