My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth
—1 John 3:18
God’s love in our lives should express itself not only in what we say but in how we treat others. A person who says he loves someone, but then acts out of unforgiveness toward that person, only cares for himself. He condemns that person with his unforgiveness. That is not God’s love expressed in his life. We are called to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. There is no condemnation in Christ’s love (Romans 8:1). When you experience the unconditional love and forgiveness of Christ in your heart, it changes the way you love. You put the concerns and needs of others before your own. God’s kind of love always expresses itself in kindness toward others. Truly loving others is evidence of the work of God’s grace in our hearts. But when we doubt the assurance of God’s grace, we have trouble loving others as Christ loved us.
We are of the truth, and we shall assure our hearts before Him.
—1 John 3:19
We have received the righteousness of God because of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). However, we can know the truth of God’s love and still emotionally feel the need to be reassured of our right standing with Him. When we don’t feel we have right standing with God, we have trouble receiving love and giving love. The enemy comes against us to make us doubt that we have received Christ’s righteousness. He comes to steal that truth out of our hearts (John 10:10, Matthew 13:19). But as believers, we have right standing with God. That truth is the foundation of our salvation. It gives us the ability to stand against the enemy and assure ourselves of God’s love.
Many believe that if everything is right between them and the Lord, they will always feel good. That is just not the case. Our hearts always need reassurance. If David could encourage himself, then we who know Jesus certainly have the ability to reassure ourselves of the righteousness we have received in Jesus.
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
These two verses say our hearts can condemn us. Have you ever believed that your feelings of unworthiness are from God? Not all uncertainties we have are from God. Some come from the lies of the enemy and some come from our conscience—our human sense of right and wrong. We have to know God’s truth over what we feel to know the difference.
Even when our hearts feel unsure, God’s truth is greater than what we feel or think. His truth is greater than our human sense of right or wrong. Our human conscience can condemn us. Our conscience can be used by God to convict us or by the enemy to condemn us. When the Holy Spirit convicts us with the righteousness Jesus has given us, our conscience is brought under the truth of the new creation He has made us. We believe the truth of His Word instead of our feelings. The enemy uses our conscience to condemn us. There is no love in condemnation. Jesus took all our condemnation (John 3:16-17), and now we have no condemnation in Him (Romans 8:1). When we agree with God’s truth instead of agreeing with what we feel, we empty our hearts of condemnation and have confidence in Him (1 John 3:21).
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.
When we draw near to God’s Word, we draw near to Him. Our minds are renewed by the truth of God's righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23). His truth purges our hearts of condemnation, and we have the capacity to experience confidence toward God. We can draw near to Him in full assurance of our right standing in Christ. We can know Christ has washed us clean and our conscience does not have to condemn us. We can put on the new person He has made us, and experience His Spirit empowering us to live in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24).
When we, who are justified by faith in Christ, live by the faith which has justified us, we don’t shrink back (Hebrews 10:38). We assure our hearts and trust God’s truth over our feelings.
You have confidence in God when you don't live in condemnation. When you trust God, you are unveiled before Him. You walk in the Holy Spirit. And where the Holy Spirit is, you know the freedom from sin and condemnation that His grace has given you (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Assure your heart of who you are in Jesus. Encourage yourself in His truth. There is no condemnation in Him. Have confidence in His righteousness. It is your right standing—your right relationship—your freedom to come boldly to God in your time of need. You come confidently knowing He loves you. And when you are confident in His love, His love in you spills over into the lives of others.
Beloved if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
—1 John 3:21, Hebrews 10:35, 1 John 3:22
© 2024 Lynn Lacher