“And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (1Jn 5:19)
What proof did the Apostle John, the human author of the Book of First John, and those to whom he wrote his epistle, have to say with confidence and assurance that they knew: “We know that we are of God”? This question also applies to everyone who professes to be a Christian, even at this present time.
This question is answered in many ways, most of which are not Scriptural proof, but rather emotional proof. The only firm and true assurance that a professor of Christianity has that he is a true child of God must be based on what Christ said in His Word to the Apostles, rather than on what man has developed on his own.
Man’s definition of regeneration (or what some call the New Birth) is based upon man’s merits plus God’s help. However, the Bible, giving us God’s definition, is very plain that Salvation is “of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9), and that is without man’s help. The Apostle Paul, in the revelation God gave to him, said simply (Eph. 2:8-9) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.” That is not of yourself, but through “The Faith” (Jesus Christ). Jesus Christ is the Author and Finisher of our Faith: (Heb. 12:2) “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Faith is a gift of God and not by works of man.
The Plan of Redemption of sinners from their sin debt was God’s Plan; not man’s. The Bible reveals that God had the Plan of Redemption purposed before time ever was (Ep. 1:4-11; 1 Peter 1:18-20; Rev. 13:8b). The Plan of God would be worked out, or secured, or ratified, by the Lord Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. So it was God in the flesh making The Atonement (or the Propitiation, or appeasement/satisfaction for the sin debt) by becoming the Sacrifice (or ransom, or offering) for sin; becoming the sinner’s Substitute (2 Cor. 5:21) (bearing the Wrath of God for the sinner); thus, becoming the Savior for the sinner from the penalty, punishment and practice of sin. (See Rom. 3:24-25; 5:1-21; Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 2:24; etc.)
However, the question of this devotion is not How God carried out His Plan of Redemption; for He did this in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the question is: What proof do you possess that you are a true possessor of God in you and you in Him? The answer is found in (John 14:15), “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
This verse gives two undeniable proofs, if present in your life, that a person is truly a child of God. The first proof is The Attitude. The Attitude is one of Perception of the Spiritual Relationship between God and the child of God. This perception of the relationship is defined in (1Jn 5:20) “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” The key word is “understanding.” This understanding (or perception) comes when God comes to dwell within the person.
When this happens (that is, when one is regenerated by the Holy Spirit); then the person has an internal witness of: (1) The Person of Christ (that Jesus Christ is the God in the flesh, and He now dwells in the believer’s spirit; Rom. 8:14-16); (2) The Preeminence of Christ (that He is the Head of your life; King and Lord); (3) Your Position in Him (Justified / Sanctified) (meaning that you now know, or have an understanding, that you are a child of God, a son of God; that God is your Heavenly Father); and (4) Your Daily Provision (or daily sustainment) is through the Victory of Jesus Christ; you now are an overcomer of the “old man,” over sin itself; for sin no longer has you in bondage, and you are no longer under its curse. You now have a New Attitude; a New Nature; a New Will; an Internal Witness of God living and abiding in you, causing you to walk in the Power of the Holy Spirit, causing you to seek after righteousness and not unrighteousness.
The second proof is The Actions. The Actions are the Practice of the Responsibility by the child of God, which is two-fold. Not only must you have an Inward Witness that God lives in you; but you must also have an Outward Witness, or you must have works of Faith. You can have works without faith; but you cannot have faith without works (Jas. 2:14-26). In your Practice, you must Love God supremely (Mt. 22:37-39). You must not be only a “hearer” of God’s Word; but you must also be a “doer” of God’s Word (Jas.1:22). This means there must be: (1) a Performance; which is evidenced in your: (a) Love to God; proven by (a) your Surrender to God as Sovereign; (b) your Submission to the Will of God; and (c) your Obedience to the Word of God. When this happens, there will be fruit, more fruit, and much fruit borne in your daily life; and this fruit will be the Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 15:1-16; Gal. 5:22-23). You will walk daily by faith, or by Christ (Gal.2:20); that is, you will be filled with the Spirit, you will walk in the Spirit, you will be led of the Spirit, and you will live in the Spirit daily (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16, 18, 25). Then secondly your performance must include (b) Love of the Brethren; Your Pattern is Jesus Christ (John 13:34-35) “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” As to how you are to do this, read 1 Jn. 3:10-24; Col. 3:1-4; Gal. 6:1-3; 1 Thess. 5: 14-15; etc.
The next thing that your actions must include is (2) The Patience of Endurance: (1 Jn. 5:18) “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” The Apostle Paul in 2 Tim. 4:6-7 reveals how to keep yourself unto the end: (a) “Fought a good fight”; that is, be a good soldier of Jesus Christ by taking “heed” (1 Cor. 10:12-13) (and see 1 Thess. 5:14-24); (walking in holiness and peace; Heb. 12:14); (b) “Finished my course”; by stedfastness; by not giving in or up; (c) “Kept the Faith”; How? Staying confessed up (1 Jn. 1:9); staying prayed up (1 Thess. 5:17); staying studied up (2 Tim. 2:15); standing on the Promises (Heb. 3:15; Rom. 8:29-39); knowing God’s grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9); knowing the end of the story (1 Thess. 5:9-10).
In conclusion, you can know with confidence that you are a child of God. It is found in The Attitude: One of Perception of the Relationship; “if you love Me”; that is, an understanding of Who Christ is, and of your position in Him; and in The Actions: One of Practice of the Responsibility; “keep My commandments”; that is, a Performance of Love to God and to the brethren; and a Patience, an endurance unto the end by the power of God living in you.