1 John Bible Study

Am I Really Saved?: A First John Check Up ~ Lesson 9: Wrap Up

1 John Study

Am I Really Saved? A First John Check Up
Lesson 9: Wrap Up

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5

It’s been quite a journey through the book of 1 John! I hope you have taken the time to honestly examine your heart and your behavior against Scripture to discover whether or not you are truly in Christ.

I want to be sure that I stress once again that the checkpoints we’ve covered in the previous lessons are not things to strive to accomplish in order to earn salvation or to work your way onto God’s good side. You can’t do that. It’s impossible. Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone. All of the things we have looked at are the naturally occurring fruit of a person who has already been born again. (Remember our little oak tree/apple tree illustration from lesson 3?)

If you think you might be unsaved or a false convert (someone who thought she was saved, or claimed to be saved, but actually isn’t), you can know Christ as Savior today. Confess to God that you are a sinner, and turn away from your sin. Ask Christ to forgive you for your sin. Believe in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as payment for your sin so that you would not have to pay for it yourself with an eternity in Hell, and ask God to save you. You might wish to watch this video and the “Good News” video in the sidebar to your left. And, of course, you’re welcome to contact me with any questions.

I also want to be sure to stress to those who genuinely are born again that you are not going to be perfect in any of these areas this side of Heaven. And that doesn’t mean you aren’t saved. John’s intent in writing this letter was not for you to freak out over the sin you committed yesterday or the fact that your progress in one area seems to be slower than in other areas. He wants you to look back over the direction of your life since you were saved and see if you’re generally growing in holiness and towards more Christlikeness.

I’ve mentioned before that, when I was a kid, a popular question for youth leaders to ask was, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” I think that’s a good schematic to use for 1 John. As you come to the conclusion of the study, realize that you aren’t “convicted” on the basis of one or two isolated checkpoints. Rather, ask yourself, does the preponderance of the “evidence” gleaned from the checkpoints point me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to a verdict of “saved” or a verdict of “not saved”? How would you vote if you were on the jury that was deciding the case of “Am I Really Saved?”

Here, for your convenience, are the 19 checkpoints we’ve looked at in the previous lessons:

Checkpoint 1: Do I walk in the light or the darkness? (1 John 1:6-7)

Checkpoint 2: Do I confess or deny my sin? (1 John 1:8-10)

Checkpoint 3: Do I keep God’s commands? (1 John 2:3-6)

Checkpoint 4: Do I hate others? (1 John 2:9-11)

Checkpoint 5: Do I love worldliness? (1 John 2:15-17)

Checkpoint 6: Do I want to be faithful to a doctrinally sound church? (1 John 2:18-20)

Checkpoint 7: Do I believe in the Jesus of Scripture? (1 John 2:21-25)

Checkpoint 8: Do I practice righteousness? (1 John 2:29)

Checkpoint 9: Do I make a practice of sinning or righteousness? (1 John 3:4-10)

Checkpoint 10: Do I love my brothers? (1 John 3:10-15)

Checkpoint 11: Am I bearing the fruit of love? (1 John 3:18-22)

Checkpoint 12: Do I keep the ultimate commandment? (1 John 3:23-24)

Checkpoint 13: Do I follow false teachers? (1 John 4:1-6)

Checkpoint 14: Is my motivation for love Christocentric? (1 John 4:7-12)

Checkpoint 15: Do my words and actions confess Christ? (1 John 4:13-15)

Checkpoint 16: Am I afraid of God’s judgment? (1 John 4:16-21)

Checkpoint 17: Do my love for God and my love for His people testify to each other? (1 John 5:1-3)

Checkpoint 18: Have I “overcome the world”? (1 John 5:4-5)

Checkpoint 19: Do I have God’s testimony of Christ and eternal life in my heart? (1 John 5:6-12)

It’s my prayer that, as you walk away from this study today, you will do so in full assurance and joy that you do, indeed, know Christ as Savior. Remember, that’s the whole point of the book of 1 John:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13

Additional Resources:

How can we know if our faith is real? by John MacArthur

How Do You Know If You’re Really Saved? by Costi Hinn

Assurance: “How Can I Know I’m Really Saved?” at Things Above Us

1 John Bible Study

Am I Really Saved?: A First John Check Up ~ Lesson 8: Testimony

1 John Study

Am I Really Saved? A First John Check Up
Lesson 8: Testimony
Please Read: 1 John 5

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5

1 John 5:1-3

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 17: Do my love for God and my love for His people testify to each other?

