When I study the events of Easter week in Scripture - Palm Sunday, Good Friday, the Crucifixion, and then Easter Sunday and the Resurrection itself - I am struck by different aspects each time. One thing that has struck me is the presence of tears. Three times in the events of that week we find someone weeping. The first is Jesus, weeping over Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; the second are the women, weeping as Jesus is led away to his crucifixion; and the third is Mary Magdalene, weeping in the garden on the morning of the Resurrection.

John Knox called Calvin’s Geneva “the most perfect school of Christ that ever was in the earth since the days of the Apostles.” Calvin’s ministry was marked by a commitment to wed deep theological study to an all-of-life experiential godliness. He longed to see sound doctrine established in the hearts of the people, seeking to faithfully carry out the Apostle Paul’s charge to Timothy: "Take heed to yourself and to your doctrine" (1 Tim. 4:16).

I say to you as the Apostle Paul said to the Christians at Corinth: examine yourselves to see whether you are really in the faith. You might have learned many things about God, but if you learn much about the faith and are not actually born again, what you have learned is to no advantage. The most important question ever to be settled is whether you really belong to Jesus Christ and are a member of his spiritual family. Do what Paul said: examine yourself.

Paul said examine yourself. So how can we do that? In John's first letter, he was writing to people who were shaken up because of the Gnostics - people who had come into their midst professing a greater measure of enlightenment. Gnosticism is a technical term for a philosophy that grew to become a damaging influence later on in the church.

There are great passages that talk about the doctrines of assurance and eternal security. There are three key passages. One is the tenth chapter of John's Gospel where Jesus is speaking. He says there that he holds his people in his hand. He is the Shepherd; he has called them to himself. They have heard his voice; they have come out. Now he holds them in his hand and nobody is going to pluck them out.