John concludes his first letter to the church the way he started it- Christianity is counter cultural. Have you noticed this truth as you’ve been reading this week? The teachings of the Bible are unlike any other religion. Our hope is not in the laws of a religion, rather we have a faith in the Son of God who promises us eternal security because of His atoning death in our place.
Recently I experienced first-hand just how radical this thought is in our world today. In early August I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Columbus with Encompass World Partners to learn more about the Islamic faith and how to engage Muslims with the gospel. A major piece to this experience was visiting mosques and listening to Islamic religious leaders explain their faith. My heart ached as I sat and listened to the leaders describe how Muslims have to earn their way into heaven, with no guarantee that their good works will pay off. One even described their religion as a scoreboard, hoping at their last breath the good deeds they did on earth would outweigh the bad.
Can you imagine the anxiety one must go through trying to balance on earth where they will spend eternity? John reminds us today that there is nothing humanity can do to earn the favor of God, because mankind can’t save itself; only God can, and He did.
“I write these things 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
This is a confidence that no other religion offers in our world. Followers of Christ can be confident in where they will spend eternity, not by their own doing, but by the doing of God Himself. Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism teach about how one must work their way to achieve the grace of god(s), but the God of creation is telling us today that grace cannot be earned; it is given. Jesus, God made man, was the manifestation of grace on our behalf, dying a sinner’s death that He did not deserve, so that those who believe in Him can experience the gracious love of the Father in heaven.
Be encouraged today that our faith in Jesus is not about what we do but what He has done. Pray today for the Lord to continue to reveal Himself to you, transforming your heart to look more like His.