Here is a quote from the article; Obedience as a condition for assurance by Leland M. Haines.
How may we be sure that we have eternal life? The answer to this question is found in the second paragraph of First John: “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:5-7). If we walk in darkness we do not live. Only if we walk in light do we live. The type of our walk, our obedience to God’s word, determines if we can have assurance that we live. (Scriptural quotations are from RSV)
The importance of obedience as it relates to assurance is emphasized throughout the book of I John. Following are several of these passages:
By this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments (2:3).
By this we may be sure that we are in him: he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (2:5, 6).
Now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that every one who does right is born of him (2:28-29).
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love remains death (3:14).
By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him… All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them (3:19-24).
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is love of God, that we keep his commandments (5:2-3).
We know that any born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not him (5:18).
“Keep his commandments,” “walk in the same way in which he walked,” “does right,” “love the brethren,” “keep his commandments,” “obey his commandments,” “does not sin,” are ways that we may have assurance that we have eternal life. One cannot have assurance of eternal life and live in sin.
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