- Category: GOSPEL
John MacArthur, Paul Washer Videos, Audio, Article - Believer's Assurance
Biblical Assurance of Salvation - John MacArthur, Paul Washer Videos, Audios, Article on the Assurance of the Believer. How can Believer's know they have Eternal Life (Salvation) in their Struggle against Sin (Rom 7:25). Bible Q&A's. In the ARTICLE & AUDIO below by John MacArthur, John talks about: "A BELIEVER'S ASSURANCE: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO VICTORY OVER DOUBT"— which gives 8 Reasons for Shaken Assurance of Salvation. John MacArthur answers: Why Christians Lack Assurance? In Conclusion there is a QUESTION & ANSWERS on the Believer's Assurance; as well as SCRIPTURES ON: BIBLICAL ASSURANCE OF SALVATION by SO4J.com. This Page also talks about:
TRUE & FALSE CONVERSION - which helps one to Examine your Faith with God's Word. It answers: APOSTASY— WHAT IS APOSTASY? Understand the Biblical Differences between being an Apostate (Lukewarm) VS being a Believer who is Weak in Faith— i.e. an Immature Christian. It answers various Questions like: WHAT IS THE UNPARDONABLE / UNFORGIVABLE SIN?AND also WHAT IS THE BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT? So many have written us here at SO4J.com asking us if we know if they have committed the Unpardonable Sin, and/or the Unpardonable Sin? There are Links to other pages on SO4J.com that talk about the DOCTRINE OF ELECTION (Videos, Articles, Audios): Understanding— What the Doctrine of Election or Predestination?
•1 John 5:13 (NASB) "I have written this to you who Believe in the Name of the Son of God, so that you may KNOW you have ETERNAL LIFE."
• 1 John 2:3-6 (NASB) ”By this we KNOW that we have come to KNOW HIM, IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does NOT KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, IS A LIAR, and the TRUTH IS NOT IN HIM; but whoever KEEPS HIS WORD, in HIM the LOVE OF GOD has truly been PERFECTED. By this we know THAT WE ARE IN HIM: the one who says he ABIDES IN HIM ought himself to walk in the SAME MANNER as He (Jesus) walked.”
- HOW DO I GET RIGHT WITH GOD?
- I AM SCARED THAT I'M NOT SAVED
- TRUE & FALSE CONVERION VIDEO - PARABLE OF THE SOWER
- AS A BELIEVER I STRUGGLE WITH FEELING OF BEING UNSAVED, SHOULD I DOUBT MY SALVATION?
- IF YOU DOUBT YOUR SALVATION, DOES THAT MEAN YOU ARE NOT TRULY SAVED?
- I HAVE A LUST PROBLEM
- THE BELIEVER'S STRUGGLE WITH SIN - VICTORY OVER SIN - SHORT SCRIPTURE REMINDERS
- BIBLICAL ASSURANCE VIDEOS - PAUL WASHER, JOHN MACARTHUR - VIDEOS
- DOCTRINE OF ELECTION VIDEOS - UNDERSTANDING WHAT THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION IS
- A BELIEVER'S ASSURANCE: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO VICTORY OVER DOUBT - JOHN MACARTHUR - ARTICLE
- Q & A - BIBLICAL ASSURANCE OF SALVATION - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
- APOSTASY - WHAT IS APOSTASY? - HEBREWS 10:26-39 - BY JOHN MACARTHUR - AUDIOS & ARTICLE
- 21 KEYS TO OVERCOMING - SUFFERING, TRIALS, TESTS BIBLICALLY - ARTICLE
- SCRIPTURES - BIBLICAL ASSURANCE OF THE BELIEVER SCRIPTURES
- WHAT IS THE UNPARDONABLE / UNFORGIVABLE SIN? - ARTICLE
- WHAT IS THE BLASPHEMY OF HOLY SPIRIT? - ARTICLE
- ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED?
- IF SALVATION IS ETERNALLY SECURE, WHY DOES THE BIBLE WARN SO STRONGLY AGAINST APOSTASY?
- IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A PERSON'S NAME TO BE ERASED FROM THE BOOK OF LIFE? CAN MY NAME BE BLOTTED OUT?
Q & A - "How Do I Get Right With God?"
There's only ONE WAY we come to CHRIST (John 14:6, John 10:9)— on HIS TERMS & HIS WAY, thru the NARROW DOOR (Luke 13:23-30, Matt 7:13-14). We must come HUMBLY like a Child (Matt 18:3-4, Luke 18:9-14)— BROKEN over our own SINFULNESS (James 4:6-10, Psalms 51). SALVATION is Definitely a WORK of GOD (Eph 2:8-10, Phil 2:13)! Praise the LORD for His MERCY & GRACE (Titus 3:5-9) to Save ROTTEN SINNERS like us (Jer 17:9)! May the Lord in His Mercy DRAW YOU to HIMSELF (John 6:44,65). NOW is the DAY of SALVATION! (2 Cor 6:2)..REPENT & BELIEVE the GOSPEL TODAY! (Acts 17:30,31, Mark 1:15)
QUOTE by Pastor Don Green, Managing Director of "Grace To You" (www.GTY.org): "HAVE YOU REPENTED? Your REPENTANCE is GENUINE when you MOURN over your SIN and Consciously SEPARATE yourself from the WORLD and its FALSE RELIGION, PHILOSOPHIES, and LUSTS. You REJECT your own SINFUL SELF and the very environment in which you live in order to give TOTAL ALLEGIANCE TO JESUS CHRIST in a new pursuit of BIBLICAL RIGHTEOUSNESS. That is REPENTANCE. You leave yourself behind in TRUE REPENTANCE. You give UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER to the LORDSHIP OF CHRIST, freely acknowledging: “I have no righteousness of my own. I am a lost sinner unable to reconcile myself to God. Christ the Lord must save me or I will suffer eternal doom.” You come as a BANKRUPT, DESPERATE SPIRITUAL BEGGAR to FOLLOW CHRIST or you do NOT come to Him at all."
- Titus 3:4-7 (NKJV) "But when the KINDNESS and the LOVE of GOD our SAVIOR toward man appeared, NOT by WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS which we have DONE, but according to HIS MERCY He SAVED us, through the Washing of Regeneration & Renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He Poured out on us Abundantly through JESUS CHRIST our SAVIOR, that having been JUSTIFIED by HIS GRACE we should become HEIRS according to the HOPE of ETERNAL LIFE."
- James 4:6-10 “God is OPPOSED to the PROUD, but He gives GRACE to the HUMBLE. So HUMBLE yourselves before God. RESIST the Devil, and he will flee from you. DRAW CLOSE TO GOD, and He will DRAW CLOSE TO YOU. WASH YOUR HANDS, you Sinners; PURIFY YOUR HEARTS, you Double-minded. Let there be TEARS for the WRONG THINGS you have done. Let there be SORROW AND DEEP GRIEF. Let there be SADNESS instead of Laughter, and GLOOM instead of Joy. When you BOW DOWN BEFORE THE LORD and ADMIT YOUR DEPENDENCE on Him, He will LIFT YOU UP and GIVE YOU HONOR.”
- We Must Come to Christ on His Terms, Humble like a Child: Luke 18:17, Matt 18:3-4
- 2 Cor 7:10 "For GODLY SORROW produces REPENTANCE leading to SALVATION, not to be regretted; but the SORROW OF THE WORLD produces DEATH."
"How Do I Get Right With God?"
Answer: "In order to get “right” with God, we must first understand what is “wrong.” The answer is Sin. “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3). We have rebelled against God’s commands; we “like sheep, have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).
The bad news is that the penalty for sin is death. “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). The good news is that a loving God has pursued us in order to bring us salvation. Jesus declared His purpose was “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10), and He pronounced His purpose accomplished when He died on the cross with the words, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
Having a right relationship with God begins with acknowledging your Sin.
Next comes a humble confession of your sin to God (Isaiah 57:15) and a determination to forsake the sin. “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:10).
This Repentance must be accompanied by Faith, specifically, faith that Jesus’ sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection qualify Him to be your Savior. “…if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Many other passages speak of the necessity of Faith, such as: John 20:27; Acts 16:31; Galatians 2:16; 3:11, 26; and Ephesians 2:8.
Being right with God is a matter of your response to what God has done on your behalf. He sent the Savior, He provided the sacrifice to take away your sin (John 1:29), and He offers you the promise: “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21).
A beautiful illustration of Repentance and Forgiveness is the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). The younger son wasted his father’s gift in shameful sin (verse 13). When he acknowledged his wrongdoing, he decided to return home (verse 18). He assumed he would no longer be considered a son (verse 19), but he was wrong. The father loved the returned rebel as much as ever (verse 20). All was forgiven, and a celebration ensued (verse 24). God is good to keep His promises, including the promise to forgive. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18)...."
Check out this Video: Video: I Grew Up a "Christian"
Q & A - "I Am Scared That I'm Not Saved, Am I Saved?"
God's Word tells us to "Examine Yourself" (2 Cor 13:5) & "Test Yourself" and see if your Faith is Genuine! Examine Yourself
- 2 Cor 13:5 "EXAMINE YOURSELF to see if your Faith is Genuine. TEST YOURSELF. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have Failed the Test of Genuine Faith."
- 1 Cor 11:31-32 "If we would EXAMINE OURSELVES, we would Not be JUDGED BY GOD in this way. Yet when we are JUDGED BY THE LORD, we are being DISCIPLINED so that we will NOT be CONDEMNED along with the WORLD."
TRUE & FALSE CONVERSION AUDIO
AUDIO— True & False Conversion - Ray Comfort - MP3
Why do so many in the Church Look & Act just like the World?
(AUDIO & PDF is Non-Copyright: Freely Copy & Distribute to Friends)
Q & A - "As a Believer I Struggle with FEELINGS of Being Unsaved"
“I Love Christ, But I Struggle Constantly With Sin In My Life. Should I Doubt My Salvation?”
Excerpt from John MacArthur's Website - GTY.org - John MacArthur: “Not necessarily. Even the Apostle Paul experienced perpetual struggle with sin throughout his life (Romans 7:7-25). All of us struggle continually with sinful thoughts, sinful attitudes, sinful habits, and sinful desires. It is those who don't struggle—those who deliberately and eagerly revel in their sin—who need to have their sense of security shaken. So don't give up in defeat if you find yourself struggling with sin or even if you fall into it. Stay in the battle. Fight sin by considering deeply what makes you more vulnerable to it, and then establish godly practices in its place. You may find you need to have accountability with a godly person you trust, or spend more time in prayer, or stay away from things that tempt you." Do whatever it takes to discipline yourself and stop any pattern of sin before it gets started again. That is the key to staying away from sin—the constant, daily practice of thinking on the right things and not making provision for the flesh and its desires (Romans 13:14).”
Excerpt From the Evidence Bible:
Here's a Recipe for Success: (so to speak.. for the Believer)
- Read your Bible every day . . . without fail. Every day. Value the Word more important than your food (see Psalm 1)
- Obey what you Read in God's Word
- Develop a tender conscience
- Never doubt any of God's promises.
- Obey the Great Commission by sharing your faith (John 14:21, Mark 16:15)
Q & A - "If I Doubt My Salvation Does that Mean that I'm Not Saved?"
Answer: "Everyone has occasional doubts. Whether or not you have doubts is not what determines whether you are a Christian. Even when a believer is faithless, God is faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). God wants us to be sure and confident of our salvation (Romans 8:38-39; 1 John 5:13). God promises that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ will be saved (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10). We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). As a result, we deserve death and an eternity apart from God (Romans 6:23). But God loved us enough to die in our place, taking the punishment that we deserved (Romans 5:8). As a result, all those who believe are saved and eternally secure.
