All believers have a special relationship with God. To all who have received Christ, "to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God---children not born of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God." (John 1:12,13). The relationship God the Father has with His children is an eternal relationship (John 8:35). It is permanent. Nothing will ever separate His children from His love (Romans 8:35-39). Our heavenly Father will discipline His children (Hebrews 12:10-11), but He will never condemn them. In a way it is similar to the unchanging relationship we have with our earthly parents. Nothing we could ever do will change who our parents are.
Most people go through life hoping they will go to heaven when they die. They hope, after living a good enough life, they will receive favor from God and a place in His Kingdom. Roman Catholics are taught they receive salvation through water baptism, but they can lose it in an instant by committing a mortal sin. Only by confessing the sin to a priest and doing penance can they be justified again. This cycle is often repeated hundreds of times in a Catholic’s life.
Those who depend on their personal righteousness, performing good works, or adhering to a religious system, can never be assured of salvation. They will never know if they have ever done enough. It seems absurd to put your faith in what you can do instead of what God has done. Those who believe God’s word know that "salvation by grace" means to trust solely in the source of grace --- Jesus Christ. When salvation depends on God there is no chance for failure. A wonderful acronym for G-R-A-C-E is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Whenever man is involved in attaining and preserving salvation there can be no assurance.
We have assurance through the Father. Some believe it is possible to walk away from God or renounce your faith and lose your salvation? Jesus said no one has the power to do so. "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish . . . My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand" (John 10:28-29). The Father has the power to assure the life Jesus gives is everlasting, not temporal or perishable.
We have assurance through Jesus Christ. Christians are often accused of being self-righteous and boastful because they know for sure they are going to heaven. The accusers fail to understand it is not what man does for God that qualifies him for heaven, but what God has done for man. God made His holy and perfect Son become sin for us, so we could become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). "We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all...by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy" (Hebrews 10:10,14).
The Catholic Church teaches that mortal sin results in the loss of eternal life. John refuted this teaching in his first epistle when he encouraged believers not to sin. "But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense---Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 2:1-2). This comforting truth is also revealed in Hebrews 7:25, "He (Jesus) is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.
We also have assurance through the Holy Spirit. Many skeptics refuse to believe that a repentant sinner can simply believe the Gospel and be assured of eternal life? Yet the Apostle Paul could not make it any more clear, “You also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation. having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). The moment anyone understands and believes the Gospel, they are sealed and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who guarantees they will be co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).
We have assurance through God’s promises. The gift of salvation is secured forever by the faithfulness of God. He promises never to take back the gifts He has given. "God's gifts and His call are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29). His "promise comes by faith , so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed" to those who have the faith (Romans 4:16). "And if by grace, then it is no longer by works, if it were, grace would no longer be grace" (Romans 11:6). Paul is making it crystal clear that salvation can only be assured when a repentant sinner receives it as a gift of God's grace. Anyone who believes that salvation can be earned nullifies God’s grace. Whenever man is involved in attaining and preserving his salvation, there can be no assurance.
This may be your first exposure to the great biblical truth of eternal security. If you want to be certain of your salvation, then put aside any teaching, experience or feeling that opposes the Word of God. You will never have the subjective feeling of assurance until you comprehend and believe the objective truth of the Gospel. Once you do, you will be more certain of living eternally in heaven than one more day on earth.
Please let me know if I can be of further help.
Yours for the Gospel of Christ,
Dear Precious Loved Ones,
I respect your right to choose what you believe. What I cannot respect is commitment to a religion without any real understanding of what the religion is about. For example, to be “committed to Roman Catholicism” simply because a person was born into a Catholic family is foolish. To be loyal to a religion without investigating its core doctrines, its lifeblood, if you will, is to be loyal to a stone. It is ignorance masquerading as faithfulness. It is the skin of devotion stuffed with pride, arrogance, and fear.
I have a deep compassion for “religious” people who mechanically live out their “faith” because they’ve been told it’s the thing to do. People who follow religious leaders and rituals blindly are too proud to admit their lives are empty...too embittered by deceit to receive an invitation to the Truth.
Do you know why you believe what you do? Or have you blindly inherited someone else’s “truth”? Does your religion bring meaning to your life or is it just ritual? Does your religion determine your identity, or does your identity determine your religion ? Is your faith so “personal” that you dare not speak of it to others? Or is our faith so rich and meaningful that you crave the opportunity to tell others about it? Do you know that what you believe is Truth, or do you just accept what you’re taught without question?
Each individual has a right to accept God’s truth or reject it. But don’t expect me or others like me to cheer you on as you stomp proudly toward hell’s gates. Expect us to be bitterly angry, savagely grieved, and desperately fighting:
We are angry at a very real enemy (the master deceiver) for being such a devious and convincing liar.
We are grieved at the destiny you have chosen.
We are fighting and praying for your very souls.
And it is a battle we are determined to win -- not for ourselves, but for you. If we step on your toes in the process, forgive us. But don’t expect us to give up the fight simply because it becomes uncomfortable for you. If our roles were reversed, I hope you would do as much for me.
With fiercely stubborn love,
The Scriptures reveal that “Pride goes before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). How grievous for countless millions that the fall is into the pit of everlasting torment.
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