My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.
—1 John 3:18-21, NKJV
God is love (1 John 4:8), and He never stops expressing His love toward us. He doesn’t withhold His love in His relationship with us based on how we act. If He did, none of us would have ever received the love He gave us in Christ. For God SO loved us, He sent His Son as a payment for our sins (John 3:16). His love is not rescinded. It is always available. We are the ones who allow our actions to keep us away. There is no condemnation in the love of Christ (John 3:17). It is the goodness of God, not condemnation, which brings us to repentance. (Romans 2:4).
Our love should express the love of God—not in just what we say but in the way we act toward others. A person who says he loves someone, but then acts out of unforgiveness toward that person, only cares for himself. That is not God’s love expressed in his life. When the person they loved did something that hurt them, they reacted out of love for themselves. We are to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. And there is no condemnation in Christ’s love. When you experience the love and forgiveness of Christ with a humble heart, it changes the way you love. You put the concerns and needs of others before your own. God’s kind of love expresses itself in kind actions toward others. Truly loving others is evidence of the work of God’s grace in our hearts.
1 John 3:19 says that “we are of the truth, and we shall assure our hearts before Him.” When we don’t love others as Christ loves us, then we don’t feel this assurance. Can we believe in the truth of Christ’s love and still emotionally feel the need to be assured of our standing in Christ? Of course. Satan comes against us to kill, steal, and destroy. As believers, we are part of the truth of Christ’s salvation, and that truth gives us the ability to assure ourselves of His love. Many believe that if everything is right between them and the Lord, they will always just feel good. That’s just not the case. This verse says that our hearts need assuring. If David, who didn’t have the assurance of Christ in his heart, could encourage himself, then we who know Christ, certainly have the ability to assure ourselves of the wonderful message of grace that we have received.
“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God” (1 John 3:20-21, NKJV).
1 John 3:20 says our hearts can condemn us without God condemning us. Have you ever believed that your feelings of unworthiness are from God? Not all reservations we have are from God. Some are lies of the enemy. We have to believe God’s truth over our feelings to know the difference.
Even when our hearts feel unsure, God knows the truth of our right standing with Him. When we agree with God and rid our hearts of condemnation, confidence in who we are in Christ yields fruit in our lives (1 John 3:21). Jesus took all the condemnation for our sins (John 3:16-17). And now we have no condemnation in Him (Romans 8:1).
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22, NKJV).
When we know the truth of Christ’s redeeming love and allow it to purge us of feelings of condemnation, we can then experience confidence toward God.
“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward” (Hebrews 10:35).
There is a great reward when we have confidence in God.
When we, who are justified by faith in Christ, live by His faith which has justified us, we don’t shrink back (Hebrews 10:38). We assure our hearts and believe.
© 2021 Lynn Lacher