Author: Ron Graham
What assurance can we find in the Bible about where we will stand on judgment day? Can we be sure of our salvation?
In the Bible, we find the clearest possible promise, the fairest possible conditions, and the strongest possible confirmation. These three things combine to make us absolutely sure that we are saved.
Jesus promises us eternal life in terms so unmistakably clear that there is no room for ambiguity or doubt. He knows his sheep. He gives them eternal life. They shall never perish. Nobody can snatch them from his Father's hand (John 10:27-28).
¶“27My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father gave them to me. He is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30I and my Father are one.” (John 10:27-30).
At the second coming of Christ, his followers will see salvation. "He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him." (Hebrews 9:28).
In the plainest possible literal language, Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you... I will come again and receive you to myself..." (John 14:1-3).
There is no fine print in the gospel that imposes such stringent and unjust conditions on the promises that those promises may never be fulfilled. God’s conditions are very fair: "...if you continue in the faith, established and firm, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel..." (Colossians 1:23) .
¶“2May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Those blessings+ were given through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.”
¶“4Our Lord has granted us his precious and magnificent promises. Through them, you were able to become partakers of the divine nature as you escaped the corruption that's in the world through lust.”
¶“5For this very reason, make every effort to add virtue to your faith. To virtue, add knowledge. 6To knowledge, add self-control. To self-control, add steadfastness. To steadfastness, add godliness. 7To godliness, add brotherly kindness. To brotherly kindness, add love.”
¶“8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, you won't be idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if you lack these qualities, you are so nearsighted as to be blind. You have forgotten that you were cleansed from your former sins.”
¶“10So rather brethren, be more diligent to ensure your calling and election. For if you practice these qualities, you will never fall. 11In this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Salvation is conditional, but not doubtful. There is an “if” in God’s plan of salvation, but God’s plan is not “iffy”.
We know we are saved if we keep his commandments. Were his commandments unreasonably burdensome, we might have reason to doubt. But "his commandments are not burdensome" (1John 2:3-5) .
God doesn't expect immediate perfection either. He just expects us to "give diligence" and to "press on" . Everyone can do that (Philippians 3:12-14).
¶“12I have not already obtained this goal. I am not already perfect. But I press on to take hold of the prize, because Christ Jesus has taken hold of me. 13Brethren, I don't consider that I'll get there on my own. But one thing I do: I forget what lies behind, reaching for what is ahead. 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
Two Immutable Things: God’s promise is immutable (unchangeable). God never lies. But God nevertheless confirmed his promise with an oath. So we have two immutable or unchangeable things to give us courage: the promise, and the oath to confirm it (Hebrews 6:13-20).
¶“17God desired to thoroughly convince the heirs of the promise that his purpose was unchangeable. So he guaranteed the promise with an oath. 18God cannot possibly lie. He strongly encourages us by two unchangeable things. To his promise and oath we fled for refuge. We cling to this hope set before us. 19We have this hope as an anchor of the soul —sure and unshakable” (Hebrews 6:17-19).
The Seal of the Spirit: We also have a guarantee or seal: the Holy Spirit given to us after we hear, believe, and obey the gospel. This means we are predestined for a heavenly inheritance. The perseverance of the saints will be both aided and rewarded fully by God. (Ephesians 1:3-14) .
¶“13You also heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. You believed in Christ. Then, in him, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. 14The Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance toward its redemption as our acquired possession. All this is to the praise of the glory Christ” (Ephesians 1:13-14).