Today’s Reading: 1 John 5
Next time you are in the airport, I want you to notice something: observe the difference between passengers who hold confirmed tickets and those who are on a standby list. The ones with confirmed tickets read newspapers, chat with their friends, or sleep. The ones on standby hang around the ticket counter, pace, and wait to hear their names called to go to the front desk. Which is the signal they have a seat.
The difference in the two types of passengers is caused by the assurance factor. For the standby passengers, their whole day is one big question mark. Will they get on the plane? What time will they get home? How long will they have to wait?
There is nothing worse than living a travel day with one big question mark.
There is a travel day coming for every human being, and we have two destinations: heaven and hell. Let’s talk about a confirmed ticket for eternal life. Can we really know for sure?
Today’s chapter gives us that assurance to eternal life: “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).
If you ask someone the question, “Do you know if you are going to heaven?” and their answer is, “I hope so” or “I think I am,” that person seems to have a standby ticket attitude with a confirmed ticket in hand. It’s unbiblical and reveals an unread Bible. There is a whole book of the Bible to give them—and us—assurance. It is 1 John.
Verse 13 is so clear: “These things I have written . . . so you can know you have eternal life.” John wants us to know we have a confirmed ticket and we can have a confirmed-ticket attitude.
He is saying to every Christian that we should not be a question mark but an exclamation point for God. And he helps us to do it. We are not any more secure in Christ whether we have a big faith or a small faith—as long as we have a true faith. And true faith is this—that we believe in the Son of God. Every Christian should be able to say, “I know I am saved and going to heaven.” Why? Edward Mote’s lyrics from this old hymn tell us:
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
One phrase always sticks out to me with this famous hymn: I dare not trust the sweetest frame. What does “frame” mean? We say things like, “He is not in the right frame of mind.” Webster’s dictionary says that “frame” is a particular mood that influences one’s attitude or behavior. And the songwriter says, “I dare not trust it”—even when it’s sweet. Even the sweetest frame will let us down. We are born again not because of how we feel but because of what Christ has done for you and me, and we believe He died for you and me.
A man once came to D. L. Moody and said he was worried because he didn’t feel saved. Moody asked, “Was Noah safe in the ark?” “Certainly he was,” the man replied. “Well, what made him safe, his feeling or the ark?” The inquirer got the point. “How foolish I’ve been!” he said. “It is not my feeling; it is Christ who saves!”
If you follow or know anything about golf, you’ve probably heard names such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods. But have you ever heard of Doug Ford? He won the 1957 Masters. He never won again and he hasn’t made the cut since 1971 (four years before Tiger Woods was born), but every year he is invited to play in the Masters. Why is Doug Ford invited? Because the Masters’ rules include a lifetime invitation to every champion to play in the event. Although Ford only won the tournament once, hasn’t qualified in nearly three decades, and hasn’t been able to break par since 1958, he still gets to play in the tournament. One single occasion got him the forever invite.
Our salvation is similarly linked to a single event. Christ’s work on the cross was a one-shot deal. He died once so that all could live eternally. And when we decide to believe—that He lived the life we could not live, died the death we should have died, and has been given a reward (heaven) we don’t deserve, we can believe it—no more on standby. We have a confirmed ticket. And you can say with confidence, “I know I have eternal life.”