(FROM SO4J-TV— Go Here Re: Once Saved Always Saved?)
Sometimes doubting is a good thing. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” We are to test ourselves to be sure that Jesus is truly our Savior and the Holy Spirit is truly in us. If He is, we can in no way lose the salvation Christ has obtained for us (Romans 8:38-39). If He's not, then perhaps the Holy Spirit is convicting us of sin and prompting us to repent and be reconciled to God through Christ. The assurance of our salvation comes from the knowledge that once we are in Christ, we are eternally secure. But genuine saving faith is evidenced by its works (James 2:14-26) and the fruit of the Spirit within us (Galatians 5:22). The lack of this evidence can sometimes be the cause of our doubts..."
Q & A - "I Have a Lust Problem"
From the Evidence Bible - Ray Comfort (in italics only): "The Bible says to "guard your heart with all diligence . . . " That means the area of your thought life. If we have a problem with lust, we should be quick to remember that we share that thought with God. That's scary. He is perfect, pure, holy . . . and just. If He considers lust to be adultery of the heart, we are in BIG trouble. That knowledge should send us back to the Cross, where we should confess and forsake our sins. We all have similar battles with unclean thoughts. Be careful what you look at, and what you think about. If you begin to lose the battle in your mind, go somewhere and pray. Confess your sins the moment you become aware of them, and don't let the enemy get a double victory by not sharing your faith or by allowing sin to keep you out of fellowship. Make sure you read the Word every day without fail. That old saying is true: "This Book will keep me from sin (and Hell), and sin will keep me from this Book." Also, be very careful of idolatry. It is easy to change our concept of God so that He conforms to our sins (a god who doesn't mind lust).
Look below at the Short SO4J Scripture Reminders Regarding: The Believer's Struggle with Sin
The Believer's Struggle with Sin— Short Scripture Reminders
By Martha Mac / SO4J.com / SO4J-TV & Video Productions
Here's a FEW or so main Scriptures below to help remind the Believer about the Lord's Love & Forgiveness (1 John 1:9, James 4:6-10), and the necessity of the Believer to Keep the Full Armor of God (Eph 6:10-20) & to Cast Down All Thoughts that are Contrary to God's Word (2 Cor 10:3-6).
Rom 7:14-25 Paul says, "I DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND MYSELF, for I WANT TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT, BUT I DON’T DO IT. INSTEAD, I DO WHAT I HATE. But if I know that what I am doing is WRONG, this shows that I agree that the Law is good. So I am not the one doing Wrong; it is SIN LIVING IN ME that does it. And I know that NOTHING GOOD LIVES IN ME, that is, in my SINFUL NATURE. I WANT to do what is RIGHT, BUT I CAN’T. I WANT to do WHAT IS GOOD, but I DON’T. I DON’T want to Do what is WRONG, but I DO IT ANYWAY. But if I DO what I DON’T WANT TO DO, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is SIN LIVING IN ME THAT DOES IT. I have discovered this PRINCIPLE OF LIFE—that when I WANT TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT, I inevitably DO WHAT IS WRONG. I love God’s Law with all my Heart. But there is another power within me that is at WAR with MY MIND. This POWER makes me a SLAVE TO THE SIN that is STILL WITHIN ME. Oh, what a MISERABLE PERSON I am! WHO WILL FREE ME from this LIFE that is DOMINATED BY SIN and DEATH? THANK GOD! The answer is in JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. So you see how it is: In my MIND I REALLY WANT TO OBEY GOD’S LAW, but because of MY SINFUL NATURE I am a slave to SIN.
1 - GOD CAN FORGIVE US— HUMBLE YOURSELF & RESIST SATAN
1 John 1:9 ”But if we Confess our SINS to HIM, HE is FAITHFUL and JUST to FORGIVE US our Sins and to CLEANSE US from ALLUNRIGHTEOUSNESS.”
James 4:4-10 "God is OPPOSED to the PROUD, but He gives GRACE to the HUMBLE. So HUMBLE yourselves before God. RESIST the DEVIL, and he will FLEE from you. DRAW CLOSE TO GOD, and He will DRAW CLOSE TO YOU. WASH YOUR HANDS, you Sinners; PURIFY YOUR HEARTS, you Double-minded. Let there be TEARS for the WRONG THINGS you have DONE. Let there be SORROW and DEEP GRIEF. Let there be SADNESS instead of Laughter, and GLOOM instead of Joy. When you BOW DOWN BEFORE THE LORD and ADMIT YOUR DEPENDENCE ON HIM, He will LIFT YOU UP and GIVE YOU HONOR."
2 - KEEP THE JOY OF YOUR SALVATION (PSALM 51:12) BY KEEPING THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD ON (EPH 6:10-20)
- Ephesians 6:10-20 Paul writing to Believers, “Finally, my Brethren, be STRONG IN THE LORD and in His Mighty Power. Put on the FULL ARMOR OF GOD, so that you will be able to STAND FIRM against the SCHEMES and TRICKS OF THE DEVIL. For our STRUGGLE (wrestle) is NOT against People made FLESH and BLOOD, but against the EVIL RULERS, against the POWERS, against the WORLD FORCES OF THIS DARKNESS, against the SPIRITUAL FORCES OF WICKEDNESS in the HEAVENLY PLACES. Therefore, take up the FULL ARMOR OF GOD, so that you will be able to RESIST IN THE EVIL DAY, and having done EVERYTHING, to STAND FIRM (in GOD’S WORD). STAND FIRM therefore, putting on the STURDY BELT OF TRUTH (Be Truthful), and having put on the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (Living Righteous through Obedience to God’s Word). For SHOES, put on the PEACE that comes from the GOOD NEWS (we have Peace with God now thru the Gospel), so that you will be fully Prepared. In addition to all those, take up the SHIELD OF FAITH with which you will be able to STOP ALL the Fiery Darts of the DEVIL (Believe God’s Word over your Emotions, when FIREY DARTS of Temptation, & Lusts come your way). And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION (the Hope you now have of Salvation), and the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the WORD OF GOD. PRAY in the SPIRIT (Eph 5:22-23) at ALL TIMES & on EVERYOCCASION. STAY ALERT and be PERSISTENT IN YOUR PRAYERS for ALL BELIEVERS EVERYWHERE."
- 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 "For though we Walk in the Flesh, we do Not War according to the Flesh: For the Weapons of our Warfare are NOT CARNAL (WORLDLY), but Mighty through God to the PULLING DOWN OF STRONGHOLDS; CASTING DOWN IMAGINATIONS, and EVERY HIGH THING that EXALTS ITSELF against the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, and bringing into CAPTIVITY EVERY THOUGHT to the OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST."
Phil 4:13 "I can Do ALL things through CHRIST who gives me the STRENGTH."
Phil 1:6 "Being Confident of this very thing, that HE who has begun a GOOD WORK in YOU WILL Complete it until the Day of Jesus Christ.."
3 - HEAR GOD'S WORD. BELIEVE IT, OBEY IT
Psalm 119:11 "Your WORD have I Hidden in my Heart, That I might NOT SIN against YOU!"
4 - CAST DOWN ALL THOUGHTS THAT ARE CONTRARY TO GOD'S WORD!
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 "For though we Walk in the Flesh, we do Not War according to the Flesh: For the Weapons of our Warfare are NOT CARNAL (WORLDLY), but Mighty through God to the PULLING DOWN OF STRONGHOLDS; CASTING DOWN IMAGINATIONS, and EVERY HIGH THING that EXALTS ITSELF against the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, and bringing into CAPTIVITY EVERY THOUGHT to the OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST."
5 - CUT OUT ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE THAT'S CONTRARY TO GOD'S WORD & NOT GLORIFYING TO JESUS—
Mark 9:43-48 Jesus says, "If your HAND causes you to SIN, Cut It Off. It’s better to enter Eternal Life with only ONE HAND than to go into the UNQUENCHABLE FIRE OF HELL with TWO HANDS ... If your FOOT causes you to SIN, Cut It Off. It’s better to enter Eternal Life with only ONE FOOT than to be THROWN INTO HELL with TWO FEET... And if your EYE causes you to SIN, Gouge It Out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only ONE EYE than to have TWO EYES and be THROWN INTO HELL, where the MAGGOTS NEVER DIE and the FIRE NEVER GOES OUT."
6 - WHATEVER YOU SAY, THINK, DO— DO ALL FOR GOD'S GLORY!
1 Cor 10:31 "Whether you EAT, DRINK, or WHATEVER you DO, DO ALL to the GLORY of GOD."
Col 3:17 "Whatever you DO in WORD or DEED, DO ALL in the name of the LORD JESUS, giving THANKS through Him to God the Father."
Biblical Assurance of Salvation - Videos - Paul Washer
Video: Biblical Assurance - Paul Washer
In the ABOVE Video Playlist the 2nd Video Sermon STARTS at TIME: 10:16 / 3rd Video at: 6:24. Other Videos start right away
Election Videos - Understanding What the Doctrine of Election is
A Believer's Assurance: A Practical Guide to Victory over Doubt
"8 Reasons for Shaken Assurance"
By John MacArthur
INTRO: It's a heartache to me as a Pastor to realize that so many Christians lack the assurance of their salvation. They lack the confidence that their sins are truly forgiven and that their place in heaven is eternally secured.
In 1654 the Puritan Thomas Brooks wrote, "Assurance is the believer's ark where he sits, Noah-like, quiet and still in the midst of all distractions and destructions, commotions and confusions.... [However] most Christians live between fears and hopes, and hang, as it were, between heaven and hell. Sometimes they hope that their state is good, at other times they fear that their state is bad: now they hope that all is well, and that it shall go well with them for ever; [then] they fear that they shall perish by the hand of such a corruption, or by the prevalency of such or such a temptation .... They are like a ship in a storm, tossed here and there" (Heaven on Earth, p. 11). It doesn't have to be that way.
2 Peter 1:10 The Apostle Peter said, "Be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you"
Isaiah 32:17 The Prophet Isaiah said, "The work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever" ().
Where God grants righteousness, He also adds peace and assurance.
It's true that someone can be saved and doubt it. One may go to heaven in a mist, not knowing for sure he's going, but that's certainly not the way to enjoy the trip.
Incorrect Assumptions About Salvation
All of us as Christians have times when doubt makes us question if we're saved. For some, those times are but fleeting moments; for some, they last a long time; and for others, they seem like a way of life. Before we explore the reasons so many Christians lack assurance, there are two issues we need to consider.
Some people have assurance who have no right to it. The old slave spiritual put it simply: "Everybody talkin' about heaven ain't going there." Some feel all is well between them and God when it isn't. They don't understand the truth about salvation and their own spiritual condition.
People often ask me why I speak so frequently about salvation and spiritual self-examination. It's because Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Yourname perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you'" (Matthew 7:21-23). Many people are deceived about their salvation. That's why the apostle Paul said, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" (2 Corinthians 13:5).
How did those people get their false assurance? By receiving false information about salvation. Much of our modern-day evangelism contributes to that through what I call "syllogistic assurance."
A syllogism has a major premise and a minor premise that lead to a conclusion. Let's consider:
John 1:12: "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."
The Major Premise: anyone who receives Jesus becomes God's child.
The Minor Premise: the person you just witnessed to received Christ.
Conclusion: the person must now be a child of God.
That seems logical, but the problem is, you don't know whether the minor premise is true— whether the person truly received Christ. Beware of trying to assure people of their salvation based on an untested profession. Assurance is the reward of tested and proven faith. It is the Holy Spirit who gives it, not a human being.
