Volume. XXX, No. 35
Sunday, 21 February 2016


Assurance of Salvation (Part 2)


Redeemed Sinners
It is here then that we need to understand what it means to "believe" in God's only begotten Son that we might receive eternal life.  This is the "action" that is required of us in order to have assurance of salvation.

Let me clearly state that I am not saying that our salvation depends on our actions for this would be salvation by works, and the Bible clearly teaches that, "... by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Our believing in Jesus Christ is consistent with Ephesians 2:8-10 for it is God that has made it possible for us to be led to Him and to believe in Him - "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13) By ourselves, we would not even consider our need for a Saviour.  Even as God works in us through the process of sanctification, it is inevitable that our lives will bear evidence of this work, even as it was evident in the lives of His Apostles and His saints through the ages.

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:4-5)

"Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." (1 John 3:6) This verse does not talk about the believer’s perfection.  Rather it talks about the believer’s characteristic that they will not sin wilfully and constantly.  We shall know them by their fruits.

So then, believing in Christ means that we:

Believe in who He is - He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and He is God.  If we say that we believe in Jesus Christ, then we must believe that He is our King, our Lord and our God, and our lives would show that we are fully submitted to His Kingship, His Lordship and His Godship over us.  We would be concerned about serving Him and not ourselves.

Believe in what He has said - Jesus has said many things to us in the Gospels which expound on the Old Testament writings, and on which the New Testament is founded.  He teaches us how God's Commandments are to be applied correctly, how we should live and relate to God and others, what is of eternal value and what is not, and of things to come.  His teachings are not simply His recorded words, but also the example we have of His life on earth.  If we believe in what Jesus said, then we would have a holy fear of the Judgement which is to come and not treat it lightly.  Our lives would be lived faithfully pursuing after God rather than the things of this world.  We would be mindful of God's Commandments and try to apply it correctly in our lives.  Our hearts would be pricked when we do not give God what is due to Him and when we do not treat others as better than ourselves or do not love them as God does.

Believe in His redemptive work - Oh, how easy it is to fall into the snare of feeding the hungry, quenching the thirsty, caring for strangers, clothing the naked, or visiting the sick and imprisoned as a means of justifying ourselves.  This is not to say that we do so consciously or deliberately, but even matured Christians (like the metaphor of the frog boiled alive in gradually heated water) might begin very gradually over time to depend on their righteousness rather than Christ's for salvation.  If we are such, it can be seen by the esteem we hold of ourselves, and like the Pharisee in Luke 18, we thank God that we are not like other men.  If we believe in Christ's redemptive work, we will rely only on His one perfect sacrifice for our salvation, and we would be most humble before others knowing that even our best efforts is but filth and rags before the holiness of God.  What is there in us that commends us to God, except what Paul has declared to us, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9 KJV)?

Believe in His grace of repentance – The previous three points listed, though essential, may come across as rather impersonal and codified, lacking motivation and encouragement.  It is thus also necessary to believe in the grace of God that brings meaning to all that we are to believe in, and cause us to desire after the One whose love for us is greater and purer than any human love we can ever imagine or experience.  His grace reveals that deep compassion and love for us, “in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) If we recall what John Newton wrote in his hymn “Amazing Grace”, “’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;” we can begin to see how grace works in our repentance.  Grace causes us to fear God out of guilt for our sins, but grace also relieves our fears because it leads us to repentance of our sins.  And so, like the Athenians in Paul’s time who were ignorantly seeking after false gods, even “To The Unknown God”, Paul’s words are equally relevant to us, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” (Acts 17:30), and probably even more so as the Day of Christ’s Return approaches.

Is the bar set too high?  I am the first to admit that I am lacking in every aspect of believing in Jesus Christ.  There is such a great divide from my understanding of what it means to believe in Him and my own daily life.  Yet, let us not be discouraged for Jesus has promised that"... ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8), and in so doing, we will be able to attain that high bar of perfection (yet not us, but by the sanctification of the Holy Ghost).

In conclusion, our part in believing is to continue abiding in Jesus Christ and not to give up our faith in Him.  Always turn to God and continue believing when times are tough - when we fall into sin, when we are persecuted, when we face death.  Do not stay away from Him, the Lover of our souls.  Where God's Spirit directs, let us go there; what He commands, let us do; who He brings into our midst, let us cherish; how He calls us to live, let us live contentedly.  If this is our mantra, then "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" (Romans 8:16) This then is our assurance of salvation!

Dn Colin Gan

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Helpers today: Dn Colin Gan, Bro Daniel & Sis Clara Ki. Next Lord’s Day: Bros Danny Chu, Daniel Ki & Daniel Volvricht.
*Welcome to our pulpit: Pastor Andrew Craig, Pastor of Church For You, Elizabeth Park.
*Camp Registration & special diet forms available on sideboard outside Sanctuary. Please note closing dates for early bird discounts & registration.
*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.
Healing: Sis Ruth Ngoma.
Contributions to Hope Church in the past years: Sis Mable Quek.
Job for some Hopefuls.
Church activities in past week.

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: others in affliction.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.
Cambodia Missions
IBPFM & PMU: Board members & missionaries all over the world.
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.
God’s guidance & direction in life in S’pore: Sis Mable Quek.
Next week- Baptism: Sis Sherilyn Wong. Transfer of Membership: Bro Danny & Seong Yeng Chu; Bro Kevin & Sis Kristy Low & family.
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.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063