Purpose of Guarding the Treasure

The purpose of this blog is to encourage readers to invest their time into the Word of God and "Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." Paul wrote these words to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:14) in his presumed last letter before his execution. May we be those who see the word of God as a treasure, guarding it with our lives, investing in it with our hearts and minds, and reaping the fruit of an abundant life while getting to know the God who loves us and created us for His marvelous pleasure and glory.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Assurance of Salvation

Can someone have assurance of salvation if they never have any change in their life?

If we look to our life change as a determination for whether or not we are truly saved, could anyone honestly ever say that they were saved? Despite the fact that I am born again, I am riddled with sin and in need of confession of sin and the cleansing by the blood of Christ on a daily basis. By that definition, I’m guilty of being a habitual sinner. I am just as guilty as anyone else of impure thoughts, jealousy, outbursts of anger, idolatry, etc. The point of contention for me is where do we draw the line for a changed life? What’s the standard for proof of salvation? A little change such as regular church attendance, reading one’s Bible frequently, occasional prayer, etc or more drastic changes. Can one say, “Well based on my track record so far, I guess I must be saved.”? Then what if someone really blew it and committed adultery or murder (i.e. David)? Did that make David unsaved after all? Of course not. David was saved by faith in the coming Messiah, but his sinful works (fruits) surely did not support that reality.

Looking to our works for evidence of salvation will never truly bring assurance of salvation because unfortunately the saved still sin and are capable of any sin while living in the flesh as opposed to living in the Spirit. True assurance is found in looking to the One we trusted to save us in the first place – Jesus Christ. If we aren’t saved by works then why would we look to works for assurance of salvation? Inward looking can lead to selfishness, pride and defecting the glory from where it is supremely due – our Savior Jesus Christ. God wants His children to know they are saved. He wants us to serve Him in love, as a response to our salvation as opposed to serving Him in fear or out of obligation to prove or maintain salvation.

Here is a good 1 John verse for assurance of salvation.

1 John 5:13 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.

So to know if you have eternal life, you must ask yourself, “Have you believed in Jesus Christ for eternal life?” If you have the Son, you have life. Scripture declares that you receive the Son when you believe in Him (John 3:16, 5:24).

Here is another good passage for assurance of salvation.

John 10:27-29 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."

This passage tells me that Jesus gives eternal life to His sheep and they will never perish or be taken out of His hand. In other words, rather than me holding on to Him, He is holding on to me and nothing (not even me) can remove me from His hand. That is a strong hand grasp!

Believers do, however, need to look to their works/deeds to determine whether or not they are living in the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote in Galatians 5:16-23, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Paul also exhorted the Corinthians to look to their own experience as evidence of whether or not they were experiencing the abundant life in Christ with its blessings (such as answered prayer, spiritual blessings, fruitfulness). 2 Corinthians 13:5-6, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test.” Paul himself also examined his works and enslaved the flesh as he states in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”
The same Greek word for “disqualified” used by Paul is used for the Corinthians in “fail the test.”

In summary assurance of salvation comes from believing the words of our Savior and knowing that He is our security not us. Looking to works for assurance of regeneration will only cause doubt in the heart of a believer as we all are ultimately guilty of the grossest of sins even after salvation having the capacity to still live in the flesh. In addition, looking to Jesus alone for assurance of regeneration cannot result in any boasting of our own in regards to salvation and compel us to lovingly serve our Savior. Examining one’s works is essential to determine whether or not the believer is living in the power of the Holy Spirit and within the will of God.

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