Another preliminary issue you need to be aware of is that some think no one has the right to assurance— not even a true Christian. They think it's presumptuous to think you can be spiritually secure. That's the historic Arminian view. It asserts that if a person thought he was secure forever, he would do whatever he wanted and be spiritually negligent.
That is also the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. The Council of Trent in the mid-1500s declared it anathema to say "that a man who is born again and justified is bound [of faith] to believe that he is certainly in the number of the predestined" (can. 15 on justification). Modern Catholic teaching upholds that position.
G.C. Berkhouwer's The Conflict with Rome explains that Rome's denial of the assurance of salvation is consistent with its conception of the nature of salvation (pp. 118-19). Since it conceives of salvation as a joint effort by man and God, something that's maintained through the doing of good works, it concludes the believer can never be absolutely sure of his or her salvation. Why? Because if my salvation depends on God and me, I might mess up.
When you have man involved in salvation, whether through Arminian or Roman Catholic theology, there can be no security because man can default. But historic biblical theology declares that salvation is entirely the work of God, which leads to the concomitant doctrines of security and assurance.
With that understanding, let's get back to our basic question, Why do people lack assurance? One obvious reason is that some aren't saved, but let's go beyond that.
Why do Christians Lack Assurance? There are Eight basic reasons.
8 Reasons For Shaken Assurance
Why Do Christians Lack Assurance?
8 Reasons Why Christians Lack Assurance:
1 - Strong Preaching
Some lack assurance because of being under strong biblical preaching on God's holy standard. Such preaching forces people to see their sinfulness and acknowledge that the holiness of God calls them to a lofty standard of living. Is that bad? No, the pulpit should be the creator of anxious hearts. How else can it unsettle those who have false assurance? However, the consistent call to righteousness may unsettle some Christians, particularly those who are frequently succumbing to temptation.
But that kind of preaching is rare. Churches across our country are filled with smug people who don't feel particularly insecure because nothing in their life is ever confronted. Rather than leading their people to examine themselves and make sure their assurance is valid, many preachers feel it's their duty to make everyone feel good. However, those who preach as they should will find some in their congregation plagued with doubt.
Recently I received the following letter:
Dear John, I've been attending Grace church for several years. As a result of a growing conviction in my heart, your preaching, and my seeming powerlessness against the temptations which arise in my heart and which I constantly succumb to, my growing doubts have led me to believe that I'm not saved.
How sad it is, John, for me not to be able to enter in because of the sin which clings to me and from which I long to be free. How bizarre for one who has had advanced biblical training and who teaches in Sunday School with heartfelt conviction! So many times I have determined in my heart to repent, to shake loose my desire to sin, to forsake all for Jesus only to find myself doing the sin I don't want to do and not doing the good I want to do.
After my fiance' and I broke up I memorized Ephesians as part of an all-out effort against sin, only to find myself weaker and more painfully aware of my sinfulness, more prone to sin than ever before, and grabbing cheap thrills to push back the pain of lost love. This occurs mostly in the heart, John, but that's where it counts and that's where we live. I sin because I'm a sinner. I'm like a soldier without armor running across a battlefield getting shot up by fiery darts from the enemy.
I couldn't leave the church if I wanted to. I love the people and I'm enthralled by the gospel of the beautiful Messiah. But I'm a pile of manure on the white marble floor of Christ, a mongrel dog that sneaked in the back door of the King's banquet to lick the crumbs off the floor, and, by being close to Christians who are rich in the blessings of Christ, I get some of the overflow and ask you to pray for me as you think best.
Is the author of that poignant letter a Christian? One thing that jumps out at me is his desire to do right, which sounds more like Paul in Romans 7 than an unbeliever. The pulpit is the creator of anxious hearts, but it is also to give comfort and assurance to those who love Christ.
Other people lack assurance because they can't accept forgiveness. They are tyrannized by their emotions and feel they are too bad to be forgiven. There are several reasons for that. First, conscience speaks against forgiveness. The only thing your conscience knows about is guilt and conviction. It knows nothing of grace and mercy. Also, holiness and justice speak against forgiveness. They focus on sin and know nothing of excusing it.
Be warned: Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He will do all he can to obscure the love and graciousness of God. One Puritan wrote,
He that lacks assurance of God's love, converses too much with Satan.... [He says to himself:] "The devil is always following and tempting me to suspect the love of Christ, and he does it that he may attain his mind upon me. For the devil knows well enough that the more I suspect Christ's love, the more I shall embrace Satan's love."
The truth is, beloved, this lack of assurance of God's love, or interest in Christ, is an inlet to many sins and miseries; for first a man doubts of his own salvation. Afterwards he has continued doubting, then he rises up unto a full conclusion saying, "Now know I that Christ does not love me. I did but doubt before, but now I know He does not love me." And after he has risen to this conclusion, then shortly he rises higher, and he goes further thus: "If Christ does not love me now, He will never love me; and if I have not an interest in Christ now, after all the preaching I have heard, and ordinances I have enjoyed, I shall never have it; and so the longer I live, the more I shall aggravate my condemnation." (William Bridge, A Lifting Up for the Downcast, pp. 129-30)
Another Puritan draws us back to Scripture, saying,
Manasseh is saved. O despairing souls, the arms of mercy are open to receive a Manasseh, a monster, a devil incarnate; he caused that gospel prophet Isaiah to be sawed in the midst with a saw.... He turned aside from the Lord to commit idolatry, and caused his sons to pass through the fire, and dealt with familiar spirits, and made the streets of Jerusalem to overflow with innocent blood.... The soul of Mary Magdalene was full of devils; and yet Christ cast them out, and made her heart his house.... Why dost thou then say there is no hope for thee, O despairing soul?
Paul was full of rage against Christ and his people, and full of blasphemy and impiety, and yet behold, Paul is a chosen vessel, Paul is caught up into the heaven, and he is filled with the gifts and graces of the Holy [Spirit] .... Why should thou then say there is for thee no help, O despairing soul! ... The apostle tells you of some monstrous miscreants that were unrighteous, fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners; and yet these monsters of mankind, through the infinite goodness and free grace of God, are washed from the filth and guilt of their sins, and justified by the righteousness of Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ, and decked and adorned with the precious graces of Christ ... Why then, O despairing soul, shouldst thou fear that thy unworthiness and unfitness for mercy will so stop and turn the stream of mercy, as that thou must perish eternally for want of one drop of special grace and mercy? (Thomas Brooks, Heaven on Earth, pp. 93-94)
If you allow Satan to crush your head with the holy requirements of God stripped of the love of God, you will doubt.
Many people lack assurance because they do not understand that salvation is an utterly divine, totally sovereign operation. Assurance is built on the historical reality of what Jesus Christ accomplished. It is not a feeling without reason, and you will never have the subjective feeling of assurance until you comprehend the objective truth of the gospel.
You must realize that God knew you were a sinner, which is why He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to completely pay the price for all your sins— past, present, and future. The salvation Jesus offered was secured forever by the omnipotent power of God. It is irreversible.
Romans 11:29 says, "The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." In the Old Testament,
Isaiah 1:18 God says, "Come now, and let us reason together ... Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool"
When God forgives you, it is complete.
Isaiah 43:25 He Himself said, "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins."
Does that sound like good news to you? What you can't forget, God can't remember! "You may never be able to forget the years of wandering, the many sins of which you have been guilty. But that which gives peace is the knowledge that God will never recall them again. He has blotted them from the book of His remembrance, and He has done it in righteousness, for the account is completely settled. The debt is paid" (H.A. Ironside, Full Assurance, p. 23).
When Israel was preparing to leave Egypt, the last plague, the death of the firstborn, was about to fall on the land. God instructed His people to slay a lamb and sprinkle its blood on the front door of their houses. The angel of death passed over every blood-sprinkled house. Inside the house some might have worried about sins they had committed, but their security depended not on their frame of mind, their feelings, or the record of their past deeds, but on the blood.
So it is today. We can't see the blood shed on Calvary for our redemption, but God does. He doesn't look at the believer and say, "Hey, he cheated"— or lied, or lacked kindness, or acted like a hypocrite. Your security from divine judgment doesn't depend on living a perfect life, but on being sheltered by the blood of Christ.
There's one element of gospel truth I want to mention specifically because of its major role in the issue of assurance: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It proves that the Lord's work on the cross brought about a salvation that's eternally secure. There could have been no better attestation to the truthfulness of His claims. Jesus said He was God and rose from the dead to prove it. He said He came to accomplish the work of salvation, and God raised Him from the dead to show He was successful.
Jesus Christ bore a world of sin—all the guilt of all who would ever believe—in His body on the cross. God can gaze upon a sinner who bears much less sin than the crucified Christ and exalt that sinner to His own right hand, even as He did to His own Son (Ephesians 1:19--2:1).
A young convert once said, "If anyone is ever to be kept out of heaven for my sins, it will have to be Jesus, for He took them all upon Himself and made Himself responsible for them. But He is in heaven already, never to be turned out, so now I know that I am secure" (Ironside, p. 75). The matter is settled for those of us who trust in Christ.
2 Timothy 1:9-10 God "has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
Assurance is an inextricable part of saving faith.
1 John 5:13 The apostle John said, "I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life."
The Christian faith is a secure faith. As one hymn triumphantly declares, "How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word."
Some Christians lack assurance because they don't know the exact time of their salvation. They can't remember when they believed. Some can't remember ever not believing. Because they can't pinpoint the exact moment, they doubt whether the moment actually occurred. But if you didn't know the date of your birth, you wouldn't wonder if you were alive. Far too much has been made of isolating the moment by some little formula, whether it be praying a prayer, signing a card, raising your hand, or walking down an aisle.
Many Christians— especially those reared in a Christian environment— can't identify the exact moment they were saved. I can't. I don't know when I passed from death to life, but I know I did. There were times as a little child when I prayed special prayers. I specifically remember praying with my father on the steps of a church in Indiana when he was holding a revival meeting. His sermon convicted me because I had done some things that week that weren't right. I remember as a fourteen-year-old going forward at camp and throwing a pine cone in the fire, teary-eyed and wanting to make my life right with God. I was in a serious auto accident when I was a freshman in college, which vividly reinforced God's claim on my life, but I can't say for sure that was the time of my salvation.
I don't look for a past event to make my salvation real to me. I look at the present pattern of my life. Some people have a false assurance because they can remember a past event, but their life doesn't follow a righteous pattern. So don't worry if you can't tie in a specific time or event with the moment of your salvation. Focus on your lifestyle instead.
Another reason Christians lack assurance is they feel the pull of their unredeemed flesh and wonder if they have a new nature. As Christians dwelling in this fallen world, we are new creations incarcerated in unredeemed flesh. In fact we "groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for ... the redemption of our body" (Romans 8:23) at our Lord's return, when it "will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (v. 21).
However, until our liberation comes, we will occasionally be drawn into the Romans 7 battle between flesh and spirit, doing what we don't want to do and not doing what we want to do. If sin is overwhelming and overpowering you at any given point, you will lack assurance. You'll wonder, Did I repent enough? Am I sorry enough for my sin? Do I have enough faith?
It's easy to read Romans 7:14-25 in an imbalanced way. If you see only the parts that say, "Nothing good dwells in me" and "wretched man that I am," you'll become overly introspective. Focusing on the flesh will warp your perspective and lead you to overstate your spiritual condition. However, if you see only the parts that say, "I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man" and "the willing [of doing good] is present in me" you'll fail to deal with the reality of the flesh.
