Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Doubt or certainty?

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

1 John 5:13
 

Assurance of salvation appears to be a subjective matter to a believer. He personally accepts that, when he confesses his sin, he is also forgiven. Thereby, he experiences the effectiveness of the forgiveness in himself. Many now say: “Faith is not knowledge”! For this reason, faith is viewed and portrayed by outsiders, or even by many Christians as an uncertain, subjective rather than finished and completed matter. In other words, one cannot speak of the assurance of faith or salvation. But, is this so? Does believing in the salvation in Jesus Christ offer an incalculable residual risk with an uncertain outcome? One wishes only the best for self and others, but who knows what can still happen and change in this life? What if I commit a fatal sin? A pious certainty is then indeed only a “mere presumption” when it is based on self and not on a biblical foundation. What do I want to say with this? If I believe that my salvation is dependent or co-dependent upon my faithfulness, my strength of will, my pious discipline, my permanent repentance and my faultlessness, then my subjective certainty of salvation can quickly change into a pious spasm which, in time, will cause me to become anxious, embittered, isolated and suspicious. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:13 “ If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself.” The certainty is not dependent upon self, otherwise we would soon be at the end of our Latin. When we place our certainty of salvation on the promises of the Bible and therefore on God's faithfulness, salvation reservation becomes salvation certainty. One cannot be certainly unsure or uncertainly sure. Only one thing is certain: The surety of our eternal, solid salvation or the opposite (Romans 8:16). Salvation rests in God's hands not in my human, earthly, fickle, weak efforts to hold fast to eternal grace until the end of my life. A lot can happen before then. Can the forgiveness of sin be dependent thereupon?

It is not I who perceive and receive heavenly things of grace through my faith, but God who has made them true through His Son Jesus Christ in whom we should believe (John 14:1). HE did this willingly, sovereignly and from eternity, and now calls people to repentance (Matthew 3:2) to believe in His finished work without their additional own deeds (Romans 3:28). God brings about repentance in whomever accepts and acknowledges his own lost condition (Romans 2:4). Some Christians (“legal zealots”) accuse you of teaching a false security, thereby encouraging sin as everything is in any event forgiven. Paul was also accused of this in his time (Romans 3:8) and I think that we can trust that which the Apostle taught. Assurance of salvation is God's will. The reason is found in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” The Gospel is the work of God alone, and the glory belongs to God – eternally. Even if many a zealot means well (according to Romans 10:2 “a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge”) the opinion that a child of God can lose his salvation is a twisted gospel. Such a person mocks the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29). If one adds to the blood and cross of Golgotha, a human obligation to maintain oneself in this dark world, to assume oneself strong enough to have faith and remain faithful, then one dishonours God. We only love because HE loved us first (1 John 4:19).

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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Zur deutschen Originalversion: Zweifel oder Gewissheit?


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