Volume. XXX, No. 34
Sunday, 14 February 2016


Assurance of Salvation (Part 1)


While teaching about the "Assurance of Salvation" in a BBK class, it caused me to reflect upon my own life and salvation.  No, it's not that I question the fundamental tenet of "once saved, always saved!", for Jesus has said, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:28-29) The Apostle Peter reminds us, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3-5).  God's Word is always true because God is not one to lie (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Psalm 89:34-35, Hebrews 6:17-18), and God's sovereignty ensures that His purposes will be fulfilled (Deuteronomy 32:39, Isaiah 46:8-11, Psalm 33:10-11, Proverbs 21:1, Daniel 2:21 & 4:17, Ephesians 1:11), so we can be certain and have assurance of salvation in Christ Jesus!

So what is there to reflect upon then?  Well, God's Word also tells us to "... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12) Jesus calls us to "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14).  These verses, together with well-known Parables of the Wise Man who built his house upon a Rock (Matthew 7:24-25), the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matthew 15:1-13), the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and other Scriptural examples, imply that some action is required on our part in order for us to have the assurance of our salvation.  This then is what I am reflecting upon, lest when on that great Judgement Day that is to come, I find that I have deluded myself into a false sense of security and hear the terrible judgement of the Righteous Judge, "... I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:23) and am then cast into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth in everlasting punishment (the torment of such we cannot even begin to imagine).

It is sad if we are led astray by a "wolf in sheep's clothing", but it will be even sadder if our eternal damnation is the result of our own delusions (of our own making).

We have often heard that to be saved we must say the "sinner's prayer", or have been quoted John 3:16 on a cursory level without much explanation about what it really means to "believe in Him".  Such simplification can lead to an erroneous understanding that all one needs to do to be saved is to simply recite the "sinner's prayer" and/or believe that Jesus is God's only begotten Son - and once this is done, we can go on with our normal lives.  Friends, don't be deluded; there is more that is required to have that assurance of salvation for even the devils believe that Jesus is God's only begotten Son. (Acts 19:15)
Let us examine our hearts, and because we know that by grace we are “saved through faith; and that not of ourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8), let us ask the Lord to help search our hearts that we do not fail to "... know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him." (1 John 3:19)

Even though we may be professing Christians, are we as Charles Spurgeon (in his book, "When Christ Returns") puts it, deceitful sinners, careless sinners, wilful sinners, prostituting sinners or redeemed sinners?

Deceitful Sinners
Judas Iscariot was such a sinner.  Though it was within God's providence that he would betray our Lord Jesus Christ, nevertheless Judas followed Christ purely for his own purpose and advantage.  He pretended to be what he was not (a hypocrite) and Jesus knew it - "But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him." (John 6:64) and, "Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (John 6:70).  Have we outwardly professed our faith in Jesus Christ for our own purpose and advantage, but inwardly have never given our lives over to Christ?  Maybe we thought that by becoming a Christian, we will have more friends, a sense of belonging, networking opportunities, a better chance of getting free assistance, or some other reason that only focuses on the great "me".  Is our daily life consistent with Who we profess to be followers of - even when no one is looking?  Do not be mistaken, Jesus knows who such hypocrites are.  If this is me, then even if I proclaim outwardly with my lips that Jesus Christ is Lord, I am yet in my sins and there is no assurance of salvation for me.

Careless Sinners
Could it be with some of us that we have not taken our faith seriously?  Maybe our faith is not at the uttermost of our concern, and we rarely think about it until Sunday rolls by for Church.  We may have been genuine in our acceptance of Christ as our Lord and Saviour at the beginning, but we have become careless with our faith.  In the interest of "peace and harmony" we have compromised our stand for God and His Commandments and become liberal in our thinking.  Maybe we have made light of our faith and find no offense when others take God's name in vain, or share in jokes that ridicule our God.  Instead of nurturing our children in the true knowledge of God, have we presented God as a tyrant to frighten our children into obedience to our wills?  Have we mocked the servants of God who are earnest in their faith and seriously seeking after God?  Have we desired after the things of this world (which are temporal) more than the things of God (which are eternal)?  Do we spend time in God's Word or believe that this is unnecessary?

"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:16)

Wilful Sinners
There may be some of us who come to Church week after week, but have yet to receive the Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts and lives.  We have heard the Word of God, we have heard His Commandments and have heard the Gospel message time and again, but we have wilfully resisted the Holy Spirit and His redeeming work in our lives.  We have been warned about what awaits at the end of the world for those who do not receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, but still refuse to accept the grace of God through His only begotten Son.  Could it be that in some perverse manner, our pride in our own abilities and self-righteousness causes us to stubbornly reject the fact that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves, and so prevent us from accepting the free gift of God?  We willingly continue to go down that broad way that leads to destruction, rather than the strait way that leads to life.  My friends, there are many on that broad way; let us not be as one of them that are lost- such were the unrepentant sinners in Bethsaida and Capernaum.

"Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee." (Matthew 11:21-24)

Prostituting Sinners
Then there may be some of us who hold to the truth, and yet at the same time continue in immorality.  We have taken Romans 5:20, "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:", as our excuse to continue pandering to our carnal desires (whatever they may be); however, we have not gone further to read Romans 6 and especially where it says, "For the wages of sin is death."

If I have been any of these, it is not yet too late to be pulled back from that brink of outer darkness.

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:7)

May the Lord be gracious unto me, and unto us, that we might examine our hearts in His light and return to His mercy and goodness.

"Remember, you have no evidence of election except that you are holy, and you have no right to expect you will be saved at the last unless you are saved now.  A present faith in a present Saviour is the key." (Charles Spurgeon).

Deacon Colin Gan

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Helpers today: Bro Benjamin Wong; Sisters Ashley Chia & Amy Han. Next Lord’s Day: Dn Colin Gan, Bro Daniel & Sis Clara Ki.
*Working Bee: Please come & help tidy the Rectory to make space for items to be transferred from our old place.
*Camp Registration & special diet forms available on sideboard outside Sanctuary. Please note closing dates for early bird discounts & registration.
*Thank you  to all who attended ECM last Lord’s Day.
*Hope Church’s 30th Anniversary celebration: 14-15 May. Programme includes afternoon Thanksgiving Concert then Thanksgiving Dinner & Bible Conference. Please contact Dn Wai Kin Wong or Sis Serene Wong if you have any queries.
*Daily Manna for Jan-Mar QTR is available. Please help yourself to a copy. Donation: $1 per copy.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: others arriving safely at their destinations.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Job for some Hopefuls.
Smooth ECM last Lord’s Day.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore) & Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; & others in affliction.
Special Prayer: Those in affliction.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.
Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry; Life University (Sihanoukville).
Batam Missions:
House of Hope: Drug addicts - Salvation & healing.
New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for congregation.
Bro Kevin Low & family as he prepares for ministry at Hope BPC.
Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
Journey mercies: all those who are travelling.
Postnatal healing: Sis Isabelle Ng; & health: Faith.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.
God’s guidance & provision of new church property for worship, office & fellowship activities.
Easter Family Bible Camp: Visa application for speakers. Camp preparations.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063