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Monday, December 31, 2012

Salvation by Faith Alone by Arch Rutherford



Salvation, Faith Alone


I’ve been challenged many times with the different views of what true salvation is.  The two main schools of thought are the “Free Grace” and “Lordship Salvation” views.  I personally believe that the scriptures are clear that faith alone in Christ alone will secure your entrance into Eternity.  However, Lordship Salvationists have several passages they point to in order to prove that faith without works is dead.  What exactly does this mean?  I will attempt to explain my view; that there is a major difference in having Eternal Salvation with certainty and being a disciple or abiding in His Word. 

I, by no means, am trying to bring up a point of division among other believers that I feel are trying to abide in His word and be disciples.  This is commendable and what Christ desires for all of us believers to do.  However, this is not the Gospel Message.  Nowhere in Scripture does it say, “If you believe in Me and abide in My Word, you will have eternal life”.

The Free Grace View and Defense
                         
J. Hampton Keathley III in his commentary “Common Assaults on the Gospel” writes:

The sole condition for eternal life is personal faith in Jesus Christ alone as one’s Savior. Christ is enough! This means faith in the person and finished work of Christ as the God-man who died for our sins is the sole basis of one’s salvation. None of the faith plus someone’s add-ons are conditions for eternal life. It is nonsense to speak of a free gift that costs us something or gives us something to do to get salvation (Rom. 4:1-6; 11:6).

The Bible is clear that our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work is enough for us all (John 6:37-40).  This is not to say that works are not good or not desired by God.  But it is saying that faith is all we need to enter the Kingdom of God.

But what is faith?  And what about repentance?  These words, as is salvation, are too often confused with the different translations from the original Greek.  Most often our misinterpretations of the Word comes from our limited view of the Scriptures through our English language.

What Do These Terms Mean?

I am by no means a biblical composition scholar, nor have I a grasp of the Greek or Hebrew language.  But it is fairly easy to gather information on the original text of the Bible through software.  From this, the Internet, and many conversations with biblical scholars, I have found that my own confusion comes from what the words actually mean.  It is much clearer now as to why James and Paul seem to be contradicting each other but by no means are.  Just two different audiences and the uses of different Greek words for salvation, repentance, and faith.

Repentance 
Since English is somewhat limited compared to the original Greek, we need to see which Greek word is used and what it means.
There are two New Testament Greek words which are translated repentance in the modern English translations: metanoia and metamelomai. Metanoia is translated fifty-eight times in the New Testament; the latter only six times. I will be focused primarily on metanoia.
Metamelomai means, “To regret, change the mind” and may connote the idea of sorrow, but not necessarily. It is translated by “regret, change the mind, and feel remorse” in the NASB and NIV, and in all but one of the passages where it is used; the primary idea is a change of mind (cf. Matt. 21:29, 32; 27:3; 2 Cor. 7:8; Heb. 7:21).
Metanoia, the primary word, without question, means “a change of mind.” It refers to the thinking of people who thought one thing or made one decision and then, based on further evidence or input, changed their minds. So, the basic sense is “a change of mind.” This is its meaning and use outside the New Testament and in the New Testament. It is a change of mind that leads to a different course of action, but that course of action must be determined by the context. In a context that deals with forgiveness of sin or receiving eternal life as a gift from God, the course of action is a change of trust because one now sees Jesus as the only means of salvation from sin. 
So repentance for the Jews and Gentiles was the same, they needed to change their mind as to who Christ was.  Once they had done that, they could then accept Him and have faith. 
Salvation
The Word “salvation” is the Greek, soteria and soterion. The basic, unaffected meaning of the word salvation is “to rescue” or “to save, deliver.”   But we must ask a further question about this basic meaning if we are to understand it’s meaning in a particular context: To be rescued from what? In Philippians 1:19 Paul uses the word “salvation,” soteria, to mean rescue from his confinement in Rome. Except for the KJV, most versions translate this word “deliverance.” In that text salvation does not mean rescue from eternal damnation but deliverance from his present confinement in Rome. But, of course, in other contexts salvation does refer to being rescued from eternal condemnation [Acts 4:12] (Ryrie, p. 92).
Compare also Luke 1:71 referring to deliverance from Gentile domination, Acts 7:25 referring to rescue from Egypt, but Acts 13:47 by the context refers to salvation from sin and the gift of eternal life.
So, does is the word salvation always referring to eternal life when the Apostles are writing to brethren?  I think not.  It stands to reason, that since they are considered brethren, that they are referring to impending judgment and delivery from it.  Can we Christians not have temporal judgment at any time?  Of course!  At any time, God can choose to judge us and demand Earthly payment for what we are doing.  This has nothing to do with Christ’s death and payment in full for our lives.  But the natural struggle with the flesh that we are all guilty of and will continue in until we receive our glorified bodies.
The following is an excerpt from J. Hampton Keathley III in his commentary “Common Assaults on the Gospel”.  I find it clearly states what I believe about repentance, faith and salvation.

