In the inspired, biblical correspondence we call “1 John,” the writer is prompted to write to an early New Testament church to stabilize their confidence. Apparently, teachers had infiltrated the fellowship who were undermining the ability of the new believers to “stand firm” in their faith. This is different than doubting.
Doubting salvation often comes about due to a loss of hope, not the absence of “right answers” theologically. Doubting can come after a season in which things we thought were true were things that we had gotten wrong. We were standing on the wrong platform when the train came, and we missed it. At a time when we thought God would come through for us with an answer to prayer; a new job, a repaired marriage or a healed body… it didn’t happen. At least in the timeline we thought it should. Doubting salvation is often boiled down to how we feel more than what we think.
Confidence is what comes about because “we know.” This word is used by John thirty-six times in this brief, little book. It is such a matter of focus for John because HE knows that if WE know then our confidence cannot be shaken… at least not easily. In other words, the question of confidence is not about “how do we feel” but “what do we know?” Doubting makes us look within; taking our eyes off the very One who can help us. Confidence is looking BEYOND ourselves to Jesus, and when we see Him and know Him more fully. Confidence flows through that connection.
And that’s how John can say in Chapter 5, “These things have I written… that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.” Not that you may FEEL you have it, but that with confidence and assurance and stability you KNOW it and stand firmly upon it. In short then, doubting becomes a reality in direct correlation to how much you are looking within for answers. But confidence comes when you are constantly, urgently and even desperately looking to Jesus and in His righteousness we can KNOW that we KNOW that He is our salvation.
A truth – if there ever was one – that we never need to doubt!
FOR MEDITATION: These things are written to you who believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13
FOR REFLECTION: How do you validate and verify that you have eternal life? It is not based on how we feel or what we’ve done. We know we have passed from death to life eternal by Who we trust and Who we know. It is His righteousness that saves us… not our own actions or our changing, emotional state. Turn your eyes upon Jesus… your confidence is there.