November 4, 2008

Assurance of Salvation

Sometimes the path to assurance can be a dreary road, but there is hope for those who trust the Lord.

Does your assurance rest on Christ as your salvation?

Romans 8:31-38
What then shall we say to these things? [To what things? Why, the things that were written before this of course! See Romans 1-8. But more specifically to Rom. 8:23,24-25, and especially Rom. 8:28,29,30!!!] If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all [i.e., all who are 'children of God' and 'heirs with Christ' and who have the 'firstfruits of the Spirit' - Rom. 8:16,17,23], how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died - more than that, who was raised - who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?...

What is the argument here for being sure we are saved? On what basis does it rest assured? We always need to be careful not to write too much on important truths, since that can overwhelm our mind instead of strengthen it by what the Scripture plainly says. Paul assures his readers that the assurance of the promise of eternal salvation rests not on anything we have done, but rather, on what God has done in Christ. Paul made it clear in chapters 6-8 that only believers who have been crucified with Christ and have died to sin, to the law and to the world are saved. That all who have the Holy Spirit and are being led to put to death the deeds of the flesh are saved. But when he talks of where our assurance really stands sure, he says (for those who meet the previous qualifications of being genuine Christians, see Romans 8:1-28 for evidences of being saved), it is God who is for us, since He is the one who predestined us, called us, justified us and ultimately glorified us before we even had any say in the matter! So our confidence for being sure is in what God has done for us, not what we have done for Him.

The fruits of righteousness are a result of what God has done in saving us, and are an evidence that we are saved, but I don't think we can look to them for real confidence. What we look to for a firm ground of assurance is found in Christ. God did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all. I have often thought, "How can I doubt God's love?" I know for a fact that in my natural flesh, I want to do nothing but doubt God, which is sin and is the same as calling Him a liar! But by His grace and through the work of His Holy Spirit, I cannot doubt what He has done for me. He gave up His own Son for me. He loved me in an unbelievable way, and now I believe it! How could I possibly think He won't do the rest of what He promised, such as eternal salvation? "How will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?"

There is more here, but I think you get the point. I am sure that I am saved, because I have repented sincerely of my sins before God, have put all my hope and trust in the one man God anointed to be the Savior and in whom all are commanded to believe, and have bowed my heart and life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and God. But the only reason I have to be sure that all this means salvation for me, is that God loved me by giving up His own precious beloved Son on the cross to take away my condemnation, so that through His resurrected life, I may be justified and live forever at peace with Him. This kind of love makes me want to shed tears of joy! How about you? Does the cross of Christ truly mean salvation for you? Are you believing? Remember that faith is a gift in Ephesians 2:8-9! One of the things I was teaching on Romans chapter 5 this past Sunday, and I said, "Do you know why all who are in Christ by faith can never, ever, ever, ever be lost or condemned?" And they kind of looked at me expecting an answer from me, so I said, "Because Christ was already condemned for them." That is why I will never be lost, the perfect Lamb of God was condemned for all my sins, and now there is nothing left for me but salvation! If He was condemned for me, I cannot be condemned. I know this is for me, because of the grace the Lord has shown to me in giving me His Spirit, repentance and real living faith. My faith and works are sometimes weak, but I can never doubt the all surpassing love of God in Christ my Savior. It was a battle for me in the past to know this, but that is why I look unto Jesus (Heb. 12:2). I hope you all do the same.


Raine said...

Yes it did help Penn, but it seems God got to me first before you did. :) I believe He is slowly restoring me back. God has made me realize again that everything we have and are and will be in this life and the next all revolves around the cross of Jesus Christ.
It is only when everyday we look back to the Cross, and not just remember and be grateful, but "live the Cross" in total undiluted surrender to God everyday, that we are truly set free. We lose our assurance when we begin looking at ourselves and examine ourselves too much that we forget the Cross and the fact that we are accepted of God not because of who we are or anything we've done, but because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross out of His great love for us. We need only look to Christ and everything will be alright. He is our Savior after all. :)

Raine said...

By the way, thanks for your prayers. I believe God has answered them. He will carry us through. :)