Believe and Receive

Jerry Sittser

READ : 1 John 3:18-24

Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God. (v. 21)

While serving as a missionary in the colony of Georgia, John Wesley (1703-1791) was asked if he had received inner assurance that he was a true Christian. The question became a source of torment to Wesley. He was released from the torment some months later after he experienced a dramatic conversion. “I felt my heart strangely warmed,” he wrote in his journal.

How do we know we are Christians? How can we be sure?

The apostle John knew how fickle the human heart can be, fickle enough “to condemn us” at moments of confusion and doubt. But God is greater than our hearts. The way to assurance is not an emotional experience but a firm belief that God has dealt once for all with sin, in Jesus Christ. Assurance requires nothing from us except to believe in Jesus Christ and receive the gift of salvation he offers.

But faith does not stop there. It makes us bold. We can begin to believe that God will answer our prayers, not for the silly and selfish things we often ask for but for the things that truly honor God and serve his kingdom. It’s all a matter of believing, and receiving.

PRAYER

Lord God, give us the confidence to believe that salvation is ours through Jesus Christ, and give us the humility to receive the gifts you so graciously offer. Amen.