Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Evidence of Salvation (John 16)

For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God” (John 16:27).

We learned in yesterday’s lesson that a person can have no true assurance of salvation without a correct understanding of the way of salvation, which is only through Jesus Christ. While this is necessary for assurance, people must also examine themselves to discover whether they are in a state of grace. A hypocrite can believe the right things, but not have true faith, true repentance, true obedience, and true love for Christ. Such a hypocrite might imitate true believers in outward conformity to the law, but not have the essence of true grace in his heart. Therefore, examination goes beyond simple outward obedience (even though this will necessarily flow from a heart that loves God). God says He desires not sacrifice, but a broken and contrite heart, a heart that is humbled and confesses its need for Christ.

One can already feel the difficulty of self-examination. If you are expecting to see perfect faith, perfect repentance, perfect obedience, and perfect love, you will never be assured of your salvation. The question is whether you have any of the graces in your life. True grace in a believer is not a matter of degrees, of how much, but a matter of the truth of it. Every believer is different and cannot be compared to another. Therefore, you must use the guidance of Scripture and examine your own heart to discover whether you truly love Christ. Here are some things to look for: James asks whether faith can have no deeds. He answers with an emphatic “No” (James 2). Therefore, true faith bears fruit. Jesus said you will know a tree by its fruit. Do you have any good fruit? Any desire to follow all of God’s law?

Lastly, do you love Christ at all? The Scriptures say the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart. Peter writes, “Though you have not seen Him you love Him” (1 Peter 1:8). Only a person indwelt with the Holy Spirit and renewed by His power can love Christ, for the natural man hates the things of God. While your love will in no way be perfect, examine your heart to find any true affection and love for Christ. If you do love Him, which is evidenced in a desire to serve Him, be assured of your place at that heavenly feast before the very presence of God.

Read John 13:35; 14:15, 23. What kind of love is true love for Christ? Do you have this kind of love for Christ? (Remember that it is not perfect love but true love). Why can a hypocrite not have true love for Christ? Do you just seek to obey God outwardly, or does your obedience flow from a love for Him?