NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY
By Dr. Robert R Seyda
FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN
CHAPTER THREE (Lesson LXXXVIII) 11/12/21
3:19 Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God’s side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord.
God provides our hearts with guarantees if we exercise active love in response to righteous indignation. The Greek verb peithō (“assure” – KJV) means to “persuade, convince, possess confidence.” God will enable us to believe that we are truly born again when we engage in active divine love. We may sense our inadequacy to execute divine love, but God will give us assurance in this matter. Our “heart” is the center of our spiritual being. It is where we have affirmation or do not have confidence. The word “heart” includes the thinking apparatus. That is why our assurance comes from thinking and not from emotions. Thus, the seeds of Biblical knowledge yields confidence, and confidence produces stability in the Christian life. Those with such strength make an impact on the world for the Lord Jesus. They know why they are here; they understand the purpose of their existence. They do not use second-guessing to substitute for what they do not know. Instead, they operate on the infallible, inerrant, unchanging, unadulterated Word of God.
Unfortunately, confidence is a lost quality these days. Doubt is now considered an asset and heralded as a virtue. A believer knows what they believe, where they are going, and understands the basis of their beliefs. Unfortunately, it makes them an oddball in our society. This dilemma of doubt and uncertainty has produced a crop of Christians that have no point and purpose. They do not share their faith because they are not sure what they believe is right. However, a good grasp of the Word of God gives confidence. This kind of Christian is not afraid to call breaking God’s law a sin. It is impossible to develop a solid, sound, and mature Christian life without such knowledge.
We have seen that Christianity, based on pure emotion, always produces unstable Christians. Many people today say, “Let’s just love one another. Doctrine does not matter. Let us throw our arms around each other and say positive things.” Such thinking is pure emotional sentimentalism. All you have to do is give a big smile, and you are on your way. It is not Scriptural love or biblical Christianity. It is weepy, emotional, spiritual blabber. Accepting this view is what contaminates true faith. We are not to use emotion as a criterion for determining compliance with the will of God. Emotions can lead us astray. They can be very mistaken and even very wrong in determining the will of God. The only absolute norm is the Word of God. Christians who reject the moral teaching of God’s Word never reach the level of confidence in what they know. In fact, they are not even sure of what they do know.
Some Christians live in constant turmoil because they are unsure of what they believe. Anyone with different ideas is a threat to them. They live in endless confusion. They will be upset and disturbed when they face difficult situations. The first objective of the Christian life is to know God and His Word. After that, we move into service and appreciate what He has done for us.
We have learned that principles always build on opinions. So first, starting with a basic foundation, we construct more advanced ideas until we develop comprehensive guidelines covering many life categories. Eventually, we gain a significant understanding as to why Christians choose their way of handling suffering. Along the way, the believer comes to solid conviction about their eternal standing and security before God. It is a phase of great liberation in the born-again life. Eventually, a believer comes to the place where they understand that they are personal ambassadors for the Anointed One. You represent Him here in time and space. Along the way, we learn that blessed assurance is something that can grow. We base our primary belief on the written Word of God. That is the most important way we gain security. Furthermore, we can gain assurance as well by loving other Christians. We can be sure of our salvation.
But we must be aware that there is a trap we must avoid. It involves feeling attracted to someone through sentimentality but not out of true love. Some things may inspire us about this person. That is why biblically, our heart includes the thinking process, the ability to form principles from the Word. We should never say, “That person has a head belief but not a heart belief,” because the word “heart” includes “head’” How can you understand the feelings you have unless you know what love is all about? Faith also includes what we know, the objective Word of God. When belief engages with the promises of God, we experience belief in our hearts. It impacts the entire person. However, when someone accepts that fact and activates belief in that principle, they are engaged with the truth. They activate their faith in the fact that two and two are four.
At the same time, unbelief comes from the heart as well. Have you ever heard someone say, “I believe with all my heart?” Therefore, the opposite is also true. It is a rational rejection of what the Bible says is true. The heart involves the will and attitude. For example, a girl may break off a deep relationship with a guy, not because she does not appreciate or want him, but because she came to an understanding that being unequally yoked with an unbeliever is wrong. She did this based on a principle from God’s Word. She did not make this decision from her emotions but despite her feelings. Her affections told her to stay with the guy, but her head told her to break it off. This is a person operating on principle over emotion.
We can see this principle in the application of the Apostle Peter’s words. Some people feel tempted to entertain an attitude of anxiety (suspension between two points of whether a good thing or a bad thing will happen to them). This person then applies the principle that they are under the sovereign care of God, so they release their anxiety to Him. They put their cares in the Lord’s hands. That frees them from agonizing over their problems. As a result, their difficulties are now under God’s control and not in control of them. They now have confidence in what God can do about their situation. Their faith depends on God’s Word. In other words, they have an object for their faith – the promises of God. It is always principle first, then application second. People without principles always revert to emotion. They try to compensate for their lack of biblical content by “operation bootstraps.” They then become vulnerable to false teaching. All this points to the vacuum of biblical truth in their souls. Without biblical input, they cannot claim the promises of the principles of God’s Word for their lives. They cannot apply what they do not know.
 See 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17
 1 Peter 5:7
 In the USA West, cowboys pull on their boots with straps on each side. So, when someone tries to accomplish something hard without help, it is called, “Lifting themselves up by their own bootstraps.”
 2 Timothy 2:19