Christians often question the surety of their salvation in Christ. It’s an inner conflict that destroys their confidence and distresses their soul. They are plagued with questions that ask:
“Can I be 100%, totally sure that I am saved?”
“Shouldn’t I “feel” saved if Christ has forgiven my sins?”
It’s only natural for young Christians to confront these questions and even doubt their salvation because Jesus said when the seed of God’s Word is sown into hearts, Satan immediately arises to steal the Word (Mark 4:15). Satan doesn’t want God’s Word taking root and maturing. But mature Christians don’t have to live with the gnawing doubts of their salvation. When Satan attempts to steal your confidence in Christ you can know, with unmitigated certainty, that you are pardoned from sin and headed to Heaven. And the Bible shows how you can claim an abiding, inner peace that will surpass any doubt Satan can wield against you. I am convinced that God wants every Christian to have what the songwriter penned in the hymn years ago: That is, “Blessed Assurance.” And “Blessed Assurance” for the Christian is that deep seated confidence that Jesus is one’s Savior and eternal life awaits them when their life on earth is done.
(Illustration) Several years ago, I was speaking with one of my cousins. She was raised in a preacher’s home and grew up in church. While she testified to being a Christian she shocked me with what she said: “You know, I love the Lord, and do my best to follow Him, but we can never be fully certain we are truly saved. There’s always that one sliver of doubt that makes you wonder if everything is right between the Lord and you.” But we don’t have to live that way.
(Transition) So why do Christians fall into the trap of doubt and question their salvation? I want to explore several reasons why people lack the assurance of salvation:
1. People lack saving assurance because they question the procedure they used to accept Christ. But the Bible never says there is one strict, unyielding formula for accepting Christ as Savior. Don’t misunderstand me. There is only one way of salvation, and that’s Jesus! Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life and no man can come unto the Father except through Me.” Let me illustrate what I mean when I say, There is no rigid-formula the Scripture sets forth for salvation: The Bible says: “Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” And many people came to Christ by simply calling on the name “Jesus” at their moment of conversion. Maybe that was all they knew to do. But for others that came to Christ it was different.
And yet the Apostle Peter said in Acts 2:38, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”
Was Peter trying to forge one unbending procedure/formula for accepting Christ as Savior? No. Look what Paul said in Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” In those preceding verse the Bible sets forth four manners we can approach Christ and claim His salvation. It doesn’t matter if you “call on the name of the Lord,” or confess your sins to Christ,” or repent of your ungodliness to the Heavenly Father. God isn’t looking for a particular set of words or some “set course” of action. He wants honest and sincere people to look to Christ for salvation and no other way.
(Illustration) Some years ago, I counseled a young man that struggled with this very issue. He questioned whether he was a Christian because he wasn’t certain he was getting the procedure correct. Each time he read a Scripture that said, “repent” and then another that said, “confess” and another that said, “call” or “believe” he wondered if he was getting it right. But remember, it’s not the formula that matters! What matters is that you fully trust the Lord Jesus Christ and His death at Calvary for salvation.
2. People lack assurance of salvation because they desperately struggle with certain sins. And yes, everyone has a “specific” sin, or several sins, that cause great difficulty to surmount. The writer of Hebrews 12:1 mentioned “the sin that so easily besets us.” It is normal for Christians to fight against sin and its temptations. But fighting against temptation doesn’t mean God lifts His grace, removes His Spirit, and revokes His covenant of love! Only Jesus lived the perfect life.
Please hear me carefully because I don’t want to confuse anyone. While God doesn’t approve of sin; nobody is perfect, and nobody can live without sin. 1 John 1:8: “If we say we have no sin we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. . . (10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” When we sin our immediate recourse should be to repent!
(Example) The difference between Christians that sin and sinners that sin is the difference between a sheep and pig. When a pig falls into the mud it relishes and wallows in the experience. It makes no attempt to leave the mud. But when a sheep falls into the mud it does its best to get our as quickly as possible. So it is when Christians: when Christians fall into sin, they hate it and do their best to get out of it. Conversely, sinners love their sin and make no attempt to escape it.
3. People lack saving assurance because they attempt to improve on Christ’s work at Calvary by relying on their own works. Notice Paul’s opinion of man’s “works” as it regards salvation:
Ephesians 2:4 says: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5) even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”
The Bible describes the plan of salvation that came through Christ as a “finished work.” The last words Christ spoke before dying on the cross were: “It is finished.” That meant no other human work could be added to bring salvation to man. That’s why Paul said in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; (9) not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” Turn to Romans 4 and let’s read:
4. People doubt their salvation when they fail to use a genuine faith toward God for salvation. The only faith acceptable for salvation is the faith that comes from God. It is impossible for people to muster or manufacture faith for salvation. That’s because it doesn’t originate with man. Faith comes from God! Ephesians 2:8 says: “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that [faith] not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Real, saving faith originates with God, not man!
It’s frightening, but true: You cannot come to Christ at your own wisp and will. Some people think they can live as they please and come to Christ when they’re finished sowing their wild oats. But faith is a divine deposit from God that can’t conjure up. That means it is important to accept Him as Lord and Savior while His Spirit is drawing you.
Another point about genuine faith is this: Saving faith is not of the intellect. Many people attempt to use a “head faith” for salvation rather than a “heart faith” and it never brings peace. The genuine faith for salvation comes from God and goes all the way to the heart. That’s what Paul meant in Romans 10:10 when he said: “with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
5. People lose assurance of salvation when they rely on their emotions rather than trusting God’s Word. Salvation must never be based on “feeling” like you’re saved. We must cast ourselves fully on what God has declared in the Bible.
God’s Word is the divine, unerring word of truth that God sent to man. Because the Bible comes from God you can be assured it is without error and completely reliable. Listen to the Apostle John’s words in 1 John 5:11-13, “And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (12) He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (13) These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.” The written Word of God (the Bible) that records the plan of salvation and points to Jesus Christ as man’ Savior, is the convincing proof Christians use for their salvation—not their emotions.
6. People often lack assurance because they cannot remember a specific time when they received Christ. Some accepted Christ as Savior when they were young and when they matured they couldn’t remember the circumstances of their conversion. Consequently, they question their salvation.
The assurance of salvation does not depend on you identifying a specific “moment” you accepted Christ. Here is what’s important:
a. Do you believe, from the depth of your heart, that Jesus Christ is the “way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)? If so, this is actually a work of the Holy Spirit win you! Acts 16:14 shows how the Holy Spirit opened a woman’s heart to God’s Word to Paul’s preaching. Luke wrote that: “a certain woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord (the Holy Spirit) opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”
b. Do you, from the depth of your heart, believe Jesus paid the penalty for your sin on the Cross, and trust His work alone to save you?
c. Do you, from the depth of your heart, have a love for God that cannot be broken?
Answering these questions “Yes,” will reveal the assurance of your salvation.
Nov 01, 2019 Comments Off on THE GLORY OF GOD
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