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Read Introduction to 1 John


“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”


that you may know that you have eternal life,

The purpose of 1 John is to prod us from doubt to certainty.  God wants us to “know” that we “have eternal life,” not assume or feel that we have it.  “Know” means to know with God imparted innate knowledge.  This is a settled knowledge that gives peace to the mind and heart. 

Eternal life is a lifetime of fellowship with God both in time and the eternal state.  Eternal life is the same kind of life that God possesses.  God is willing to share His life with us. 

and that you may continue to believe

The present tense of “believe” suggests characterized by belief.  This is set in contrast to the non-Christian who does not possess ongoing trust in Christ. Non-believers do not have and hold eternal life. 

in the name of the Son of God

The word “in” involves motion towards and repose upon.  We repose on the “name of the Son of God.”  “Name” stands for the person.  We rest in a person for salvation.  We trust in the unique person of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as God. 

The name “Son of God” refers to the unique deity of Jesus Christ that makes eternal life possible. 


Confidence comes from trust in God’s Word and promises. 


Assurance of eternal life is not presumption, for presumption doubts God’s promises.  God makes it plain that we may know that we have eternal life, not that you might have it some day.  Physical life is not eternal life because we can lose it.  But eternal life is not like physical life in that we cannot lose it.  Eternal life is forever. 

Our feelings have nothing to do with whether we are truly born again; it is a matter of accepting God’s Word at face value.  It is who says it that counts.  It makes a great difference who says what.  If we receive a letter from a friend, we accept what they say at face value because it comes from a friend.  We have no reason to suspect that they would deceive us. 

On the other hand, we may receive a business letter from a company with whom we do business.  We may wonder whether their proposal is on the level.  They may overstate the case to get our business; it may be exaggerated or a downright lie, business being what it is in some circles.  However, if we receive a communication from the Prime Minister of Canada, you would accept at face value what he said because of who he is.

Jn 20:30-31, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

2 Ti 1:12, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”

Tit 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”

If we do not have the assurance of salvation, we will not have the joy of our salvation.  How can you share eternal life with others if you are not sure whether you have it yourself?  How can you lead your children to Christ if you waffle about it yourself? 

1 Jn 1:4, “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”