By Stan Brown
I John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.
Sometimes we take this verse to refer to the purpose for John’s writing this letter but rather it refers specifically to the preceding eight verses. The epistle, in its entirety, is about living out the faith that comes through the new birth. As he nears the end of the epistle, he takes them back to the place where it all begins. He takes them back to the place where they entered God’s family. He wants them to know that they have eternal life. He has given them this assurance in verses five through twelve of chapter five. He has said that the one who is born of God is the one who is an overcomer, indeed that is the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. He has said that this truth is witnessed by water (the beginning of Jesus’ ministry at His baptism). He has said that this truth is witnessed by blood (the sin cleansing death of Christ on the cross, the effectiveness of which was proclaimed when Jesus rose from the dead.). He has said that this truth is witnessed by the Holy Spirit. He has said that this truth is verified by the proclamation of God. There is no greater witness. It matters not what anyone else states. God has said that life is in the Son. God has proclaimed that the one who believes in the name of the Son of God is the one who possesses eternal life.
How do we know that we have eternal life? God keeps it simple. We know we have eternal life because we have believed in the name of the Son of God. God has done all the work. There is nothing left for us to do but believe. We are overcomers because we believe. This verse might be paraphrased I have written to you who have eternal life that you might know that you have eternal life. John does not want us to doubt. It is our position in Him that propels us into walking in the light; that inspires us to have intimate fellowship with Him; that drives us to know Him; that enables us to keep His commandments. It is because we believe in Him that we are empowered to love and be His message of love to one another and to the world.
John wants us to be encouraged by our security in Him. As we live, we sin, we confess and we abide. Sometimes that sin takes us for a walk in the darkness but He is always there beckoning us back into the light. We are His children.
Dear friends, we know we belong to Him because we have believed in the name of the Son of God. Let us feel secure in the presence of God’s love. Let us live out that love together. We believe in His name.