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Salvation is Based on a Fact
How can I witness to someone about their salvation if I’m not certain of my own? The reason some are not certain of their own salvation is because they do not know the exact date or time in which they “crossed the line”. Unfortunately, they may have been told that if they don’t know the date they were saved, then they are not saved. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is an exact second a person crosses the line from darkness into light – an exact moment when an eternal transaction takes place and they are forever a child of God. God knows when that date, time, and place was. But just because you don’t know does not mean you are not saved. If you trust is in Christ alone as your only way to heaven, you are forever a child of God regardless of when you crossed the line.
When Scripture gives assurance of salvation it always goes back to a fact not to a date. We are told in John 6:47, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”
Evangelism is Part of Discipleship
It is important to tell others about the Lord and how you came to know him. But nowhere in Scripture is that a condition of salvation. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It does not say, “whoever believes in him and tells others he is a Christian”.
Telling others about Christ is part of discipleship, not salvation. The first thing Christ ever taught His disciples was evangelism. In Matthew 4:19, He told His disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
God Alone Saves
That misconception is often based on Ezekiel 3:17-19 where God speaks to Ezekiel about being a watchman and warning His people about the coming Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. God told Ezekiel if he did not give the wicked such a warning, he’d be responsible for their deaths. That passage should never be used in evangelism because it is speaking of a physical destruction, not eternal damnation. That verse is not addressing evangelism.
The Scriptures make it clear that God holds us responsible for contact, not conversion. We can only bring Christ to people; only God can bring people to Christ. Christ testified in John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Christ Plus Nothing for Salvation
We are not saved on the basis of Christ plus something—such as our good life, church attendance, keeping the commandments, or taking the sacraments. We are saved on the basis of Christ period. We must be satisfied with the thing that satisfies God. The only thing that satisfied God’s anger against our sin was His Son’s death on the cross. That’s why in John 19:30 as Christ hung on the cross, He proclaimed, “It is finished!” That word “finished” means “paid in full”.
If we are trusting Christ plus anything we have done, then we are not agreeing with God that His Son’s death is sufficient to pay for our sins. Our trust must be in Christ alone as our only way of salvation.
Furthermore, the Bible makes it clear that eternal life is a free gift. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” If a person is depending on anything in addition to Christ to get them to heaven, then they are not accepting salvation as a free gift.
The Problem with All or None Salvation
God wants us to surrender our lives to Him and allow him to have complete control of what He does with them. That though is part of following after Christ as a disciple, not part of salvation. Christ said in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”
Our salvation is not a result of our surrendering our life to Him but instead Christ surrendering His life to the Father as a sacrifice for our sin. The agony Christ went through in doing so is explained by His words in the Garden of Gethsemane when He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)
Proclaim Out of Grace, Not Guilt
As Christians we ought to be willing to confess our faith to others. However, one of the clearest proofs that confession is not part of salvation is John 12:42. “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue”. Here were people who genuinely came to Christ but were afraid to confess him.
Furthermore, examine the story of the thief on the cross who in his final moments of life recognized Christ was the one He said He was. Jesus declared to him in Luke 23:43, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” There was no way he could confess Christ publicly as he died upon that cross – yet Christ welcomed him into His paradise.
Freedom from Guilt
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
Think about that. No condemnation. Think of Jesus standing by the woman who is about to be stoned as He challenges those “without sin” to cast the first rock. As the accusers peel away one by one – aware of their hypocrisy – He simply asks the woman: “…where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” He goes on to say, “Neither do I condemn you…” Just think what it must have meant to her to experience the immense freedom she received in that moment. That same freedom from condemnation is yours – every second of every day.
Freedom from Shame
“Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:11)
I don’t think it would take much to convince you that we live in a culture that perpetually celebrates its fallen nature and is consistently pursuing to put to shame those who seek to live for the glory of God. For many, it feels like they must continually fight the urge to give in, retreat or stay silent when our culture is constantly shaking a rebellious fist against our Creator. But keep this in mind: The world has no power to put you to shame. That power belongs to God alone. He is the one who has bought your freedom, He alone is the author of salvation, and He has declared that if you have trusted in Christ alone, He will never put you to shame. While the world will always threaten shackles of shame when you seek to live out your faith, you’ll find they simply fall off when you turn to the Lord for strength. And in this strength, you’ll find that you are able to join in with the Apostle Paul and proclaim, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).
Freedom from Wrath
“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:9)
If you’ve placed your trust in Christ alone, then your salvation is certain. You eternity is secure. You are free from the wrath of God and forever welcomed as His child. For you, He has moved from judge to Father. Have you ever heard better news than that? Go ahead, take a moment … I didn’t think so. Why not walk boldly in that freedom and live a thank-you life to Jesus that shines His light into a world that desperately needs it more than ever?
In addition to things we are free from, and therefore no longer need to fear, there are three things we are free to pursue – and they are just as awesome.
Freedom to Approach God
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
While even those closest to us may tire of hearing of our desires and needs, God has no such limitation. He is always willing to hear, and even better, to work for your good according to His will. That is why we can bring even our most desperate needs to Him “with thanksgiving”. We do not serve a God who only listens; the Creator of the universe is for you. You can bring every need to Him without any anxiety about how He may receive it. Because of this, we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Freedom to Follow the Will of God
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Following after the will of God isn’t always associated with freedom, but it should be – always. We are no longer enslaved to the bondage of sin; to decisions that result in heartache, injury, offense, and worse. As a new creation in Christ, you have the freedom walk a better way – a way that was previously unavailable to you. We are free to live boldly for Christ and to accomplish the good works He has prepared for us before we even knew His name. To be on assignment for Christ is an awesome privilege and a freedom that should never be taken lightly. Walk in this amazing freedom!
Freedom to be Certain of Salvation
In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
If you have trusted in Christ alone, you can be certain of your salvation. We’ll keep this one simple and let the words of Jesus do the talking: “…if it were not so, I would not have told you.”
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Dallas, TX 75370-3929