>Blessed Assurance or Confound Confusion?
>I am convinced the reason most Christians don’t share their faith is because they have yet to “work out their own salvation with fear and trembling” and thus have no assurance of their relationship with Christ. That is patently sad because the mission statement of the little letter of First John is “that you may know that you have eternal life.” Yet all too often people know 1 John 5.11-13 but never read the entire letter to see what “these things” are.
I read the following yesterday on J D. Greear’s Blog and resonated deeply with his comments. What do you think? Let me know in the comments…
How Can I Know I’m Saved?
Over the years I have found that an astonishing number of Christians do not possess an assurance of their salvation. They are hopeful, and fairly sure, but still—in times of struggle and doubt, they cannot find that absolute certainty that they belong to God and are safe with Him. This doubt cripples your ability to grow in your love for God, as assurance of salvation is the basis of the security that produces radical obedience and the gratefulness that produces radical generosity.
Many believers are troubled because they can’t “remember” the moment when they first made the decision to trust Jesus. That doesn’t really matter at all. All that matters is that you’re trusting Him as Lord and Savior right now. Think of it like this: I walk into a classroom and sit down in a chair. About halfway through the class you ask me if I ever made a decision to sit in the chair. I say “yes,” and you ask me how I know that I made that decision. I don’t walk you through the decision making process that led me to sit in the chair, reviving the logic and emotions that caused me to take seat. I simply show you that I am currently seated.
The fact that I am seated means that at some point I made a decision to sit down, even if I can’t remember making that decision. This is what John 3:36, 1 John 5:13, Romans 4:5, Romans 10:9-10 say clearly… there are only two categories. Those currently believing, submissively, the testimony God has given about His Son, and those in defiant disbelief.
What is important is not that you can remember the moment of your salvation, or that you made the decision “correctly,” but simply that you are seated in Christ’s righteousness and in His authority right now. To press the analogy a bit further, either you are standing in your own righteousness and your own lordship, or you are seated in His salvation and His Lordship. There is no third option.
Often times we look for assurance by re-examining what happened to us at the moment of our salvation, be that 2 years, 5 years, or 25 years ago. If we feel good about that moment, we feel secure. If we don’t, we doubt our salvation.
The Bible never talks about assurance as remembering what happened 5 years ago. “Believing” is always a present tense, not past tense verb. Assurance comes from reflecting on our present reality, not from remembering past decisions.The Bible tells us not to find assurance by resting in what happened 2 years ago, but by resting, in this moment, in what happened 2000 years ago. If you are doing that at this moment, then (if never before) you are saved right now.