Across the globe there are people who, behind their preaching, behind their singing and behind their serving, are suffering with a plague of uncertainty regarding their salvation. When they retire to their private places there is a question that remains unanswered: am I truly saved? It’s a question that deserves careful thought. By assured I mean confident. By salvation I mean restored back to God in a way which leads us to live in respect of His holy character and consideration of our fellow human beings. Some think its arrogant to be confident of their acceptance of God’s grace because when they examine their conduct, they see evidence of a human being who continues to fall short of the standard of holiness. Holiness is not doing everything right at all times. In fact, holiness, which is the result of a restored relationship with God through Jesus Christ, has to do with our attitudes toward God. It’s an inner work that transforms us from the inside out instead of the other way around. Let’s consider the following:
- Salvation is a gift: “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God and not of works lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9
- There is a natural tendency to trust in our own good deeds and efforts as reasons to be accepted by God but there is only one way to be reconnected to the Lord and that is through trusting in the work of Jesus the Christ. It requires humility and understanding of the plan of salvation to rest in what God has done versus putting our confidence in what we have done. Remember that there will be many who say “we did this and that in your name” and will hear the heartbreaking words “I never knew you.” Matthew 7:21-23. In other words ‘we never developed a relationship that was based on trust and love.’
- The mission of the Godhead has been, ever since the fall in Eden, to deliver salvation (restore the broken relationship): “Then the Lord God called to Adam and said, ‘Where are you?’” Genesis 3:9
- After Adam and Eve rejected God’s presence in the garden of Eden notice that it was God who pursued them and initiated mending the broken relationship. Matthew 1:21 tells of the birth of the Redeemer: “And she will give birth to a Son and you will call His name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins.” In each case we see God meeting humanity where they were in order to restore them to Himself (He does the same today).
- Sin is the cause of the broken relationship: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God and your sins have hidden His face from you.” Isaiah 59:2
- To sin means more than just rejecting God’s law; it means choosing not to trust Him and in any healthy relationship there has to be trust. Adam and Eve did not trust God and therefore followed the suggestion of the enemy when they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The work of salvation also involves the restoration of trust in God through an increased knowledge of His character.
- Jesus’ life, death and resurrection has made it possible for us to have this gift: “…God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:19
- It is through Jesus that we experience and claim this gift. By being born in human flesh He became humanity so that humanity could be reunited with Divinity; it’s all about being restored and reconnected with our Creator who’s love and interest in us can hardly be described in human language. As we receive and experience this union, we naturally seek to help others experience the same in their lives. In addition to our relationship with God, we also seek to help mend broken relationships amongst each other.
In order for us to be assured of our salvation we must be assured of who God is. Our confidence therefore lies in trusting in Him and not in ourselves. Since His goodness leads us to repent then it is an accurate knowledge of Him that helps us open our hearts to trust in a way that leads to willing obedience to His ways. Like all gifts, we can reject this one but why would we? Its one that is offered despite our feelings of unworthiness. To receive Him is to receive the gift and we can be confident that we are saved when we make this decision.