These little tracts contain messages not ordinarily found in religious literature today. They represent no voice or official organ of any church or denomination. The author desires to stay as free as possible from all groups and associations that would hinder or confine his God-given convictions.
However, he fully realizes he is simply one member of Christ’s great body and therefore not complete in himself. So it is with this understanding these messages are sent forth desiring not only to strengthen and enlighten Christ’s Church but to submit the same for confirmation to those who have Christ in them.
As long as the Lord enables and provides, the messages will be sent out free to all requesting them. Though no charge is made for the tracts, the cost of publishing remains and will have to be met by the gifts and offerings of God’s people.
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” I John 5:13
Do you know that you have eternal life? Have you been justified freely by his grace? Though some consider it presumptuous to say we are saved, we should know. And according to God’s Word, we can know. This is too important an issue to be in doubt about. To die in doubt may mean to be eternally lost. This is too great a risk to take.
Even though you may feel you are all right, it would be well to examine yourself. What are you basing your hope of salvation upon? In Paul’s second epistle to the church at Corinth, he said, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” II Corinthians 13:5.
Read this verse over again and again until you are aware of the emphasis Paul is putting upon the need of SELF EXAMINATION. EXAMINE YOURSELVES ... PROVE YOUR OWN SELVES ... KNOW YE NOT YOUR OWN SELVES? This is something we personally are to do and know. The purpose of examining, proving and knowing is to satisfy, settle and establish the individual in the knowledge of his own salvation.
Man needs something that is sure and steadfast. This is digging deep and building upon the rock of revelation. This is the only kind of house (faith) that will be able to stand when the storms of doubt and fear assail.
Everyone except the reprobate should examine himself. The reprobate is one who has rejected a true knowledge of the Lord and been given a reprobate mind. Romans 1:21, 22, 28. They are those who receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved. God is through with them and they have been sent strong delusion that they might believe a lie and be damned. II Thessalonians 2:10-12. Reprobates may be found in or out of the organized church system. But always they are people who have rejected light and are sealed off by strong delusion.
The reprobate may feel no need and actually think he is in good standing with God. He may go to meet the Lord trusting in some false hope and hear those words, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:33. Did it ever dawn upon you that the vast majority of people are lost and only a remnant will be saved? “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14.
Once again, may I ask what you are basing your hope of salvation upon? Good works, church membership, feelings, experiences, fasting and prayers cannot save you. They may precede or accompany salvation, but they cannot save. Cornelius was said to be a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, “which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.” Acts 10:2. But, he was not saved until Peter came and ministered the Word of life to him. I have personally known people who had various experiences, including a vision of the Lord coming to them, that had no persevering faith in Christ.
Paul and John are agreed that we can know we have eternal life. Let us consider some of the divine principles given in God’s Word whereby we can know we have eternal life.
I John 5:1 says, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” This belief is not to be confused with mental apprehension or historical faith. It means to be convinced of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Your persuasion of the person and work of Jesus Christ is of such conviction that you confess him before men as your Lord and Saviour. This alone is heart faith which is unto righteousness. Romans 10:9-10. Without this faith man cannot please God. Hebrews 11:6.
This is supernatural faith given by the revelation of God the Father. Matthew 16:16-18. This faith, dropped into the heart by the Father, is in itself the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Being the gift of God to man, this faith is nurtured and sustained by the sovereign Spirit working in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
This faith comes from God and ends in God truly making him the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:2. This faith alone will save and carry us to heaven. It is the absence of this faith that causes men to turn away or fall back. This is the faith that enabled Peter, when the multitudes were deserting Christ, to say, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:68. This is the faith that believes God’s Word and is willing to stand upon it while others turn away when the going gets rough.
This faith comes by revelation and is the only faith that saves men from their sins. This is the only faith that makes us a member of Christ’s body, the church. This is the only church the gates of hell shall not prevail against.
I would like to also point out that man cannot truly believe in Christ without the revelation of the Holy Spirit. This means that man must be exposed to the Spirit of revelation working in and through some member of Christ’s body.
