Proof of Salvation Part 2

by Mike Ratliff

28 Καὶ νῦν, τεκνία, μένετε ἐν αὐτῷ, ἵνα ἐὰν φανερωθῇ σχῶμεν παρρησίαν καὶ μὴ αἰσχυνθῶμεν ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ. 29 ἐὰν εἰδῆτε ὅτι δίκαιός ἐστιν, γινώσκετε ὅτι καὶ πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν δικαιοσύνην ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεγέννηται. (1 John 2:28-29 NA27)

28 And now little children, abide in him that when his is manifested we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 Since you know that he is righteous, you also know that everyone practicing righteousness has been born of him. (1 John 2:28-29 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

Antinomianism which is an attempt to claim to be Christian without Christ being Lord of a believer’s life along with Christless Christianity which is man-made religiosity in the form of Christianity, but totally denying the power of our Saviour and Lord because those within are neither rooted nor grounded in Christ offer only “feelings” and the forms of religiosity (works) in an attempt to assuage the consciences of those ensnared in those false religions. On the other hand, genuine Christianity can be put to the test and those who are in Christ can know if they are truly saved. All false religions have people looking within, to find that change within the inner person to see if that “salvation has really happened.” Only genuine Christianity looks at undeniable proof. 

Carefully read 1 John 2:28-29 which I placed at the top of this post. What do those who are genuine Christians do that disingenuous Christians do not do? They abide or remain in Christ and in so doing their lives are patterned after the righteousness of Christ. The Greek verb μένετε (abide) is the Present, Imperative, Active case of μένω. That means that this is a command to do something involving continuous or repeated action. In other words, John is commanding believers to abide or remain in Christ as a way of life.

What about the parallel that “everyone practicing righteousness” “has been born of him”? The hope of Christ’s return not only sustains faith, but makes righteousness a habit. John does not mess around here. The word he used for “born,” γεγέννηται, the Perfect, Indicative, Passive case of γεννάω is the same verb he used in John 3:7 where Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again. According to 1 Peter 1:3 and 1 Peter 1:13-16, those truly born again partake of their heavenly Father’s righteous nature. Even though not perfect, they will display characteristics of God’s righteousness. What John is doing is looking from effect (righteous behavior) to cause (being truly born again) in order to affirm that righteous living is the proof of being born again (James 2:20, 26; 2 Peter 3:11).

1 Ἴδετε ποταπὴν ἀγάπην δέδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ πατήρ, ἵνα τέκνα θεοῦ κληθῶμεν, καὶ ἐσμέν. διὰ τοῦτο ὁ κόσμος οὐ γινώσκει ἡμᾶς, ὅτι οὐκ ἔγνω αὐτόν. 2 ἀγαπητοί, νῦν τέκνα θεοῦ ἐσμεν, καὶ οὔπω ἐφανερώθη τί ἐσόμεθα. οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἐὰν φανερωθῇ, ὅμοιοι αὐτῷ ἐσόμεθα, ὅτι ὀψόμεθα αὐτὸν καθώς ἐστιν. 3 καὶ πᾶς ὁ ἔχων τὴν ἐλπίδα ταύτην ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ ἁγνίζει ἑαυτόν, καθὼς ἐκεῖνος ἁγνός ἐστιν. (1 John 3:1-3 NA27)

1 See what sort of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God; and we are, therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are children of God, now, and what we will be has not yet been manifested; but we know that when he is manifested we will be like him because we will see him as he is. 3 And everyone having this hope in him purifies himself, even as that one is pure. (1 John 3:1-3 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

This is actually one of my favorite passages. In one of my personal email systems, I include it as a link in my outgoing email messages in the footer. Sadly, I have found that many professing Christians who have received those emails have seemed embarrassed by it or they act like its not there. Why is that? I watched a documentary about a former NBA basketball player from the Boston area who lost his career and almost lost his life and family because he became addicted to heroin. The documentary was about his fall then his struggles with recovery and his life now being clean and sober. When he was a junkie he always took his toiletries into the shower with him and did everything like shave, brush his teeth, et cetera, in the shower. However, after his recovery, his wife asked him why she now saw all those things in the bathroom next to the sink, but before they were always in the shower. He thought about it and then told her that when he was a junkie, he could not look at himself in the mirror because of the shame. Now he could.

