Passed From Death to LIfe
A believer’s relationship with others affects His relationship with God. A man who is not right with his brother should go settle the matter before he offers his sacrifice on the altar. A Christian who practices love grows in his understanding of God’s truth and enjoys a heart filled with confidence before God. We are passed from death unto life. Why is the peace missing? Why is there so much turmoil in the lives of so many believers.
The Bible says in 1 John 3:19-21, “And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him…For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things…Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.”
Here the Bible tells us that we can have confidence and assurance that we have passed from death unto life and we are one of His children. How is this achieved?
Do you know that good deeds motivated by Jesus Christ bring their own reward? What does that reward do for you? It gives assurance and confidence in your heart that God has changed your life and brought you from death unto life. It testifies that you have been transformed by the Holy Spirit of God into a giving, caring person who shows by your actions that Jesus Christ is your Saviour. If you do not love people with the love of Christ, you can profess to know Christ all you want to, but you will never have peace in your heart. The assurance and confidence that I have is because of the transforming work God has done and continues to do in my life. This work provides a peace that cannot be shaken.
Through all these years I have been many times with dying people. I have seen people die who were Christians; they went out to meet God with the most gentle, perfect peace. They left this world, what they knew and loved, without fighting to stay, having perfect calm as they entered into the very presence of God.
Do you want to leave this world that way? You must live the Christian life the way it ought to be lived. In living it, God gives you at the assurance that you are truly His. You may say, “Pastor, I still don’t have what I ought have in my heart.” Our selfishness robs us of that peace and assurance. It is peace and assurance. It is peace—His peace—that we desire.
Notice the by-product of this peace. 1 John 3:22 says, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” It affects our prayer life if we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. That is beautiful, is it not?
Love for the brethren produces confidence toward God, and confidence toward God gives you boldness in asking for what you need. This does not mean that you earn answers to prayer by loving the brethren. Rather, it means that your love for the brethren proves that you are living in the will of God where God can answer your prayer. “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments” (1 John 3:22). Love is the fulfilling of God’s Law (Romans 13:8-10); therefore, when you love the brethren, you are obeying His commandments and He is able to answer your requests.
A believer’s relationship to the brethren cannot be divorced from his prayer life. If husbands and wives are not obeying God’s Word, for example, their prayers will be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).
There is a pathway to peace. By God’s grace, I want to walk in it! 1 John 3:23 says, “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.”
When a scribe asked Jesus to name the greatest commandment, He replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.” Then He added a second commandment: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:34-40). But God also gives us one commandment that takes in both God and man: “Believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.” Faith toward God and love toward man sum up a Christian’s obligations. Christianity is “faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6).
Notice what happens when we believe on His name and love one another. Verse 24 says, “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” It is God’s Holy Spirit who gives us this sweet peace and assurance that we have passed from death unto life.
A man who murders belongs to the devil, like Cain. A man who hates belongs to the world (1 John 3:13), which is under Satan’s control. But a Christian who is indifferent is living for the flesh, which serves Satan’s purposes.
The only happy, holy way to live is on the highest level, the level of Christian love. This is the life of joy and liberty, the life of answered prayer. It assures you confidence and courage in spite of the difficulties of life.
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” — Galatians 4:6.