19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. 1 John 3:19-24
As we saw yesterday, it’s easy—even common—to have doubts about our standing before God. Let’s look at the way John says we can know the truth about hearts.
Most importantly, John tells us that God knows the truth. ”God is greater than our heart”: whether our hearts encourage or discourage us, God is the perfect judge of our righteousness. So even if we don’t know it, there is real truth about our hearts for us to discover.
So how can we evaluate and reassure our hearts? Verse 19 says, “By this.” Well, what’s the this John is talking about?
It could be what John just wrote in verse 18, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” So if we love in truth, we know we are of the truth. It could also be what John goes on to write in verses 21-22: “we have confidence before God [...] because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” Either way, John’s answer is to do as God asks us.
This gives us the confidence of our salvation
Question for reflection and discussion
John says obedience is the key to having confidence before God. Does that mean that obedience is the source of our salvation?
Dear God, when I have a heart that is confident before You, help me remember to be grateful for the gift of Your Spirit, which gives me love for You. When my heart discourages me, give me the grace to cling to Your promises and follow You anyway. Amen.