Some years ago, I was teaching a lady’s class on the assurance of our salvation. At the close of the class one of the most faithful and dedicated ladies in that congregation came to me and said, “I don’t believe we will know for sure that we are saved until we die.”
Others expressed similar thoughts. The conclusion to this thinking is that even though you have been baptized for the remission of your sins and live the Christian life you must wait until death before you will really know whether you are saved. Many Christians fall into this “NOT FOR SURE TRAP.”
This raises the question; will God keep the faithful Christian in suspense until their death? I can immediately think of a passage that demonstrates God does not play a waiting game with us. In Romans 8:1 Paul clearly tells us about our salvation. He writes, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
There is nothing in the passage that suggests the Christian must live in suspense about his or her salvation till judgment day.
You may ask what about those who are unfaithful to the Lord in their Christian lives? It is a sad fact that many who started out on their Christian walk in time fall away, and ceased to be faithful thus losing their hope of eternal life.
However, I am writing about faithful Christians. Many times, I have heard faithful Christians express doubt about their salvation. Some have honestly told me they were afraid to die because they did not feel secure in their personal salvation. It is more common than we realize.
The problem lies in the fact that many of us have heard very little about God’s grace. In past years’ preachers who preached on grace focused on the false doctrine of “Once in grace always in grace.”
It had nothing to do with the amazing grace God has extended toward mankind.
Our problem with preaching grace is we are afraid we might leave the impression of excluding certain kinds of works. We are afraid it may imply you never have to do anything as a Christian or that there are no obligations imposed on us as Christians. The truth on this subject is that we are not saved by grace alone, neither are we saved by works alone.
It takes the grace of God for us to be saved. There is no way we would ever make it without God’s amazing grace. Grace is all on the part of God and what he has done to make it possible for us to be saved.
Paul makes it very plain that grace is something God gives.
Paul goes ahead to say in verse 10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
God has designed us to be involved in “good works.”
It is out of the gratitude of our hearts that we gladly engage in good works thereby showing our appreciation for His grace.
I am convinced we as a people have not fully accepted God’s grace. For example, have you ever heard someone lead a public prayer and in that prayer, say something like this, “Forgive us our sins since we last stood justified before you.”
This implied that any sins we have committed during the week since last Sunday has not yet been forgiven. Therefore, we have stood unjustified for an entire week and have some catching up to do. The apostle John assures us that as long as we walk in the light of his word, then the blood of Jesus keeps on cleansing us of our sin. (See 1 John 1:7). We do not have to wait until the next worship service for the cleansing of our sins is constantly taking place as we walk in the light.
The whole debt system that we have built into our personality is most incredible. It is difficult to feel forgiven. Even though we are assured in God’s word that we have been forgiven. We still can’t seem to comprehend that it is really true.
Thus, we fall into the trap that if we will just do more: read an extra chapter, pray more, do more good works, the Lord will be better pleased with us. We end up practicing penance, trying to pay something back for our failures.
Some will say, “yes I know that God has forgiven me, but for some reason I cannot forgive myself.”
This is a contradiction in terms. How can you really believe that God has forgiven you, and then not forgive yourself? When God forgives, He buries our sins in the sea of his forgetfulness. You have no right to dredge up anything from the past that God has forgiven and forgotten. Accept your responsibility in the matter. We have no right to reject His grace.
It will help if we will remember that grace is not only God’s unmerited favor it is God’s unconditional love and undeserved mercy and favor. It is also unearned and can never be repaid. The failure to see, know and feel grace drives many Christians to a tragic treadmill of performing, achieving, and striving. They try to atone and pay the debt that has already been forgiven.
We say we believe in grace, but we don’t always act like it. We believe grace in our heads, but not deeply in our hearts. We sing about grace, but it’s all on an intellectual level. Grace has not penetrated to the level of our feelings. We say, “Grace is God’s undeserved favour” but it’s not yet a part of our feelings. We say we believe in grace but we will have to wait for death before we know for sure.
A driver exceeds the speed limit and is arraigned before the court. The judge orders him to pay a fine. But he does not have the money to pay the fine so is sentenced to jail. But a food friend steps forward, pays the fine for him and he is set free from the sentence. There is no longer any legal claim against the violator.
Once we come under the blood of Christ there is no longer any claim of liability against the Lord as long as we continue to walk in the light even if that walk is imperfect. Jesus is that friend, that paid the fine. He is the greatest friend man has ever had.