Assurance of Salvation
Assurance of Salvation is one of the most important part of our Christian belief system. Most religions do not have the assurance that they will be saved by the time it is all said and done. I asked a friend of mine who grew up in a Muslim home and asked him what was the difference between Christianity and Islam. He told me this, “in Islam many must die so one person can go to heaven, but in Christianity one man died so many can enter into heaven.” Even then he explained to me that they are not sure if they had done enough. The one thing that most religions in the world are missing is the assurance that they have accomplished enough to enter into their idea of heaven. Budda was recorded as saying that He did not know if this was the way, but he hoped. Assurance is the one thing that we as Christians have. Assurance is the hope that when it is all said and done we know that we will be in Heaven. Without assurance of our salvation there is nothing really to hope in, or for. Salvation just becomes a possibility, instead of a reality.
There are some that would believe in our Christian culture that you could lose your salvation and thus taking away assurance. They would use verses like Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ ‘And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” The truth of this scripture is yes not everyone will enter into Heaven. This scripture is speaking to those who profess to believe, but it is a head thing and not a heart thing. Intellectually they know, but it has never really taken root and become a reality of life. The author of Hebrews deals with this throughout the book. As I look out into our churches I cannot but help to wonder are some of us working hard and yet some of us will not be in Heaven. Remember that business is not the recipe for eternal life. Doing the work of God does not mean you are saved. It is the life of a person that tells us that we are saved. In the book of James, James tells us that we know his faith by his works. So we know works can show faith, but is works assurance of salvation? Works are a good indicator. I always said that the one action can have two different motivations. Motivation is the true sign of assurance. This is what James was really talking about. Through faith James was motivated to do works. It was not James selfish ambition, or his desire for acceptance from others that moves his to give his life completely to the Lord. There are some who are motivated by sure selfishness and others that are motivated by sure love. Our motivation is everything. Something good, could become sin because our motivation is wrong.
How do we have assurance since works depends on our motivation? 1 John 5:13 says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” The Apostle John writes a letter to his children of the faith, most likely the church of Ephesus where he spent most of his ministry. So we look at the book of 1 John to find out how we can know (assurance) our salvation. We first John tells us that we must confess our sin, because Jesus is faithful and will forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”) If we have confessed our sin then we need not to live in it any more. I find that most people are sorry for getting caught, but not sorry for what they did. They apologize all the time but yet they continue to do the same thing. When John talks about confessing our sin he is talking about repentance. Repentance is a change in mind that results in a change in action. We are saying we are wrong and we are not going to continue on our current path. When we confess we are telling God that we are not going to continue to live in our sin. Living in sin is different than making mistakes. One is a lifestyle and the other is a struggle that we go through each day. When we confess John goes on to say that we desire to keep God’s commandments, and not live in the darkness. Living in darkness is to deny Jesus as our Lord and Savior just as the Anti-christ does. It is our conduct that is a sign to us. Before we were saved we could not help ourselves but sin. Everything thought, action, and desire was controlled by selfishness and a desire to please ourselves. The day that we confess our sins something changes in us. We desire to please God and not ourselves. We desire to serve and love others rather than ourselves. Keep looking to Jesus.