I am convinced that this passage is incredibly convicting. All those who have the hope of seeing Christ face to face as their Lord and Saviour purify themselves even as our Lord is pure. What this means is that genuine believers live in the reality of Christ’s return and this makes a difference in their behavior. Since, on that day when he returns, believers will be like him, a desire should grow within them to become like him now. We see this in Philippians 3:12-14 as well. This calls for a purifying of sin that is a cooperative or synergistic work that God does with us in us (2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Timothy 5:22; 1 Peter 1:22).

Christ’s work of redemption was complete on the cross. All in Christ are fully justified with his righteousness and perfect obedience to the law imputed to their account. However, we still sin. We are not humble. We are self-centered, et cetera. Therefore, we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling until God take us home or Christ comes for us, whichever comes first. We are both righteous in God’s eyes because of the work of Christ and yet we are still in the flesh, sinners saved by grace who must work to purify ourselves even as he is pure.

Those professing Christians who refuse to do this run after the world and so seek antinomianism and/or Christless Christianity thereby proving their disingenuousness.

Soli Deo Gloria!

10 thoughts on “Proof of Salvation Part 2

  1. “See what sort of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God”
    That is very beautiful Mike and very comforting. Thank you.

  2. I know how little like my Lord I am now… But I am confident that as I work out my salvation with fear and trembling..He IS working in me to will and work..according to His pleasure…and producing that likeness to Him that will in the end satisfy Him.
    Mike, even when you are contending for the truth, He is still using you to teach truth…the truth of His word… and to bless others.

  3. The one who is born of the Spirit will grow in knowledge of his own sin and be truly awed by the grace of God given to us in Christ. All is from Him, for Him, and to Him – and we who are saved, being saved, and will be saved on the Day of Judgment have every reason to rejoice this day! For the glory of God and the sake of His name.

    Thanks for pointing us to the Messiah.

  4. Luke 10:38-42
    Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
    Sitting at His feet is where it is at, not doing and worrying about the many things…Once we get that right, the good works will follow.
    Have you ever noticed that those not in true relationship with Him will worry about and labor to do many things, and try to get you away from Him and work with them? Yet those in relationship with Him are pleased to sit at His feet and learn of Him? Oh there is always time to do the needed work, but not with a troubled soul, rather a peaceful soul which meditates on the Words of the Lord while doing good with their hands…His peace passes all human/flesh understanding!

    When you have The Good Receipe, stick with It! I prefer the Original Receipe to that “extra crispy” alternative. The second can give you eternal heart burn! :)

  5. Yes, Mickey, I have noticed this. I have been in churches that assumed that if you were “mature” that you needed to be working instead wasting your time in Bible studies. When I was a Deacon at one church, I was looked down upon by nearly all the other deacons because my body of work was leading Bible Studies not “working.” I think I am more of an elder rather than a deacon anyway, but when it came to a Spiritual Crisis of some sort within the Body, the ones they came to were the Pastor and the few of us who lead the Body into the Word, not those guys running around doing Deacon stuff. Sure, what they were doing was necessary, but it is not what I was called to do. What I saw was the issue was that some of them, who were not so mature, looked down upon those of us who could not be there for some church sponsored thing because we were preparing our Bible Study lessons or whatever. In any case, I do get it.

  6. Several years back, my previous church brought Bil Cornelius (infamous “pastor” of Bay Area Fellowship in south Texas) to speak about discipleship. He had served in my former church as “youth pastor” and was sent by that church to plant Bay Area Fellowship. He declared that our problem was that we knew more of the Word of God than we were doing, so discipleship was over rated – we must be doers of God’s Word, or rather doers of Bil’s interpretation of God’s Word. We needed to look and think more like the culture in order to “reach them”.

    While Bil went too far even for the seeker sensitive “pastors” at my church, that perspective was at work in less outrageous ways throughout that place.

    From such, turn away.

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