 The Object of Repentance

Many today make repentance and faith two distinct and necessary requirements for salvation. In his book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J. I. Packer writes:
The demand is for repentance as well as faith. It is not enough to believe that only through Christ and His death are sinners justified and accepted.  Knowledge of the gospel, and orthodox belief of it, is no substitute for repentance.… Where there is … no realistic recognition of the real claims that Christ makes, there can be no repentance, and therefore no salvation.
Is this what the Bible really teaches? Believe and repent are never used together as if teaching two different requirements for salvation. When salvation from eternal condemnation is in view, repent (a change of mind) and believe are in essence used as synonyms. Lewis Chafer wrote:
Too often, when it is asserted--as it is here--that repentance is not to be added to belief as a separated requirement for salvation, it is assumed that repentance is not necessary to salvation. Therefore it is as dogmatically stated as language can declare, that repentance is essential to salvation and that none could be saved apart from repentance, but it is included in believing and cannot be separated from it.
Roy B. Zuck writes:
Repentance is included in believing. Faith and repentance are like two sides of a coin. Genuine faith includes repentance, and genuine repentance includes faith. The Greek word for repentance (metanoia) means to change one’s mind. But to change one’s mind about what? About sin, about one’s adequacy to save himself, about Christ as the only way of salvation, the only One who can make a person righteous.
In Luke’s rendering of the Great Commission he uses repentance as a single requirement in the same sense as believing in Christ (Luke 24:46-47). As Dr. Ryrie says of this verse, “Clearly, repentance for the forgiveness of sins is connected to the death and resurrection of Christ” (p. 97). The repentance comes out of the recognition of one’s sin, but the object of repentance is the person and work of Christ, or faith in Christ. Interestingly, in Luke 8:12 he uses believe alone, “Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.”
A comparison of other passages clearly supports the fact that repentance often stands for faith in the person and work of Christ. Compare Acts 10:43 with 11:17-18; 13:38-39 with 2:38. Also, note Acts 16:31 which uses “believe” alone.
The stated purpose of the Gospel of John is to bring men to faith in Christ (20:31), yet John never once uses the word repent, not once. If repentance, when used in connection with eternal salvation, is a separate or distinct requirement from faith in Christ, then John does not give the whole gospel. And if you can believe that, you can believe anything. Speaking of the absence of John’s use of repent in His gospel, Ryrie writes:
And yet John surely had many opportunities to use it in the events of our Lord’s life, which he recorded. It would have been most appropriate to use repent or repentance in the account of the Lord’s conversation with Nicodemus. But believe is the word used (John 3:12, 15). So, If Nicodemus needed to repent, believe must be a synonym; else how could the Lord have failed to use the word repent when talking to him? To the Samaritan harlot, Christ did not say repent. He told her to ask (John 4:10), and when her testimony and the Lord’s spread to other Samaritans, John recorded not that they repented but that they believed (vs. 39, 41-42). There are about fifty more occurrences of “believe” or “faith” in the Gospel of John, but not one use of “repent.” The climax is John 20:31: “These have been written that you may believe … and that believing you may have life in His name.”
(THIS NEXT EXPLANATION OF SCRIPTURE IS ONE I HOLD TO)
What about Acts 20:21? “… Solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Some would say, “Doesn’t this passage teach that faith and repentance are not synonymous and that repentance is a separate requirement?” NO! Paul is summarizing his ministry in Ephesus and what he solemnly proclaimed to both Jews and Greeks, specifically, repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The two words, repentance and faith, are joined by one article in the Greek text which indicates that the two are inseparable, though each focuses on a different aspect of the one requirement of salvation, namely, faith in Christ.
We can legitimately translate it like this. “Solemnly testifying … a change of mind about God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Repentance, metanoia, focuses on changing one’s mind about his previous conception of God and disbelief in God or false beliefs (polytheism and idolatry) about God (see 1 Thess. 1:9). On the other hand, belief in Christ, as an expression of a change of mind, focuses on the new direction that change about God must take, namely, trusting in Christ, God’s Son, as personal Savior.
It has also been suggested that in this summary Paul is emphasizing the distinction between the particular needs of Gentiles and Jews. Gentiles who were polytheistic needed to change their minds about their polytheism and realize that only one true God exists. Jews needed to change their minds about Jesus and realize that He is their true Messiah (Ryrie, p. 98).

