Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Evidence of Salvation

At least three times in the New Testament, the evidence of one’s salvation is shown by one’s love of fellow Believers.  In John 13:35 Jesus says, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love to one another.”   1 John 3:14 puts it this way, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love our brothers.  He who does not love his brother is still dead.”  And again in 1 John 4:20, “If a man says, ‘I love God,’ and still hates his brother, he is a liar.  How can a man not love his brother, who he can see, and still love God who he cannot see.”

I can honestly say that I hate no man.  God has given me a new heart which grows more like Him each day, and no matter how strongly I might disagree with another, I can find no hatred in my heart.   My greatest concern for those who believe they and their loved ones are Believers is that they examine their actions in light of love for fellow Believers.

How is love played out in the life of a Believer?  1 Corinthians chapter 13 is very instructive in this matter: First, love is longsuffering.  Now longsuffering means to patiently endure.  One might endure hardships, trials, emotional trauma, disdain, or failure.  But to continue on demonstrating kindness toward those responsible is a first sign of being changed from an unbeliever to a Believer.  In other words, a Believer does not seek revenge.

Secondly, love is not envious.  The Believer does not resent those who have achieved more and earned recognition for those accomplishments, rather the Genuine Believer loves the success of his brothers, and is able to truly rejoice in them, rather than secretly wish it were him receiving the accolades.

Thirdly, love is humble and does not seek denigrate others by parading its accomplishments.  Humility in the Believer is recognizing that he has not achieved what he has except by the grace of Almighty God.  He does not deflect praise with platitudes, but with a sincere understanding the God has somehow chosen to use him where ever he is being used.  Such humility recognizes the full worth of others, and never considers his position or achievement as more essential than those of others when they are obeying and following Christ.

Fourthly, love does not behave rudely.  The Genuine Believer should be known as one who demonstrates grace and mercy in his actions indicating he believes that others worth is as great as his own. 

Fifthly, love is not provoked.  Contemporary Believers have a lot of difficulty in this area, and it relates closely to the first characteristic of longsuffering.  The provocations of the evil one are designed to get a reaction from the Believer which will destroy his witness of God’s grace.  But self-control can be exercised in such circumstances by the Genuine Believer.

Sixthly, love does not harbor evil thoughts about another.  The Genuine Believer confesses his evil thoughts to God and claims God’s forgiveness lest those evil thoughts give the enemy a beachhead in his life, thereby allowing him to build up a stronghold which can only be broken down by a cleansing work of God’s Holy Spirit.

Seventhly, love does not get pleasure from sin.   The Genuine Believer is grieved by sin, and realizes that lasting joy comes from understanding of, and adherence to, God’s Divine Truth.

Finally, love never fails.  The Believer will fail, but the love of God which constrains the Genuine Believer will prompt him to confess his failure and claim 1 John 1:9 while being reconciled to his brother. 

None of us have the guarantee of a tomorrow on this earth, if one’s life does not reflect the love of Christ in his relationships and activities, it is entirely possible that it is a sign he is not genuinely converted.  Today is the day of salvation.   Today is the day of repentance.  Recognize your true condition, and turn to Christ today.

From "A Word For Living" by Mike Rasberry

©                    Mike Rasberry                      2013

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