Faith, In Christ, salvation, The Good News

Are You Saved and Assured of Your Salvation?

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one (John 10:28-30 NIV).

Picture by dotlizard (Karen Kelly) @ Rgbstock

Revelation That Leads to Salvation

All people, everywhere, experience revelation from God about Himself. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). Some receive clearer revelation than others. Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22). Sadly, because people are sinful, they tend to marginalize God or completely negate Him, suppressing what He reveals (Rom. 1:18-20).

Some people experience a dramatic encounter with God on their life’s journey that brings them to salvation. Consequently, it is easy for them to know the moment that they have become a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). For many others, salvation is not a clearly identifiable point in time. However, even though they cannot pinpoint when it happened (and may even misidentify the timing), the miracle of their behavioural change makes them know that at some point they must have been “born again” (John 3:16). They might not even know these terms, but, if explained to them, they will identify with them.

Salvation Examination

Many other people who have believed in God and His Son, have ended up falling away. This is because they never fully understood. Instead, they believed in their own notion about God and His salvation. Consequently, they had never come to be justified by God and born again.

Paul told the members of the Corinthian church, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5). From his words, we can deduce that merely thinking that you’re in the faith is no real evidence of actually being in it. However, being spiritually joined to Christ, so that He lives within you, is Paul’s definition of whether or not someone is truly in the faith.

Evidence of Salvation

God’s word has a range of evidence that can help a person identify whether or not they been saved from spiritual death to eternal life. Here are just three of them:

  • An inner witness. One evidence that you’re actually in the faith, with Christ dwelling within you, is an inner knowing. Paul writes, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Rom. 8:16).
  • A supernaturally changed life. Another witness to true salvation is a supernaturally changed life. This is because Love Himself has joined Himself to that person. Jesus said, “…whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
  • A witnessing life. There’s an overflow about God and His goodness that comes from the mouths of those who are saved. This is because God, and what He has done to save us, really is good news. After all, Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38).

Caveats Concerning Salvation

Not all Christians excel in all of the above evidence. That said, to live their new life to the full, they ought to grow in each of them. Also, although the fruit of a person’s life is usually the clearest evidence of salvation (or the lack thereof), many loving, generous, and pleasant people are unsaved. Conversely, there are many saved folk who are caught up in selfishness, worldliness, and sin. Consequently, we don’t always know who has been saved, therefore, we must not simply assume that someone is or isn’t.

On another note, not everyone who has been saved has understood that biblical faith gives assurance of salvation. Consequently, despite being justified by God, these folk may, at times, because of sin and feelings of unworthiness, feel unsaved.

Assurance of Salvation

God has gone to great lengths to lead people to a faith that saves and to assure them of their salvation. For example, the apostle John says in his gospel, “…these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). Then, in a letter to believers, John says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). God clearly wanted people to believe and, having believed, be assured of their salvation.

Assurance of one’s salvation is often found on the journey of discipleship. For, even after someone is saved, they will continue to receive revelation about their salvation. Consider what Paul had prayed for the Christians in Ephesus: “[I always pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may grant you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation [that gives you a deep and personal and intimate insight] into the true knowledge of Him [for we know the Father through the Son]. And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people), and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe” (Eph. 1:17-19a, Amplified Bible).

Are You Saved?

All people have sinned against God, nevertheless, because of His great love for the world, He offers salvation as a free gift to everyone who repents and receives Jesus as Lord of their life. For He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life and take our sins upon Himself so that we could be acquitted. Having risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, Jesus offers mercy and new life to all who humble themselves and come to Him.

Rob Morley

Faith

Having Nothing, yet Having Everything – Part 1

Having Nothing, yet Having Everything

People like things of substance, because substance validates things for us. A bunch of flowers that a man gives to a woman may mean more in a moment than him saying, “I love you.” The flowers themselves are not the man’s love, yet they confirm his love. A hug or a kiss is a quantifiable experience of substance too. A smile that’s shared is simply putting thoughts into substance for those around to receive. Even the atmosphere of a place, whether romantic, solemn, creepy, jolly or quiet is an experience based on substance. Having said that, usually the more concrete a substance is the more real it may seem to us.

With this in mind, consider religion with its array of different things of substance from the paraphernalia of robes, head pieces, beads, to buildings, traditions, titles, creeds, books, etc. all there to help those involved get the full experience. Off-hand, the more religious substance you see around someone the more religious they appear to be. Also, the more we personally interact with these substances, the more religious we may feel. However, it’s because of this inclination to validate or complete our experiences with things of substance that we can easily get duped. You see, besides God’s word, true Christianity needs no outward stuff. In fact, often the less religious substance (tangible things) you see around a Christian, the more real or mature their faith may be.

