Do you have a favorite verse of Scripture? My favorite verse in the entire Bible is 1 John 5:13. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
That verse gives assurance to those of us who have put our trust in the Lord Jesus that it will not be in vain. We can be certain that our faith is on a solid foundation and that it will result in eternal life.
Does that mean I can live my life without any doubts at all? Do I ever have questions about my faith or about the Lord? The answers to those two questions are, in order, no and yes. Certainly I have had moments of doubt. I have had times when my faith has not been strong. And I have had questions about life and God for which I still do not have adequate answers.
In spite of that, I have every reason to believe that eternal belongs to me. I remember an event while we were in seminary that was very difficult for my wife. She was taking a class that required her to attend a worship service somewhere other than our church. Because I was busy on that day, she went alone.
The speaker for the day preached a sermon in which he declared that no one ever can know if he or she truly is saved. We all just have to live the best we can and then hope for the best. He warned those present that they never could have assurance.
But that is exactly what John says we can have. He was writing to people who were struggling with doubts and questions. They were concerned about their own spiritual condition. John reminded them that they had trusted in Jesus, and because of this they had eternal life. It was a present experience in their lives that would have lasting results.
Notice that John did not say that if you are a church member you can know that you have eternal life. Nor did he say if you have been baptized, or if you teach Sunday school, or if you are a preacher can you have that assurance.
He said “I am writing … to you who believe in the name of the Son of God…” To believe means more than merely to accept that Jesus once lived. It means to trust in him for salvation. But the teaching is clear. If you have trusted in Christ, you already have eternal life.
That is good news. We are blessed to have that assurance. God does not want you to live in doubt and fear. He wants you to trust him. I encourage you to place your full trust in the only one who can give you eternal life.