You need to keep a balance. Here's a helpful suggestion:
TEST YOURSELF IN THIS WAY
Test yourself in this way. You once lived in sin and loved it. Do you now desire deliverance from it? You were once self-confident and trusting in your own fancied goodness. Do you now judge yourself as a sinner before God? You once sought to hide from God and rebelled against His authority. Do you now look up to Him, desiring to know Him, and to yield yourself to Him? If you can honestly say "Yes" to these questions, you have repented ... And remember, it is not the amount of repentance that counts: it is the fact that you turn from self to God that puts you in the place where His grace avails through Jesus Christ.
Strictly speaking, not one of us has ever repented enough. None of us has realized the enormity of our guilt as God sees it. But when we judge ourselves and trust the Saviour whom He has provided, we are saved through His merits. As recipients of His lovingkindness, repentance will be deepened and will continue day by day, as we learn more and more of His infinite worth and our own unworthiness. (Ironside, p. 89)
Do you see the impulses of the new nature in your life? If so, that's indicative of salvation. If God's will has become your highest joy, and submission to His lordship your greatest delight, you are indeed a child of God, no matter how strong the pull of sin.
Some Christians become spiritually unstable because they can't see the hand of God in all their trials. They say things like, "How could God love me and let me go through this? How could He take my husband or wife or child? How could He not hear my prayer and deliver me? Where is God when I need Him?" People who think like that not only sentence themselves to doubt but also miss what's actually the strongest source of assurance: proven faith.
Romans 5:1-5 says, "Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ... and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit".
We're to rejoice in our trials because they produce hope and assurance.
James 1:2-4 James says, "Consider it all joy, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the Testing of your Faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing".
Rather than causing you to doubt, the trials of life are to prove God's love and power in your behalf. Through all you must endure in life, remember this:
Hebrews 6:10-12 says, "God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints... [therefore] show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises".
Handle your difficulties by being diligent and patient. The reward is a full assurance of hope.
Trials are the crucible in which assurance is formed. Remember Paul's great statement that nothing could separate him from the love of God? Note the context of his assurance: "Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, 'For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered'" (Romans 8:35-36). Paul had experienced all that, yet he was certain of his relationship with God. What convinces you of your salvation? Hopefully it's the Word of God and your tested faith.
One of the most important ways the Holy Spirit ministers to believers is by assuring them of their salvation. A believer who's not living by the Spirit's power forfeits that important ministry. Let's look again at Romans 8.
Romans 8:15 "You have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'"
("Abba" is the Aramaic equivalent of "Daddy.") We have been adopted into God's family and are on intimate terms with Him. How do we know that's true? Because—
Romans 8:16-17 "the Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ"
In Rome it was very common to adopt, and each adoption had to be verified by seven witnesses. That was to ensure someone would be around to confirm the legitimate claim of the heir to his inheritance. Now if anyone questions your claim to your eternal inheritance, there is a witness who was present at the moment of your adoption: the Holy Spirit, whom Isaiah 11:2 describes as the sevenfold Spirit. He will step forward and bear witness that you are indeed an adopted child of God and have a lawful claim to an eternal inheritance.
4 Ways the Holy Spirit Bears Witness that we're God's Children:
How Does The Holy Spirit Bear Witness That We Are God's Children? Here are 4 Ways:
1 - FIRST way is by ILLUMINATING SCRIPTURE so we can UNDERSTAND it
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 says, "It is written, 'Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.' For to us God revealed them through the Spirit" (vv. 9-10). As we study the Word of God about those promises, the Spirit makes them real to us.
2 - SECOND way the Spirit Bears Witness is through SALVATION
1 John 4:13-15 says, "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us,because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God."
The Holy Spirit came and showed us the gospel—that Jesus is the Savior of the world and that by confessing Him as such, we come to know God.
3 - THIRD way the Spirit Bears Witness is by DRAWING us into FELLOWSHIP with God
Galatians 4:6 says, "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'"
The Spirit produces prayer, praise, and worship— a crying out to God as our Father.
4 - FOURTH way the Spirit Bears Witness is the FRUIT He PRODUCES in us: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control (Gal 5:22-23)
The flesh certainly doesn't produce those things. It knows lust, but not true love. It knows momentary happiness, but not settled joy. It knows a moment of calm, but not a deep inner peace. The fruit of the Spirit is evidence that you belong to God. So is the outworking of His mighty power in us through evangelism and other Christian ministries (cf. Acts 1:8).
The Spirit's witness is not some little voice that says, "Yes, yes, you really are a Christian." It's so much more. The Holy Spirit illuminates the Word of God for us, leads us to a greater faith and love for Christ, draws us into intimate fellowship with God through worship and prayer, produces in us the graces characteristic of a redeemed nature, and makes us effective in Christian service.
Thomas Brooks concludes the matter: "The Spirit is the great revealer of the Father's secrets, he lies in the bosom of the Father, he knows every name that is written in the book of life; he is best acquainted with the inward workings of the heart of God towards poor sinners; he is the great comforter and the only sealer up of souls to the day of redemption. If you grieve by your willful sinning he that alone can gladden you, who then will make you glad?" (Heaven on Earth, p. 152, emphasis added). If you grieve or quench the Spirit by walking in the flesh, you short-circuit His ministries to you and will lack assurance as a result.
Perhaps the most obvious reason for lacking assurance is disobedience, because assurance is the reward for obedience. Hebrews 10:22 strongly points that out: "Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." It's been well said that high degrees of assurance cannot be enjoyed by those who persist in low levels of obedience. To live in sin is to live in doubt.
Listen to the testimony of Charles Spurgeon:
Whenever I feel that I have sinned and desire to overcome that sin for the future, the devil at the same time comes to me and whispers, "How can you be a pardoned person and accepted with God while you still sin in this way?" If I listen to this I drop into despondency, and if I continued in that state I should fall into despair, and should commit sin more frequently than before; but God's grace comes in and says to my soul, "Thou hast sinned; but did not Christ come to save sinners? Thou art not saved because thou art righteous; for Christ died for the ungodly." And my faith says, "Though I have sinned, I have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and though I am guilty yet by grace I am saved and I am a child of God still." And what then? Why the tears begin to flow and I say, "How could I ever sin against my God who has been so good to me? Now I will overcome that sin," and I get strong to fight with sin through the conviction that I am God's child.
Here's a practical way of dealing with sin: deal with a major sin in your life and the rest will follow. When the general is killed, the troops scatter. By the means of grace available to every believer, slay the sins you find most compelling and familiar—your pet sins— and the others will soon disappear. And when you fall into sin, quickly set out to conquer that sin and be aware that Satan will try to make you doubt your salvation. Fall back on the forgiving grace of God, and it will strengthen you for battle.
Conclusion - Questions & Answers
If you're Lacking Assurance— if you're plagued with doubts and have lost your joy, become useless in Christian service, empty in worship, cold in praise, passionless in prayer, and vulnerable to false teachers— whatever the problem, know there is a cure: Obeying God's Word in the power of the Spirit.
Let's take the FIRST STEP toward doing that by applying an ancient technique— a question-and-answer process known as a catechism— to help us think through what God's Word teaches about assurance. The Greek word katacheo means "to echo back." So echo back God's truth as you slowly and thoughtfully read the following:
QUESTION: WHAT IS THE ESSENTIAL DUTY A PERSON HAS IN THIS WORLD?
ANSWER: Consummating a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, which is to recognize His work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead as the satisfying atonement for sin, and to walk in accordance with that relationship.
QUESTION: DON'T ALL MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH HAVE A SAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST?
ANSWER: No, only those who are Truly Saved.
QUESTION: HOW CAN I BE CERTAIN I HAVE THAT SAVING RELATIONSHIP?
ANSWER: The Lord will have done in your soul His own sovereign will— that of calling you to Himself through a work of conviction and humiliation so you will have discovered your sin and misery, and, being so seriously agitated and threatened by it, you long for the Savior.
QUESTION: HOW CAN I KNOW IF I'VE MADE SUFFICIENT DISCOVERY & ADMISSION OF MY SIN?
ANSWER: By taking salvation to your heart above any other pursuit in life. It will make Christ, your Redeemer, very precious to your soul. It will make you Fear Sin, Repent, and Seek to be Saved on God's Terms.
QUESTION: WHAT'S ANOTHER WAY OF DISCERNING A SAVING RELATIONSHIP TO CHRIST?
ANSWER: A strong and serious affection that reaches toward Christ as He is progressively revealed to you in the gospel. Such love is the product of saving belief.
QUESTION: ARE THERE OTHER MARKS OF A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST?
ANSWER: You are truly saved when you have been made a whole new person, graciously changed and renewed. That is best evidenced by a desire to shun sin and pattern your life in obedience toward God's righteous demands.
QUESTION: WHAT IF I FIND SIN PREVAILING OVER ME?
ANSWER: Although every Sin deserves eternal vengeance, if you regularly confess your sins with unhypocritical repentance and shame before God— fleeing to Christ for forgiveness for all known and unknown iniquities— He will grant you mercy and pardon because you stand in grace, and your salvation is forever secure.
QUESTION: WHAT IF MY SINS ARE SERIOUS & REPEATED?
ANSWER: Whatever they are, Jesus Christ has paid the price for them so that if you sincerely and earnestly have turned to Him in repentant faith, you will never enter into condemnation. Moreover, His gracious provision for those who believe includes power to overcome sin and live righteously.
QUESTION: IS FAITH ALONE THE REQUIREMENT FOR SALVATION?
ANSWER: Yes, it is the only basis upon which God offers Peace and Pardon to mankind. However, faith— if it is genuine— will not be alone in the soul, but will always be accompanied by true Repentance and an eager desire to Conform to God's Will and Way.
QUESTION: HOW CAN I BE SURE I'VE SETTLE MY ETERNAL DESTINY WITH THE LORD?
ANSWER: Express with your mouth to God what the Holy Spirit through Scripture has led you to believe in your heart.
QUESTION: WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST?
ANSWER: Union and communion with God here, and blessed fellowship and glory hereafter.
QUESTION: HOW CAN I COME TO THE FULL ASSURANCE THAT I HAVE SUCH A RELATIONSHIP?
ANSWER: By affirming the promises of God as revealed in Scripture by the internal witness of the Spirit, and by manifesting real and righteous fruit born out of love for the Person of Christ and the desire to bring Him honor and glory.
Don't continue to live with doubts about your Eternal Salvation. Rather, live with the Blessed Assurance God wants you to enjoy as His child. THE END
Apostasy - What is Apostasy?
