1st John 5:13 And Biblical Salvation

by David J. Stewart | October 2014

1st John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

       Our text verse says that God authored the Epistle of 1st John so that believers may have the confidence that they are saved. The apostle John says that his purpose in writing his Epistle is so that believers may KNOW that they are saved.

Water Baptism is Not Required for Salvation

Notice that not once is the word “baptism” nor the idea of water baptism mentioned in the Epistle. Certainly, if water baptism were required to go to Heaven, then God would have mentioned it in 1st John, but He DOESN'T. And for that matter, neither does the Epistle mention Speaking-In-Tongues, which most Charismatic churches teach are evidence of being saved. Truly, if speaking in some unknown Jibber-Jabber, or any form of Tongues-Speaking were required as evidence of salvation, then God would have mentioned them in the Epistle of 1st John, but He DOESN'T. Water baptism is not required for salvation. We are saved by God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, believing that He died on the cross for our sins and rose.

Many religious people get scared they'll miss Heaven, so they get water baptized “just in case!” May I say, you will split Hell wide open the second you leave this life if you add even the slightest bit of human effort to faith alone in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Water baptism is human effort. The false teaching that a person must be water baptized to be saved is called “Baptismal Regeneration.” Biblically, John 1:14 teaches that we are regenerated (born anew from above) by the power of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is simply the public profession of one's faith, demonstrating that you have been saved by believing the Gospel. Water baptism Biblically is always by total immersion under water, never by sprinkling. And again, people in the Bible were always water baptized AFTER they were saved. Going under the water symbolizes Christ's death and burial; coming up out of the water symbolizes Christ's resurrection.

Being baptized is the first step of obedience God commands for every believer. It is important and should be done right away if possible. Believers who never get baptized tend to disobey God in other areas as well, having failed to take the first step of obedience as a Christian. That's why I detest Baptist churches who don't baptize converts unless they ask, and it usually takes months, and I know of some churches which require a personal video of one's testimony. Although nifty and a nice gesture, such practices are totally unbiblical.

In the Bible, people believed and then were baptized immediately. Acts 2:41, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” With 3,000 souls saved in one day, there was no way to interview each one of them and make sure they understood what they were doing. I'm tired of highbrow ministers making salvation and baptism difficult. If you preach Christ crucified and risen and people receive the word personally, believing, then they are saved. So baptize them! And then teach them to get do likewise to others. That's “The Great Commission” (Matthew 28:19-20).

In most churches today, including Independent Baptist Churches, it is “The Great Omission,” because they don't do it! The hardest part of The Great Commission are the first two words... “GO YE!” That's why Romans 10:15 calls the “FEET” of those who preach the Gospel (glad tidings) of Jesus Christ “beautiful” instead of the tongue, lips or mouth. The most eloquent words and skilled tongue is worthless if the feet are too lazy to bring the Gospel message to the lost and dying world who need it (2nd Corinthians 4:3).

Martin Luther: Master of Deceit

The famous reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) is one of the most dangerous men in church history. According to Mr. Luther, a person must be baptized with water to be saved. Lutheranism is a satanic religion. You can read Luther's large or small (condensed) catechisms online, which teach that Holy Baptism and Holy Communion are necessary for salvation. Luther (a Catholic priest) allegedly read “The just shall live by faith” in 1517 and then protested against the Roman Catholic Church by nailing his 95 Thesis (arguments) to the church's door in Germany. Yet, it was in 1529 that Luther wrote his catechisms. Luther taught that we are born against by the word of God through water baptism. This is satanic heresy! It's been rightly said that a Lutheran is nothing but a backslidden Catholic!

Please don't make the foolish sin of getting water baptized to get to Heaven. Don't do it, “Just in case!” Rather, you should get baptized as a public profession of your faith in Jesus Christ. In the Bible people were always saved AFTER they were saved, never before nor to get saved. No one in the Old Testament was baptized with water. People were saved in the Old Testament exactly as they are today, that is, by believing on the Messiah. Acts 10:43 says, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” The thief on the cross was never baptized. Never once did the Apostle Paul tell his audience to get baptized. In fact, Paul states in 1st Corinthians 1:17a, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel...” There you have it. I heard some Church of Christ minister, a heretic who teaches Baptismal Regeneration, say that Paul's disciples did the baptizing. Do you see how false prophets will go to desperate lengths to bolster up their straw-man false doctrines?

You Don't Have to Understand it All to Be Saved

The Greek word for “know” in our text verse is eido and means “to see.” The apostle John is writing under the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit (2nd Timothy 3:16), and he says that the purpose of the Epistle of 1st John is so that believers can see (know) that they have (hold) eternal life. This Scripture is very interesting. John is writing because they believe, so that they will believe. That seems strange. Why would God write to believers to get them to believe? The simple answer is that the Epistle of 1st John was written to reinforce our faith, to show us evidences that we are in fact saved.

