One of the many issues that trouble the heart of a young Christian not only has to do with the assurance of his/her salvation, but also with whether or not he/she may be able to remain till the end and not go back. This is not just an assumption on our part but some of the responses we have received reveal that many people do exercise the fear of not being able to make heaven. They fear if they would eventually make it on the last day.
While we have not failed to honour such prayer requests, we have also deemed it fit to share with our respondents a need to be at peace, since the Scriptures enlightens us that we are safe and secure in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is not only ‘the author’ but also ‘the finisher’ or ‘perfecter’ of our faith (Hebrews 12.2).
We hope that through this peace, the Lord will open your eyes to all that He has done, is still doing and will still do for you. Please don’t hesitate to send us your response: how this might have helped you as well as any other comments or questions you may have, thus helping us to serve you better.
Let us start by re-examining the basis of our salvation in Christ Jesus.
Salvation: A Gift and Not A Reward (Given, Not Earned)
Our entry point into God’s family is by salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet it was not through our own efforts or good works that God made us His children, rather it was because of the free gift of His love and grace shown to us through Jesus Christ. Paul states this very clearly in Ephesians 2: 8-9 “God saved you by his special favour when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boost of it “(NLT). In the new international version, these verses read: “for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph 2:8 – 9, NIV).
Two words are important here: ‘grace’ and ‘faith’. The word grace refers to an underserved favour or kindness. The person who receives this kindness does not deserve it but is given simply because the giver was willing to do. For instance, consider a hawker selling eggs for her mistress who suddenly slips and breaks the whole crate of eggs. In despair, she sits not knowing how to pay back her mistress. Where was she to get the money to pay back? But someone then comes whom she does not know. He it is who pays the bill of the broken eggs on her behalf in order that she would go Scot – free. (Interestingly the girl later gets to know that it was her mistress that sent the man). The mistress has simply proved to be gracious to the girl.
With respect to salvation, none of us deserved it. In fact, the only thing we deserved was God’s wrath i.e. His fierce anger (Eph 2:3). This is not only because our human nature is sinful and contrary to God (Rom 5:12, Ps 51:17, Rom 8:7) but also because of our committed sins. Hence, we all deserved ‘death’ i.e. separation from God, which is the only ‘reward’ that sin ‘merited’ (Rom 5:12, Rom 6:23). This is what we all deserved because both our ‘nature’ and ‘deeds’ were evil. The Bible makes it clear that “There is no one righteous not even one” (Rom 3:10).
Not only were we sinful by nature, we were also ‘utterly helpless’ (Rom 5:6, NLT). We were helpless because, we could not even please, God or keep His commandments by own efforts or strength. We couldn’t because we were still controlled by our sinful nature. “For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws and it never will’ (Rom 8:7, NLT).
And so if God were to justify us based on our own ability to please Him or on any other thing from within us, none of us would ever qualify. We would all fail because our sinful nature just could not meet God’s righteous requirements (Rom 8:3) “For no one can ever be made righteous in Gods sight by doing what his law commands. For the more know God’s law, the clearer it becomes that we are not obeying them” (Rom 3:20, NLT).
So did God give us what we deserved? Certainly not! He gave what we did not deserve. Now that is Grace!
From the on-going discussion, it becomes clear that the basis of our salvation or right-standing before God must not depend upon us but upon Him. Hence the word: ‘grace’ (an underserved favour or gift). It is not merited but given to those who do not deserve it: In Romans 3:21 – 28, Paul tells us how God achieves this. It reads: “But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight – not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the scriptures long ago. We are made right in Gods sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. For all have sinned, all fall short of God’s glorious standard yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Jesus Christ, who freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus. Can we boast then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds. It is based on our faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law’ (NLT).
Also in 2nd Corinthians 5:18 – 21, we read: - “All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ’s ambassadors and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you as though Christ himself were pleading with you “be reconciled to God’. For God made Christ who never sinned to be the offering for our sin so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
i. God reveals another plan in which our righteousness does not depend upon our own efforts but rather upon His own grace of giving His righteousness to all who believe (Romans 3:21 – 22, 2 Corinthians 5:18 – 19, 21 and Romans 1:17).
ii. God sent Jesus to pay the punishment for our sins, thereby turning God’s anger/wrath away from those who believe i.e. Christ’s death satisfies Gods requirements of us since we never met up (V. 25, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 8:3 -4, Ephesians 2:4-6).
iii. Anyone who receives Christ is no longer regarded as a sinner based on his own works, but as a righteous person based on Christ’s sacrifice (v 24, 2 Corinthians 5:21. See also John 1:29, 1 John 2:2, 1Peter 2:23-25. This not only proves God as being just i.e. not leaving sin unpunished (since Christ bore the punishment). But God is also the one who justifies (declares as ‘not guilty’) all who accept Jesus (v. 26).
iv. No one can take credit for his/her own right-standing before God because it did not depend on our own effort/ability, but on God’s free gift of grace (vs. 27 – 28, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:9).
The second important word in Ephesians 2:8 – 9 is ‘faith’ which simply refers to ‘belief or trust in God’. This is equally important because the only way by which we receive Gods free gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ is not by our own efforts but through faith in Him. Hence we are saved by Gods grace but receive it through faith.
We have already considered something concerning faith in relation to grace, but let us look a bit closer. Since we cannot trust in our own efforts or good works to make us right with God, we are left with no other option than to trust in Jesus’ sacrificial work for our sins, believing that we do not save ourselves but that does (1 John 2:2, Romans 3:24-25).
Since Christ has paid all that is required to make us right with God, our only job is to trust in the finished work of Christ on our behalf. In fact we are never to stop trusting Him (Colossians 1:23). We are to put our faith in Him since He has paid all that we will ever need to be made right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 10:10-18).
So who do you trust for your right-standing before God-yourself or Jesus Christ? Whose work are you depending upon to make you acceptable to God, both now and on the last day-yours or Christ? Your sincere answers to these questions are important indicators of whether or not you know the purpose of His death, which is the basis of our salvation.
Salvation was given and not earned. We earned spiritual death i.e. separation from God as the suitable consequence (wages) of our sins, but we receive salvation as the free gift of God’s love and mercy (Romans 6:23). See also Romans. 4:4 – 5 & 21 – 24).
Since our works could not earn salvation for us, the same work cannot keep it for us. We start our journey by trusting in Jesus and will end it by the same means (Colossians 1:22-23, Colossians 2:6&7) He is both the ‘author’ and ‘perfecter/finisher’ of our faith (Heb 12:2). There is no other way. Concerning this Good news of Christ’s death, Paul has this to say: “It is the power of God at work saving everyone who believes… This Good news tells us how God makes us right in his right. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the scriptures say ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life’ (Rom 1:16, NLT).
We are both safe and secure in God through Jesus Christ. We will now look at basis of our security in Christ. But first complete the Bible study attached and send it back to us.
We desire that you will continue to be benefited by our write-ups and that you will feel free to share with us any question, struggle or doubts in your walk with God and life in general. We trust that God is able to keep you and we are only co-laborers with Him.
We indeed love you and believe that your life is precious to Him who loved and died for you purchasing you with His own blood (Acts 20:28, Galatians 2:20). We encourage you to remain steadfast in His love.
In addition, we would like to encourage you to share with others about the reconciliation to God which is available through Christ Jesus, imploring (urging) them on Christ’s behalf to be reconciled to God (please see 2 Cor 5:18 – 21).
Do let us know your comments or questions on any of our write ups. Kindly let us know of any other comment, question, or area of struggle or difficulty in your walk with God or life in general. Help us to serve you better.
For: Pens For Christ
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