Assurance of Salvation

The other day I was doing a Bible study with a friend. My opening question I like to ask is whether you are 100% sure that you will go to heaven. She wasn’t. She thought of her sins and couldn’t be 100% sure that God would accept her into heaven. But at the end of the study half an hour or so later, she was 100% sure. Praise God!

The study I was using is from Matthias Media and is called, Just For Starters. Every now and then you find a study or series of studies that just “nails it”. I have to admit that I am yet to find an investigating Christianity course that I think really nails it. There are many that are good, but none that I have seen that really nail it! But when it comes to a gospel presentation, Matthias media’s Two Ways to Live “nails it”. And when it comes to a set of studies for Christians new to the faith or ‘young’ in the faith, Just for Starters nails it. I can’t speak highly enough of these ministry tools. Just for Starters was written for following up new Christians, but it really is good for any Christian who could use a good grounding in the basics, even if they have been Christian for 50 years.

Here’s the passage we studied. Romans 5:6-9 says:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— [8] but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [9] Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

There is much suffering in the world, and saying that God loves you can sound hollow. But God showed his love for us at one particular point: when Christ died for us (verse 8). That is where we see God’s love. And he showed his love to us “while we were still sinners” – in fact, while we were his enemies according to verse 10. It is not good Christians for whom Jesus died, but sinners and enemies. God’s love is unconditional. We do nothing to deserve it. It simply comes from God himself, from his own heart of love. In his love he gives Jesus to die in our place – to take upon himself the penalty of death that we deserve. You and I should suffer the judgement of death because of our rebellion against God. But Jesus suffers it in our place. In God’s great love for me and you, Jesus takes the punishment we deserve.

Verse 9 says that this means that we are now justified. We are now right with God. We are God’s friends. Now that we are right with God our future is secure. Verse 9 contains a future tense verb: “shall we be saved”. Often we speak of salvation in the present tense: “I am saved”. This is fair enough and true. However salvation here is in the future. On judgement day we will be saved. What we are saved from as Christians is the wrath of God that we deserve for our rebellion against him. Jesus’ death (“his blood”, verse 9) means that we are now right with God (“justified”, verse 9). As those who are right with God and his friends, we will be saved from God’s wrath (verse 9). If God made us right with him as his enemies and as sinners, how much more will he spare us from his wrath as his friends.

Therefore when judgement day comes we will be spared God’s wrath. Why? Because Jesus has died in our place and taken the punishment for our sins. Can you be sure you will be saved? Yes – 100% sure. Jesus didn’t die 70% for our sins, or 90% for our sins, or even 99%. Either he has paid the penalty for our sins, or he hasn’t. Either we are right with God and will be saved, or we are not right with God and will not be saved. It is “Yes” or “No”, black and white, 100% or 0%. Either we will be spared God’s wrath or we won’t be.

Upon what basis will you be spared God’s wrath? Jesus’ death in your place. Not your faith. Not your works.

If I put my trust in my works, I will never have assurance of salvation. But I’m not saved because I believe any more than because of my works. I don’t put my trust in my faith. The object of my faith is not my faith. The object of my faith is Jesus’ death on the cross. And that is certain. I may have doubts. My faith is not 100% perfect, any more than my works. But Jesus’ death is 100% perfect. My sins are paid for. I will be spared God’s wrath. And so I am 100% sure that I will go to heaven.

I hope you are too.

Related Post by: Tim Challies

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One response to “Assurance of Salvation

  1. Hi Martin… this teaching is crucial and at the heart of the Gospel message. It’s easy to proclaim the gospel message but then ‘add’ to it when applying it to our lives. I liked how you put it that our assurance of salvation is not based on our works or the ‘strength’ of our faith. It rests in the fact of what Jesus has done for us on the cross.

    Another point to always remember is that realising this always ensures that Jesus gets all the glory and not us through ‘our ability’ to earn our way through heaven’s gates. Often people quite easily say that you can do nothing to earn your salvation, but at the same time say you can lose it based on what you do after you are saved. I disagree with this mentality. I feel our perseverance in our faith despite the ups and downs reassures us of our salvation and proves the reality of what God has already done within us by transforming our heart and causing us to be born again spiritually. If you choose to continually go against God, then there is little evidence of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit within and along with that little assurance of salvation.

    The good news of the gospel message is that we can rest in what Jesus has done and not rely on our own efforts to earn or keep our salvation. That is very reassuring. However in saying that how we live and respond to Christ will indicate to ourselves and others the presence of God in our lives and the transforming work He is doing/done within us. Granted we all have struggles and have periods of ups and down in our spiritual walk, but it’s impossible to become a Christian and remain the same.

    A great topic to talk about!!!

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