Monday, January 15, 2018

The Assurance of Salvation

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18).

There are people in this world who are not saved, but who are convinced that they are. The presence of such people causes genuine Christians to doubt their salvation. After all, we wonder, suppose I am in this category? Suppose I am mistaken about my salvation and am really going to hell? How can I know that I am a real Christian?

A while back I had one of those moments of acute self-awareness that we have from time to time, and suddenly the question hit me: “What if you are not one of the redeemed? What if your destiny is not heaven after all, but hell?” Let me tell you that I was flooded in my body with a chill that went from my head to the bottom of my spine. I was terrified.

I tried to grab hold of myself. I thought, “Well, it’s a good sign that I’m worried about this. Only true Christians really care about salvation.” But then I began to take stock of my life, and I looked at my performance. My sins came pouring into my mind, and the more I looked at myself, the worse I felt. I thought, “Maybe it’s really true. Maybe I’m not saved after all.”

I went to my room and began to read the Bible. On my knees, I said, “Well, here I am. I can’t point to my obedience. There’s nothing I can offer. I can only rely on Your atonement for my sins. I can only throw myself on Your mercy.” Even then I knew that some people only flee to the Cross to escape hell, not out of a real turning to God. I could not be sure about my own heart and motivation. Then I remembered John 6:68. Jesus had been giving out hard teaching, and many of His former followers had left Him. When He asked Peter if he was also going to leave, Peter said, “Where else can we go? Only You have the words of eternal life.” In other words, Peter was also uncomfortable, but he realized that being uncomfortable with Jesus was better than any other option!

Assurance grows from faith, and faith means clinging to Jesus Christ. Christians don’t always have full assurance, but Christians always hold fast to Christ when the “chips are down.” Have you ever had a crisis like the one I just described? How did you work it through with God?