Uses of the Concept of Repentance in the New Testament

A Synonym for Eternal Salvation

Metanoia is sometimes used through a metonymy as a synonym for eternal salvation. A metonymy is a figure of speech by which one name or noun is used instead of another to which it stands in a certain relation. These involve a metonymy of cause for the effect. The CAUSE is a change of mind about Christ and His gospel. The EFFECT is eternal salvation (compare 2 Pet. 3:9, 1 Tim. 2:4, Luke 5:32).

A Non-Saving Repentance (metamelomai)

Under this category we might also include repentance in the sense of remorse, regret with the use of metamelomai. This aspect of non-saving repentance is a repentance or change of mind that does not lead to eternal life or the spiritual blessings sought. Two examples are Judas (Matt. 27:3) and Esau (Heb. 12:17). Compare also Matt. 21:28-32.

A Salvation Repentance

Salvation repentance is a change of mind that results in eternal salvation. This involves a change of mind about self, about one’s sinful condition and inability to save oneself combined with a change of mind about Christ, that He is the Messiah Savior and the only one by whom man can find salvation (Acts 2:38; 17:29-31). Salvation repentance means a change in confidence; it means turning away from self-confidence to confidence in Christ, faith alone in Christ alone. The irony of all of this is that any other viewpoint is really not biblical repentance because it virtually borders on faith in oneself. “In this use metanoia occurs as a virtual synonym for pistis (faith).”

A Christian Experience Repentance

This is a change of mind regarding sinful behavior. An illustration of this kind of repentance is found in 2 Corinthians 7:8-11; 12:21; Revelation 2:5, 16, 21; 3:3, 19. By Paul’s use of lupeo (to distress, grieve) and metamelomai, 2 Corinthians 7:8-11 he clearly illustrates that metanoia does not mean to feel regret, but involves a change of mind.
For though I caused you sorrow (lupeo) by my letter, I do not regret (metalomai) it; though I did regret (metalomai) it--for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while--I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful (lupeo), but that you were made sorrowful (lupeo) to the point of repentance (metanoia); for you were made sorrowful (lupeo) according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow (lupe) that is according to the will of God produces a repentance (metanoia) without regret (metamelomai), leading to salvation; but the sorrow (lupe) of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow (lupeo), has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter (2 Cor. 7:8-11).
Wilkin writes:
On some occasions metanoia is used in contexts where the change of mind in view is clearly indicated as having to do with one’s sinful practices. For example, in Luke 17:3-4 Jesus taught the disciples that they were to forgive all who sinned against them if they came and indicated that they had changed their minds regarding their sin. In this case and others like it “repentance” would be a good translation choice.

Conclusion

Ryrie writes:
To return to the main point of this chapter: Is repentance a condition for receiving eternal life? Yes, if it is repentance or changing one’s mind about Jesus Christ. No, if it means to be sorry for sin or even to resolve to turn from sin, for these things will not save.. Is repentance a precondition to faith? No, though a sense of sin and the desire to turn from it may be used by the Spirit to direct someone to the Savior and His salvation. Repentance may prepare the way for faith, but it is faith that saves, not repentance (unless repentance is understood as a synonym for faith or changing one’s mind about Christ).14
In the third of a series of excellent articles on the meaning of repentance, Wilkin writes:
I wish we could retranslate the New Testament. It would make teaching and preaching passages using metanoia simpler. It would eliminate the confusion many have when they read their Bibles and see the word repent… 
In most cases when the English word repent occurs in the New Testament it is translating metanoia. Metanoia is not the equivalent of the Old Testament term shub. It certainly does not mean “penance.” Nor does it normally mean “repentance.” Rather, in the New Testament it retains its pre-Christian meaning of a change of mind. The English reader thus generally needs to read “change of mind”—not turn from sins—when he sees the word “repent” in the New Testament. The context must be consulted to determine the object of a person’s change of mind.
The only times repent is actually a good English translation is when the object of metanoia is sinful deeds. A change of mind about sinful behavior is equivalent to repentance.
Most of the issues between the two camps are how the Scriptures are interpreted from the English language.  However, when viewing it in context from Greek, many of these issues disappear and the simple meaning of Salvation is revealed.



