One of the principal differences between Christianity and other religions is that we know for sure what happens to us (personally) after death. In no other religion, can devotees claim 100% assurance of salvation or its equivalent.
1 John 5
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
1 John 4
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment;
These things were written so we may know for sure we are saved (1 Jn 5:13). Rom. 8:16 state that the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are sons of God. 1 John 4:17 continues that because of God's love for us, we can have boldness on the day of judgment confident that our salvation is assured. God wants us to be free from the fear of losing our salvation. How do we achieve this? By understanding the love of God. God saves us, keeps us, and sustains us. When we understand the love He has for us and the sufficiency of His grace, we will not worry about losing our salvation, but have confidence in His sustaining power. I dare say that anyone who fears losing their salvation does not really understand God’s love.
Ironically proponents of unconditional eternal security (once saved always saved) are among the strongest opponents of the doctrine of assurance, although they do not realize it. They believe that if someone falls away, it is proof that they were never saved since genuine believers can never be lost. If it is only after they fall away we can claim that they were never really saved, how can anyone know that they are truly saved before they “not fall away”? Don’t we have to wait till we “endure to the end” before we could say with 100% assurance we were really saved? This is the difficulty the Calvinist must deal with.
Many people mistake assurance of salvation with the assumption of salvation. They prayed a sinner's prayer to they assume they are saved. Their name is listed in the church roster, so they assume they are part of God's elect. True assurance of salvation is based on the evidence of a changed life. Consider the following scriptures also from 1 John:
1 John 2
3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
1 John 3:10
10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.
1 John 4
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
The unregenerate man knows nothing of the love of God, although he may be a good person. When we find ourselves doing right and living in the unselfish love of God, we see definite evidence of the regenerate nature. When we find that we just want to keep God's word, then we know that his love is alive in us. When we find that we love each other, then we can say for sure that His Spirit dwells in us. Although we may still commit sin (as opposed to practice a sinful lifestyle), it is clear that there has been a change. That assures us that we are in Christ, and that we are saved.
So the Bible does not teach blind assurance. Some people are deceived and have a false hope (Matt. 7:21-23). The evidence of the regenerate nature is what gives the assurance that God has begun a work in us, and knowledge of what was written assures us that He will finish it.Home PDF Comment Bookmark