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Read Introduction to 1 John

 

“And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.” 
 
that we are of the truth,
 
The word “of” indicates source.  We know that we vitally connect to the truth.  We know that we have the right source for truth because we have an understanding of the principles of the Word of God.
 
and shall assure our hearts
 
God will assure our hearts if we exercise active love as over against imparting pious platitudes.  The word  “assure” means to persuade, convince, possess confidence.  God will enable us to believe that we are truly born again when we engage in active divine love.  We may sense our inadequacy to execute divine love but God will give us assurance in this matter.
 
Our “hearts” is the center of our spiritual being.  This is where we have confidence or do not have confidence.  The word “heart” includes the thinking apparatus.  Assurance comes from thinking and not from emotions.
 
PRINCIPLE:
 
Biblical knowledge produces confidence and confidence produces stability in the Christian life.
 
APPLICATION:
 
Biblical understanding of the principles of the Word produces confidence and confidences produces stability in the Christian life.  Those with stability make an impact for the Lord Jesus.  He knows why he is here; he knows the purpose of his existence.  He does not use spiritual sublimation to substitute for what he does not know.  He operates on the infallible, inerrant, unchanging, unadulterated Word of God.
 
Confidence is a lost quality these days.  Doubt is a virtue in our day and heralded as a virtue.  A person who knows what he believes, where he is going and understands the basis of his beliefs is an odd ball in our society.  This morass of doubt and uncertainty has produced a crop of Christians that have no point and purpose.  They do not share their faith because they themselves are not sure what they believe is right.  However, a good grasp of the Word of God gives assurance.  This kind of Christian can call a spade a spade.
 
It is impossible to develop a solid, sound and mature Christian life without knowledge.  Christianity based on pure emotion always produces unstable Christians.  Many people today say, “Let’s just love one another.  Doctrine does not matter.  Let us throw our arms around each other and say 12 nice things about each other.”  This is unadulterated emotional sentimentalism.  All you have to do is show a nice set of teeth and you are on your way.  This is not biblical love or biblical Christianity.  It is maudlin, emotional spiritual slop.  This is the way false doctrine encroaches into Christianity.
 
We do not use emotion as a criterion for determining compliance with the will of God.  Emotions can lead us astray.  They can be very mistaken and even very wrong in determining the will of God.  The only absolute norm is the Word of God.  Christians who reject didactic teaching of God’s Word never come to a place of confidence in what they know.  They know very little for sure.
 
Some Christians live in constant turmoil because they do not know what they believe.  Anyone with a different idea than their own is a threat to them.  They live in constant confusion.  They will be upset and disturbed when they face difficult situations.
 
The first objective of the Christian life is to know God and His Word.  After that we move into service and appreciation for what He has done for us (emotion).
 
It is possible to be stupid and dogmatic at the same time, of course (and is often the case).  This is not the same as the believer who solidly studies the Bible and comes to understand sound principles.  However, it is impossible to be stupid and genuinely confident at the same time.
 
People who know the Word can confidently assert truth.  They will make necessary sacrifices for that truth.  They will courageously share the truth of the gospel.
 
Principle always builds on principle.  We start out with basic principles and then we build more advanced principles on the basic principles until we develop comprehensive principles that cover many categories of life.  We eventually get into significant understanding as to why Christians suffer and the way to handle suffering.  Somewhere along the way the Christian comes to solid conviction about his eternal standing and security before God.  This is a phase of great liberation in the Christian life.  Eventually you come to the place where you understand that you are a personal ambassador for Christ.  You represent Him here in time and space.
 
Assurance is something that can grow.  Our primary assurance is based on the naked, written Word of God (5:6-12). That is the most important way we gain assurance.  As well, we can gain assurance by loving other Christians.  We can be sure of salvation.
 
A trap in love is to be attracted to someone through sentimentality but not out of true love.  Some things stimulate you about this person.  That is why biblically our heart includes the thinking process, the ability to form principles from the Word.
 
It is not accurate to say, “That person has a head belief but not a heart belief” because the word “heart” includes head belief.  Faith always includes what we know, the objective Word of God.  When belief engages with the promises of God, we see a heart belief.  It will impact the entire person. 
 
Two and two is four.  That is true whether anyone believes it or not.  However, when someone accepts that fact and activates belief in that principle then he is engaged with truth.  They activate their faith in the fact of two and two is four. 
 
Unbelief always comes from the heart as well.  It is a rational rejection of what the Bible says is true.  The heart also involves the will and attitude.  For example, a girl may break off a deep relationship with a guy, not because she does not appreciate or want him, but because she came to an understanding that being unequally yoked with an unbeliever is wrong.  She did this on the basis of a principle from the Word (2 Co 6:14,17).  She did not make this decision from her emotions but in spite of her emotions.  Her emotions told her to stay with the guy but her head told her to break it off.  This is a person operating on principle over emotion.
 
We can see this principle in the application of the principle behind 1 Peter 5: 7, “…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  There comes a temptation for someone to enter into an attitude of anxiety {suspension between two points of whether the good thing will happen to me or the bad thing will happen to me).  This person then applies the principle that he is under the sovereign care of God so he releases his anxiety about his problem to God.  He puts his problems in the Lord’s hands.  He is now free from his problems.  He is now in control of his problems and his problems are not in control of him.  He now has a confidence in what God can do about his situation.  His faith depended on the object of the Word of God.  He has an object for his faith – the promise of God.  It is always principle first then application second.
 
People without principle always revert to emotion.  They try to compensate for their lack of biblical content by operation bootstraps.  They then become vulnerable to false teaching (note verses 22-23).  All this points to the vacuum of biblical truth in their souls.  When they have little biblical content in their souls, they cannot claim the promises of the principles of the Word for their lives.  They cannot apply what they do not know (2 Ti 2:19).
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