Coaching Session #2. Absolute Assurance of Our Salvation
Salvation, or being born again, is the most important aspect of the gospel. The gospel totally assures us of our salvation. If we don’t have this total assurance, then it is always because it is something dependent upon us and our flesh. It is something we need to do or not do. Recall the words of the Rich Young Ruler to Jesus: “What good thing must I DO to have eternal life?” (Matt 19:16).
This is the thinking of most of us: “We must DO something to be saved.” In other words we must prove ourselves in some way. We must show we are worthy, and that we are worth being saved. At least our good points must outnumber our bad points.
The Purpose of the Apostle John’s Writings
But this is not the gospel truth. The apostle John wrote his gospel, and three letters, and the book of Revelation. And he declared the reason he wrote: “These things I have written unto you . . .
(1) that you may know that you have eternal life, and
(2) that you may believe on the name of the Son of God” (I John 5:13).
John’s purpose in writing is to assure us we are saved by believing in Jesus! “Whoever believes in (Jesus) will not perish, but has eternal life” (John 3:15). Eternal life is about the Person of Jesus, no one and nothing else, not even US. “ANYONE who believes in Jesus will not perish, but will have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Self Focus and Assessment
If we live in SELF focus and assessment, the finished work of the cross of Jesus becomes ancient history. It is what must be center focus for our salvation, not what we do or don’t do. Any focus on SELF will detract from, even destroy
any assurance of salvation. None of us are good enough.
This includes trying to figure salvation out in the Bible. Some men were doing this and Jesus said to them: “You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, but they testify about me” (John 5:39). Our job is not to try to figure it out, even from the Bible. Our job is simply to accept our salvation and worship God for it.
The gospel is so good it can only be true,
because only the mind of God could invent it,
and only God’s love could give it to us as a gift!
Not Even Leaders Are Always Sure of Their Salvation
I was in a Christians leaders’ conference (circa 1988-89). This was when I was pastor of The Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Evergreen, Colorado (before I discovered my calling wasn’t to be a pastor). The leader asked the 150-200 of us present to write down one number on a slip of paper we were all given, a number between 1 and 10. A ’10’ would represent we were absolutely totally sure of our salvation, and had no doubt at all. A ‘1’ would state that we were totally unsure of our salvation, and it was up for grabs. There were no 1’s or 2’s, but there were a few 3’s. There were only six 10’s in the whole group. Most recorded somewhere between a 4 and an 8. I wrote down 7.
This just goes to show how uncertain we are of our salvation, if our thoughts are on US, and not on GOD and the finished work of his Son Jesus on the cross. My thoughts were on Jesus, but I also thought he needed my help, in the form of good works I did, to get the job done completely. My vote was about 60% dependent on Jesus and 40% dependent on me.
When we ONLY live the gospel, it clears this up so you’re always
absolutely totally sure of your salvation. You always give yourself a ’10.’
God Must Make Salvation Easy
It’s a true statement that God must make salvation easy, or it would not be fair, because if it weren’t easy, there would be some people who would not be able to understand it, believe it and receive it. We have all types of people in the world, even those who are mentally handicapped. God must make salvation easy for everyone, even for those of us who are lawyers and educated BEYOND our intellects.
We Need Total Assurance of Salvation
If we don’t have total assurance of salvation, we are not firmly rooted and steadfast in trusting God. Salvation, and the resulting effect of trusting God, is the first thing we should deal with as Christians. If we don’t TRUST God, then we don’t BELIEVE God. And if we don’t trust and believe God, we don’t take time to understand, believe and live ‘the glorious gospel.’ Jesus says we shall know the truth, and the truth will set us free — free from any lack of assurance.
Salvation Is Where Living A Gospel Life Must Begin
Gospel life begins being totally sure of our salvation! So many Christians say they believe IN Jesus, but their beliefs and actions show they don’t really BELIEVE Jesus and his gospel. John 3:36 says we can’t do this. We must believe IN Jesus, and we must also believe what he says. Especially when it comes to the person of God, you really can’t believe IN someone, and not believe what that person says to believe! You can’t separate believing IN someone from trusting what that person says!
Let’s say you say you have confidence and trust in a lawyer, and you go to him for advice. But when he gives you his advice, and tells you what to do, and you don’t do it, the question is do you really trust him?
