Saturday 8 June 2013

How Do I Know I'm Saved

- Ron Graham -

How can you know for sure if you are saved? This is a question that has plagued mankind down through the ages and has caused much anguish. But, it is a question that is answered many times in the Bible. "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." 1 John 5:11. The word "record" is better translated "testimony" and most modern translations use the word "testimony". John is telling us that God gave us eternal life in Jesus, but he further explains "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the son of God hath not life." 1 John 5:12. Can it be clearer? If you have Jesus you have eternal life. "These things have I written unto you that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." 1 John 5:13. Who is it that has eternal life? According to this passage, it is those who believe on Him. There aren't any if's, and's, or but's in here. If you have Jesus, you have life - eternal life. Not temporary, but eternal. The Greek word "aiōnios" is translated "eternal" and in this context means without end - never to cease, everlasting.

God wants us to have assurance of our salvation. We cannot have peace in our Christian lives if we worry each day whether we have done something to lose our salvation. That's why the Bible makes the plan of salvation so clear. "And they said, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Acts 16:31. Even though you are a sinner, do you believe that Jesus is the Saviour, that He died to pay the penalty for your sins? "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8. Do you trust Him alone for salvation? "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12. If your answer is yes then you are saved!

Once a person is saved are they always saved? When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their salvation is eternally secure. Numerous passages of Scripture declare this fact. Jesus did not waiver on this point, and more than once made it clear that faith in Him would bring eternal salvation. "All that the father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing." John 6:37-39. Then there are those much loved words of assurance which Jesus spoke to Nicodemus "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. Our salvation is not trivial to God. He created us in His image and loves us enough to have stepped into His creation to save us from eternal death. All it takes is belief on our part.

Once we believe we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. "That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:12-14. So, the disciples first trusted Christ and passed on their faith. You and I first heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) from another believer and also believed. After we believed we were sealed with the Spirit of promise. This promise is ours "until the redemption of the purchased possession". That means we are sealed until our life on earth is over - either by dying or by the Rapture. Now, let me ask you something. God sealed you with the Holy Spirit when you first believed, so where does Scripture tell us He will unseal you if you change your mind or if you commit a sin? Where does it say that once you believe your past sins are forgiven and now it is up to you to keep yourself saved by being perfect? Christ died for all sins past, present, and future. He will not "unseal" you.

"Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." Romans 8:33-34. It is God who justifies. In Greek the word is "dikaioō" and it means to render righteous or to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus. But Paul goes on to say that Christ died and more than that is risen again and He intercedes for us. Who will bring a charge against God's elect? No one will, because Christ is our advocate. Who will condemn us? No one will, because Christ, the One who died for us, is the one who condemns but more than that He is interceding for us. Jesus gave us further assurance in His talk with Nicodemus "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:17-18. Thank You, Jesus.

Believers are born again (regenerated) when they believe "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:4-7. For a Christian to lose his salvation, he would have to be un-regenerated. If that could happen we would have a yo-yo type of salvation - up and down. Now I'm saved, now I'm not. The Bible gives no evidence that the new birth can be taken away if we misbehave. We can't be good enough to save ourselves, nor can we be bad enough to un-save ourselves.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39. Did Paul leave anything out? Let's see, death? Not if we have believed in Jesus and have eternal salvation. Life? We may live as if we don't believe in Christ, but the way we live won't take away salvation. "Any other creature"? Could that mean not even you yourself can separate you from the love of God? Remember, the same God who saved you is the same God who will keep you. Once we are saved we are always saved. Our salvation is most definitely eternally secure!

Does all of this mean that salvation is easy and simple? Well, yes and no. It is simple in that we simply must believe in Jesus...God Himself who entered His creation to give us the only way to salvation. But the part that is a little more complicated is that we must believe it. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-10. If we say it but don't believe it then we aren't saved. So, it might look like we lost salvation, but we never had it in the first place. I was told a story about an elderly woman who was a lovely lady. She had been married to a deacon for many years and she was very active in serving others. She was a wonderful example of a "good" Christian. She said and did all the right things. One day as she was listening to the pastor speak and she realized that she had never really believed in Christ. Whoops. That very day she placed her faith in His finished work on the cross.

On the other hand there are those who have truly accepted Christ but whose life doesn't reflect Him. Are they saved? Yes, if they truly believe in Jesus. But we are admonished "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30. If believers did not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be unto the day of redemption, but only to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief. It isn't OK to accept Christ then continue in our sin. "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. We need to not grieve the Holy Spirit and begin walking the strait and narrow path. Christians need to fellowship with other Christians in order to encourage each other to walk in His ways. When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their eternal security. It is belief, not actions, which determine if we are saved. God knows who truly believes. God's power is able to keep the believer from falling. It is up to Him, not us, to present us before His glorious presence. Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us maintaining our own salvation. Yes, our life should reflect Jesus, but failure to be perfect won't condemn us if we have truly believed in Him.

Jesus called Peter to be a disciple. Peter saw firsthand Christ's power, learned Christ's words, and made statements that he would never deny Jesus. Well, we all know what happened. When it came right down to it Peter denied Christ. After Christ arose and appeared to His disciples he made it clear that Peter was not condemned but needed to be restored to fellowship. In Peter's first letter he says "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1:3-5. We are kept by the power of God. I'm glad that it is not my own power that keeps this inheritance for me. I would fail miserably.

Jesus Himself states this regarding those who have believed in Him: "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father's hand. I and [my] Father are one." John 10:28-30. Note the word "eternal." Eternal life is just that - eternal. If eternal life can be taken away, it was never "eternal" to begin with. There is nobody, not even yourself, who can take Christ's gift of salvation away from you. Three Greek words are used here and translated "never" which makes this a very emphatic statement. It means never, ever, ever. If you believe in Christ today and have eternal life, but lose it tomorrow, then it was never "eternal" at all. If eternal security is not eternal, then the promises of eternal life in the Bible are in error and God has made a mistake! God makes no mistakes.

We live in an age of grace. I don't know if I can fully understand the blessing of that because I have never lived under the Law. Under the Law there was no indwelling of the Holy Spirit as it is today. There were instances of the Holy Spirit coming upon individuals, but He was not sealed inside a person. Salvation was based upon looking forward to Messiah coming, but each person had to be sure the keep the Law and was always fearful of losing salvation. They followed the Law and made the sacrifices as the Law would dictate. Their salvation was "good" until they sinned again. Even David who was known for his love of God had lost his salvation after he sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband killed in battle. When he was confronted on this he went to God with a humble, repentant heart. From that repentance he wrote Psalm 51. "Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me [with thy] free spirit." Psalm 51:11-12. David was not sealed with the Holy Spirit and salvation could be lost. These words are beautiful and from David's heart but they don't apply to the Christian. We are under the New Covenant and are sealed with the Holy Spirit when we believe. Jesus died to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. Once we believe in Him and His finished work on the cross, we are sealed and salvation isn't up to us keep by our own efforts. The joy of our salvation is the eternal promise that the Holy Spirit will never be taken from us. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9. For a Christian to become unsaved he would have to be "un-indwelt". It just can't happen.

Take joy in what God's Word is saying to you. Instead of doubt we can live with confidence! We have the assurance from Christ's own Word that the state of our salvation will never be in question. Our assurance is the fact that God's love for us is eternal and comes through Jesus Christ. "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." Jude 25-24. Now, get out there and spread the Good News!

God bless you all,

Ron Graham

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All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed

This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham

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