The Story_photo

Day 348   |   Act 5: Jesus to the end

1 John 3:11–24

The young man sat in my office, head in his hands. I had known him for a long time; he was a prominent part of our youth ministry at church, and I was excited about his life, leadership at church, and gospel ministry at school. Yet he had asked to meet with me because he was struggling with serious doubts about his salvation. “How do I know, for sure, that I am really saved?” he asked me, sincere concern in his eyes. Have you been there? Have you wondered how you can know if you truly belong to Jesus forever? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a checklist that you could work through to make sure? Well, the apostle John doesn’t give us a checklist, but he does help us boil this question down to two important marks of a true Christian.

First, a true Christian has genuine love for other believers in Jesus. That’s a repeated theme in John’s letter, and it is a major theme in the passage you read today. John says that the simple command to love one another is one that has been there “from the beginning” (3:11). In other words, this has always been a marker of God’s true people! John even clarifies, helpfully, what kind of love we are to have for other Christians. It’s love like that of Jesus, who “laid down his life for us” (3:16). That is how we know what love is! It’s radically sacrificial love for other believers in Jesus. Does that characterize your life and heart today?

Second, a true Christian affirms that Jesus Christ is God’s Son, come in the flesh as a human being. This is a concept that has shown up more strongly in other parts of John’s letter, but he mentions it again briefly in this passage, as he summarizes the two marks of a real Christian: “This is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us” (3:23). Real Christians love God’s people, and they believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son in the flesh.

Are those marks of a true Christian evident in your life today? I hope they are! I hope that you find yourself loving God’s people more and more, despite the many imperfections of the church today. I hope that you boldly affirm—in every situation—the divinity and humanity of Jesus, God’s son. Pray that these characteristics would mark you strongly as you follow Jesus!

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