Hebrews 10:26-39 “If we DELIBERATELY continue Sinning AFTER we have received KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, there is NO LONGER any Sacrifice that will COVER THESE SINS. There is only the TERRIBLE EXPECTATION of GOD’S JUDGMENT and the RAGING FIRE that will consume IS ENEMIES. Anyone who refused to OBEY THE LAW OF MOSES (Old Testament) was put to Death without Mercy on the Testimony of 2 or 3 Witnesses. Just think how much WORSE THE PUNISHMENT will be for those who have TRAMPLED ON THE SON OF GOD, and have treated the BLOOD OF THE COVENANT (JESUS’ SACRIFICIAL DEATH FOR US), which made us HOLY, as if it were COMMON and UNHOLY, and have INSULTED and DISDAINED THE HOLY SPIRIT who brings GOD’S MERCY TO US. For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS OWN PEOPLE.” It is a TERRIBLE THING TO FALL into the HANDS OF THE LIVING GOD. Think back on THOSE EARLY DAYS when you FIRST LEARNED ABOUT CHRIST. Remember how you REMAINED FAITHFUL even though it meant TERRIBLE SUFFERING. Sometimes you were EXPOSED TO PUBLIC RIDICULEband were BEATEN, and sometimes you HELPED OTHERS WHO WERE SUFFERING the same things. You SUFFERED ALONG WITH THOSE WHO WERE THROWN INTO JAIL, and when all you OWNED WAS TAKEN FROM YOU, you ACCEPTED IT WITH JOY. You knew there were BETTER THINGS WAITING FOR YOU THAT WILL LAST FOREVER. So do not throw away this CONFIDENT TRUST IN THE LORD. Remember the GREAT REWARD IT BRINGS YOU! PATIENT ENDURANCE is what you NEED NOW, so that you will CONTINUE TO DO GOD’S WILL. Then you will receive ALL THAT HE HAS PROMISED. For in just a little while, the COMING ONE WILL COME AND NOT DELAY. And MY RIGHTEOUS ONES WILL LIVE BY FAITH. But I will take NO PLEASURE in ANYONE WHO TURNS AWAY.” But we are NOT LIKE THOSE WHO TURN AWAY FROM GOD TO THEIR OWN DESTRUCTION. We are the FAITHFUL ONES, WHOSE SOULS WILL BE SAVED."
By John MacArthur - GTY.org
AUDIO / PRINT SERMON: "APOSTASY: THE NEGATIVE RESPONSE TO THE NEW COVENANT" - PART 1 & 2 by John MacArthur on GTY.org
ON THIS PAGE - LINKS:
- THE NATURE OF APOSTASY
- 2 MAJOR CHARACTERISTICS OF APOSTASY
- TRUTH IS REJECTED
- CAUSES OF APOSTASY
- FALSE TEACHERS
- CLINGING TO THE OLD
- FORSAKING CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
- RESULTS OF APOSTASY
- NO SACRIFICE FOR SIN REMAINS
- BRINGS GREATER JUDGMENT
- DEGREES OF SIN AND JUDGMENT
- REJECTION OF GOD
- APOSTATES REJECT THE FATHER
- APOSTATES REJECT THE SON
- APOSTATES REJECT THE HOLY SPIRIT
- THE DETERRENTS TO APOSTASY
- REMEMBER YOUR SUFFERING AND YOUR SERVICE
- LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR REWARDS
- RESOURCES IF YOU THINK YOU MIGHT BE AN APOSTATE OR NEEDING TO EXAMINE FAITH
- BIBLICAL ASSURANCE OF SALVATION: VIDEOS, ARTICLES, AUDIOS - LINK
JOHN MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY ON HEB 10:26-39:
INTRO: This chapter could be titled,"THE TRAGEDY OF GETTING OVER IT," because it deals with those who had heard the Gospel, had come face-to-face with the claims of Christ, had been associated to some extent with His church, but had gone away. These were people whose hearts had been warmed toward the gospel of Christ, who had made a superficial commitment of faith in Him, and had identified themselves visibly with the true church. But their enthusiasm was cooling and the cost of being a Christian was becoming too high. They were "getting over" the gospel, and were in danger of becoming APOSTATE.
Of the FIVE WARNINGS given in Hebrews, the one in this passage is by far the most serious and sobering. It may be the most serious warning in all of Scripture. It deals with APOSTASY. When the Gospel of Jesus Christ is presented to an UNBELIEVER, only TWO RESPONSES are possible. After he has heard the basic truths and claims of Jesus Christ, he either BELIEVES and is SAVED or he DISBELIEVES and becomes APOSTATE. APOSTASY, as we will see, is the Sin of rejecting the Gospel for which there is no forgiveness. One helpful Scripture in defining APOSTASY is:
1 John 2:19, which says, "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us."
There have always been APOSTATES from God's way. Deuteronomy speaks of:
Deut 13:13 "some worthless men [who] have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods' (whom you have not known)"
These men were types of APOSTATES. Saul, Israel's first King, became APOSTATE.
1 Sam 15:11 The Lord told Samuel, "I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not carried out My commands."
Amaziah, another king, also turned APOSTATE.
2 Chron 25:14-15, 27 "Now it came about after Amaziah came from slaughtering the Edomites that he brought the gods of the sons of Seir, set them up as his gods, bowed down before them, and burned incense to them. Then the anger of the LORD burned against Amaziah,...And from the time that Amaziah turned away from following the LORD they conspired against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lachish and killed him there."
APOSTASY is not new, nor is God's attitude toward it. It is the most serious of all sins, because it is the most deliberate and willful form of unbelief. It is not a sin of ignorance, but of rejecting known truth. Judas Iscariot is, of course, the classic APOSTATE. No other rejecter of Christ ever had the exposure to God's truth, love, and grace as did Judas. He knew the Lord intimately. He was one of the twelve of Jesus' inner circle of disciples. Had he believed, he would have become an Apostle. But he rejected the truth and became an APOSTATE. His story is the supreme contradiction to the common excuse, "I would probably believe in Christ if I just had a little more evidence, a little more light." Judas had the perfect evidence, the perfect light, the perfect example. For some three years he lived with Truth incarnate and Life incarnate, yet turned his back on the One who is truth and life.
THE NATURE OF APOSTASY—
APOSTASY is an intentional falling away or withdrawal, a defection. Paul was falsely accused by some of his fellow believing Jews of using the gospel to cause other Christian Jews "to forsake" (Apostatize from) the teachings of Moses (Acts 21:21). Paul speaks of a large falling away when he cautions the Thessalonians not to be misled about the coming of the Lord,
2 Thess 2:3 "for it will not come unless the APOSTASY comes first".
Jesus is clearly speaking of the same APOSTASY in:
Matthew 24:10—"And at that time many will FALL AWAY and will deliver up one another and hate one another".
There are people who move toward Christ, right up to the Edge of Saving Belief. They hear of Him and they are drawn to Him. They are perhaps deeply convicted of sin and even make a profession of faith. But their interest in the things of God begins to wane, and the pressures and attractions of the world distract them further still, until they have no interest at all. They may turn to another religion or to no religion at all. APOSTASY is determined by what you leave, not where you go after you leave. After a person leaves God, it makes little difference where he then goes. Our Lord was illustrating this in the Parable of the Soils (Matt 13:1-9, Matt 13:18-23).
Many years ago I had a friend who often went with me to Pershing Square in Los Angeles to witness. He was raised in the church and was a regular and dependable member, but I always felt that something was missing in his life. Then, suddenly, I did not see him anymore. About three years later, I met a mutual friend and asked if she knew what had happened to him. "oh, he's an Atheist now," was the reply. "He doesn't believe in God anymore. He has accepted situation ethics, and sees everything as amoral. He doesn't believe anything is good nor bad in itself." Apparently he had had enough of God, and simply turned away. The Apostle Paul said that APOSTASY is going to be a characteristic of the last days.
1 Tim 4:1-2 "The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron."
In the end times, the times in which I believe we are now living, APOSTASY will become worse and worse.
CHARACTERISTICS OF APOSTASY—
Hebrews 10:26 “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”
Here is possibly the clearest and most concise scriptural definition of APOSTASY—receiving knowledge of the truth, that is, the gospel, but willfully remaining in sin. An apostate has seen and heard the truth—he knows it well—but he willfully rejects it.
APOSTASY— HAS TWO MAJOR CHARACTERISTICS—
1) KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL
2) WILLFUL REJECTION OF IT THE TRUTH IS KNOWN & RECOGNIZED
Every APOSTATE is an UNBELIEVER, but not every UNBELIEVER is an APOSTATE.
Many people have never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel, even in part. They are Sinful and, of course, do not believe in Christ, because they have never heard of Him or of His claims. An APOSTATE, however, is well acquainted with the Gospel. He knows more than enough to be Saved. The Greek language has two primary words that can be translated "knowledge." Gnōsis has to do with ordinary knowledge, and in the New Testament is often used for general spiritual knowledge. But epignōsis, the word used in verse 26, denotes full knowledge, understanding, and discernment. In other words, the persons described here are those who have much more than a passing acquaintance with the gospel. They know it well. An apostate has all the information. He lacks nothing intellectually. He has epignōsis. He is among those who have "once been enlightened,...tasted of the heavenly gift," and even "been made partakers of the Holy Spirit" (Heb 6:4). An APOSTATE can be bred only in the brilliant light of proximity to Christ. APOSTATES are not made in the absence, but in the presence, of Christ. They are bred almost without exception within the church, in the very midst of God's people. It is possible for a person to read the Bible on his own, to see the gospel clearly, and then reject it—apart from direct association with Christians. But by and large, APOSTATES come from within the church.
TRUTH IS REJECTED—
Eventually, sometimes even after years of pretense and self-deception, the unbeliever who acts like a believer finally falls away. He gives up, loses interest, and goes his own way. He returns to sinning willfully, with no more regard for the Lord's way or the Lord's people. To know God's way, to study about it and hear about it, to identify with believers, and then turn away is to become apostate. The process of falling away may be gradual, but at some point a conscious decision is made to leave the way of God, and reject the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Willfully (hekousiōs) carries the idea of deliberate intention that is habitual. The reference here is not to sins of ignorance or weakness, but to those that are planned out, determined, done with forethought. The difference between sins of ignorance and sinning willfully is much like the difference between involuntary manslaughter and first-degree murder. Hekousiōs is habitual. It not only is deliberate, but is an established way of thinking and believing. It is the permanent renunciation of the gospel, the permanent forsaking of God's grace. A believer may sometimes lapse into sin and stray from intimacy with the Lord and with His people. But, unless the Lord disciplines him and takes him to heaven, he will come back. He will be too much under conviction to stay away permanently. In the meanwhile, he will be robbed of joy and peace and of many other blessings. We CANNOT always determine who is APOSTATE and who is BACKSLIDING, and we should not try. We are NOT able to distinguish between a DISOBEDIENT CARNAL BELIEVER VS AN APOSTATE UNBELIEVER. That is the Lord's business. But there is a difference between the two, a very great difference. A person's concern should be first of all that he himself is a true believer (2 Cor 13:5) and then that he is a faithful believer. There are many calls to self-examination in the New Testament. Every time a believer comes to the Lord's Table, he faces the reality or unreality of his salvation. Paul distinguishes between apostates and disobedient, fleshly Christians in his second letter to Timothy.
2 Tim 2:12-13 "If we deny Him, He also will deny us," because we will be apostate and willingly will have no part in Him. But, "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself".
If a believer falls short in his faithfulness to the Lord, the Lord still will not fail in His faithfulness to the believer, for He has promised never to let us go. "He cannot deny Himself," by falling short in His own faithfulness, no matter what His people do. A Christian can become WEAK IN FAITH and DISOBEDIENT, which is bad enough. But this is not denying the Lord, which is APOSTASY. The APOSTATE habitually continues to DISBELIEVE and HABITUALLY CONTINUES TO SIN.
1 John 3:9 John tells us that "No one who is born of God practices Sin, because His seed abides in Him; and he cannot sin, because he is Born of God"
The TWO MAJOR CHARACTERISTICS of APOSTASY, then, are:
1) SUFFICIENT KNOWLEDGE of the GOSPEL TO BE SAVED
2) WILLFUL and HABITUAL DENIAL OF GOD IN SPITE OF THIS KNOWLEDGE.
CAUSES OF APOSTASY—
But why would a person who knows the Gospel, has seen the light, has even experienced many of the blessings of the Holy Spirit, ever reject so wonderful a gift? What causes people to do that? In a sense, there is always just one cause, willful unbelief. Following our own wills often has no reason except that this is what we want to do. But in another sense, there are a number of things that strongly influence a person to forsake God, that stimulate his will to deny his Creator.
