“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we
love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3:14).
Christians love non-Christians. Non-Christians love
non-Christians. It takes a Christian to love a Christian.
In her autobiography, Climbing, Rosalind Goforth
tells of an elderly man who was unsure of his salvation. He said, “I wanted to
convince myself all these years that I’m going to heaven, but I can’t.” She
asked him if he loved the Lord’s people. He said, “Oh, it’s my greatest joy in
life to be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s Day singing the Lord’s
praises.” Then she pointed out 1 John 3:14 to him: “We know that we have passed
from death to life because we love our brothers.” Love for the brothers is
evidence of salvation.
Consider the opposite. Suppose you brought a non-Christian
to church. He would not feel comfortable. He might admire and respect
Christians, but he wouldn’t love them like they love each other. He cannot.
Jesus said that the pagans love pagans and that Christians are to love pagans;
but it takes a Christian to love a Christian.
When you love other Christians, not only do you know that
you are saved—everyone else also knows:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved
you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my
disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do
good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat
you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone
takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who
asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to
others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit
is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to
those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.
And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to
you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love
your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get
anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the
Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just
as your father is merciful” (Luke 6:27-36).
Jesus Said So
“I tell you the truth; whoever hears my word and believes
him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over
from death to life” (John 5:24).
Notice the present tense: hears my word, believes in Him who
sent me, has eternal life. Notice the future tense: will not be condemned.
Notice the past tense: he has crossed over from death to life.
Excerpted from Assurances of
Salvation, available at ccmbooks.org and Amazon.com.