Repent & Believe

Repent & Believe

Saturday, October 19, 2013

How Can I KNOW If God Has Saved Me? - Part 7

  • Examine Yourselves, Prove Your Own Selves - This is a very important question that we should all seriously consider, “How Can I KNOW If God Has Saved Me?”. This question gets to the essence of what life is all about. God tells us everything we need to know with regard to His salvation plan for mankind in His Book, the Bible, and God explains that assurance of our salvation is indeed possible as 1 John 5:11-13 explains. We must realize that God does ALL the work of salvation. The Bible teaches that we cannot save ourselves. No church, no religious ritual, no person, and no human effort can save us. Only the work done by the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross and by the Holy Spirit in our hearts can save us. Believing, or having “faith”, in the Lord Jesus Christ is the result of salvationnot the cause of it. Rom 5:10 declares that if God has saved you, your spiritual war with God has ended: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life”. In other words: If God has saved you from Hell, the Lord Jesus Christ paid for ALL of your sins with His life so that you now have eternal life, and you made no contribution to your salvation in any way, as Tit 3:4-7 declares. However, if God does not save you before you die or the Lord Jesus Christ returns in judgment, you will face eternal damnation in Hell under the wrath of God as a payment for your own sins. If God has already saved you from eternal damnation, He has put His Spirit within you and resurrected your soul (that is, you became a new creature in Christ); as God stated in the verses Eze 36:26-27 and 2 Cor 5:17. In 2 Cor 13:5 and 2 Pet 1:10, God commands us to evaluate our spiritual condition to determine if we truly have received the gift of eternal life based on what the Bible teaches about salvation. In this seventh part of the study we will ask ourselves several questions based on the biblical evidences of salvation to help us “examine” the state of our souls. May God cause each of us to seriously examine our self in the light of His Word to discover whether we are indeed a child of God or not. If we are not (or are not sure), wonderfully today is still the day of salvation; and we can cry out to God for mercy, read His Word, and wait (trusting altogether) on Him.

1 John 5:11-13 “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

Tit 3:4-7 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Eze 36:26-27A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

2 Cor 13:5Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

2 Pet 1:10 “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”

  • Are you becoming more comfortable with the True Gospel of Salvation (based on the Sovereign Grace of God) so that it is neither foolish nor offensive to you? – Do you fully understand that God does ALL the work of salvation and are you willing to give Him ALL the praise and glory for His precious gift of eternal life? The common denominator of all the man-made religions and false gospels of the world is mansworks”. It is the belief that man must do something, somehow participate in his salvation, to obtain a right standing with God. That idea is perfectly “logical” from a human perspective because we are self-centered beings. God, however, has stated very clearly that salvation is by His grace through the faith of Christ and not by mansworks” (efforts) in any way, shape, or form (Eph 2:8-10). The Bible clearly teaches that salvation is totally by Gods sovereign grace, love and mercy; and those three elements – along with everything else associated with salvation – are unearned gifts from God to His people. Only God can give a person eternal life. God must draw the elect to Himself and grant them repentance, spiritual understanding, faith to trust Him, and a capacity to love and obey Him. Only God can create a new eternal soul, or “heart”, and make a “new creature” of a person, as we read in Eze 36:26-27. There are no conditions, or requirements, that an individual must meet to be chosen by God for salvation. The entire salvation process depends entirely on the sovereign grace of God completely separate from any human effort or collaboration as Rom 11:6 so clearly explains: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work”. And Eph 2:9 realistically tells us why: “Not of works, lest any man should boast”. Unsaved man hates the doctrines of Gods Sovereign Grace. His natural, sinful pride causes him to reject the notion that God is totally in charge of His own salvation program. Salvation of man is for Gods glory alone. God also makes it clear in Isa 43:25 that salvation is primarily for His honor and glory – not man’s benefit: “I, even I [God], am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins”. Rom 9:11-12; 15-22 depicts the miracle of salvation, by the sovereign grace and power of God, to redeem man from Gods wrath that he certainly deserves.

1 Cor 2:14 “But the natural man [unsaved] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

1 Cor 3:18-20 “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise [in the Word of God rightly dividing Truth comparing Scripture with Scripture]. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”

John 6:37, 44-45, 65 “37All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me 65And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”

Rom 9:11-12, 15-22 “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth… For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest [disputes] against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory …”

