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So that you may know that you have eternal life
1 John 5:13 A reminder from John the Evangelist that provides uplifting reassurance to believers
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
1 John 5:13 NASB1995
The last chapter of the first epistle of John the Evangelist (1 John 5) is all about being born of God and believing in the Son of God. Just prior to this verse, John has told the recipients of the letter how important it is for them to receive the testimony of God, then followed up with a statement of that testimony — “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” (1 John 5:11-12 NASB1995)
God’s message to mankind is that eternal life is His gift to us, received in Jesus Christ. British theologian Adam Clarke said in his early 19th Century commentary of the Bible:
“It is vain to expect eternal glory, if we have not Christ in our heart. The indwelling Christ gives both a title to it, and a meetness for it. This is God’s record. Let no man deceive himself here. An indwelling Christ and GLORY; no indwelling Christ, NO glory. God’s record must stand.”
Here, John states his message in simple words in hope of persuading those reading or hearing the epistle to believe. If we already believe — as most, if not all, Heaven On Wheels readers do — John reminds us that we have eternal life, giving the assurance so we may continue to believe.
The Enduring Word commentary on 1 John 5 by David Guzik includes this reason why it is helpful to hear the gospel repeatedly:
The need to hear the simple gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ does not end once one embraces the gospel. We benefit by it, are assured by it, and are helped to continue in it as we hear it and embrace it over and over again.
Guzik goes on to explain how important it is to know that our salvation is wholly dependent on what Jesus did for us:
That you may know that you have eternal life: John’s confidence is impressive. He wants us to know that we have eternal life. We can only know this if our salvation rests in Jesus and not in our own performance. If it depends on me, then on a good day I’m saved and on a bad day, I don’t really know. But if it depends on what Jesus has done for me, then I can know.
On those days when we know that we are miserable sinners and are feeling remorseful, we can take solace in knowing that Jesus already did the heavy lifting for us on the cross.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Father, I am filled with joy knowing that I am in Christ and have a new abundant and eternal life in Him! I thank You for that life, and I pray in Jesus’ name that I can help to bring others into your glorious light. AMEN.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. lockman.org.
Commentary from Enduring Word used with permission of the author.
Clarke, Adam "Clarke's Commentary: The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments with a Commentary and Critical Notes" Volume 6 (Romans-Revelation) (New York: Eaton and Mains, 1832)