Making Better Disciples
J.D. Greear, who I have much respect for, had a post the other day that I had a slight disagreement with. The post was titled, “Am I Really Saved?” He shared how a mentor had helped to settle in his mind that he really had believed in Christ by directing his heart to 1 John 5:10-11 (… he who has the son, has the life…). While I have no doubt that J.D.’s mentor appropriately applied the verse to J.D.’s situation, I don’t think it can be ripped from its context and applied to every situation. Here’s a slightly expanded version of what I wrote:
Your friend had a lot of wisdom and what he shared with you that day in college was a great and particular word tailored for your need and appropriately applied to and by you. At the same time, John’s epistle is specifically written to address the issue of those who say they believe but really haven’t. In other words, 1 John 5:10-11 have the larger context of the first four chapters as an informing backdrop. We must allow those chapters and their very challenging content to inform what it means to believe. To not do so is to run the risk of being dangerously reductionistic when applied to all situations and to communicate a false sense of security to those who may not have savingly believed.
“Salvation is given as a gift and it is earned entirely by Christ.” Amen. Believe and be saved. Amen. But believing is evidenced by a life, however imperfectly, of behavior and affections changed by that belief.
Question: Does conversion always produce a change in the affections and behaviors?