I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. – 1 John 5:13-15
When I was in college I made evangelism calls on fellow students. The method we were trained in involved asking the question, “If you were to die tonight, do you know for certain that you would go to heaven?” I even asked my future wife that question! We had a great conversation about faith, Jesus, heaven, and life after death. She and I rejoice in knowing on the basis of God’s word and promises that we will be in heaven with all who believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Many people think of such assurance as bordering on hubris. It’s arrogant to say that we know we’re going to heaven they say. Better to say, “I hope to be in heaven after I die.” Few speak of the questions about heaven and earth, and the more nuanced realities of life after death.
The clear promise of God here is that we may know that we have eternal life if we believe in Jesus. In fact we even have the promise that our prayers will be answered if we believe in Jesus.
The confidence in the end is Jesus and God’s promises, not us and our moral or religious purity. Jesus is the key. He is the one to whom we turn in prayer and who has guaranteed our eternal wellbeing by his death and resurrection, and his ascension to the right hand of God. When he comes again we can be confident that we will live and be with him forever. Thanks be to God!