This is how we know we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence. If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him. And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ and to love one another as He commanded us (1 John 3: 19-23).
Can you hear Jesus speaking again? Almost in the words of Jesus, John sweeps aside all our man-made prerequisites for confidence in God and gets to the heart of it just as Jesus testified about Himself. This time, he joined the root and the fruit in one sentence. There is no conflict between believing in Jesus and loving our brothers. The first is the root, the second the fruit of our faith in Him.
John knew about the conflict that goes on in our hearts at times. We have an enemy who delights to accuse. His name, Satan, means “accuser”. His purpose is to cast doubt on the trustworthiness of God. If he can cause us to mistrust the Father’s promises, he can inject any substitute for the truth and, in our confusion we will take his lies for the conviction of sin which we think comes from the Holy Spirit.
Feeling “bad” over something we have said or done is not an indication that the Holy Spirit is speaking to our spirits. On the contrary, it is never the Holy Spirit’s role to condemn. Paul stated categorically that:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).
Why? On what grounds can we be sure that God no longer condemns us?
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus, who died, – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us (Rom. 8: 33-34).
We have a substantial reason for believing that the Father has accepted us. Even if we have inadvertently sinned again, we have a permanent representative before God, our advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous. His blood guarantees our forgiveness and God’s favour towards us.
Why do we feel condemned when we have sinned? We not only have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father, but we also have an adversary, the accuser who accuses us night and day before the Father.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down (Rev. 12: 10).
Accusation is never the role of the Holy Spirit. His role is not to convince us of sin but to convince the unbelieving world of sin, not to condemn, but to point them to the Saviour. He assures the believer of righteousness – pointing us to the finished work of Jesus.
What must we do with the voice of accusation and condemnation that plagues us, even when we have not sinned? It is the devil who drags up our past and parades it before our conscience in the hopes that we will have constant doubts about the truthfulness of God.
John assures us that, when our hearts condemn us, that nagging voice of guilt and shame that refuses to be silenced, it is not the voice of God. God is greater than our hearts. It is not a voice we should believe. How do we silence it? Expose the identity of the speaker and the lies he is speaking. In this war against the evil one, we were not told to fight but to stand. Stand on the truth of God’s infallible word. What has He said? Is His Word believable? When we expose the devil’s lies, we have robbed him of his weapon and disempowered him to unsettle us.
Fear comes from believing his lies. But our confidence is in the truth of what God has promised. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. God’s word is greater than our hearts. When we choose to believe Him rather than the lies we are hearing, we have confidence that we are His children, and we can trust Him to answer our prayers because we base our lives on what He wants of us, not on what the devil wants us to believe.
His Word, not our feelings based on Satan’s lies, is to be the guiding light of our lives. Then we can have complete confidence in what He has said.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.
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