SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
1 John 5
Key Verse: This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. – 1 John 5:11
Eternal life is God’s gracious gift – to all who receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The gift comes to us through faith in Jesus, and through no other way. Open your heart to Jesus and when he comes to reign within you, eternal life is yours as well.
Some people mistakenly believe that since God is love, he will at last save everyone so that no one will be lost eternally. That, however, is a sentimental notion, not biblical truth.
How can I be sure? Because I believe God revealed the truth through his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the way, the way to God, the way to heaven and everlasting life. There is no other way.
To embrace the concept of universal salvation, one must assume that Jesus was a liar or a lunatic. He was neither; he was the truth and he spoke the eternal truth of God. Our choice is to believe it or reject it. We do not have the option of revising it.
Some people do try to reduce the Bible to fit their own ideas. One of my seminary professors showed me his Bible. He kept it in a three-ring notebook and many verses that were in my Bible were missing from his. “I have removed all the spurious verses,” he said, “so what I have is an authentic version of the original scriptures.” He was sadly mistaken, and he did not become one of my role models.
One man who did become a role model for me was Thomas Carruth. Tom was a man of prayer, a saintly man and as Christlike a man as I have ever known. In June 1983, he wrote in the front of my New Testament these words above his signature: “He who loveth most, prayeth best. He who prayeth best, loveth most.”
I asked Tom what was the secret of his devout prayer life. He said, “Walter, if I have a secret, it is that I have read the three letters of John more than 3,000 times. I read them every day. The more I read John’s words, the more I am motivated to pray, and to love people with the love of Jesus. To love and to pray is the way of the Master.”
Ever since that day I have wondered if my own life would not be more richly blessed if I could say that I had read the letters of John more than 3,000 times. I know that every time I read them, my heart is strangely warmed.
Tom touched many lives, especially
during his fruitful years as Professor of Prayer and Spiritual Life at Asbury
Theological Seminary in
John lived, and wrote, with confidence. He was convinced that Jesus is the Christ, and that everyone who believes that he is, has been born of God. Eternal life is in the Son, and those who have the Son have this life. This is one of the foundational truths of our Christian faith.
Not only that, John said, those who believe may know that they have eternal life. This means that a believer can receive assurance of salvation so that doubts and fears are put to rest.
This assurance enables us to sing joyously with Fanny Crosby, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.” Yes!
Is there anything more wonderful than to discover that, saved by grace, you are a child of God? No wonder we sing songs about joy “bubbling” in our souls and about melodies in our hearts.
In his latest book, Confessing a Life, my good friend Ben C. Johnson relates how he felt the night he was saved:
“As I walked out of the church on
the night of
Think about what God does for us when we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and trust him for our salvation. He fills us with joy unspeakable, sends us out into the world with a glorious sense of mission, and gives us the strength to serve him.
Yet there is more! All our days we realize that our joy here is but a “foretaste” of the joy that awaits us in heaven. So all our days may be lived in the blessed assurance that eternal life is ours now and forever – because we have embraced the Son! He who has the Son has life! Glory!
+ + + + (Walter may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)