Where there is no Spirit, there is no revelation. Where there is no revelation, there is no conviction. Where there is no conviction, there is no repentance. Where there is no repentance, there is no faith. Where there is no faith, there is no life. Where there is no life, the church and its members are dead in trespasses and sins just like the rest of the world. Such a church or ministry cannot bring men to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. This is an absolute must if men are to be converted to Christ. Human personality, knowledge and wisdom, however magnetic and persuasive, will not take the place of the Holy Spirit. The letter of the Word without the Holy Spirit is simply dead creeds and doctrines that cannot impart life.
This is the reason multitudes in the modern church have never been brought to the new birth. Their faith, which is not a living faith, is standing in the wisdom of men and not in the power of God. This is what Paul is talking about in I Corinthians 2:4-5, where he says, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
The belief of I John 5:1 brings us into union with Jesus Christ and the family of God through the new birth.
The second divine principle I call your attention to whereby you can know you have passed from death unto life is the new birth itself. True conversion always results in the new birth. This is what Jesus meant when he said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. This new birth results in a new life, not the adoption of a new code of ethics or reformation, but a new life.
Paul speaks of it as a new creation. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17. Old things pass away and all things become new. The life of God coming into a human being through the new birth is as real as a dead man being brought to life again. In fact it is likened to being raised from the dead in the scriptures. John 5:25; 11:25-26; Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:12-13; 3:1, etc. This, of course, is a spiritual life and spiritual resurrection.
Before the new birth, we are dead to God, his Word, his people, his kingdom and heaven itself. We are alive to the world, sin, self and the people of the world. This love and attachment to sin and the world is part of our corrupt Adamic nature. The new birth brings the life and divine nature of Christ into our hearts. II Peter 1:4. Christ coming into our hearts spoils us for the world and the world for us. Though we can be tempted, influenced and even temporarily drawn away by our old corrupt Adamic nature, we can never be happy with the world again. Like Lot of old, our righteous soul is vexed with the filthy conversation of Sodom (the world) and we can never love this vain world anymore. II Peter 2:8. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” I John 2:15-17.
The third principle that I call to your attention whereby we can know we have eternal life is divine love. “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” I John 4:7-8. When God comes into our life he brings his love. Of all the attributes of the true and living God, love is the most perfect and complete expression of his nature. Divine love is not to be confused with human love and affection. Human love is motivated and based upon self and selfish principles. We love them that love us and, as a rule, have little time or patience for those that do not love us. We love our children, our family, our home, our church, our preacher, our profession and our country simply because they are OURS. Divine love is an all-embracing love that goes beyond the confines of our family, our church and our personal interests.
The love of God being shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Ghost is the result of being born of God. Romans 5:5. Suddenly we love the Lord Jesus Christ and would gladly give our life to prove our love to him. It is at this time he becomes the lily of the valley, the rose of Sharon, the bright and morning star, even the fairest of ten thousand to our souls. Human tongue cannot describe this love for Christ that literally breaks our heart upon every remembrance of him. How precious and real he is to us during this time of the first love. No one can love Christ like this without being born again. God the Father has decreed that we love and honor his beloved Son. Of all the work accomplished in us by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, this is most outstanding. He makes Christ altogether lovely and most precious to our souls.
We have love because we have God who is love. Immediately we also discover we no longer hate or despise our enemies. In fact, we gladly forgive them as our heart goes out to them in great compassion. We suddenly discover our prejudice, our hate and our petty differences are vain and petty, even ridiculous. These things vanish before the warm glow of God’s love in our hearts and we gladly embrace those we formerly despised. While in the throes of this first love, we literally embrace the whole world of mankind with Godly compassion.
