He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
–1 John 5:12
In 1 John 5:13, the apostle John wrote, “These things I have written to you . . . that you may know that you have eternal life.” Isn’t it interesting that he didn’t say, “. . . that you may know you are saved”? He said, “. . . that you may know that you have eternal life.”
In verse 12, John said, “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” In other words, that’s the way to know if you’re eternally secure. Some people say, “I won’t know about my eternal destination until I die and find out where I wake up. Am I in heaven or hell? Then I’ll know whether I have eternal life.” No, that’s too late.
Eternal life doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. The fact is, everybody’s going to live forever; it doesn’t matter what you believe. The Bible says we’re eternal beings. It’s the location of our eternity that makes the difference. Some will spend eternity in heaven with God, others will spend eternity in hell, but everybody’s going to live forever. Eternal life is not a quantity of life; it’s a quality of life. It’s the quality of life Jesus talked about in John 10:10 when He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Abundant life is a life that is filled with joy and contentment. A life that is marked by obedience to God. A life filled with the desire to know God better. A life that demonstrates self-control. A life marked by love toward other people. A life that forgives rather than engages in bitterness. That’s the eternal life Jesus was talking about. And John said the best way to know whether you are saved is to ask yourself: “Do I have that life?” Eternal life is not something you get when you die; it’s something you’re supposed to be having right now.
The proof of your salvation is not your feeling; it’s tangible fruit in your life. That’s how to know whether or not you’re saved. Is there tangible fruit like love, joy, peace, obedience, and a desire to know God? Is that fruit being produced in your life? That’s evidence that you have the life-giving Spirit of God. If there is no fruit, there’s no Spirit. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?” What did he mean by “test yourself”? Paul wasn’t talking about a theological exam. He was talking about testing your obedience to God. Paul echoed what James said in James 2:14: “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” Absolutely not. “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (v. 17). The Bible is clear: faith without fruit is a dead, nonexistent faith. The way to know whether you are truly eternally secure is this: Do you have evidence of that eternal life right now? John said, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Do you know that you have eternal life? Are you absolutely sure?
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Eternally Secure” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible®, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.