A litmus test is a test in which a single factor is decisive in proving the presence or absence of something. “I have eternal life,” many say, but passing the litmus test determines whether someone has truly believed as the Scriptures say.1 That’s why 1 John was written; its sole purpose was that those who read it could know whether they had actually received saving faith, for the Savior and the apostles knew that people could believe in vain.2
The litmus test of the book of 1 John reveals the presence or absence of the love of God. Paul wrote in Romans 5:5 that “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” The book of 1 John lets anyone know (who wants to know) whether this has actually happened in their life, or whether they have only the concept of love without the power to love. For the apostle Paul said that in the last days that there would be many who would have a form of godliness, yet deny the power.3
That’s why the articles on this theme are so important, for they explain the Scriptures that help us to know how we can test4 ourselves in the light of the Word of God, so we can know for certain whether we have truly passed out of death and into life. We all want to know in our hearts and be assured that we are participating in the same life that the Apostle John and the other early believers shared?5
We didn’t give up hope when we took the test ourselves. But now we have the assurance of 1 John 3:14,16,23 and 24 because the Spirit bears witness that we are truly loving one another as He commanded us.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
Oh, that we could all be in verse 35…