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 

John starts off chapter 5 by reminding us of the central truth of the gospel (which we covered in lesson 4): only those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah, as defined by Scripture, are truly born again. Before anything else matters, you’ve got to get that right, or you’re not a Christian.

John then moves our focus back to yet another facet of love that characterizes a Christian: the intertwining, inseparability of love for God and love for His people.

  • According to the last half of verse 1, all who love the Father also love whom? According to verse 2, how do we know we love God’s people? Do these two verses demonstrate circular reasoning or an unbreakable connection between loving God and loving His people? How?
  • What are some ways your love for God is shown by the way you love others, and vice versa?
  • Why is obeying God’s commandments evidence that we love Him and are saved? (3)
  • What does it mean that Christ’s “commandments are not burdensome”? (3) How can we understand this statement in light of Matthew 24:1-4 and 11:28-30?

1 John 5:4-5

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 18: Have I “overcome the world”?

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

  • What does it mean to “overcome the world”? How can these verses shed some light on the meaning of this phrase? Does this mean Christians will always be victorious over temptation?
  • How does our faith enable us to overcome the world? (4) How, and from whom, do we get faith? Who is the object of our faith?
  • According to verse 5, is it possible for non-Christians to live in a condition of victory over sin?
  • Think back over your spiritual history. Can you see evidence of growth in the area of resisting temptation and putting sin to death? Do you give in to the same temptations now, and as often, as you did when you were first saved?

1 John 5:6-12

Am I Really Saved? Checkpoint 19: Do I have God’s testimony of Christ and eternal life in my heart?

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son.10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Think about all the things you’ve read about Jesus in the Bible, particularly, in the four gospels. Whose testimony about Jesus are you reading and believing? For the most part, we’re reading the eyewitness testimony of the apostles – human beings – that Jesus was indeed the Christ. Wouldn’t it be great if we also had some testimony about Jesus’ deity and authority from God, personally, first hand? Well, we do, as John explains in this passage. We find God’s testimony to the deity and authority of Jesus externally, through His baptism (water) and through his death, burial, and resurrection (blood).

Remember what happened right after Jesus’ baptism?

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said,“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17

We see the testimony of the Holy Spirit as His presence rests on Jesus, and we hear the verbal testimony of God the Father authenticating and commending Jesus. The third Person of the Trinity, Jesus Himself, testified to His own deity and messiahship by living a perfect life, dying a perfect death on our behalf, and rising again, conquering death. These are all tangible, observable testimony from God about who Jesus is. Everyone can witness this external testimony from God- both Believers and non-believers. All you have to do is read the Bible. But what about internal testimony, inside our hearts and spirits?

  • Look at the first sentence of verse 10. How does God’s testimony move from the merely external to internal and personal? What does the remainder of verse 10 say about who can experience having the testimony of God about Jesus “in himself”? Does everyone have this inner witness, or only Christians?
  • According to verse 11, what is the culmination of believing in “the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son”? Who has eternal life (12), Believers or non-believers?
  • Do you have the internal testimony of God about Jesus? Are you confident you have received the eternal life God promises Believers? (Note: This is very subjective. Most false converts are certain they are Believers possessing eternal life based on what they “feel” in their hearts or spirits. This checkpoint focuses on the negative aspect of this issue rather than the positive. In other words, if you know you do not believe in the external testimony about Christ and have no internal testimony from God about Christ or security about your eternity with Him, there is no reason to think you are a Believer. The “feeling” that you are a Christian and that you have eternal life, by itself, is not proof that you are actually saved.)