The Lordship Salvation View and Problems
While there are variations within the lordship camp, all the lordship salvation proponents seem to believe in three things.  The following is an excerpt from “Common Assaults on the Gospel”.  There may be a few left out or some that Lordship Salvationists might dispute.  However, these seem to make up the core doctrine preached by this camp:

(1) The condition of eternal life is more than trusting in Christ

One or more of the following are also conditions of eternal life: turning from sins, being willing to turn from sins, total surrender or committing one’s life to Christ, obedience, and persevering in the faith. Some include baptism in their list of conditions.

(2) The condition of perseverance

Another idea that is promoted is if you do not persevere, then either you were not really saved, or your faith was only intellectual, or you lost your salvation.
Undoubtedly because of the strong emphasis in Scripture on faith or believing in Christ for salvation (about 150 passages in all), proponents of the lordship persuasion find themselves in a quandary. They will often redefine saving faith as consisting of several aspects which include some form of works as evidence of real faith. This forces them into a very contradictory position. Note the contradictory elements in the Doctrinal Statement of a church that teaches lordship salvation. The statement about faith is prefaced with the following:
“Although there are several aspects that saving faith involves, the Scriptures clearly teach that it is not a work, but is itself solidly based on God’s grace.”
But then faith is defined in such a way that it includes works. According to the Doctrinal Statement saving faith includes:
·         Knowledge of the Facts--Faith must be based on the content of the Word of God.
·         Assent to this Knowledge--A person must agree that the facts of Scripture are true.
·         Repentance--There must be a turning from sin and turning towards God.
·         Submission to Christ--There must be a subjection to the person and will of Christ with a desire and willingness to obey.
While new life should result in change or good works, works in the Christian life like turning from sin are a product of fellowship with the Savior or the Spirit-filled, Word-filled life. They are the result of abiding in the vine. Initial faith joins a person into the vine, but it is abiding that produces the fruit. This is why Jesus challenged His disciples to abide. Without it, we become unfruitful.

(3) The promises of the Word are not sufficient for assurance

For assurance of salvation, one holding to this position must also look to his works. They say believers cannot have 100% assurance of salvation merely by looking to the promises of the Word. In fact, many if not most in this doctrinal camp say that 100% assurance is impossible since no one’s works are perfect and no one knows if he will persevere.

It sounds to me, from the excerpt above, that Lordship Salvationists have no more assurance of salvation than those of the Old Testament!  But there are key differences in whom the apostles were writing to and whom Christ was speaking to.  Once this has been established, there are two clear-cut types of Christians:

1)    Those who believe and
2)    Those who believe and abide in His word, which in turn, makes them disciples.

As I stated above, I do not mean to cause division but to show the simple fact that God wishes none should perish and that faith in His Son is sufficient to save one from Eternal Damnation!  But that once we are saved, or believe in Him, the Bible has this to say,  Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ”If (not since) you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.” [John 8:31]  This is His call for us to be disciples not to receive Eternal Life.  That has already been accomplished!  Otherwise, He would not have stated the above to the crowd of non-believing Jews.


A Look at the Book of James

James, after denying Christ through most of His ministry, had become a believer and was addressing those who were already believers.  He is concerned with the carnality of these brethren and trying to convict them to repentance.  One of the other problems, with these Christians, is their holding to legalism.  This seemed to diminish the work of Christ on the Cross and His Resurrection!  But, they were doing nothing that bore fruit from abiding in His word.

