John builds his first little epistle around several “assurance passages” – lines throughout the book where he pauses and makes certain these Christians understand who they are ... and whose they are. They are passages that were so awesome to highlight that I actually jotted down "THIS WORKS" beside them and I have seen them frequently so as to remember the things John suggests. It also assures me in promises that I am indeed HIS.
If you sometimes need to remind yourself that you are sheltered under his wings, this might be a good exercise for you. First, let's look at His ASSURANCE. The emphasis on assurance are in:
I don’t know about you, but I am reminded in these passages that God is THE moving force, and He LIKES ME. A grand, theological truth, that! He tells everyone from adults to children to always remember that evil can be overcome through Him. John then prompts us hence how to treat each other and live that assurance although the world is evil’s playground.
Paul also makes a particular emphasis later in Romans 8 on this as well. I love The Message interpretation these thoughts: “So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?” (v32)
I remember a song we used to sing in my youth group called "I've got confidence." Remember that one? It was written by Andre Crouch and became very popular party because of it's message ... and possibly partly because Elvis sang it too. Ha! So anyway, now let's look at CONFIDENCE. John uses this awesome word four times in his book (in one instance it is also translated “assurance” so we are getting a total reliance boost from John here!).
Pardon the ensuing caps, but I'm feeling some emphasis coming on. HOW do we have confidence in Him? Well, for one, John says that REMAINING “in Him” will certainly help! I don’t play the piano as well as I used to but this is because I DON’T STILL DO IT EVERY DAY. Like ... at all. LOL ;-| However, I can still play the flute because I DO still play. And following the same analogy, if I took up the piano again and committed myself to it, it would probably all come back to me. I would feel MUCH more confident to play in front of someone. Get my drift? I feel sure it doesn’t take much to comprehend the idea that a relationship with the Almighty takes a commitment to exercise that friendship with confidence.
If you are taking personal note of the verses where the word confidence occurs (in your head or jotting it down as well), you can consider what you read about confidence from John’s comments. In the late 1800s Fanny Crosby jotted down some notes about what that blessed assurance meant to her. Some time after sharing those thoughts with a musician friend (who happen to be installing a pipe organ in her home), those thoughts became a very well-known Christian hymn and background hint (often accompanying Just As I Am) to subsequent altar calls! How 'bout THAT?
So wow, we’ve chatted about the amazing, blessed assurance God gives us and that we can continue life in Him with confidence. In the next post, we are going to talk about the KNOWLEDGE that coming from living in these promises.
But for today ... and I hope you'll pardon the altar call, but ... are you confident in Christ? Are you assured of your salvation and who you are in Him? God really, really wants you to be. He doesn’t want you to be self-important or self-reliant, but He does desire you to wake up each morning and meet the day with spiritual trust and certainty, grounded in your connection with Him. Can you do that?
So do you still want the proof that a blessed assurance really works? The bottom line is that the evidence is you. You are the 'story.' And YOU are the 'song.' And there, my friend, is your promise.