“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life,” (I John 5:13).

Are you saved?  Have you received eternal life?  Are you going to heaven?

My experience in ministry has taught me that many people who should be able to respond to those questions with an enthusiastic “yes” will instead offer a tentative, qualified answer of “Well, I hope so,” or “I think so,” or “I’m trying to.”  If you are among those sincere believers who constantly live with a question mark upon your soul, let me ask you a few questions.

How did you feel when you accepted God’s gift of salvation, confessing your faith in Jesus as God’s Son and being united with Christ through baptism in His name for the forgiveness of your sins?  Did you trust Him at that moment to be your Savior?  Did you know that your sins had been washed away by the power of His cleansing blood?  Did you believe that you were saved?  Did you know that you were going to heaven?         

If your answer to these questions is “yes” (and I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t be), what has changed between then and now?  At what point during the intervening weeks, months, and years did we stop “knowing” that we were saved and start “thinking” or “hoping” that we were.

I am aware of the standard objections.  “Well, sin has taken place since then.”  Yes, indeed, it has; and no one is more aware of that than God.  Even as believers, we continue to struggle with sin and stumble in sin.  To deny this is to deceive ourselves and accuse God of falsehood (I John 1:8,10).  But, for believers with confessional hearts who are seeking to walk in God’s light, we have the promise (guarantee, confident assurance) of continuous cleansing from sin through the blood of our Advocate, Jesus Christ (I John 1:7,9; 2:1-2).

The sacrifice that saved us from sin then is the same one that cleanses us now.  If we trusted in the power of Jesus to save us then, why do we doubt Him now?

Another objection is that confidence in one’s salvation is presumptuous and evidences a lack of humility.  I would suggest that this is false humility and that real presumptuousness lies in questioning the promise of God and the testimony of His word.

God’s testimony of our salvation has been verified by three witnesses: the Spirit, the water, and the blood (I John 5:6-12).  If two or three witnesses sufficed for the verification of human testimony (Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:15-16), how much more for Divine testimony.  “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son,” (I John 5:11).  Do we dare question His testimony or ask for cross-examination? 

John R.W. Stott has written concerning this text:

“… it is common today to dismiss any claim to assurance of salvation as presumptuous, and to affirm that no certainty is possible this side of death.  But certainty and humility do not exclude one another… presumptuousness lies in doubting his word, not trusting in it.

But, what about faithfulness, obedience, and the possibility of forfeiting the gift of God?  These are all good questions which will be considered in the next post.

For now, resist the temptation to presumptuously doubt God’s promise and testimony.  Rejoice that you have received eternal life in Jesus Christ!  Rejoice in your salvation!

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