Getting Out of Our Own Way
Assurance of salvation is a rather dicey topic for some. Many Christians, including myself, struggle with the security of being in Christ. It’s like a roller coaster. One minute we are certain and the next minute we doubt. When a New Testament Christian is asked the question, “Are you saved?” They often respond with the words, “Absolutely. I followed the steps just like the Bible says.” But ask them if they are going to heaven when they die and the typical response is, “I hope so.” Why aren’t more Christians living with confidence that this life will end in heaven?
One of the major hindrances to assurance is ourselves. We cannot seem to get out of our own way. We overthink things. We put too much stock in our feelings. We fixate on our own ineptitudes rather than the grace of God. We allow self-imposed burdens to crowd out our confidence. We are really good trash collectors, but we are not very good garbage men. We are good at piling it up, but we are terrible at throwing it out. One of the biggest obstacles to assurance is getting past the mindset of our culture. We live in a performance-based society, and this mentality often influences our thinking when it comes to salvation. We tend to believe, on some level, that if we could just perform better that we could somehow earn our spot in heaven. Many feel they need to be good enough in order to be saved. We know that’s not the case, but we have such a hard time grasping the immense love and grace of our Heavenly Father.
Our fixation needs to change. Our focus needs to shift. If you are your own Savior then you are in a world of trouble. So, stop trying to save yourself. And please remember a few things:
- The cross was for you! As Paul so eloquently and profoundly stated, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
- Salvation comes from one source and one source only. Acts 4:12—“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
- No one is beyond the scope of God’s grace. 2 Peter 3:9—“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
- You can be forgiven! In Luke Chapter 15 we find a wayward son who, after taking his Father’s inheritance and spending it on loose living, comes to his senses. He returns home with a repentant heart and says, “I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Lk. 15:21). And notice the father’s response, “[L]et us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again” (Lk. 15:23 & 24). The prodigal son had been unfaithful. Being separated from the father’s household meant that he was dead; not physically but spiritually. He had cut ties with the father. He had left the family. But upon his return, he found life again. He found acceptance. He found the security he had disowned. He found forgiveness.
So the next time Satan whispers in your ear, “Are you really sure you are saved?” Or, the next time you are tempted to doubt your salvation. The next time you feel that, perhaps, God no longer wants you, read the following verses from Romans Chapter 8:
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 3Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (vs. 35-39).
My friends, that is assurance! Do you believe these words? Do you trust what is being said? Would God lie to you? Focus on the cross. Follow Jesus. And when you fall, seek forgiveness. Keep moving forward unhindered by the weight of unnecessary baggage. Trust in the God who made salvation possible. Don’t just hope for heaven. Live with the confidence that it is a reality for you.