Study 2: Are you sure?
Having now understood the importance of being “born again” in our last study, we need to come to a place where we can “relax into the things of God”. If we doubt our salvation this relaxing is impossible, like sitting in a chair that you are not sure will hold you. God really wants us not only to be sure of where we stand with Him, but be sure of Him, because then we are in a position to really trust Him.
This assurance starts at the Cross of Christ on which our salvation is built. When Jesus screamed from the Cross, “It is finished”, it meant He had completed the job He came to earth to do. He was the sacrifice for our sins and showed the world His amazing love. “The Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
How can I be sure I am saved?
When we look at the Bible we find that there are several means by which we may be certain of salvation. Here are several principal means of assurance and it is worth noting that all are factual evidences; nowhere does Scripture tell us that we are saved because we “feel saved” – Look again at John 3:6 and see that feelings originate in the flesh.
1. The inner witness of the Holy Spirit that we have been made children of God.
This is not a “feeling” or an “emotion” but much more a dawning awareness born in the depth of our spirit that we are God’s children, we are spiritual people – John 6:63; Galatians 4:6-7. Romans 8:15-16 in the Message Bible points out that “the resurrection life” we have received from God is not a timid grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, “What’s next Daddy?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is and we know who we are: Father and children. Also, we know we are going to get what is coming to us – an unbelievable inheritance!
2. Our desires change so that we want to become like the Lord Jesus
As we commit our lives to Christ He begins changing us, making us like Himself. This desire is not natural and shows us that we have the living Holy Spirit in us. We become to see our eternal home as more important than our earthly home. So we enjoy giving as a priority over new clothes, drapes etc: 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6; 2 Corinthians 3:15-18; 1 Peter 1:14-16; and Romans 12:1-3.
3. The discovery that, as we obey His will, God is working with us.
God has committed Himself to those who are His children and has promised to reveal Himself in and through His people, James 2:21-24; Romans 6:15-18; Mark 16:16-18. Read Philippians 2:13 which points out that it is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God Himself willing and working at what will give Him the most pleasure.
4. The clear teaching of the Word of God, which we receive by faith.
The Bible is very plain that we are saved because we have put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. We can believe God’s Word – see Hebrews 6:16-20, and John 6:68-69, where Peter said to Jesus “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy one of God.” Mark 4:13-20. If we have met the condition of asking Christ into our lives, the Bible – God’s Word – tells us that we are saved. It is so important that we accept this by faith and not according to our feelings. These feelings change day by day and are not related to circumstances.
5. Our response to problems and persecutions.
Jesus perfected and learned obedience to God up to even suffering the Cross (Hebrews 5:8-9) and we also are perfected and learn obedience the same way, Philippians 3:10-11. Jesus said for us to take up our cross and follow Him. This suffering is not sickness or poverty. Jesus had none of that!! The afflictions and temptations we are faced with, are in our flesh, mind, will and emotions. Read Hebrews 12:4-11. The battle we have is between our spirit and flesh. How we respond to difficult situations is different from the world’s reactions to them, and this is a witness to them. Romans 5:3-5, says we should, “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who He has given us.” It’s because of the love God has for us that we are corrected.
6. Our love for other believers.
If God loved each of us enough to die for us, and His nature is being formed in us, we will love one another, Colossians 3:9-11. When we have a full revelation of the amazing love Jesus showed us at the Cross it is not hard to forgive those who wrong us and to love them with the same supernatural love Jesus has for us. Again, it’s not governed by our feelings, but a choice. 1 John 3:11-18. We can meet people and not even know their name, but we both know His name so we can have fellowship with one another, John 13:34-35; 1 Peter 1:22-23.
7. We have become new creatures.
Life becomes very different when we are born again, but it is not necessarily easier. We have Christ as our new Lord but the flesh has not been born again, only the spirit, so we have a battle going on as to who is in charge, Romans 7:14-20. We have to make choices on a moment by moment basis as to who we obey. It helps if we remember that we are new and we do not need to respond in situations as we have done before. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:22-24) The best way to have victory is to walk in the Holy Spirit, then there is supernatural power to obey what your spirit knows to do, Romans 8:11; Titus 2:11-14.
8. The gift of the Holy Spirit.
When we receive God into our lives, He gives us the Holy Spirit as a deposit, as a guarantee that God will give us new heavenly bodies at the resurrection. We have eternity in us now. If we take hold of this truth it will enable us to have great courage and patience to endure to the end, 2 Corinthians 5:5. We see how receiving the Holy Spirit is spoken of as “a seal” and “a guarantee” in Acts 5:32, Ephesians 1:13-14 and Hebrews 2:3-4. We will look at the Holy Spirit and see who He is in the study ‘Dynamic Power’.
In the light of all this can you say with confidence that you are born again (2 Timothy 1:12)? Then expect to grow in God and go on to further experiences (Hebrews 10:35; Hebrews 11:1) in Him.
02 Are you sure? Challenge Questions
1. It is interesting, and profitable, to read through the first epistle of John, where there are at least 30 references to things that we can “know”. See how many you can find (Note especially 1 John 2:3, 1 John 2:20; 1 John 3:2; 1 John 3:19 and 1 John 5:13). Write the references here.
2. In John 6:37 read what Jesus said, and write it down.
3. Read Romans 8:29. What does it tell you? Is this an encouragement? Can you take this as a promise for a situation you are in at the moment?
4. Write out Romans 10:13 and Galatians 3:26. Who has been saved?
5. Look at 1 John 3:14. What does it tell you about the love of other believers?
6. Write down something in your life that has changed since you have been born again.
7. Is there a part of your life that God is working on at this time? Do you need someone to pray with you about it?
8. Pick one verse out of the whole study and choose to learn it by heart and meditate on it till it goes deep into your spirit.
Answer these questions with True or False. If you can find a verse from the study to back up your answer write it down.