Jesus says the words he speaks are what will judge us in heaven on the last day (John 12:48). If Jesus says to ONLY believe the gospel, what do you think were the words he spoke? It doesn’t take a degree from Harvard to answer this. Paul says God will judge the secrets of our hearts by means of the gospel (Rom 2:16). Belief in the truth of the gospel is vital! It’s not an option! It is not an elective!
When you don’t have absolute total trust in God
for your salvation, then you have trouble trusting God in other areas too.
The gospel is cumulative. Each part is not a vacuum in itself.
The gospel grows and increases as you grasp more and more of it.
When you don’t believe and trust God for your salvation,
other parts of the gospel are more difficult to understand and believe.
Christ’s Blood Assures Us of Salvation
Christ’s blood assures us of salvation, and gives us unity and oneness (atonement) with God (Rom 5:9, 11). This is what gives us PEACE with God (Rom 5:1). Not having the peace of God robs us from trusting and believing him.
Jesus says, “He who comes to me, I will never turn away” (John 6:37). The Amplified Version adds this: “I will never, no never reject ONE of them who comes to me.” If you’ve come to Jesus for salvation, you are saved!
Jesus says we must understand and accept ‘the word of the Kingdom,’ which is the gospel, or Satan tries to steal it from us (II Cor 4:4, Matt 13:19). Don’t let Satan rob the truth of your salvation from you. It does not depend on you, or anything you do. It just depends on your ‘coming to Jesus.’
The name of Jesus is given to us as a gift so we can be saved. If we rely on Jesus’ name, we are saved (Acts 4:12).
We Are ‘Appointed’ For Salvation
God appointed us to receive salvation through Jesus (I Thes 5:9). If you are a believer in Jesus, and if you believe his gospel, you are appointed. This is exactly what Paul says: “God chose us to be saved
(1) through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, and
(2) by belief in the truth.”
There is only one truth Jesus brought: the gospel (Mark 1:15, II Thes 2:13).
Belief in gospel truth is so important.
This is because, If you mix it with law,
with your own opinion, or with any other theology,
you don’t come up with the absolute,
total assurance of your salvation.
Anything else will produce a mixture of doubt.
Remember, Paul says Jesus will not be happy with those who do not believe and obey his gospel (II Thes 1:7-9).
The gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16). It’s not about us. Our ‘work’ is simply to believe in Jesus (John 6:29). God’s grace gives us salvation (Tit 2:11). It is by grace that we are saved through faith, and it doesn’t depend on us, or our control over sin. It is a gift from God (Eph 2:8). It’s not by works, so we can’t boast did anything in ourselves to get saved (Eph 2:9). ((NOTE: I don’t quote all these verses, but I hope you will take time to read them)).
If we trust Jesus, nothing can separate us from God’s love (Rom 8:35). This chapter begins with NO condemnation, and ends with NO separation from God’s love. Again if you live in some form of guilt, which is feeling you have not done enough, you are not living in God’s love.
Jesus actually came to give us knowledge of salvation (Luke 1:76-77).
It’s Hard For Us to Get Our Thoughts off of US
It’s hard to get your thoughts off YOU, and on GOD. We are conditioned to think ‘self,’ and what we need to do, or what we need to do NEXT to be right with God. We’re like the rich young ruler who asked Jesus, “What must I DO to inherit eternal life?” But this is not the nature of the gospel. The gospel is about GOD and our identity and position in him.
This is what the gospel is about. It is about what God does FOR us in the cross of Jesus. But Satan’s greatest goal is to blind us to the gospel truth of God’s Kingdom reality here on earth (II Cor 4:4). He most often does this by keeping his focus on us. If he can get us to disregard the gospel, and not give it priority, especially with regard to salvation, then he has won the WAR with us, not just a BATTLE.
He can then rob everything else from us far easier. If he can get our minds and hearts off the gospel, and on any other form of theology or religion, then we will not be able to believe the rest of the aspects of the gospel we’ll be discussing.
We must have absolute assurance
of our salvation to know Christ’s abundant life.
If salvation is in question,
and we think we are responsible for attaining it,
then all of the other aspects of the gospel that we will
talk about will be in question.
Lack of assurance of our salvation will be
like a barricade or roadblock to everything else.
It’s like you have to be able to get out
of the garage to be able to drive the car.
If we are in Christ, and our trust and dependence is on him,
he doesn’t want us living life questioning our salvation.