It is clear that the epistle is directed to Believers.  James makes this perfectly clear with the following verses:

1)    They were begotten of God (1:18)
2)    They were brethren (1:2, 16, 19, 2:1)
3)    They had faith in Christ (2:1)
4)    But they were religionists as is evident by James warning in 1:26 and by the following facts:
(a)  They were hearing the Word though not applying it (1:22-26)
(b)  They were meeting together as an assembly of believers (2:2)
(c)  They prided themselves on having the Law (2:10-11) and
(d)  Some wanted to be teachers in the assembly and were priding themselves on their mature wisdom (3:1-2).
So the fact that they were believers is not even an issue that is debatable.  The issue is the terms or words used by James in the English translation are not quite as accurate as the original Greek.  The following is a breakdown of the words that most often stumble us when dealing with James and its’ contradictions with the writings of Paul.  The following again is from “Common Assaults on the Gospel”:
 (1) Faith: James is not talking about a real versus a false or spurious faith, one that only claims to be real, but really is not. These were brethren (vs. 14), true believers with real faith in Christ for salvation. But as for their daily walk, their faith was dead, inoperative, and unproductive. Faith, in order to work and be productive, must have a valid object and be energized by fellowship with the Lord; it must grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Pet. 3:18). Their faith had a valid object for salvation from sin’s penalty, but not for the Christian life and victory against the power of sin. Again, compare Paul’s argument in Galatians and in Colossians. See also Matthew 6:30; Colossians 2:6; Romans 10:17; 2 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2:13.
(2) Save: In James 1:21, James speaks about the Word’s ability “to save your souls.” Compare also 2:14 and 5:20. We need to be careful that we do not misunderstand this. The modern English translation has for many only one religious meaning-- “to be saved from hell.” But this is not what James meant nor what his readers would have understood. By context, this meant “to save your life” from God’s divine discipline and the self-made misery of walking out of fellowship. Five times James uses the word sozo, “to save,” which means:
  • To save or deliver from peril, injury, suffering, or physical death (Matt. 8:25; 14:30; 27:40, 42; Mk. 13:20; Jam. 4:12; 5:20).
  • To heal, restore to health or strength (Matt. 9:22; Mk. 5:24; Jam. 5:15).
  • To save or deliver in a spiritual sense from the penalty, power, and presence of sin (1 Cor. 1:21; Jam. 1:21; 2:14; 1 Tim. 1:15). Used of the past, present, and future aspects of salvation. Some passages could refer to all aspects of salvation, past, present, and future.
We simply cannot limit this word to mean salvation from hell. James is clearly saying their faith, in the condition it was in, could not save or deliver anyone from the things that were dominating their lives. But he is not talking about salvation from hell. Why should he? This does not fit the context as demonstrated above. He did need to warn them, however, about the bondage and futility of legalism and dead orthodoxy, and about the consequences of sin-- the loss of rewards and divine discipline even to the point of death (1:15, 21; 4:12; 5:1-4, 7-8, 9, 14-16, 20).
(3) Soul: Soul is pseuche which is translated “life” or “lives” as often as it is translated “soul” (43 versus 47 times in the NASB). In some cases (as in James 1:21) it would be better to translate it with the English word “life” or “lives.”
(4) Works: James is speaking of deeds and actions which are the product of a vital, growing, productive faith in the indwelling Spirit (Jam. 4:5) and the engrafted Word (Jam. 1:21). Paul, by contrast, speaks of dead works, which are done apart from faith, which proceed from the flesh and which are done to gain merit with God.
(5) Justified: This is the Greek, dikaioo, which has two uses:
(a)                   To declare or pronounce righteous and refers to the imputation of righteousness through faith in Christ (Rom. 5:1).
(b)                  But it may also mean to show to be righteous (Mat. 11:19; Luke 7:35; Rom. 3:4; 1 Tim. 3:16) (Abbot-Smith; Thayer). James uses it in this way in 2:21.


Conclusion

We can be certain of our Eternal Salvation if we believe that the Works of Christ Jesus can save us and believe in Him.  This is somewhat of a work in and of itself: repenting or changing your mind about God and believing in Him.  But once we have believed, we are called to be disciples.  This is the major issue. 

Not all will be disciples.  But those that aren’t can still be assured of their Eternal Position.  Those who do abide in His word, He will call disciples.  This is the difference in entering the Kingdom and inheriting the Kingdom.  We should all desire to inherit the Kingdom but all will not.  We are not to judge others on their works when dealing with their Eternal Position.  But we should challenge our brothers and sisters daily to emulate the Life of Christ and do works accordingly.

His simple message is this, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.  How much simpler does it get?


