Summary: Some people should not have assurance, because they are not saved, but when saved people do not have assurance, they are robbed of the joy of the Christian life.
It is not an unusual occurrence for someone to share with me that they are plagued, from time to time, with doubts about their salvation. Some people should not have assurance, because they are not saved, but when saved people do not have assurance, they are robbed of the joy of the Christian life. It is not only possible, but it is absolutely crucial to our effectiveness for God, that we know beyond any shadow of a doubt that we are saved. Our assurance doesn’t need to be based on anything other than bringing the word of God to bear on our personal experience.
What does it mean to be saved?
None of us are completely saved yet. All of us, who have been born again, have been saved from the eternal penalty of our sin. It is something supernatural that God does for us. We cannot initiate it, because we are dead in trespasses and sins, before he begins his work in our heart. We can, however, respond to it with the measure of faith that he gives to us. So, when we speak of surrendering to Christ, we are not talking of something we do on our own. When an individual senses God’s conviction upon the sin in his life, which causes him to be ashamed of his sin and tired of living in it, that is the Holy Spirit. When God clearly shows a person his sin, he opens his heart to understand the gospel and respond to the invitation.
We are presently being saved from the devastating power of sin upon our life to tempt us to do evil. It is called Christian growth. There is a serious problem if an infant doesn’t grow physically. It would be looked upon as a terrible tragedy. There are people who started off as little two, three, four, or five pound bundles, who now are over six foot tall and weigh over 200 pounds. They grew! Our spiritual growth is a growth is seen in our understanding and dependancy upon God. God sees to it that a goodly measure of it just happens via circumstances of daily life. Yet, there is one thing that we can do, that will facilitate our spiritual growth: Seek God! There are three primary avenues by which we may seek God: 1) Prayer; 2) Bible study, scripture memorization; and, 3) Obedience.
Those of us who have been born again have been saved from the penalty of sin, and hopefully we are growing in Christ, therefore, we are being saved from the power of sin. One day, we shall one day be saved from the very presence of sin, then we will be completely saved. That doesn’t mean that we will be any more sure for heaven than we were the second we were born again, but it does mean that what God has purposed to do in our life has been completed. (Ph.1:6) “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
The ultimate answer to the question, “What does it mean to be saved,” is that it means you have been given eternal life. Life means that you live. Eternal means that it never ends.
Who gives eternal life?
The Bible tells us (v11) that God gives it. You cannot over emphasize the word “give,” because the Bible repeatedly teaches that’s exactly the way it comes. Now, as to your assurance, do you believe that God “gives” it, and that this is the absolute only way you could ever get it? One lady recently said to me what I’ve heard many misinformed people say, “We’re all trying to get to the same place.” She meant well. She was trying to make the point that there is just one Lord and one heaven and one salvation and one true church, which is made up of all the genuinely born again people of all ages. However, she was tragically wrong. I’m afraid the person who is basing his hope for heaven on his “trying” to get there is not going to get there. (Ep.2:9) “It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”
How does one receive eternal life?
(V11,) this life is in God’s Son, who is the Lord Jesus. There are many verses that declare that eternal life cannot in any way be divorced from the person of Jesus Christ. We are dogmatic about that because the Bible is. We have indicated earlier that a person receives Christ by faith. This is a faith that acknowledges Christ for who he is , accepts what Christ has done, and aligns one’s self with Christ for whatever the future holds. This faith is not something we muster up, but God places it in our hearts, and as God convicts us of our sin, we find our self very much wanting to receive Christ in our life.