Assurance Of Salvation
Raised in a Christian home, I grew up hearing the gospel frequently and believed Christ for salvation at a young age. So young, in fact, that I really don’t remember the actual moment of my salvation. As I grew, I became more and more aware of sin in my life. I knew what a Christian was “supposed to” be like. I started wondering if I’d really meant it when I said I believed in Jesus, if I had believed hard enough, or if salvation really “counted” if you didn’t remember it happening. I started praying that God would save me every few prayers, just in case I hadn’t asked right before. I was a little kid struggling with a big, controversial concept – assurance of salvation. I would eventually learn that my fears about eternal security were based in some really wrong theology about God, his character, and the gospel. But at the time I was just trying to cover my bases and calm my own fears.
What I didn’t understand then is that salvation is secure, because none of it rests in my hands.
When I believed by faith, God Himself made me forever His own. It had nothing to do with the strength of my faith or the goodness of my heart, and everything to do with God’s unchanging character and promise.
Becoming A Child Of God Ensures A Secure Salvation
Whether we remember it or not, and whether it is a profound experience a very simple one, there is a moment when each believer becomes one of God’s children. At this specific point in time, God makes many things true of us.
He justifies us, regenerates us, reconciles us to Himself, identifies us with Christ, provides us with the indwelling Holy Spirit, and more. Each of these things is an event that cannot be undone. They are completed actions that provide us with security. We don’t need to be able to feel them for them to be true. God has promised their certainty, and that alone gives us assurance of salvation (Hebrews 6:17-18).
The Whole Nature Of The Gospel Ensures Security
Not only that, but the entire essence of the gospel and how we receive it speaks of the believer’s security.
It’s easy to forget that nothing we did made us acceptable to God in the first place. It was about what Christ did on our behalf from day one. And if we couldn’t contribute to achieving our salvation, nothing we can do will achieve us keeping it. That’s all on God Himself.
On the flip side, our sinfulness didn’t keep us from salvation – God provided for EVERY sin and sinner, no matter how depraved. If our sins didn’t keep us away from him before salvation, how could they cause us to lose our salvation? Life doesn’t become about works once we become believers. At the end of the day, we can feel the assurance of our salvation. The gospel is a completed work – Jesus did it all, from beginning to end.
Can You Lose Your Salvation?
One of the biggest questions surrounding the issues of eternal security is, “Can you lose your salvation?” It’s a polarizing issue in Christian circles, and it’s answer is of utmost importance. Can we, by something we do or don’t do, lose the salvation God has given us? Absolutely not.
A simple way to understand this is by comparing our relationship with God to that of a parent and child, which God does many times in His word. A child can walk away from their parents, they can be estranged and refuse to speak to them, they may even consider their parents dead to them. They aren’t living like they belong to the family they came from. But genetically, they cannot change the fact that their parents are their parents.
In the same way, one who is born again as a child of God will always belong to Him, regardless of the way they choose to act (1 John 3:9, 1 Corinthians 11:32, Hebrews 12:4-13). There may be sin in the believer’s life that God must lovingly address and discipline, but this does not make he/she an unbeliever. One who has at any point trusted in God’s salvation can never be lost again.
It can be easy to grow fearful when we see sin in our lives that we know isn’t the fruit of the Spirit. It’s tempting to wonder if our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors indicate that we aren’t actually saved. That’s when we must look at the saving work of Christ and remember that it is His goodness we depend on, not our own.
Martin Luther said it right –
“So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”
How Assurance Of Salvation Affects Us
As believers, we have eternal security. Once we belong to Christ, we can never be lost. Assurance of salvation, however, speaks of personal confidence in God’s revelation of that security. A believer is secure whether he/she realizes it or not, but it is as we come to realize it that we then experience assurance in our souls.
When we’re not sure our salvation is full and certain, we can struggle with anxiety, fear, and stunted growth in our Christian lives. We won’t be confident in our relationship with the Lord until He brings us into certainty about what He’s done for us and who we permanently are. And as He does, we’ll see our confidence and stability take root in who He is.