What Does Salvation Look Like?

Because we love the brothers 1 John 3:14

Hate is all around us. How do you feel or act toward: republicans, democrats, other races or nationalities, bosses, someone who has hurt you, the well-to-do, the poor, northerners, the opposite gender, the other football team? From the other side of hate, do you care if you don’t love them? Jesus, the ultimate lover, told us to “[even] love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

We aren’t perfect and the apostle John knows it. I suggest that you read 1 John three times: one time for the assurances, one time for the tests of/the practices of true saving faith, one time for the joy and perspective of what salvation in Christ brings. John acknowledges we will struggle with sin and gives us relief when we do (1:8-10). He does speak plainly and strongly without apology. Do you justify your sinful behavior or habits? John fires a rifle shot to your heart: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (3:9). Yikes!

I’ve heard it said there are three kinds of people: professors (in terms of faith in Christ), non-professors, and would-be professors. Throughout the epistle, John links real differences between professors and would-be professors through a series of tests. Listen in to the one in 1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.” This only sounds easy considering Jesus instructed us to love our enemies, too. Though it is not true universally, it’s sad to hear some churches are known for what or who they hate and for their heated business meetings. I am grateful my church is not that way.

1 John 3:14 begs two questions. One, do I know I have “passed out of death into life”? And two, do I love my fellow believers? Question one (3:14a) brings great joy. John uses the same phrase in John 5:24 to take us behind the scenes of our eternal life already begun. Death is no longer the end but a transition into the life we already have. Isn’t that just remarkable, astonishing, astounding, and marvelous?! Add your favorite word.

Question two (3:14b) shows one of the evidences/assurances we have salvation: We love other believers. Indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we relate to others—especially followers of Christ—in sacrificial not self-serving or loathing ways. Aren’t you glad for the Spirit’s help to become like Christ in this way?

Drink deeply of our motivation in 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”

Love isn’t the only test but it’s a big one. How I wish our national—and yes, sometimes “Christian”—fires of hate groups and words would be smothered by the rushing waters of the love of God’s people toward their enemies and each other.

Salvation looks like love.

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