Eph 1:3-6 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

Eph 2:8-10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

  • As you grow in grace, do you have a greater Desire to be a Witness for Jesus Christ? – If God has shown mercy on you through salvation, are you showing mercy to others by telling them about the miraculous work that Jesus Christ has done for you? God commands all of His saints to “go ye into all the world” and to “shew mercy” to the lost by being “ambassadors for Christ” and proclaiming the “Gospel of Christ”. We also read this in 2 Cor 5:20, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christs stead, be ye reconciled to God”. God’s “saints” (true believers) shall praise and bless the Lord for His grace, love, and mercy upon them and shall tell others about His glorious salvation, as Psa 145:10-12 declares: “All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom”. In Rom 10:13-17, God gives us some insight as to how He executes His salvation program. This passage describes a circular process with three key elements – “Gods Word”, “hearing” and “faith”. Then we (believers) are suppliers of the Gospel, as we declare the Gospel to others and God draws more of His elect to Himself. As believers bring the Gospel they are a “sweet savour of Christ” to the people of the world, as stated in 2 Cor 2:15-16: “For we [believers] are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, ...”. The Gospel is a two-edged sword that cuts one way to eternal life and the other way to eternal damnation, and God uses it to accomplish His purposes in the lives of those who come in contact with it. Why does God use imperfect men clay potsto evangelize the world? It is to show His power to save, so that He gets ALL the honor and glory, as 2 Cor 4:7 states: “But we have this treasure [Gospel] in earthen vessels [men], that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us”. Speaking truth is a necessity while proclaiming Gospel. Acts 4:20 is an excellent reminder for those of us who claim to be the Lords servants: “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard”. Note carefully that the apostles (and all believers) also “declared” to others the true message of the Gospel. This is certainly applicable to all who have been born from above and is the chief task for those of us who are ambassadros of Christ. 2 Cor 11:2-4 reveals Paul’s concern for some in the Corinthian church who were being exposed to false doctrines. In our day when apostasy abounds and false gospels are legion, we would do well to keep in mind the admonition of Gal 1:6-9: “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed”. Could it be that if God has redeemed us by His grace, we would be obedient to Eph 4:15, which states, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ”. Without a doubt, one of the most difficult arenas in which to be a witness is among our own family members. It is indeed a proving ground without parallel, and we face all kinds of tests daily. How are we going to react? Are we going to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit or the works of the flesh? Thus, family life according to Gods Word becomes the forge, hammer, and anvil that shape our Christian living and growth.

Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Rom 10:13-17 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Gal 1:6-9 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed (or damned) As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (or damned).”

2 Cor 11:2-4 “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

2 Cor 2:15-17 “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

  • Are you ready to Suffer for Jesus sake and Gospel sake? – It seems that in our day one hears little about the trials and persecutions that believers have historically faced (Mat 5:11-12). Rather many are touting the harmful idea that the Bible promises physical well-being, financial prosperity, and political freedom as the unquestioned rights of each Christian. Nothing could be further from the truth! Indeed, Christians are called upon to suffer for righteousness sake, and never for evil-doing, as we read in 1 Pet 4:12-16: “... let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other mens matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf”. 2 Tim 3:12 adds, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” and Php 1:29For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake”. After all, we are to pattern our lives after the Master whom we follow. Jesus said in John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you …”. The believer’s task to live for Christ and for the proclamation of the Gospel will not be without problems, challenges, and trials. During those times we do well to remember the words of comfort He also proclaimed in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”. Furthermore, Rom 8:17b reminds us: “… if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together”. This is a divine pattern established by the Lord Jesus that the Apostle Paul wanted to emulate, as we read in Php 3:10: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”. God used Paul as an outstanding example of “suffering” as he typifies His Master in this respect. God lays out to Ananias what Paul could expect throughout his future ministry: “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my names sake” (Acts 9:16). Paul, as a picture of Christ Himself, suffered greatly throughout his lifetime, and yet it was through these very sufferings that he came to understand more fully that his strength camewhen he was weakestfrom his faithful God as 2 Cor 12:9-10 affirms. 1 The 3:3-4 further teaches: “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know”. These exhortations give evidence of the serious commitment to the task of sending forth the True Gospel that all Christians are to reflect. In 2 Tim 2:9-12, Paul is making the point that in spite of the troubles that he had experienced as a “messenger” of the True Gospel, the “message” of the Gospel can never be thwarted or hindered in any way at all. A Christian must demonstrate the love of God by patiently bearing, or enduring, adversity for the cause of the Gospel of Christ as seen in 1 Cor 9:11-12.

Mat 5:11-12Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

1 Pet 4:12-16 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christs sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other mens matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

Rom 8:16-17 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

1 Cor 9:11-12 “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer [to endure patiently] all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.”

2 Tim 2:9-12Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elects sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:”

Rom 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

2 Cor 12:9-10 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christs sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

  • Do you Yearn for the day when you will Meet your Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, face to face? 1 Pet 1:3-9 outlines the glorious future that awaits every believer: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God ...”. The resurrection of the dead will occur on the Last Day, or Judgment Day, which coincides with the end of this world, the end of time, and the ushering in of eternity for both the saved and the unsaved. When a true believer dies before Lord returns, his physical body is buried, but his soul, or spirit essence, goes immediately to be with the Lord in Heaven as 2 Cor 5:8 says, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord”. Nearing the end of his life, Paul, under divine inspiration, utters these words in 2 Tim 4:6-8: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”. It should be noted that a “crown of righteousness” is not an additional reward of some sort; but it is a reference to the precious gift of eternal life. It is God Himself, Who is both a believers hope and reward. In Tit 2:13 we read: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”. Php 1:6 explains that the believer’s confidence is rooted in the fact that the work of saving grace which the Lord Jesus has initiated in his life will be brought to completion one day : “Being confident of this very thing, that he [God] which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”. Think of it: The Almighty Triune God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, His Eternal Majesty is at work to finish what He has started in the infinitesimal lives of His people! Could it be that God might so work in each of us that we might affirm along with the Apostle Paul the words of 2 Tim 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”

1 Pet 1:3-9 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls

1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

2 Cor 5:1-2, 6-9 “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven … Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”

Rom 14:8 “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lords.”

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