Have you ever had a flicker of doubt over your salvation, wondering if you’re truly in the faith that saves?
This message is mainly for those who’ve made a confession of faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and accepted Him as the Lord (Master) of their lives. And yes, we’ve been obedient to Him in Christian baptism as well. Yet there are numerous passages of scripture in the bible that should concern us—things Jesus Himself spoke, which clearly indicate that many people will think they are saved, when they are not. Some have a false assurance of salvation. I’ll offer just one biblical example here out of many scriptures from which we could choose, just to show there is such a thing as false assurance.
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:22-23
Here’s a few others for those who may want to look them up. Luke 13:25-27, 2 Peter 3:17, James 2:18-20 & Hebrews 12:14.
So, what is a sure self-test to make certain we are in the faith? I believe there’s a few different ways we could evaluate our standing before God. Such as: what spiritual fruit are we producing? But I believe the following is the surest test of all.
Most every Christian can tell you what Jesus said when He was asked ‘What is the greatest command in the bible?’ Because keeping it, along with the 2nd greatest command, will bring the whole of our lives into harmony with God’s desire for us. “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
I’m confident to emphatically and didactically state that the number one defining characteristic of a Christian is love for Christ Jesus. (The true biblical Jesus)
Real Christians will always love God, and yet not a single one of us love Him perfectly. I like the admonition Dr. John MacArthur employs in his book, “Christ’s Call to Reform the Church.” He writes, “While the genuine believer will always love the Lord, the intensity of his love can fluctuate over time. The redeemed person’s love for Christ must be carefully guarded and nurtured, or it will diminish with time.”
How well I’ve noted this truth in my own relationship with our Savior. Every relationship must be deliberately cultivated and fed, or else our affection will atrophy and shrivel up like a muscle long unused. We don’t want to allow our love for Jesus to cool. Remember what our now glorified Christ said when writing to one of the 7 church’s in Revelation? “I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm— neither hot nor cold— I am about to vomit you out of My mouth!”
While He was on earth Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30
Our Lord makes it clear that a definite decision must be made, because he doesn’t tolerate fence riders, or those with one foot in and one foot out.
Neither does Jesus soft pedal when He shows us what a true love for Him looks like. “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” Jn 14:21 NLT
I’ve always cherished the promise that comes at the end of that verse. I’ve put it to the test and God is always faithful to keep His word—He’s revealed Himself and His love for me in ways that only He could know to do, based upon my individual personality and even on my idiosyncrasies. He knows me better than I do. What an awesome God! He will do the same for each of us.
A truly redeemed soul soon discovers the bible to be the authoritative word of God. Naturally, love for His word becomes a distinctive characteristic of Christians also. The bible is authoritative above the church and above every person on earth.
Do we have an intense burning desire to please God? Do we hate sin and love righteousness? Do we sincerely weep over our sinful failures as we confess them to Him? That’s called a godly sorrow. But He’s so patient and forgiving! He takes my sorrow over the times I mess up and transforms it into supernatural joy! Do we really strive for obedience to Jesus? If so, we have genuine assurance of salvation and our names are engraved upon His palms—we are forever His.