Here’s another good one from our own Lee Pierce. He always asks the tough, pertinent questions that most of us shy away from. Take a look… -anita
Are you saved, and do you know it assuredly? I think that’s a question that pesters many Christians (and no doubt, Satan works diligently to build on our uncertainty). I know that sometimes, when I’ve done something particularly egregious, I start to question myself; am I really a Christian, based on what I just did???
I got wrapped up in this question recently and did some searching to see what Holy Scripture has to say on the matter. John 5:13 is a good starting point. “These things I have written to you [believers]…in order that you may know that you have eternal life.” Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:10, “…brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you….” Dr. R. C. Sproul goes so far to say that believers have “a certain duty to work toward attaining certainty about their salvation.”
Okay, you might say; I believe I am saved but how do I know for sure? Jesus’ parable of the sower in Matthew 13 worries me; am I truly good soil? In fact, in some theological circles—particularly Catholicism – we’re taught that we can’t have assurance of salvation. The fear here seems to be that, once a person has salvific assurance, that person no longer will feel a need to obey the Lord and this impedes our journey of sanctification. But this position is not supported well by Scripture.
In the passage noted above in 2 Peter, verse 10 concludes with this thought: “…for as long as you practice these things you will never stumble.” What things? 2 Peter 1 verses 5 to 9 provides a list of attributes which sound pretty much like the fruits of the Spirit [see Col 1:10-12 and Gal 5:22-23].
Dr. Sproul speaks of a reciprocal relationship between assurance and these fruits of the Spirit. His point is that we don’t seek these fruits in order to gain assurance of salvation. Rather, these fruits appear and are operative in our lives because we know the Lord and want to serve and obey Him. In other words, God first acted on our lives, and only then we respond. Knowing that Jesus died for us—if we truly know that and are grateful to Him for His suffering on our behalf—leads us to want to show our thankfulness in how we conduct our lives. We want these fruits to be evidenced in our daily lives. As Dr. Sproul concludes: “True Christians seek assurance not so they can grow complacent in serving God. Instead, they do so in order to grow in holiness.”
If you see evidence of these fruits in your life, give thanks to God. They are there because He is there in your life. As the song lyrics put it: “He’s still working on me….” Thank you, Jesus!