Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: The Lack Of Assurance

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Lack Of Assurance

If I had to specify one doctrine, one fundamental truth of the Christian life that ministers need to properly convey, it is the ability of the believer to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they can have a relationship with God and are on a final destination to be with our Lord in heaven.

That is why I have found myself scratching my head lately as preachers, both of a nationally recognized level down to the local country church, have been dodging the issue, and at times simply making statements to the contrary. I have heard this kind of comment more and more lately; "It is not for me to know or say who is in heaven, only God is judge." This kind of response has come typically after being asked if Jews would be in heaven or someone who died without turning their life over to God through Christ.

Now, of course we cannot know the heart or decision that a stranger has made, nor can we make specific presumptions about someone if they have not shared with us their decision for Christ. But it is this kind of speaking in general terms that is bothering me. The fact is that God has provided a way so that every person who chooses can know with certainty that they are secure in the arms of God. And we preachers need to make darn sure that our people understand that. This isn't a guessing game. We don't do our best and then hope at the end of the day that God will allow us into heaven. God wants us to be certain of our salvation, and ministers need to stop being wimps on this issue. Yes, God is judge, but we can know who is and is not going to be with the Father and in this post-modern world of relativism, that is one concrete truth that we cannot afford to be wishy-washy on.

Consider 1 John 5:12-13 "He who has the Son has the life; He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." (NASB)

I understand that sometimes the believer might experience doubt to their own salvation. Most of us have. But those doubts are typically based on emotion and feeling rather than the fact of God's word. John 10:27-28 says "My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand." (NASB)

If the preacher of God's word cannot be bold andunwaveringg on the basic understanding of sin and salvation, then not good things are happening. Stand firm and know that you can be assured of your salvation!

4 Comments:

Blogger Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Beast,
Once again, I think you are exactly right. Not long ago, I was reading a book by Daniel Preus, a pastor and theologian I respect very much. And he said that one thing that always challenges or frustrates him as a pastor is when you ask your flock, "Are you going to go to heaven?" and they answer with "I hope so." You are right that we can know; we can be certain. And that's not because we have perfect faith that never wavers, but because God's promises are sure.

And this is a statement about the current state of much contemporary preaching, to be sure. Preaching that focuses on man instead of on Christ crucified. We do need to be bold. And we need to be clear.

There is another side to this coin too, similarly related. When you ask Christians if they are going to go to heaven, many will say "Yes, definitely." But then ask them, "Why?" Some will say things like, "Because I love Jesus and gave my heart to him." That's great. I'm glad YOU did that. But is that the reason why you are saved? Because YOU love Jesus and YOU gave yourself to him? Isn't the reason really because HE loves you and HE gave himself for you on the cross?

We are saved BY grace, THROUGH faith. Not BY our faith. In other words, salvation is God's gift to you through Christ. That's by grace alone. Martin Luther described faith as the open hand that receives the gift of God. We don't have faith in our faith. We have faith in Christ and him crucified.

Good post.

April 29, 2006 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Tim Kuehn said...

I think part of the issue is that people don't recognize what absolute dependence they have on Christ for all things - not just for something as "etherial" as salvation may seem to be, but for everything from the food on our tables, the spouse and children we have, and the world that we live in.

Or certainty rests in that the same God who makes and perpetuates all that we see and experience also paid the entire price for all mankinds sins, and worked faith in all believers. From beginning to end - the life we have, the food on our tables, and our salvation and faith - together with the certainty we have of where we'll end up in eternity - is completely God's work.

And our faith - and the certainty thereof - should rest on nothing else.

April 30, 2006 1:56 PM  
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May 25, 2006 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Doug Agnew said...

Great Post.

From a traditional Calvinist viewpoint, you are absolutely right that we can be sure of our salvation, and furthermore, trust in God's preserving our state.

Now, if you're a traditional Arminian, you might know 'right now' if you are saved, but not know if it'll 'keep', because you can always backslide.

Being a Calvinist, I think the Arminian position should probably be:
"save 'em, dunk 'em, and shoot 'em" -- at least then you KNOW you've got one.

(JK)

June 28, 2006 12:33 PM  

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