1 John 5:13-20

In these last few verses, John is giving final instructions, wrapping it up, and bringing it on home. He beautifully restates his reason for writing the epistle in verse 13:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

God wants Christians, those who believe in the name of the Son of God, to know that we are safe and secure in Christ. He doesn’t want us to be afraid of His wrath or wonder if we will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. He wants that settled and for us to be at peace.

When we’re settled in that knowledge and peace, we can be confident that God hears us when we pray and answers us when we pray in accordance with His will.

Additionally, when we are secure in Christ, we are able to intercede and intervene when our brothers and sisters are caught in sin. Sadly, sometimes a genuine Believer can be so entrenched or caught up in willful, unrepentant sin that God – at His own sovereign discretion – will take her life in order to protect His holy name, her victims, the church, or for other reasons known only to God. This is the “sin leading to death” that John mentions.

Blessedly, this is usually not the case for Believers – John, again, reminds us that Believers don’t make a practice of sinning – and we can pray for that person, help her get out of her sin (not leading to death), and help restore her to a right relationship with Christ and the church.

Finally, when have assurance of our salvation, we have the understanding that we are from God and that the world is under the power of Satan. Therefore, we should not take part in idolatry, but, rather, “know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”


This week we’ve looked the final three checkpoints in our “Am I Really Saved?” study (But don’t go anywhere, our last lesson is next week!):

Do my love for God and my love for His people testify to each other?

Have I “overcome the world”?

Do I have God’s testimony of Christ and eternal life in my heart?

Saved people’s love for God is reflected in their love for His people, and their love for His people is evidenced by their love for, and obedience to God. Their God-given faith in Christ, gives them the victory over sin and worldliness. God gives them peace and security by testifying in their hearts that Jesus is the Christ and that they have eternal life.

Unsaved people cannot genuinely love God’s people because they do not love God. Since they have no faith in Christ, they are part of the world’s system, and it is impossible for them to live in victory over sin. Despite any emotional experiences or feelings they may have, unsaved people do not have the testimony of Christ in their hearts or the assurance of eternal life.

Additional Resources:

1 John 5– Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Victory in Jesus by Kevin DeYoung

The Sin Unto Death by John MacArthur

True or False? A Study in 1 John– at Naomi’s Table (lessons 17-20)

Faith, Hell, Salvation, Sin, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Are you a Bin Laden?

Originally published March 2, 2011bin laden

Osama Bin Laden is dead.  Across the globe, people are celebrating.  There’s a general sentiment, even among non-Christians, that he is in hell, because that’s what he deserves.

I’m guessing that, some of those people, if you had shared the Gospel with them two days ago, would have said they didn’t believe in hell.  Or that a loving God wouldn’t send people to hell.  Or that God just forgives everybody when they die, and everybody goes to heaven.

If you hold any of those beliefs, the law of non-contradiction requires that they be applied across the board to everybody.  In other words, you can’t say you don’t believe in hell and at the same time believe that Bin Laden is in hell.  If it doesn’t exist, he can’t be there.

So I’d like to pose two questions to people who hold the aforementioned beliefs:

1. If God decided not to send Bin Laden to hell, but rather allowed him into heaven, has justice been done?

2. Do you think it’s fair that you will have to spend your own eternity in heaven with Bin Laden?  And Hitler, and Nero, and Mussolini, and Caligula, and Jack the Ripper?

As broken and messed up as we are, even we humans demand that there be justice –punishment– for people who have committed such heinous crimes.  If God doesn’t punish these awful people, what does that make Him?  How could He be perfect in every way and let such people off scot free?

I can tell you how.  Because I used to be Bin Laden.  And Hitler, and all of those other people rolled into one.  Me.  A good little Sunday School girl.  Guilty.  James 2:10 tells us:

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

In God’s eyes, when I broke curfew to stay at Bible study just a little bit longer, I was as guilty as a serial murderer.  When I said, “Oh my G-d!” I was on par with a child molester.  When I refused to forgive someone, I might as well have flown one of those planes into the Twin Towers myself.  And I deserved the same punishment as all of those horrible people.  Hell.

