Focal passage: 1 John 3:11-22
The Apostle John tells us that to be truly saved, we must love.
And love shows itself.
If we are truly saved, our actions will tell.
It is true that our actions will never save us but our actions will tell if we are saved.
There is evidence in our lives.
God showed His love by doing for us what we needed: the Son laid down His life for us.
So too, we must do what we can for other Christians. Christians must give to charity, help neighbors, oppose racism, include all the kinds of people God has made His own.
We know if love has lifted us, if we are hated. If you are truly saved, you will be opposed by the world.
The truth is that to be a Christian is to be committed to Someone and something that will not be popular.
Jesus would never win an election. The world may profess to love a Jesus of its own making. But the real Jesus who calls us to forsake this world, to take up our cross – that will never be popular with the world.
So don’t be surprised, as we’re told in 3:13, that the world hates us.
They don’t understand us, because they’ve never really seen that amazing grace that has transformed our lives. And when they are made aware that we have a grace they don’t have, they will, like Cain did to Abel, hate us for it, 3:12. So don’t be surprised.
How do we know we’re really saved?
We’re amazed by grace, we trust and obey, and loves lifts us to love and to be hated.
How do we know?
If our hearts convict us, then we can believe that God is greater than our guilt.
We all have guilt.
We all stood before God as condemned sinners, pronounced guilty and deserving of eternal punishment. But then for those who obeyed His command to believe in His Son Jesus Christ, the guilt is done away.
And so we begin this journey of the Christian life, the first step being repentance, conviction, admitting that I’ve sinned and need cleansing.
We keep admitting that every step of the way.
That’s why humility and contrition, an increasing awareness of our own sinfulness, is a good sign that we have the Holy Spirit living in us.
Have you made practical efforts to love people who are not just your friends or family? Has your church sought to love people who are outside its usual “kind of people”?