SALVATION: Doubts or Assurance?
The enemy, Satan, the devil, the evil one and all the other names used to describe him is so well versed in deception and lies that he loves the opportunity to take one of God’s children and try to convince them that they can’t really be saved because of their past; maybe because of some recent sin that is unconfessed; maybe because the person is in the wrong church that fails to reinforce the true meaning of salvation. Regardless of the ploy or tool used to create doubt, rest assured that the enemy is working diligently to create doubt in the minds of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. So that we are perfectly clear as to what I mean by the word “salvation,” let me define it this way: God has made it as simple as A, B, C.
A – Acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
B – Believe that his death on the cross paid your sin debt in full (past, present and future)
C – Confess that you need a savior because you cannot be righteous in God’s eyes without Jesus.
This is defined as God’s gift of grace. You cannot buy it, earn it, or even steal it; you just have to accept it in your heart and if you do that sincerely and genuinely, you have invited Jesus Christ to take up residence in your heart. When we accept God’s gift of grace, scripture tells us we are made a “new creature.” This simply means we are not the same person we were before because before sin controlled our life, now Jesus has wiped away sin and brought us to a different path for our lives. With this in mind let’s look at how we can be confident in the promises God has made to us regarding salvation and eternity.
To get started we have to go back and look at what God said prior to the coming of the Messiah. God tells the Prophet Isaiah “You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
God utilizes Isaiah to be His witness as to who He is and the power He holds in his hands. God declares that he is the LORD (anytime this word is spelled in all capital letters it refers to Jehovah God and there are no other gods before Him) and apart from Him there is no savior. In this Old Testament passage God tells us that no one — and I mean no one — can pluck us out of His hand and when He acts, there is no one that can reverse his actions.
Another powerful reminder from the Old Testament tells us “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” God has always fulfilled every promise He has ever made so why should we question whether he will fulfill the promises yet to come. By His very name He cannot lie and His truth is everlasting throughout the ages. God is going to do what He says He is going to do and you can stand firm on that!
So what does the New Testament tell us about the security of our salvation? While there are many, many verses that we could use to demonstrate the promise of security in our salvation, I want to share seven verses that will give you a beautiful word picture of how we can be absolutely sure of our salvation and there is no need to ever doubt or question. Before we begin to look at these verses, I want to encourage you to stop right now and simply pray “Father, send your Holy Spirit to help me discern the meaning of Your Word. Strengthen me so that I can write these verses on my heart so when the enemy attacks me with doubt I can call on what You have said about my salvation and the promises that You have made. AMEN”.
The first verse comes from the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus said to his followers “and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” We could write a book on this single verse but this is not the time or place for a book. Jesus is instructing us to obey everything He has commanded which means loving Him with all of our heart, mind, and soul. He then gives us the promise that we must hold tightly in our hearts; “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” When we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (often referred to as being “saved”) we have the promise that Jesus will be with us always even to the end of the world as we know it. Even God’s people feel lonely and abandoned at times and it is during these times that we need to reflect upon what Jesus says to us in Matthew 28. We are never alone even though we may be going through difficult times, trials, or tribulations. The struggle is not letting the enemy become the controlling factor in these times but rather leaning and trusting in Jesus and know that He has our back regardless of the difficulty. It is knowing that He is right there with us every step of the way. And when we feel like we can’t go on, He will lift us up and carry us.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus says “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” The Messiah tells us none of those who have entered into a personal relationship with him can be taken away from Him but He will raise them up at the last day. He then further defines God’s plan when he says “my Fathers will is that everyone that looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life and I will raise them up at the last day. Our promise of eternity with our Heavenly Father is defined in these words.
When Paul and Silas were in prison they were asked by the jailer what he must do to be saved and they replied “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.” This passage of scripture shows us what can happen when an individual accepts Jesus as their Savior and suddenly they have an impact on those around them. In this case the jailer, because of his belief, was able to have the gospel shared with his entire family and they all accepted the gift of grace. We never need to sell God short and what He can do through us. I love the portion of this passage that states “he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God.” When we genuinely enter into a heart relationship with Jesus Christ, we have joy and peace despite what is going on around us. This is one of the things that set us apart from those who are unsaved because they cannot claim the promises that are made to those who have Jesus in their hearts.
Paul shares a very powerful passage of scripture which says “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” WOW! How do you follow that up? Paul makes it very clear that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul reminds us that there will be trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword because we live in a sinful world controlled by the enemy. But he also quickly reminds us that Satan can do nothing to separate us from God’s promises.
When Paul was speaking to the church at Philippi he tells them “I always pray with joybecause of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” What an awesome thought that through our personal heart relationship with Jesus Christ we are assured that “He that began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I do not see any way possible that this can be interpreted other than the assurance of our salvation until the return of Christ when He will claim His children and take them to eternity with the Heavenly Father. If God begins something He will see it through to completion.
Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him;if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” Do not let this confuse you because of the two paths it describes. It is first talking to those who have a personal heart relationship with Jesus Christ and defines if we stop living for self and live for Him we will also live with Him. If we endure the challenges, trials, stumbling blocks and temptations, we will reign with Him in glory. The second portion of the passage is talking to those that have heard the gospel but refuse the offer of grace. In essence they have disowned God so He therefore will disown them. If a person is faithless and does not believe and/or trust in God, God remains faithful and continues to seek and save the lost because He cannot disown Himself. Promises are made to both the saved and the unsaved. We have to choose which promises we desire as well as accept the consequences of our decision.
Peter gives us a great analogy when he writes “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” Being “born again” is a term that means we have accepted a heart relationship with Jesus Christ and as a result we have been made a new creature. Oh we will look the same on the outside but we have been reborn on the inside. The old man is dead and the new man now has a Savior that paid his sin debt. This rebirth is from imperishable seed brought about by the living and ever enduring Word of God. In and of ourselves we are like the withering grass and falling of the flowers but when we have the seed of the LORD living within us then we have hold of something that will endure forever, the Word of the Lord!
The number seven is the number of completion or perfection in Biblical terms. My prayer is that these seven verses will give you the understanding and confidence that there is nothing, absolutely nothing that can pluck you from the hand of God. You must first accept His wonderful gift of grace and enter into a personal heart relationship with Jesus Christ. Once you accomplish that, you can consistently and forever stand on the promises of God! Don’t let the enemy distract you from the truth and plant seeds of doubt in your mind; let God fill you from head to toe with the joy and peace that comes from knowing Him personally and trusting in His promises. God has fulfilled every promise he has ever made and I can’t find any reason to believe He is going to change now. Salvation is firm and faithful and no one can take it from you so when the devil tries to tempt you into doubting your salvation, go to the Lord and His Word, claim the promises made to you and tell the devil to get lost in Jesus name!
(1) Isaiah 43:10-13 (all scripture used in this article is taken from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.)
(2) Matthew 28:20
(3) John 6:38-40
(4) Acts 16:31-34
(5) Romans 8:32-39
(6) Philippians 1:4b-6
(7) 2 Timothy 2:11-13
(8) 1 Peter 1:23-25a