Check out your life. Most people think that God looks at where you are along the road of life. We do that, but God doesn’t. God asks only two things—where you have come from and where you are going.
I may be a lot more terrible than you, but the point is we’re moving in the same direction. You’re just further down the road than I am. God’s pleasure and our assurance come from moving in that right direction.
If you were to wake up tomorrow morning to discover that God didn’t exist, what difference would it make in your life?
If you were to wake up tomorrow morning to discover that God didn’t exist, what difference would it make in your life? Even in the face of your pain, struggle and suffering, would you rather not have known him?
“For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do…” (Hebrews 6:10).
The writer of Hebrews is not just talking about a tingle up your spine or a love song. He is talking about love in action, the kind of love you show to the saints, for God’s sake. Love really isn’t a noun. It’s a verb. What do you do to show love for someone else? When you give a cup of cold water in the name of Christ, regardless of how you feel about that person, that giving is love. When you reach out to a brother or sister in need, no matter how you feel about them, that is love too. The writer of Hebrews is saying that you, as a Christian, have a love that you have shown (not that you have felt). That is a sign of your relationship with Christ.
“Greater love has no man than this: That a man lay down his life for his friends and you are my friend” “At the right time, Christ died for the ungodly.” Love in action. That is on the road to assurance.
When you and I became Christians, at that point we gave up every right. We are servants. As a Christian, you have privileges, but you shouldn’t presume on those privileges. If your Christian faith is used for the manipulation of other people, it’s not the real thing. If your Christian faith is a vehicle for being a master, it’s not the real thing.
Jesus said, “He who would be greatest among you must be your servant.”
When you see yourself willing to be a servant, willing not to get the credit, willing to just stand behind somebody else and make them great, then you are on the road to assurance.
If you’re looking for assurance of your salvation, check out your concern. “And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end…” (Hebrews 6:11).
When people asked Spurgeon how they could know if they were of the elect, he would answer, “If you are worried about it, then you are.” Now if you have been struggling with assurance, plagued with the constant thought of “I may not really belong to God,” the very fact that you thought about it is a good sign that you belong to him.
You may remember the demonstration of Solomon’s wisdom in 1 Kings. Two women were brought to him, both claiming to be the mother of one baby. Each of the mothers had had a baby, but one baby had died. One mother said to Solomon, “Her baby died and at night she came, switched the babies, and took mine.” The second mother made the same accusation. So they went to Solomon, asking him to determine to whom the live baby really belonged. Solomon had one of his servants take a sword and hold the baby up. Then Solomon said, “Split the baby in half. Give half to one mother and half to the other mother.” While one of the mothers agreed that his idea sounded reasonable, the other mother said, “No! Don’t do it. Give the baby to her.” Solomon, at that point, exercised a principle built into the very nature of things…
Concern is manifested in direct proportion to how much you care.
If you are concerned about your relationship with Christ, if you are earnest about it or diligent, it is an indication that you are on the road to assurance.
Check out your longing. The writer of Hebrews is saying, “I desire you to come to that point at which you know that you know that you know that you know.”
There are those who say that you can never know. They say that the only way you can get assurance is to die and find out whether or not your feet are cold. If you have heard or believed that, you have believed a lie. It is God’s desire that his people come into a relationship with the Father that is so close we know and feel secure with him.
I have a friend who adopted a teenager who had been moved around from foster home to foster home. When I first visited them, he was just jumping up to do everything. He made his bed. He dried the dishes. He vacuumed the house. (Whenever a teenager is that good, there is something wrong.) It finally dawned on me why. This boy had been kicked out of so many homes that he planned to hold on to this one by being good.
A year later, I went back to visit the family again. The teenage son was then one of the most secure young men I had ever seen. He was relaxed and normal. He had to be nudged to do the things he was supposed to do. What happened? He had achieved assurance…assurance that his new mom and dad weren’t going to kick him out.
We’re like that.
Maybe right now you’re working very hard at being obedient. Maybe right now you’re feeling scared inside that you really aren’t a Christian. What should you do? Persevere and keep on trucking. One day, you will become so tired of obedience, tired of holding on so long that your knuckles turn white, that you then let go. At that moment, you will make the wonderful discovery that God was holding you all along. You will know that you know him. And that is called assurance.
Time to Draw Away
Read John 10:28-29 & Romans 8:14-17
Do you struggle with assurance? How does “try-harder, do-more religion” help or hurt? God’s grace has you covered. God’s not mad at you. God holds you…not the other way around. Your salvation is safe and secure. So feel free to rest in that fact.
For more from Steve on assurance, check out How Can I Be Assured of My Salvation?