The Assurance of Salvation (1)
John E. Todd, Chesterfield, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
Those who deny that believers are now justified by the blood of Christ as a gift, are those who deny the grace of God. They also deny the assurance of salvation, for if one's own works, in any way or to any degree, contribute to our salvation, then we would be in a perpetual state of doubt. For if we should stand before the throne of God on the grounds of our merit, we could never know until the judgement day if we are good enough. But such a situation is disallowed by scripture. For scripture declares that we can all know, here and now, that we have failed the test of God's law. 'There is none righteous, no, not one . . . for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God', Rom. 3. 10, 23. Answering the question, 'Who then can be saved?', the Lord Jesus Christ replied, 'With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible', Matt. 19. 25-26. Salvation is by grace because it is impossible for it to be achieved by merit. 'Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus', Rom. 3. 24. 'I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain', Gal. 2. 21. 'And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace', Rom. 11. 6.
A Completed Work
Very often the verbs used in scripture to speak of salvation are in the perfect tense, that is speaking of a work that has been completed. These tenses are made clear in the Revised Standard Version. 'Since we are justified by faith', Rom. 5. 1. 'We are now justified by his blood', Rom. 5. 9. 'By grace you have been saved', Eph. 2. 8. 'You have been born anew', 1 Pet. 1. 23.
The apostle John in his first letter lists those things which one can know, that is one who has repented of sin and committed himself to Christ. 'Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins', 3. 5. 'We know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us', 3. 24. 'Ye may know that ye have eternal life', 5. 13. The believer is the present possessor of sins forgiven, the Holy Spirit and eternal life.
The apostle Paul also speaks of the salvation of true believers as an accomplished fact. We are already inside the kingdom of God 'who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son', Col. 1. 13. We are already guaranteed our heavenly inheritance by the seal of the Holy spirit, 'ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest (guarantee) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession', Eph. 1. 13-14. We are already justified on grounds other than law keeping, 'by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses', Acts 13. 39.
The Sphere of Life
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself made it clear that those who exercise faith in Him have already passed out of the sphere of death and judgement into the sphere of life, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation (judgement); but is passed from death unto life', John 5. 24. The Good Shepherd has committed Himself as responsible for the final perseverance of His own sheep, 'I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand', John 10. 28.
It is maintained by some religious people that to be assured of salvation is presumptuous and lacking in humility, indeed to be arrogant. But if God declares in His word that the believer in Christ is already saved, then to doubt one's salvation would be presumptuous. Rather than being humble it would be the supreme arrogance to contradict God and devalue the redeeming work of Christ.
With the divine declaration of an assured salvation God is giving to the believer a solid foundation upon which to build a life of devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.
AUTHOR PROFILE: John has been constributing articles to assembly magazines since 1986. together with his wife he began work amongst children that led to establishment of the assembly. Now he serves the assembly as an elder and in the ministry of God's word.