Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why You May Not Have Assurance (Can You be Sure of Heaven? Part 6)

You trust in Jesus. You believe He died for your sins, and you've given your life to Him. Over time you've seen Him change you. You love Him. But you still worry if you'll make it to heaven. You're afraid you could do something that would dislodge you from His grace. 

Why? Why don’t you have full assurance that He who has the Son has the life (1 John 5:13)?
Remember my diagram that pictured the “salvation barrier” and the "assurance barrier?” I’m thinking of your situation as box #3: Saved, but not confident. So why are you in box #3 and not box #4: saved and confidentLet me offer 5 possible reasons:

1. Inadequate understanding of Bible truth. Maybe you were taught that a Christian couldn't know for sure that she was going to heaven. Or maybe you didn't realize the magnitude of God’s initiative in your salvation, and how that ultimately the decisive force in saving you and keeping you is God’s! Study the verses I shared in the last couple of posts. Hear the Lord Jesus say in John 6:37 – “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.”

2. Personal rebellion or disobedience. Maybe you’re in a chapter of your life where you've reverted somewhat to patterns of sin from your old life. Is it possible that a true Christian might “backslide,” might return to old habits for a time? Yes. And what disappears is not your salvation, but your assurance. If you are truly saved, you’ll come back. But I say to you, do it now. Don’t wait. Run back to Jesus today.

3. A season of mental, physical or spiritual brokenness. If you’re struggling with an illness, mental or physical, if you’re in a season of spiritual discouragement, your perspective on God, life, sin, and salvation will be skewed. You just won't see or feel the invincible love of God as it really is. Jesus hasn't left, but you feel terrible most of the time. This will pass. Jesus will get you through it. Don’t beat yourself up. Have others pray for you, come close to Christ as best you can, and let Him begin to heal you.

4. An especially tender conscience. Maybe you’re one of those people with an extra-sensitive conscience. You feel things more deeply, and you are really conscious of your sins. While being sensitive to sin is a good thing, your introspection can also be a bad thing. You have to get your eyes off yourself and on to Christ. Look at Him, claim the promises of His word, trust what He says rather than how you feel.

5. I think this last one is the least likely, but I want to mention it: Maybe you’re really not a Christian. In which case you’re actually in box #1. I say this is unlikely because, apart from God's grace, unsaved people don't have your desire for Christ and don't worry about their own sin. But in the event that you said, I don't think I was ever really saved, my counsel is, Okay, but God is drawing you now. Your concern about your sin, your desire to love Christ, is a gift. Turn to Jesus right now. Repent of your sins, and trust wholly in Jesus alone today, and you will be saved!

God has made abundant provision for our salvation. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25). Christ’s sacrifice is so precious and so worthy and so valuable that it is more than enough to pay for all your sins (past, present, and future) a million times over.

Trust Him to save you and trust Him to keep you. And may you find, in His kindness and grace, the assurance that He surely wants to bring you, from the Holy Spirit Himself: The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16).