Doubting Your Salvation

by Clem Thurman
via Gospel Minutes, Vol. 58, No. 8, Feb. 20, 2009.


Would you please explain I John 3:20,21?


John wrote: "Because if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemns us not, we have boldness toward God" (I John 3:20,21). In order to see what is meant, look at the context. In the two verses prior to this passage, we read: "My little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth. Hereby shall we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him" (I John 3:18,19). And then the verse following: "And whatsoever we ask we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing to His sight" (I John 3:22).

The writer is speaking of our assurance that we are right with God. Back in I John 1:7, we read, "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanseth us from all sin." Many seem to go through life doubting their salvation. This is what John is writing about. We can have the assurance that we are right with God. The apostle Paul wrote of the conscience, "For when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts, one with another accusing or else excusing them" (Romans 2:14,15). The purpose of the conscience is to "accuse" us when we err and to "excuse us" when we do right. But there is a higher court than that.

The apostle Paul wrote, "Here, moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing against myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but He that judgeth me is the Lord" (I Corinthians 4:2-4). God is the supreme judge of us all. Other people may judge us, but that is not all-important. We may judge ourselves -- either to condemn or to justify -- and that is not all-important. But the judgment of God is perfect, final, and absolute.

You can know you are saved, by looking at the Scriptures and your own life. As John wrote later in this book, "These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God" (I John 5:13). You cannot depend on your conscience to save you, nor the approval of other people. Your goodness will not save you, for you can never be "good enough" on your own. You must be saved by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. And if you are "in Christ" then you are in fellowship with God and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanseth you from all sin. (I John 1:7).

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