What may drive a believer closer to the Lord will likely drive an unbeliever further from Him. Whenever the church has been persecuted, the faithful have become stronger, spiritually and morally. On the other hand, continued persecution drives unbelievers away from the church and from contact with the things of God. They do not have the strength or the desire to pay a high price for something that means little to them. Words are cheap; persecution is not. Hard times are not for the self-willed unbeliever who is simply using the church for business, or social, or other personal reasons—or who may have been raised in the church and has simply never gotten out of the habit of attending. Persecution, sometimes as mild as criticism, is usually enough to break that habit. When persecution is severe, the apostate not only will leave the church but will often join the persecutors. "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another" (Matt 24:9-10). Some apostates not only turn away from the church but turn against it.
False teachers also cause their share of APOSTASY. In the same passage in:
Matt 24:11 Jesus says, "And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many".
Persecution frightens unbelievers away from the truth, whereas false teachers entice them away. False teaching can, and does, do a lot of damage even to God's own people. It can confuse and discourage and corrupt any believer or group of believers too immature to recognize and deal with the falsehoods or too sinful to resist them. But a true believer will never be led to deny the Lord because of false teaching, no matter how unbiblical and persuasive it is. True believers may deny some biblical truths because of false teaching, but the only person false teaching will cause to deny the Lord is a person who never belonged to Him. When unbelievers get "fed up" with the gospel, they can usually find someone who will feed them something more palatable to their sin nature.
- 2 Tim 4:3 "They will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires."
APOSTASY is sometimes triggered by Temptation. The things of this world become more attractive and more influential than the things of God. These apostates are "ROCKY SOIL" hearers (Luke 8:13), who are attracted to the gospel for a while, but who are tempted away from full commitment. Whether the temptation is in the form of many small ones over a long period of time or of a very strong one that comes suddenly, they do not have the resources or the will to resist. Demas possibly was such a person.
- 2 Tim 4:10 "Having loved this present world," he may have deserted the Lord as well as Paul."
Perhaps the saddest cause of APOSTASY is NEGLECT. A person can put off deciding for Christ so long that he loses the opportunity. Not to decide for Christ is to decide against Him. Such a person may never persecute believers. He may not publicly, or even consciously, deny Christ. But by continually resisting the gospel of Christ, he takes his stand apart from Him and is in danger of neglecting his way into APOSTASY.
- Hebrews 2:3 "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a Salvation?"
To make no positive decision for Christ is to decide against Him.
CLINGING TO THE OLD—
Holding on to the old religion, or simply the old life-style, can eventually bring a person to apostatize. Many of the unbelieving Jews addressed in the book of Hebrews were very much in this danger. Their religion not only would not bring them salvation but had become a barrier to salvation. False religion can become so habitual, so much a part of our way of thinking and living, that to give it up seems unthinkable. It would be like cutting off part of our body, our very life. Jesus knew how hard such a break with the old ways can be, but warned, "If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell" (Matt 5:29). Religious tradition has long been one of the greatest barriers to the gospel and one of the foremost contributors to APOSTASY.
FORSAKING CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP—
Another cause of APOSTASY is forsaking Christian fellowship, which the writer has already mentioned (Hebrews 10:25). The best place for strong influence toward Christ is to be in the company of believers. And, especially once he has been exposed to the truth of the gospel, the worst place he can be is away from true believers.
THE RESULTS OF APOSTASY—
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said,
Hebrews 10:26-31 "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay. The LORD will judge His people. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
NO SACRIFICE FOR SIN REMAINS—
The first result of APOSTASY is that the APOSTATE no longer has a sacrifice that can atone for his sins. He is, therefore, beyond salvation. The only sacrifice that can bring a person into God's presence is the sacrifice of Christ's blood in the New Covenant. If Christ's sacrifice is rejected, then all hope of salvation is forfeited. Opportunity is gone, hope is gone, eternal life is gone. Apart from Christ, everything worth having is gone. The old, repeated sacrifices of Judaism would soon be stopped. They were ineffective, anyway. The only effective sacrifice has already been made, and will be made only once. To turn away willfully from this sacrifice leaves no sacrifice; it leaves only sin, the penalty for which is eternal death.
BRINGS GREATER JUDGMENT—
Hebrews 10:27 “But a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.”
The second result of APOSTASY is greater judgment. The greater the sin the greater the judgment. Since APOSTASY is the worst sin, it will have the worst judgment. God sees the one who knows the truth and walks away as an enemy, an adversary whose judgment is certain and terrifying. Just before Jesus cast the demons out of the two Gadarene men, the demons cried out to Him, "What do we have to do with You, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" (Matt 8:29). They were well aware that their final judgment of torment was coming, that it was certain, and were afraid that Jesus was going to bring it early. The demons know, better than many professed Christians seem to know, that God's judgment on His enemies is inescapable, and the fury of a fire from Him is consuming. Just as certain as the judgment of demons is the judgment of all who turn their backs on Jesus Christ. In explaining the parable of the tares, Jesus said to His disciples: The tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it he at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall he weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 13:38,42) A few moments later, Jesus told another parable with the same point: the end of the age will see the separation of believers and unbelievers, the believers to heaven and the unbelievers to hell.
Matt 13:49-50 Jesus warns, "So it will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Paul gives similar warnings of judgment, including this one in his second letter to the Thessalonians:
2 Thess 1:7, 9 "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who DO NOT KNOW GOD and to those who DO NOT OBEY THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS. And these will pay the penalty of ETERNAL DESTRUCTION, away from the PRESENCE OF THE LORD and from the GLORY OF HIS POWER."
There is nothing in the Old Testament to compare in severity to the Judgment described in the New. People often think of the Old Testament as showing a harsh, Judgmental God, while the New shows one of mercy and compassion. But God's mercy and His wrath are clearly revealed in both testaments. It is true that we have a more complete and beautiful picture of God's grace and love in the New Testament; but we also have here a more complete and terrifying picture of His wrath.
DEGREES OF SIN AND JUDGMENT—
Hebrews 10:28-29 “Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”
John 19:11 Jesus told Pilate, "He who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin".
Judas's sin was greater than Pilate's. Both were unbelievers, but Judas was an apostate. He had light and evidence far beyond what Pilate had, and was therefore far more guilty in betraying Christ. Jesus also made it clear that judgment, like guilt, is in proportion to sin.
Luke 12:47-48 "That slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few".
The teaching of punishment is not as clear in the Old Testament, but neither is the teaching about salvation. The person who sinned under the Old Covenant was guilty and deserving of punishment. Every Jew knew the severity of breaking Mosaic law. If such disobedience was affirmed by the proper witnesses, the penalty was death. But the worst offender in that age cannot compare with the person who has heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and yet rejects Him. Such persons will find themselves in the Judas section of hell, enduring much severer punishment. Far from being more tolerant of sin today, God is less tolerant, because men now have immeasurably more light. "Having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:30-31).
REJECTION OF GOD—
Hebrews 10:29 “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”
APOSTATES REJECT THE FATHER—
APOSTASY involves total rejection of the godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Just as to accept the Son is to accept the Father, so to reject the Son is to reject the Father.
Matt 3:17 "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased," said God.
- Phil 2:9 Paul tells us that "God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name". The Son and the Father are one (John 10:30), and it is not possible to reject one without also rejecting the other. Therefore, to trample under foot the Son of God is the same as to trample under foot the Father. And to reject the Son is to spurn the Holy Spirit. To have trampled under foot means to have scorned, to have counted as worthless. A person who sees a coin on the sidewalk may think it is a slug and walk by it or perhaps kicks it into the gutter. He doesn't bother to pick it up and examine it. Some people walk by Christ and think He is nothing. They see Him clearly, and have gotten close enough to examine Him carefully had they chosen to. But they count Him as worthless, and go on their way. It is a fearful and damning thing to count as worthless the One whom the Father has declared to be of infinite worth.
APOSTATES REJECT THE SON—
I believe the phrase by which he was sanctified refers to Christ. It could not refer to the apostate who is regarding the blood as unclean, because he is hardly sanctified. The reference, therefore, must be to Christ. In His high priestly prayer, Jesus spoke of His sanctifying Himself for the sake of those who believed in Him (John 17:19). He set Himself apart unto God, even as He sanctifies us, by the blood of the covenant, shed on Calvary. The apostate counts this sacrifice as unclean, despised, worthless. In so doing he has rejected the second Person of the Trinity, whose very blood was shed for him. The apostate regards Christ's blood as common blood, just like that of any other person. That which cost God His Son, and that which cost the Son the agony of becoming sin for us, is counted as worthless. That which is of infinite value, he counts as valueless.
APOSTATES REJECT THE HOLY SPIRIT—
The man who has been led by the Spirit of grace in the presalvation work of redemption and has been energized by Him toward repentance (John 16:8-11), insults the Spirit by turning from Christ. He rejects the gracious work of preparation done by the Spirit in his heart—and that is APOSTASY. By trampling under foot the Son of God, he rejects God the Father. By regarding the blood of the covenant as unclean, He rejects the Son. By insulting the gentle, gracious leading of the Spirit, he rejects the Spirit. No wonder he deserves much severer punishment. Hebrews 10:30-31 “For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, "The LORD will judge His people." It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” God is long-suffering, and patient, and loving, and infinitely gracious, not willing that anyone should perish (2 Pet 3:9). But for the one who turns his back on God's grace, there is nothing left that God can offer or do for him. Only judgment remains.
THE DETERRENTS TO APOSTASY—
Within this severe warning, is a loving and earnest appeal not to fall away. The near-believing Jews are told to do two things that will prevent their becoming apostate and lead them into full belief. They are told to look back on what they had experienced and to look forward to the rewards that would be theirs if they carried through on what they had learned of Christ.
REMEMBER YOUR SUFFERING AND YOUR SERVICE—
Hebrews 10:32-34 “But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly, by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one.”
The writer obviously knew the ones to whom he was writing, or at least knew a great deal about them. He was aware of their deep involvement in the church. They were so closely identified with Christians (becoming sharers) that they even experienced suffering, reproaches, and tribulations because of it. To the world, and certainly to their fellow Jews in the synagogue, they already were Christians. They were not believers, but had already suffered for being considered believers. And at this point that much persecution had not yet driven them out. It is possible even for an unbeliever to have a kind of "first love" for Christ. On hearing of Christ's love, of His promises and teachings, of His great works and graciousness, it is easy to be strongly drawn to Him intellectually and emotionally. If He is learned of in a fellowship of believers that is caring and loving, the attraction is even stronger. The unbelieving Jews addressed in this passage were so attracted. They had not yet trusted in the gospel, but neither were they ashamed of it. They had been somewhat ridiculed, persecuted, and had property seized because of their association with Christians. But the association seemed worth the sacrifice, so that those problems had not yet caused them to turn away. They did not outwardly apologize for or compromise their stand for Christ, which had cost them dearly. These Jews were intellectually enlightened. They knew all the basics of the gospel. But this was no substitute for faith itself. They were well on their way to believing, but they had not believed. So they are told to think of how far they had already come, and what they had already endured, and to complete the process by putting their full trust in Jesus Christ. They are told, in effect, "Remember carefully all the experiences you have had in learning of Christ and in fellowshiping with His people. How terrible it would be to fall back now, when you are so close. You mustn't give up now. How terrible if, after all you have learned of the gospel and all you have suffered and sacrificed for the gospel, you would not receive the real blessing of the gospel—eternal life. You have shown great respect for Christ and great love for His people. Now put your trust in Christ, so that you can become one of His people." Like the seed in stony ground, they had endured to a degree, but as the persecution increased they would be offended and fall away (cf. Matt 13:20-21). Remember (anamimnēskō) means more than simply to recall. It means to carefully think back, to reconstruct in your mind. The idea is that these fellow Jews, who were so close to salvation, should, truth-by-truth and event-by-event, look back on what they had learned and on what they had experienced because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This would be a strong deterrent to APOSTASY and a strong encouragement to belief. They had the prospect of a better possession and an abiding one. They had given up many worldly things—reputation, friends, possessions—for what they could see were the better things of the New Covenant. But since they had not fully trusted in the Christ of the New Covenant, they were in danger of falling back into complete unbelief, from which they could never return. They had learned too much and experienced too much to have any excuse left for not believing, and so were urged gently but forcefully to go all the way to salvation before it became too late.
LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR REWARDS—
Hebrews 10:35-36 “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.”
The second deterrent to APOSTASY is the prospect of the rewards for those who believe. "You know what the promises are," they are told. "You know how wonderful and unequaled and how superior they are, and you know that Christ will be faithful in fulfilling them. Don't let your confidence waver now. Claim the promises. Secure the rewards. Look back and remember how wonderful it once seemed, and look ahead to how even more wonderful it is going to be." They needed endurance and patience to prevent their present circumstances from causing them to turn back. Their enlightenment in the gospel and their suffering and persecution and loss by outward association with believers Were not for nothing. Their confidence was not in vain, but it was not enough. They had not done the will of God fully, because they had not trusted in His Son fully. And until then, they could not receive what was promised. They knew the promises, rejoiced in the promises, and even had suffered for the promises. But they had not received the promises. The church is still filled with people like this. It is the negative side of:
Matthew 7:22-23 Jesus says, "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'"
Hebrews 10:37-39 “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.”
The suffering they might endure would not last forever, but their salvation in Jesus Christ would. The Lord would be coming to set His world right, and He will not delay. In the meanwhile, the way to become righteous is by faith and the way the righteous should live is by faith. From the human side, faith is the basis of spiritual life and spiritual living. Knowledge of the gospel is essential. Suffering for the gospel is possible. Serving others, especially God's people, in the name of the gospel is fine. But only faith will bring salvation and the preserving of the soul. The warning and appeal end on a positive and hopeful note. The writer seems confident that some of those to whom he is appealing will indeed believe—so much so, in fact, that he already identifies himself with them and the other true believers. We are not of those who shrink back to destruction.
21 Keys of Advice on How Believers Can Overcome:
Suffering, Trials, Tests, & Adversity Biblically - The Storms of Life
By Martha Mac / SO4J.com / SO4J-TV & Video Productions
These 21 Keys of Advice from Gods Word on Overcoming Trials & Tests are from the SO4J.com Bible Study called: OVERCOMING SUFFERING, TRIALS, TESTS, & ADVERSITY - 21 KEYS - PART 2. We Pray this below Checklist will help Believers to remember to Keep the Full Armor of God, and help one to Focus on God's Word, and Overcome "ALL things through Christ who gives us the Strength!" Phil 4:13. The Below Links take you OFF this page to View the Bible Study which has lots of Scripture & Commentary.
- WHY DOES GOD ALLOW SUFFERING, TRIALS, TESTS? 25 KEYS - PART 1
- OVERCOMING SUFFERING, TRIALS, TESTS, AND ADVERSITY - 21 KEYS - PART 2
- WHY DOES GOD TEST US? - PART 3
- WHY DOES GOD ALLOW EVIL? GLORY OF GOD IN EVIL - PART 4
- TESTS - LIFE IS A TEST - PART 5
- SPIRITUAL WARFARE - TEMPTATIONS, TRIALS, & TESTS
- FALL OF MAN - TEMPTATION, SIN & FALL OF MAN
Scriptures - Biblical Assurance of Salvation Scriptures
BIBLICAL ASSURANCE OF SALVATION - SCRIPTURES by SO4J.com
• 1 John 5:13 "I have written this to you who Believe in the Name of the Son of God, so that you may KNOW you have ETERNAL LIFE."
• 1 John 2:3-6 ”By this we KNOW that we have come to KNOW HIM, IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does NOT KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, IS A LIAR, and the TRUTH IS NOT IN HIM; but whoever KEEPS HIS WORD, in HIM the LOVE OF GOD has truly been PERFECTED. By this we know THAT WE ARE IN HIM: the one who says he ABIDES IN HIM ought himself to walk in the SAME MANNER as He (Jesus) walked.”
• 1 John 3:19 "We shall know by this that we are of the Truth and shall Assure our Heart before Him."
• Hebrews 6:11 "And we desire that each one of you show the same Diligence to the FULL ASSURANCE of hope until the end.."
• John 20:31 "These are written so that you may continue to BELIEVE that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by BELIEVING in HIM you will have LIFE by the power of HIS NAME."
• Ephesians 1:18-19 "I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the CONFIDENT HOPE HE has given to those HE CALLED (Rom 8:29-31)—HIS HOLY PEOPLE who are HIS RICH & GLORIOUS INHERITANCE. I also pray that you will understand the INCREDIBLE GREATNESS OF GODS POWER for us who BELIEVE HIM. This is the same MIGHTY POWER that raised Christ from the Dead and Seated Him in the place of Honor at God’s Right Hand in the Heavenly Realms."
• Hebrews 10:21-22 "Since we have a Great High Priest who Rules over God’s House, let us go right into the PRESENCE OF GOD with SINCERE HEARTS FULLY TRUSTING HIM. For our Guilty Consciences have been sprinkled with CHRIST'S BLOOD to make us CLEAN, and our bodies have been Washed with Pure Water."
• Rom 8:29-31 "For whom HE FOREKNEW, HE also PREDESTINED to be CONFORMED to the IMAGE of HIS SON, that HE might be the Firstborn among many Brethren. Moreover whom HE PREDESTINED, these HE also CALLED; whom HE CALLED, these HE also JUSTIFIED; and whom HE JUSTIFIED, these HE also GLORIFIED. What then shall we say to these things? If God is FOR US, who can be against us?"
• 1 John 1:9 ”But if we Confess our Sins to Him, He is FAITHFUL and JUST to FORGIVE US our Sins and to CLEANSE US from ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS."
"What is the Unpardonable Sin / Unforgivable Sin?
ANSWER: The case of the “unpardonable sin/unforgivable sin” or “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” is mentioned in Mark 3:22-30 and Matthew 12:22-32. The term “blasphemy” may be generally defined as “defiant irreverence.” We would apply the term to such sins as cursing God or willfully degrading things relating to Him. It is also attributing some evil to God, or denying Him some good that we should attribute to Him. This case of blasphemy, however, is a specific one called “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” in Matthew 12:31. In this passage, the Pharisees, having witnessed irrefutable proof that Jesus was working miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit, claimed instead that He was possessed by the demon Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24). In Mark 3:30, Jesus is very specific about what exactly they did to commit “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”
This blasphemy then has to do with accusing Jesus Christ (in person, on earth) of being demon-possessed. There are other ways to blaspheme the Holy Spirit (such as lying to Him, as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-10), but the accusation against Jesus was the blasphemy that was unpardonable. This specific unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be duplicated today.
The only unpardonable sin today is that of continued unbelief. There is no pardon for a person who dies in unbelief. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The only condition in which someone would have no forgiveness is if he/she is not among the “whoever” that believes in Him. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). To reject the only means of salvation is to condemn oneself to an eternity in hell because to reject the only pardon is, obviously, unpardonable.
Many people fear they have committed some sin that God cannot or will not forgive, and they feel there is no hope for them, no matter what they do. Satan would like nothing better than to keep us laboring under this misconception. The truth is that if a person has this fear, he/she needs only to come before God, confess that sin, repent of it, and accept God’s promise of forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This verse assures us that God is ready to forgive any sin—no matter how heinous—if we come to Him in repentance. If you are suffering under a load of guilt today, God is waiting with His arms open in love and compassion for you to come to Him. He will never disappoint or fail to pardon those who do.
What is the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?
ANSWER: The concept of “blasphemy against the Spirit” is mentioned in Mark 3:22-30 and Matthew 12:22-32. The term blasphemy may be generally defined as “defiant irreverence.” The term can be applied to such sins as cursing God or willfully degrading things relating to God. It is also attributing some evil to God, or denying Him some good that we should attribute to Him. This case of blasphemy, however, is a specific one, called “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” in Matthew 12:31. In Matthew 12:31-32, the Pharisees, having witnessed irrefutable proof that Jesus was working miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit, claimed instead that the Lord was possessed by the demon “Beelzebub” (Matthew 12:24). Now notice that in Mark 3:30 Jesus is very specific about what they did to commit “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”
This blasphemy has to do with someone accusing Jesus Christ of being demon-possessed instead of Spirit-filled. As a result, this particular incidence of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot be duplicated today. Jesus Christ is not on earth—He is seated at the right hand of God. No one can witness Jesus Christ performing a miracle and then attribute that power to Satan instead of the Spirit. The closest example today would be attributing the miracle of a redeemed person’s changed life to Satan’s power rather than to the effects of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The blasphemy of the Spirit today, which is the same as the unpardonable sin, is the state of continued unbelief. There is no pardon for a person who dies in unbelief. Continual rejection of the Holy Spirit’s promptings to trust in Jesus Christ is the unpardonable blasphemy against Him. Remember what is stated in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Further on in the same chapter is the verse “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him” (John 3:36). The only condition wherein someone would have no forgiveness is if he is not among the “whoever believes in Him,” for it is he who “rejects the Son.”
Once Saved Always Saved?
John 10:28-29 Jesus says, "I give them Eternal Life, and they shall Never Perish; No one can snatch them out of My Hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, No one can snatch them out of My Father's hand"
There is a Misunderstanding by those who Advocate & Teach that a Christian can "Lose" their Salvation. What they (those who say a Christian can "lose" their Salvation) need to understand from those Believers that rightly preach that a Christian cannot lose their Salvation is this:
"Once Saved Always Saved is True— IF you Truly are Saved in the First Place!"
First of all, before we answer this question in a bit more detail (but not exhaustive), let us warn what Jesus says about FALSE CONVERTS, which are UNSAVED People (NEVER been Saved in the First place, which is what the Term "Lukewarm Christian" is...and as we will see in the Scripture below in Matt 7:21-23 where Jesus uses the word "NEVER" knew you) who THINK they're Saved:
"On Judgment Day many Good People who do Good Deeds, who are even "Religious" will be sentenced to spend Eternity in Hell. Why? Matt 7:21-23 Jesus warns, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who DO the Will of My Father in Heaven will enter. On Judgment Day MANY will say to Me 'Lord! Lord! We Prophesied, Cast out demons, and Performed many Miracles in Your Name.' But I will reply, 'I NEVER knew you. Depart from Me, you who Break God's Laws (Practice Lawlessness)." MANY people are Positive they're Saved because they think they're a: Good Person, once said a "Sinner's Prayer", were Baptized, go to Church, etc. Yet the Bible clearly states you must: Repent & Believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15), THEN our Faith will be Tested to see if it's Genuine. (Deut 8:2; 13:3; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:7) Even Jesus was Tempted by Satan. (Matt 4:1-11) Faith that Fizzles &Fails Before the Finish Line is Not a Saving Faith. Matt 10:22 Jesus says, "Those who endure until the end,will be Saved." Luke 6:46 Jesus says,"Why do you call Me Lord, but do not DO (OBEY) what I say?" Judas (the Disciple who "Accepted" Jesus & later betrayed Him), Failed his Tests & Temptations and was Found to be a False Convert with a Lukewarm "Love" for Jesus (Rev 3:15-22) & "Rocky Ground" Heart. False Converts come to the EDGE of Saving Faith– but eventually REJECT or WALK AWAY from the Truth (APOSTASY) when Tested with: Temptations, Trials, Cares of this Life (Matt 13:19-22, Heb 10:26-39). We're NOT Saved by Works (Eph 2:8-9), but once we're Saved we PROVE (so to speak) or Show Evidence we're Saved by our Works (James 2:14-20, Matt 3:8, 2 Cor 5:17)." By Martha Mac, SO4J-TV & Video, excerpts from: Parable of the Sower/Judgment Day-Are You Ready?: End of Quote
“If a Work of God does NOT Continue, it was NEVER a Work of God”—Paul Washer, Preacher
Question: "Once Saved Always Saved?"