According to I John 5:1, those who believe and are born of God not only love him (God) who begets but also those who are begotten of him. Whereas we have been a stranger to the household of God, we now find sweet fellowship among those we formerly shunned. Genuine conversion leads to union and fellowship with Christ’s body, the church. “If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I John 1:6-7. It is impossible to know and love Christ and not love his people. “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” I John 4:12. Do you love the brethren? I John 3:14 says, “We know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”
This brings us to the fourth divine principle whereby we may know we have eternal life.
According to our text in I John 5:10-11, those who believe on the Son and have the witness in themselves do so because they have believed the record God has given to us of his Son. This record is God’s Word. All true believers have a respect and appreciation for the Word of God. This is because God’s Spirit in our heart bears witness to his written Word. It is impossible to know God and not love his Word. His Word is an expression of himself. “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47.
The Word is water, milk, bread and meat to the believer. The Spirit of life is ministered to the believer through the Word. It is his life and he lives by it. When in doubt and in need of wisdom, he turns to the Word of God. In times of distress and trouble, the believer finds his comfort and strength in the Word of God.
When Jesus was told his mother and brethren desired to see him, he answered them by saying, “my mother and my brethren are these which hear the Word of God, and do it.” Luke 8:21.
In the ranks of professing Christianity, we have two extremes with many variations in between ... those who make much of the written Word and take pride in being fundamentally sound, and those who glory in the power and reality of the Spirit but know so little about the Word. Neither of these extremes is right.
Many of those emphasizing the written word also deny the power thereof and make no place for the Holy Spirit. They also fail to emphasize obedience to the Word though they glory in being fundamental. This is not the ministry nor the word the true believer needs.
The other extreme often puts more credence in feelings, experiences, dreams, visions and manifestations than the Word of God. Those living in this realm are often led into great error and have no real strength because of their lack of knowledge and use of the word.
Neither of these extremes can help the true believer. The anointed Word with due recognition for the ministry of the Holy Spirit is the desirable balance we need. Either extreme leads away from the truth as it is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God’s people are known by their love and appreciation for his Word. Jesus himself said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29. It is through the written Word, used and quickened by the Holy Spirit, that we hear the voice of the Son of God and live. Jesus said, “the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” John 5:25.
Once again, let me repeat that this is the living Word impregnated by the Spirit. The letter of the Word has no power to bring forth life. The truth is, this extreme usually leads to great delusion with the convert’s faith centered in some creed, doctrine or religious system. Jesus said, “it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. Paul the apostle said, “for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.” II Corinthians 3:6.
Some of the hardest people in all the world to win to Christ are those who have been brought to an intellectual faith in some lifeless religious system having only the letter of the Word. Love, honor and respect for the whole Word of God rather than some biased extreme is a real witness we are of God. “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47. Do you believe and love his Word?
We now come to the fifth and final principle whereby we can know we have eternal life.
I John 5:10 says, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” The quickened Word received into our hearts brings the witness of the Spirit with it. In reality, it is the Holy Spirit coming into our life that makes a new creature out of us. It is the Holy Spirit that makes us love the Lord, love the brethren and love his Word. I John 4:13 says, “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” Are you conscious of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in your life?
This inward witness of the Spirit is real to the true believer. Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” All saved people have the Spirit of God. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6. Those born of God cannot help but call him “Father”. This is the reason the Christian is drawn to the Father in the habit of prayer all the days of his life. It is the Spirit of his Son joined to our spirit crying unto the Father. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9.
The coming of the Spirit into our hearts is actually what regenerates and makes a new creature out of us. It takes the Spirit of God to bring us to the new birth. The coming of the Holy Ghost into our lives is what makes us a Christian.
Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot love God nor our brother. Without the Holy Spirit, we have no strength nor capacity to serve God. Without the Holy Spirit, we are still in our sins and devoid of spiritual life. External religion, church membership and all our good deeds are filthy rags in the sight of God.
The Holy Ghost is the witness that we have entered into covenant with the Lord and his laws are written into our heart and mind. Hebrews 10:15-16. This alone gets us ready for heaven. Do you have eternal life? According to our text, I John 5:13, YE MAY KNOW.