In the Bible, the book of Hebrews is an appeal to Jewish people who recognized Jesus as their Messiah, but had become uncertain of their new found faith. You see, before Christ came, Judaism was accompanied by a lot of concrete substance. They had the Law, the Ark of the Covenant, the Sacrificial Rituals, Holy Days, the Holy Land, the Holy City of Jerusalem, the Temple, and a history filled with evidence of God’s hand in their lives. In contrast to this, these Jewish followers of Christ had by comparison little in the way of concrete substance surrounding them. Having been ousted by their own people for their faith in Jesus, they had become a mottled group of people, meeting in homes. Not only had their brief history been filled with a lot of difficulty, their faith was accompanied by fewer things outward and tangible which possibly added to any uncertainty they may have felt at the time.

In the book, the author appeals to them by contrasting what Judaism had been to them with what their new faith in Christ now was. He reminds them that what they had, having been spiritually brought into the New Jerusalem, was better. Here is an example of what he said, “For you have not come to something that can be touched, to a blazing fire, to darkness, to gloom, to a trumpet’s blast, or to a voice that made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. For they could not endure the command that was given: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.’ Indeed, the sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’ Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to tens of thousands of angels joyfully gathered together, to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to a judge who is the God of all, to the spirits of righteous people who have been made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant…” (Heb 12:18-24).

The author also wrote, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Other translations use “assurance” in place of “substance.” Either way, we see that faith, although intangible, is nevertheless substance, the assurance that we need. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe and yet have not seen.”

The Bible tells us how this faith comes about when it says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). This faith, “substance” or “assurance” is found through hearing God’s word, which teaches that Jesus is our Savior from sin and its consequence, death. This is validated by the substance of both the Old and New Testaments, Jesus’ miracles, His words, death, resurrection and the lives that have been transformed.

All we may really have at times is the unseen substance of faith, yet it’s a faith based on a lot. Appearing to have nothing, we have everything!

Go here for part 2

Rob Morley

Faith

Making Decisions – Presumption, Fatalism or Faith

Fatalism, Presumption or Faith

I was recently asked whether a decision that I had made, not to allow something to take place for the safety of a child, was me being fatalistic or not. Now, whether or not I had been fatalistic is not my reason for this post. Rather, I would like to share from my musings, as this has had me thinking quite a bit. For one, what if my decision had been the opposite? In other words, what if instead, I had allowed the event to take place? I might then have been questioned on whether or not I was acting out of presumption that the child would be safe. Both fatalism and presumption are two Godless ways that we easily entertain in our lives.

Fatalism is often fear driven, while presumption is based on false or unsound assurance. While fatalism acts apart from faith, presumption often masks itself as faith in action. For example, a villager might never venture outside of his hut for fear of a lion. Now, unless he knew of a lion outside, we would say that he is being fatalistic. On the other hand, someone may nonchalantly or even prayerfully venture up to a lion thinking that he is safe, and be attacked. That would be presumption! It is because neither are based on God’s word that they are flawed and bound to fail. While these illustrations are obvious, we should realize that our every day choices are so easily based on us being fatalistic or acting in presumption. As a result, fatalism can keep me from doing what I should be doing, while presumption can even have me doing “good” things, but not what God had in mind.

So, how do you know if you are acting on presumption or being fatalistic? And, what is the antidote to these? Well, being level headed is the obvious and correct answer, but who can safely be level headed all of the time? Obviously, none of us! That is one reason why God’s Word instructs us not to lean on our own understanding, but rather to acknowledge God in all of our ways. The other more important reason is that we were meant for a life that honors God, demonstrated by our dependence on Him. Acknowledging God in all our ways is a life of faith. Simply put, this is being in God’s presence, listening to Him in all the details of life and, in His Spirit, acting on His leading.

God’s Word says, “…whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” and also “Faith comes from hearing… the word of God”. So, without God speaking to us, we cannot know what to believe and do, and any action without God’s word is presumption. Presumption and fatalism (which is just one form of presumption) is based on wrong belief or unbelief. Let’s instead enjoy God’s presence and allow ourselves to be moved by His Word and His Spirit! As it is written, “Let us confidently draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need” Heb. 14:16.

Rob