Jerry C. Brewer
A man plans a trip to London, purchases his airline ticket, boards a plane in Dallas, and takes his seat. The person beside him asks him where he is going, to which he replies, “My ticket says to London, but I don’t know for sure. Where are you going?” The person replies, “My ticket says to Oslo, but I don’t know for sure either. Neither one of us will know where we are going until we arrive, will we?”
A few months ago, I told a former family member that I wanted him to go to heaven. He sneeringly replied, “Nobody knows he’ll go go heaven until he dies.” A few years ago, that same person flew to The Bahamas for a vacation. I am fully persuaded that when he purchased his ticket to that destination, he had no doubt that he would arrive there. He had more faith in an airline than in the Word of Almighty God. His statement betrayed his agnosticism and impugned the Word of God.
Merriam-Webster defines “agnostic” as, “a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (such as God) is unknown and probably unknowable.” An agnostic lives in a world of perpetual doubt and can, seemingly, know nothing for certain, including his own existence. The Greek word, gnosis, means “knowledge” and is the root of the Greek, gnostikos, from which we derive the English word “gnostic.” The letter “a” before a Greek word negates it—hence the word, “agnostic,” meaning, “unknowing.” The men on the plane are in the same agnostic boat with the sneering former family member, but their agnosticism is not blasphemous. His is.
Paul addressed his epistle to Titus saying, “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began…” (Titus 1:1-2). God cannot lie.
In First John (with its 5 chapters, 105 verses, and 2,523 words), John reminds us that our assurance is in Christ. The child of God has assurance in light of our continued walk with Christ. We must walk in the light, as Christ is in the light (1:6-8). We are assured that the “blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses [i.e., keeps on cleansing] us from all sin.” We confess our sins to have forgiveness of those iniquities (1:9-10).
It is imperative that we avoid willful sin in our daily walk, but if we sin, we know that we have Christ as our Advocate (2:1-2). We are to “keep His commandments” (2:3-6). Failure to keep His commandments shows that we do not love Him. It is important that we “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (2:15-17—KJV). All sin in this world has always come and will always come through three avenues of temptation:
Lust of the flesh,
Lust of the eyes and,
The pride of life. John tells us that if “anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Life on earth is brief and fleeting, so we must make sure that we abide in Him (2:26-27).
Then, after all of this, John states: “And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him” (3:19). Note the word, know! This section of Holy Writ culminates in the words of First John 3:24, “And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” This is the crowning statement of knowing that our “blessed assurance” is in Christ!
Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
Paul preached in the Areopagus warning, “He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Therefore, “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22).
This “blessed assurance” is reserved for those who are “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Are you “in Christ”?