Scriptures to Ponder

Faith Alone for Salvation:

  1. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
  2. Rom. 3:22, "even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction."
  3. Rom. 3:24, "being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;"
  4. Rom. 3:26, "for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
  5. Rom. 3:28-30, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one."
  6. Rom. 4:3, "For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."
  7. Rom. 4:5, "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,"
  8. Rom. 4:11, "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,"
  9. Rom. 4:16, "Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all."
  10. Rom. 5:1, "therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,"
  11. Rom. 5:9"Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him."
  12. Rom. 9:30, "What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith."
  13. Rom. 9:33, "just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
  14. Rom. 10:4, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."
  15. Rom. 10:9-10, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
  16. Gal. 2:16, "nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified."
  17. Gal.3:5-6, "Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 6Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."
  18. Gal. 3:8, "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations shall be blessed in you."
  19. Gal. 3:14, "in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
  20. Gal. 3:22, "But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe."
  21. Gal. 3:24, "Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith."
  22. Eph. 1:13, "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise."
  23. Eph. 2:8, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."
  24. Phil. 3:9, "and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith."
  25. 1 Tim. 1:16, "And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Are you sure?



Assurance of Salvation

I. What is assurance of salvation?
A.   Assurance of salvation is the certainty that one has eternal life that can never ever be lost.
B.   It is knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that one has eternal salvation.
II. Who may have this assurance and when may it be had?
A.   Anyone who has through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ been born again may have assurance of salvation.
B.   Everyone from the very day that they take Jesus Christ to be their Savior may have assurance of salvation.
1.     It is the birth right of every person born into the family of God
III. Why is it good to have assurance of salvation?
A.   God wants us to have this assurance
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”
2.     Whoever has been born again is a child of God. What father out there would not want his child to know certainly the he is indeed his child?
B.   It creates gratitude within us.
1.     In our Christian walk
2.     We do not live in fear
a.     of losing one’s salvation
b.     of maybe not having it
C.   It gives peace
D.   It is the foundation for all things done in the Christian life.
IV. We do not gain assurance of salvation through looking at our works!
A.   They can never give certain assurance
1.     They are subjective. Often our circumstances and daily Christian living in like a roller coaster.
B.   They can give false assurance!
1.     Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you.’”
C.   Looking to our works can create despair
V. Certain, undoubted assurance of salvation comes only through looking to Jesus Christ in His promises by faith
A.   Assurance is of the essence of faith
1.     Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”
B.   When we believe what Jesus says in His promises of eternal life, we certainly know that we have eternal life.
1.     Jesus’ promise GUARANTEES that anyone who simply believes in Him has eternal life.
a.     John 6:47 “I promise your this, anyone who believes in Me has eternal life”
2.     No one can say that they believe Jesus and His promise and doubt if they have eternal life at the same time. It is impossible!
VI. Can assurance be lost?
A.   Yes. Assurance can be lost when:
1.     We take our eyes off of Jesus
2.     and put them on ourselves and our circumstances
3.   Loss of Assurance is not loss of eternal life.
VII. When we lose certain assurance of our salvation, what should we do?
A.   We need to freshly look to Jesus Christ in His promise.
B.   We don’t look at an event in the past, we look to Jesus in the present.

Ending illustrations:
If I said to you, “I put 400 Dollars in your bank account.” And you said you believed me (and you did believe me), what are you certain you have?

Answer: 400 dollars

Only if you doubt me could you not be certain you have the 400 dollars. Doubt precludes faith (in other words doubt cannot exist at the same time as faith) (Mark 4:40; Mark 11:23; Rom 14:23; Jas 1:6)!

If faith = conviction and assurance, being persuaded that something is true, you cannot say that you believe something and at the same moment doubt it. It is logically sound to put forth this proposition: if someone believes something, they consider it true. If you believe Christ in His promise, you consider His promise true.

What does His promise say?

You shall never perish, never hunger, never thirst, never be lost, etc.

Therefore, if you believe Jesus, you consider His promise true. The only way you could not understand that you are forever saved is if you don't believe Christ's message, in other words, you do not believe His message to be true.

A dad talking to his son:

Dad: "Son, I promise you that I put a candy bar on your bed."

Son: "I believe you, Dad."

Dad: "Son. What is it you know you have on your bed?"

Son: "Dad, I have a candy bar!"

Dad: "Are you certain that you have a candy bar?"

Son: "Of course!"

Dad: "Why are you certain?"

Son: "Because I believe what you said about the candy bar."

Assurance is of the essence of faith.

In that one believes, he is certain of what he believes.

If he believes Jesus Christ in His promise, he is certain he is eternally secure, that he has eternal life. If he retains doubt, he neither believes, nor has assurance.