You see, to be saved you don't have to be a theologian. You don't have to understand all the intricacies of salvation. For example: When I got saved I was about 13 years old. I don't remember the exact time. Pastor Curtis Hutson (1934-1995) didn't either. The important thing is that you are trusting what Christ did for you on the cross as payment for your sins, and His resurrection. I didn't know then that Jesus was God. I think I had heard about the Virgin Birth, but don't remember. I didn't know about the precious blood of Jesus on the mercy seat in Heaven when I got saved. I certainly didn't know about the Old Testament Passover, tabernacle or work of the highpriest. I didn't know about water baptism or the Lord's Supper. I didn't know anything when I got saved. All I knew was that I was scared of going to Hell and didn't want to go there. I had heard my Baptist pastor say that Sunday morning during the church service that you weren't saved if you didn't have the Holy Spirit indwelling you, convicting you about sin. I knew I was a sinner. From my pew, with my face turned red in mental anguish and my hands clutching the back of the pew in front of me, I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I've had the Holy Spirit (the Godhead) living inside of me since that day, who is my best friend.

You don't have to know anything to be saved except that you are a sinner in God's eyes and that Jesus died for your sins and rose. If you personally receive that knowledge, as applying to you, making it your own, then you are saved. Christ died, that's history; Christ died for me, that's salvation! A person doesn't have to understand Jesus to be saved, they simply need to entrust Him. You do this by believing that Christ died on the cross for your sins and that He raised up from the dead three days later, as the Scriptures claims in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4. 1st Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”

God only requires childlike faith in Christ's death on the cross for our sins, burial and resurrection to be saved. John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Don't ever forget that eternal life is a free gift (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9). A gift is received, not achieved. If forsaking sinful living is required to be saved, then eternal life is a reward instead of a free gift. A gift is simply accepted. We are saved by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, that is, God's righteousness through faith in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:9; 2nd Corinthians 5:21; Matthew 6:33 and Romans 4:5-6).

Laying Hold On Eternal Life

Once a person is saved, God wants that person to embrace their salvation and make the best of it, which is what the Bible means when it says to “LAY HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE.” 1st Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” The Greek word for the phrase “lay hold on” is epilambanomai (how's that for a Greek word) and means “to seize.” In essence God is saying to each of His children, “You've got eternal life already, right now, it is yours... so start using it! Seize upon it! You're never going to perish like the unbelieving world.” Literally, God wants us to live as if we've been to Heaven, seen all the glories of Christ and His kingdom, and then have been given the chance to return to earth to serve Him.

Think with me for a moment. One day we are all going to die from off the face of the earth. There were billions of beautiful people alive upon earth 150 years ago, but every single one of them are dead today!!! If you die in your sins without Christ as your personal Savior, you will spend eternity suffering in the torments of hell, fire and damnation. You will be separated from God and the blessings of joy, peace and all things yours (Romans 8:32) in Heaven for ever and ever. But if you are saved, you will spend eternity in Heaven with the saints, Jesus Christ and the angels.

But imagine with me my friend, if you are saved, when you do get to Heaven. Imagine standing before The Judgment Seat Of Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:9-11) and giving account of your life. No doubt, most Christians will weep tears with bitter regret when they realize that they spent their life selfishly, never telling anyone how to be saved with the Gospel, never doing anything for God, having no rewards laid up in Heaven, et cetera. What if those Christians could come back and relive their life? Well, you're still here on earth and it's not too late. I don't care if you're 84 years old (read about Anna in Luke 2:36-37. She was 84-years-old and served God with prayer, fasting and soul-winning). Any born-again Christian can lay up treasures in Heaven by serving God (Matthew 6:19-20). 


To fully grasp what God is saying in 1st Timothy 6:12, please read the Scripture within context...

1st Timothy 6:7-14, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Bible warns against pursuing money in the preceding Scriptures leading up to his exhortation to LAY HOLDS ON ETERNAL LIFE.

The Indwelling Holy Spirit Is Our Evidence Of Salvation

Many Bible teachers have twisted 1st John out of context to teach the false plan of Lordship Salvation. That use Scriptures such as 1st John 3:8, 1Jo:3:8: He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
1Jo:3:9: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

1Co:6:9: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
1Co:6:10: Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
1Co:6:11: And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

1Jo:3:24: And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

Ro:8:5: For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Ro:8:6: For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Ro:8:7: Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Ro:8:8: So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Ro:8:9: But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Give Me Jesus!
(video sermon by Pastor Danny Castle - You don't want to keep your eye on others, because they'll let you down. They'll hurt you. And you don't want to keep your eyes on yourself, because you'll feel inadequate, like a loser and a failure. Keep your eyes on Jesus!)

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