Perhaps one of our most unstated worries is that we might not get into heaven. Does this thought trouble you? I suspect the reason many Christians hesitate to talk about this is for fear of being thought less spiritual or identified as a doubting Thomas. Yet, before Christ came to earth, during His life in Israel and following His resurrection, people’s apprehension towards the afterlife has always been a real and meaningful dread. Read what Paul wrote to the Galatians in the verses of meditation below:
Galatians 5:4,5—You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace! For by the Spirit we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness from faith.
Notice that any hope we have of gaining entrance into heaven through law-keeping is spurious and actually alienates us from Christ! Why? Because we cannot keep the law. Eternal assurance is not gained by law abiding. Jesus said to His law-conscious countrymen in John 7:19, “Didn't Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law!” In Galatians 2:16 Paul taught:
"yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by faithin Jesus Christ. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faithin Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified.”
If we think we can earn God’s favor and enter heaven through our effort to be morally good or through our good works, again we are mistaken. Observe what happens in Mat. 19:16,17—“Just then someone came up and asked Him, ‘Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?’’ ‘Why do you ask Me about what is good?’ He said to him. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’” If the man could not be good enough,why did Jesus tell him to keep the commandments knowing that also was impossible? Could it be He was trying to point the ruler to Himself?
Paul reinforced Jesus’ teaching on goodness when he penned in Rom. 3:12,“All have turned away, together they have become useless; there is no one who does good, there is not even one.” Paul wrote the Ephesians in 2:8,9, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.”
So how in the world do we ever gain confidence that we will live forever with God? First, we have to believe Jesus’ declaration. “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6b) and place our faith in Him. “Everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16b). Paul testifies in Rom. 1:16—“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes. . .” God’s grace is poured upon us as a direct response to our faith in Jesus.
Second, we glean from the meditation passage above, that our hope for salvation cannot come from ourselves—it must come “by the Spirit.” The reason we can know with certainty that we have eternal life is the presence of the Holy Spirit in us! Ephesians 1:13,14 (NIV) says,
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.
Third, “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). Our faith in Christ allows God to declare us “good.” His declaration is not fickle! It is backed by His promise and God never breaks His word! So our faith should result in our having peace! If we don’t have peace in our salvation then our problem is a lack of faith—quite simply, we don’t really trust God.
Fourth, Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:3-5:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by God's power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Peter declares our inheritance of eternal life to be imperishable, uncorruptedand unfading—kept in heaven for us! Our faith is secured by the protection of God’s power!
In summary, the way we know our salvation is secure is: Through our faith in Jesus Christ who affords us grace; By the deposit of the Holy Spirit in our lives; Through the peace we gain as a result of our faith and through the power of God to fulfill His promise and to protect our standing.
If I offered you a one dollar coin there is only one way you can have it and that is to believe my offer is sincere and take it. Once you take that coin it belongs to you. So remember that God offered you salvation. The only way you could take it was by faith. Now it is yours. So believe it. Don’t let sin make you doubt. Until we are with God in heaven we are still infected with a sin nature. If you sin, confess it, turn from evil and move on with Jesus, who is faithful to forgive (1 John 1:9). Do you need to obey God’s law? Yes—His law is meant for our betterment. Do you need to perform good works? Absolutely. Faith is proved true by our conduct and character. We would make a mockery of the cross if we claimed to believe in Jesus and then lived like the Devil’s minions. So, love God. Believe in His Son and rest assured you will live with Him forever. Something to think about . . . in reveration!
I. Although hypocrites, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions: of being in the favor of God and estate of salvation; which hope of theirs shall perish: yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in a state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God: which hope shall never make them ashamed.—Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XVIII, “Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation”
©2008 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)