Answer: Once a person is saved are they always saved? When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their salvation (NOTE FROM SO4J.com: they are talking about a— TRUE BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN) as eternally secure.
Numerous passages of Scripture declare this fact:
A - Romans 8:30 declares, "And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified."
This verse tells us that from the moment God chooses us, it is as if we are glorified in His presence in heaven. There is nothing that can prevent a believer from one day being glorified because God has already purposed it in heaven. Once a person is justified, his salvation is guaranteed - he is as secure as if he is already glorified in heaven.
B - Paul asks two crucial Questions in Romans 8:33-34
Paul asks two crucial Questions in Romans 8:33-34 which says, "Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Who will bring a charge against God's elect? No one will, because Christ is our advocate. Who will condemn us? No one will, because Christ, the One who died for us, is the one who condemns. We have both the advocate and judge as our Savior.
C - Believers are Born Again (regenerated) when they Believe (John 3:3; Titus 3:5)
Believers are Born again (regenerated) when they Believe (John 3:3; Titus 3:5). For a Christian to lose his salvation, he would have to be un-regenerated. The Bible gives no evidence that the new birth can be taken away.
D - The Holy Spirit indwells all believers
The Holy Spirit indwells all Believers (John 14:17; Romans 8:9) and baptizes all believers into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). For a believer to become unsaved, he would have to be "un-indwelt" and detached from the Body of Christ.
E - John 3:15 states that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will "have eternal life."
If you believe in Christ today and have eternal life, but lose it tomorrow, then it was never "eternal" at all. Hence if you lose your salvation, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.
F - Romans 8:38-39 "Nothing will be able to Separate us from the Love of God.."
For the most conclusive argument, I think Scripture says it best itself, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
Remember the same God who Saved you is the same God who will keep you.
Once we are saved we are always saved. Our salvation is most definitely eternally secure!
End of Article
NOTE (again) from SO4J.com - Remember— "Once Saved Always Saved" is True— IF you Truly are Saved in the First Place! (2 Cor 5:17) Examine your Faith (2 Cor 13:5), and make sure you're Biblically Saved, and Ready to Face Jesus on Judgment Day (2 Cor 5:10).
If Salvation is Eternally Secure, Why does the Bible warn so strongly against Apostasy?
Answer: The reason the Bible warns us so strongly against apostasy is that true conversion is measured by visible fruit. When John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan River, he warned those who thought they were righteous to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:7). Jesus warned those who were listening to Him while He was giving the Sermon on the Mount that every tree can be known by its fruit (Matthew 7:16) and that every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire (Matthew 7:19).
The purpose behind these warnings is to counter what some people would call “easy-believism.” In other words, following Jesus is more than saying you are a Christian. Anyone can claim Christ as Savior, but those who are truly saved will bear visible fruit. Now, one may ask the question, “What is meant by fruit?” The clearest example of Christian fruit can be found in Galatians 5:22-23 where Paul describes the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There are other types of Christian fruit (such as praise, winning souls for Christ), but this list provides us with a good summary of Christian attitudes. True believers will manifest these attitudes in their lives to an increasing degree as they progress in their Christian walk (2 Peter 1:5-8).
It is these true, fruit-bearing disciples who have the guarantee of eternal security, and they will persevere to the end. There are many Scriptures that bear this out. Romans 8:29-30 outlines the “golden chain” of salvation by pointing out that those who were foreknown by God were predestined, called, justified, and glorified—there is no loss along the way. Philippians 1:6 tells us that the work God began in us, He will also finish. Ephesians 1:13-14 teaches that God has sealed us with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance until we possess it. John 10:29 affirms that no one is able to take God’s sheep out of His hand. There are many other Scriptures that say the same thing—true believers are eternally secure in their salvation.
The passages warning against apostasy serve two primary purposes. First, they exhort true believers to make sure of their “calling and election.” Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith. If true believers are fruit-bearing followers of Jesus Christ, then we should be able to see the evidence of salvation. Christians bear fruit in varying degrees based on their level of obedience and their spiritual gifts, but all Christians bear fruit; and we should see the evidence of that upon self-examination.
There will be periods in a Christian’s life where there is no visible fruit. These would be times of sin and disobedience. What happens during these times of prolonged disobedience is that God removes from us the assurance of our salvation. That is why David prayed in Psalm 51 to restore to him the “joy of salvation” (Psalm 51:12). We lose the joy of our salvation when we live in sin. That is why the Bible tells us to “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). When a true Christian examines himself and sees no recent fruitfulness, it should lead to serious repentance and turning to God.
The second reason for the passages on apostasy is to point out apostates so that we may recognize them. An apostate is someone who abandons his religious faith. It is clear from the Bible that apostates are people who made professions of faith in Jesus Christ, but never genuinely received Him as Savior. Matthew 13:1-9 (the Parable of the Sower) illustrates this point perfectly. In that parable, a sower sows seed, symbolizing the Word of God, onto four types of soil: hard soil, rocky soil, weed-choked soil, and freshly tilled soil. These soils represent four types of responses to the gospel. The first one is pure rejection, whereas the other three represent various levels of acceptance. The rocky soil and the weed-choked soil represent people who initially respond favorably to the gospel, but when persecution comes (rocky soil) or the cares of the world bear down (weed-choked soil), they turn away. Jesus makes it clear with these two types of responses that, although they initially “accepted” the gospel, they never bore any fruit because the seed (of the gospel) never penetrated the soil of the heart. Only the fourth soil, which was “prepared” by God, was able to receive the seed and bear fruit. Again, Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
It may seem unusual for the Bible to warn against apostasy and at the same time say that a true believer will never apostatize. However, this is what Scripture says. First John 2:19 specifically states that those who apostatize are demonstrating that they were not true believers. The biblical warnings against apostasy, therefore, must be a warning to those who are “in the faith” without ever truly having received it. Scriptures such as Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:26-29 are warnings to “pretend” believers that they need to examine themselves and realize that if they are considering apostatizing, they are not truly saved. Matthew 7:22-23 indicates that those “pretend believers” whom God rejects are rejected not because of having lost faith, but because of the fact that God never knew them.
There are many people who are willing to identify with Jesus. Who doesn’t want eternal life and blessing? However, Jesus warns us to count the cost of discipleship (Luke 9:23-26, 14:25-33). True believers have counted those costs, whereas apostates have not. Apostates are people who, when they leave the faith, give evidence they were never saved in the first place (1 John 2:19). Apostasy is not a loss of salvation, but rather a demonstration that salvation was never truly possessed.
Is it Possible for a Person's Name to be Erased from the Book Of Life?
- Revelation 3:5 Jesus says, "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will NOT BLOT OUT HIS NAME FROM THE BOOK OF LIFE; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels."
Answer: Revelation 22:19 says, “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
This verse is usually involved in the debate concerning Eternal Security.
Does Revelation 22:19 mean that after a person’s name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, it can at some time in the future be erased? In other words, can a Christian lose his salvation?
First, Scripture is clear that a True Believer is kept secure by the power of God, sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30), and of all those whom the Father has given to the Son, He will lose none of them (John 6:39). The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:28-29b). Salvation is God’s work, not ours (Titus 3:5), and it is His power that keeps us.
If the “anyone” referred to in Revelation 22:19 are not believers, who are they? In other words, who might want to either add to or take away from the words of the Bible? (See GotQuestions article regarding applying Revelation 22:19 to the entire Bible.) Most likely, this tampering with God’s Word would be done not by true believers but by those who only profess to be Christians and who suppose that their names are in the Book of Life. Generally speaking, the two main groups who have traditionally tampered with the Revelation are pseudo-Christian cults and those who hold to very liberal theological beliefs. Many cults and theological liberals claim the name of Christ as their own, but they are not "born again"—the definitive biblical term for a Christian.
The Bible cites several examples of those who thought they were believers, but whose profession was proven to be false. In John 15, Jesus refers to them as branches that did not remain in Him, the true Vine, and therefore did not produce any fruit. We know they are false because “by their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:16, 20); true disciples will exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit who resides within them (Galatians 5:22). In 2 Peter 2:22, false professors are dogs returning to their own vomit and a sow who “after washing herself returns to wallow in the mire” (ESV). The barren branch, the dog, and the pig are all symbols of those who profess to have salvation, but who have nothing more than their own righteousness to rely upon, not the righteousness of Christ which truly saves.
It is doubtful that those who have repented of their sin and been born again would willingly tamper with God's Word in this way—adding to it or taking from it. Of course, we recognize that good people have sincerely held differences in the area of textual criticism! But it can be demonstrated how cultists and liberals have repeatedly done both "adding to" and "taking away from." Thus, we can understand God's warning in Revelation 22:19 in this manner: Anyone who tampers with this crucial message will find that God did not place his name in the Book of Life, will be denied access to the Holy City, and will forfeit any expectation of all the good things He promises to His saints in this book.
From a purely logical standpoint, why would the sovereign and omniscient God—He who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10)—write a name in the Book of Life when He knows He will only have to erase it when that person eventually apostatizes and denies the faith? Additionally, if you read this warning within the context of the paragraph in which it appears—Revelation 22:6-19—you can clearly see God remains consistent in His theology: only those who have taken heed of His warnings, repented and been born again will have any good to look forward to in eternity. All others, sadly, have a terrible and terrifying future awaiting them.
Revelation 3:5 is another verse that impacts this issue. “He who overcomes . . . I will never blot out his name from the book of life.” The “overcomer” mentioned in this letter to Sardis is the Christian. Compare this with 1 John 5:4: “Everyone who is born of God overcomes the world.” And verse 5: “Who is he that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (See also 1 John 2:13.) All believers are “overcomers” in that they have been granted victory over the sin and unbelief of the world.
Some people see in Revelation 3:5 the picture of God’s pen poised, ready to strike out the name of any Christian who sins. They read into it something like this: “If you mess up and don’t win the victory, then you’re going to lose your salvation! In fact, I will erase your name from the Book of Life!” But this is NOT what the verse says. Jesus is giving a promise here, not a warning.
Never does Scripture say that God erases a believer’s name from the Book of Life—there is never even a warning that He is contemplating it! The wonderful promise of Revelation 3:5 is that Jesus will NOT erase one’s name. Speaking to the “overcomers”—all those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb—Jesus gives His word that He will not delete their names. He affirms that once a name is there, it is there forever. This is based on the faithfulness of God.
The promise of Revelation 3:5 is directed to believers, who are secure in their salvation. In contrast, the warning of Revelation 22:19 is directed to unbelievers, who, rather than change their hearts toward God, attempt to change God’s Word to suit themselves.
"A BELIEVER'S ASSURANCE: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO VICTORY OVER DOUBT"
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