for the Faith
How can a Christian have
assurance of salvation?
Friday, September 13, 2012 at 3:00pm
Assurance of salvation is something many believers
struggle with. The Bible
commands Christians to take a close look at themselves and ensure they
are truly in the faith, to make sure they aren’t self-deceived into
thinking they’re truly saved when they’re not.
Paul says, “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
And Peter says, “Therefore, brethren, be all
the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you;
question of what constitutes the marks of real saving faith is not
nearly as common today as it should be, although it has been asked often
down through history. For example, during the
first Great Awakening in America
that occurred between 1725 and 1750, many people responded to the
preaching of powerful theologians such as Jonathan Edwards and George
Whitefield. However, about six
years later, critics charged there was nothing real about the Awakening
because many people who claimed to have been converted showed no
evidence of it.
To respond to the Awakening’s detractors, Jonathan Edwards (perhaps one
of the keenest minds ever in American history) took up his pen to write
his famous “A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections” that outlined
his thoughts on discerning the true spiritual condition of a person who
claimed to be a Christian.
The opening line of Edward’s work reads: “There is no question
whatsoever, that is of greater importance to mankind, and what is more
concerns every individual person to be well resolved in, than this:
What are the distinguishing
qualifications of those that are in favor with God, and entitled to his
Both the Bible and Edwards’ work correctly state that
being a true believer is tied to
more than simply signing a card, walking an aisle, being baptized, and
participating in religious activities.
what does comprise a true salvation experience?
First, there is a personal
recognition of one’s sin,
a willingness to repent of sin, and
a submission to the truth of
Scripture that says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will
be saved ...” (Acts
16:31), and “... Whoever calls on the name of the LORD
will be delivered” (Joel
2:32). A person
who has done this is born again (John
3:3), and is
regenerated by the Holy Spirit
3:5) so that they no
longer reject God’s ways.
Two pieces of evidence will accompany this genuine saving experience:
(1) Godly affections that
(2) bear Godly fruit. Of
the first, Edwards says, “True religion, in great part, consists in holy
affections.” Simply put, the
believer in Christ has a new appetite that they didn’t have before.
The new creation in Christ
Corinthians 5:17) has
new affections and has a hunger
for genuine spiritual food.
These new affections then exhibit themselves in the life of the believer
in some form or fashion. James asks, “What
use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no
works? Can that faith save him?” (James
2:14). The answer
James expects is, “no”. Real saving faith, says James,
will manifest through a person’s life. Or as one theologian once said, “We
are saved by faith alone; but the faith that saves is not alone.”
Edwards puts it like this: “The principle evidence of life is motion; so
the principle evidence of saving grace is holy motion.” What he means is
that you can tell someone is physically alive by the fact that they
breathe, move, and act. In the same way,
you can tell someone is spiritually alive by their movement toward the
things of God and the spiritual fruit that appears.
Jesus said, “...
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and
its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.” (Matthew
Does this mean a true Christian
won’t struggle with sin? Not at all. Paul makes this very clear
in Romans 7 where he outlines
his battle with his old nature. However, while
struggles with a sinful habit in
the life of a Christian can be expected,
living comfortably with that
sinful habit and the belief that it's not sinful shouldn’t be.
We don’t need to wonder if we’re
saved. We can have
assurance of salvation. Submission of the will to Christ will be
followed by holy affections that consistently manifest in a new
spiritual life. If you have these things, then God is saying to you
through your life and His Word:
the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this
life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not
have the Son of God does not have the life. 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.” (1
Who is it that has the Son? It is those who have
believed in Him and accepted Him.
as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become
children of God, even to those who believe in His name,"
If you have Jesus, you have life. Not temporary
life, but eternal.
God wants us to have assurance of our salvation.
We cannot live our Christian lives wondering and
worrying each day whether or not we are truly saved. That is why
the Bible makes the plan of
salvation so clear.
Believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved (John
believe that Jesus is the Savior, that
He died to pay the penalty for
your sins (Romans
2 Corinthians 5:21)?
trusting Him alone for salvation?
If your answer is yes, you are
saved! Assurance means “having
been put beyond all doubt.” By taking God's Word to heart, you
can “put beyond all doubt”
the fact and reality of your
Jesus Himself affirms this regarding those who have believed in Him:
“and I give eternal life to them, and they
will never perish; and no one will 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.” (John
Eternal life is just that ... eternal.
There is no one, not even
yourself, who can take Christ's God-given gift of salvation away from
We hide God's Word in our hearts so that we do not sin against Him (Psalm
119:11), and this includes the sin of doubt. Take joy in
what God's Word is saying to you, that instead of doubting we can live
with confidence! We can have the assurance from Christ's own Word that
our salvation will never be in question.
Our assurance is based on God's love for us
through Jesus Christ. PTL!
Source: Adapted from an article
"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be
or email me if you have questions.
Amen and God bless you.
"Saint Pete", Sr.