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 relaxation is impossible; it's like sitting in a chair that you are not sure will hold you. God wants us not only to be sure of where we stand with Him, but to be sure of Him Himself. Only then are we in a position to really trust Him.

This assurance starts at the cross of Jesus Christ on which our salvation is built. When Jesus cried from the cross, “It is finished!”, it meant He had completed the job He came to earth to do. He gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins - the sins of the whole human race - 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 that 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 of them are based on facts and evidence. Nowhere does Scripture tell us that we are saved because we “feel saved”. Look again at John 3:6 and notice how John sees a clear difference between our human existence and experience ("flesh") and our spiritual existence and experience ("spirit"). Our feelings originate in the "flesh" but we are born again of the "spirit" (by the Holy Spirit).

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 - spiritual people. (John 6:63; Galatians 4:6-7) Romans 8:15-16 in "The Message" version of the Bible points out that "the resurrection life" which we have received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It is 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 that we are going to get what is coming to us: an unbelievable inheritance!

Our desires change so that we want to become like the Lord Jesus

As we commit our lives to Christ, He begins to change us, making us like Himself. He stimulates in us spiritual desires, that are not natural but demonstrate that we now have the living, Holy Spirit within us. We start to see that our eternal home is more important to us than our earthly home. We start to consider giving as more important than getting (new clothes, drapes and so on). (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6; 2 Corinthians 3:15-18; 1 Peter 1:14-16; Romans 12:1-3)

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) Philippians 2:13 tells us that God’s energy works deep inside us - in our spirits - to guide our thinking and our actions so that we work with Him, saying and doing those things that give Him the most pleasure.

The clear teaching of God's word, which we receive by faith

We are saved because we have put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, but our knowledge of who Jesus is and what He taught, comes to us through the books of the Bible, which constitute an extensive record of God's own words and actions through history. The Bible contains God's communication to us, both in words and deeds, through to the time of Jesus Himself, who claimed to be the very embodiment of God: God's "word" in human form. Jesus' disciples recognised this and Peter expressed it when he said on their behalf: “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.” (John 6:68-69) As we accept the record of the Bible - God's word - by faith, we begin to see what Peter was talking about and our spirits respond to God's truth through a growing conviction (or "inner witness") within us that we are indeed saved.

Our response to problems and persecutions

Jesus learned and perfected obedience to God as demonstrated by His willingness to suffer crucifixion. (Hebrews 5:8-9) We also are challenged to learn obedience in the same way. (Philippians 3:10-11) Jesus told His disciples to take up their "crosses" and follow Him. The afflictions and temptations that face us lie in our "flesh": the thinking and emotions of our human existence and experience. (Hebrews 12:4-11) The battle we have is between our "spirit" and our "flesh". Responding to difficult situations "in the spirit" is different from the way in which most people respond to such things and demonstrates very clearly God's presence in the world. Romans 5:3-5 says that 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.”

Our love for other believers

If God loved each of us enough to die for us and, if 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 that 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 that Jesus has for us. Again, this is not something that is driven by our feelings, so much as by the choices that we make. (1 John 3:11-18) We can meet people who, like us, have put their faith in Jesus and, even though we may not speak their language or even know their name, we can have "fellowship" with one another (recognise that we belong to the same, spiritual family). (John 13:34-35; 1 Peter 1:22-23)

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 our "flesh" sees our newborn "spirit" only as a competitor and a battle ensues as to who is in charge. (Romans 7:14-20) We have to make choices on a moment-by-moment basis as to which we obey. It helps if we remember that we are "a new creation" and do not need to respond in situations as we did before. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:22-24) The path to victory for our "spirit" is for us to "walk in the Holy Spirit". This means allowing the Holy Spirit within us to prompt our thinking and our actions, rather than falling back on the habits, experiences and instinctive reactions of our "flesh". When we allow our "new creation" to lead us, we can experience supernatural power and wisdom to respond in a whole new way. (Romans 8:11; Titus 2:11-14)

The gift of the Holy Spirit

When we receive God into our lives, He gives us the Holy Spirit as a "deposit" or "guarantee" that God will give us new, heavenly bodies - eternal life - at the resurrection. 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 entitled "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 to go on to further experiences in Him. (Hebrews 10:35; Hebrews 11:1)

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