God is perfect.  He’s perfectly holy and perfectly just.  And that’s why He can’t let any sin slide, no matter how small.  But He’s also perfectly loving and compassionate.  He knew none of us would measure up to his standard for us –perfection, no sin whatsoever– so He made a way for us to escape punishment, yet still serve justice: Jesus.

God Himself came here and lived out His perfection as a human being.  And when it was time, on the cross, He took the punishment for our crimes against God.  He got our sin and our punishment, and because of His death and resurrection, we can get His sinless perfection.

We can get it, but it’s not an automatic thing that just happens to everybody when they die.  As I said in a previous post, you can’t have it both ways.  If you decide to get married, you give up the single life.  If you decide to become a star athlete, you give up being a couch potato.  And when God enables you to turn from your sin to faith in Christ, He empowers you to give up a life of embracing sin, and, instead, embrace Christ and the new life He has for you.  Here.  Now.

Is Bin Laden in hell?  I can tell you with certainty that if he did not, in the last moments of his life, sorrowfully turn from his sin and bow his knee to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, yes, he is indeed in hell.

And there, but for the grace of God, go I.  And you.

Faith, Heaven, Salvation, Sin

Andy Walks with Me, Andy Talks with Me…


 Actor Andy Griffith died last week, and in the wake of his passing, I’ve seen several cartoons like these, depicting him entering Heaven.

From everything I’ve heard and read, Andy Griffith was a nice guy. A loyal friend. A hard worker. A caring person. All qualities to be admired and emulated.

 But is being a “nice guy” enough to get somebody into Heaven?

Answer: No. No, it’s not.

The truth is, the question itself is fundamentally flawed. From God’s perspective, there’s no such thing as a “nice guy.” We’re all born sinners in a state of rebellion against God, and things just get worse from there as far as our “niceness,” in God’s eyes, goes.

Romans 3:10


Many people hope that when they stand before God after death, the good things they’ve done in life will outweigh the bad things they’ve done.

That’s impossible.

The Bible tells us that even the good things we do are dirty.

For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
Isaiah 64:6


A “filthy garment.” Ick.

My husband owns a home maintenance and lawn care business, and does almost all of the labor himself. Frequently, that heavy physical labor has to be done outside.

It’s July.

In south Louisiana.

A.k.a. “hell’s armpit.”

There are days when my husband comes home from work so sweaty, dirty, and nasty that he strips down before coming in the house and leaves those disgusting clothes on the back porch until they’re ready to be picked up and put straight into the washing machine.

I’m familiar with the concept of a “filthy garment.” And those are the good things we do.

Giving money to charity. Helping at a soup kitchen. Letting somebody else go first in line. Visiting your grandmother in the nursing home.

That’s the stinking pile of rags we’re going to lay before the King. And that dirty laundry isn’t going to buy a single day in Heaven.

Why are those things a stench in God’s nostrils? I mean, they’re all good, noble things to do, right?

Imagine that I went to Tiffany’s and bought you the most exquisite diamond ring they had. But, before I gave it to you, I took it home, went out into the back yard, and rolled it around in some dog poop. Would you reach out for it eagerly when I offered it to you? I doubt it. Nobody wants a poop covered ring, no matter how nice it is.

That’s how our good deeds look to God. They’re made so gross by our sin that they’re not appealing to Him, they’re repulsive.

Fact is, there was only one truly “nice guy” who ever lived. His name was Jesus, and He died on the cross and was resurrected so we could be made clean from all that sin.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

Being a “nice guy” won’t get you into Heaven. The only way is to confess and turn from your sins, accepting, through faith, that Christ paid the penalty for those sins for you.

We can’t assume that Andy Griffith is in Heaven just because he was a nice guy. But if he repented and placed his faith and Jesus, book it. He’s there. And if you do the same, Heaven will be your eternal home, too.

Whenever they “may bury” you.