Today was the day I needed to have the vehicles washed and vacuumed, because the last time it was done was in March before lock down. As I was leaving home, Jenny said, “There is just a trickle of water coming out of the hot water tap in the kitchen.” I checked the bathroom’s hot water tap, and it was totally dry.
I reasoned like this: “Because the hot water system worked yesterday and the day, week, month and year before, we have the assurance we have water … but this morning we did not!” I googled the plumber we normally use. The webpage says they are closed on Saturdays. So now, I had no assurance of water and no assurance of a plumber. About an hour later, I checked the hot water tap in the bathroom, and there was hot water. Praise the Lord! Then I remembered that when I woke the temperature was 0º C and it felt like -3.5º C (according to the weather app). Maybe the pipes were frozen, because later in the morning (around 11.30am) Jenny found one of our birdbaths frozen on the top.
One of the most disabling, debilitating and hindering experiences of a believer is that of “the lack of assurance” of salvation. I have found over the years of pastoring, some could suffer with bouts of depression and slide into sin that can be related backwards to the individual struggling with the lack of assurance of salvation. Others again teach that you can lose your salvation. They say you can make a decision and a commitment for Christ and sometime later you can lose your salvation. Sometimes, lack of assurance could be traced to sin … they say they fell into some sort of sin that really offended God and now they are not sure whether they are saved or lost. This could result in deep agony of the soul … it could manifest anxiety, depression and fear. Now, is it possible for the truly converted soul to be lost? Can the soul the Spirit birthed into the family of God be aborted out of the family, kicked out of the family, removed from God’s everlasting family?
The first step is to make certain salvation is real. It is always worthwhile doing a spiritual stock take. Ask searching questions, like, “Have I understood the gospel message?” “Do I grasp how holy God is?” “Am I aware how desperately sinful I am?” “Comparing these two environments, am I able to see how I have not only rebelled against God, but hurt and angered Him who is good, loving, kind and forgiving?” Unless you are able to see your actual lost state before a Holy, Almighty, Creator God who sovereignly reins, you will never understand how desperately you need God, His Gospel and His forgiveness.
The next step is to examine your understanding of God’s forgiveness and acceptance. The Gospel is very clear that once true confession and repentance takes place, God not only pardons but accepts the person seeking Jesus’ Lordship over his or her heart! Paul puts it like this to Titus:
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Part of being redeemed from wickedness and being purified as a people for God includes us saying “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present because of what we will have in the future. The desire to live a repentant life is not saying you will be able to live a sinless life. Rather, it is saying you will desire to honour the Lord Jesus in all aspects of your life because His salvation is so huge, His pardon so immense and His acceptance so beautiful.
You see, you need to receive His forgiveness and acceptance, and the way to do it is through living a life that seeks to bring Him glory and pleasure by living out His gospel requirements. Naturally, this means you will cut out (“circumcise”) all ungodly practices in word, thought, deed and feeling from your daily experience as far as possible and pray about those you struggle with. In other words, as God spoke to Moses, you seek to consecrate yourself to God:
Lev 11:44 I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. …
Because you know you must:
Heb 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Now, the following step is to claim God’s promises. Where there is real repentance (living under the Lordship of Jesus), salvation (being redeemed from the world, the flesh and the devil for the glory of God) and seeking to live a holy life (separated exclusively for God and His purposes), you may claim the promises of God in His Word, such as, In Him speaking to the Jews:
Jn 10:25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.
See v27 … those who listen are known by Jesus, whom they follow. He then give them eternal life (v28), and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them out of His or His Father’s hand (v28-29). Just look at that, those the Father has given to Jesus. That is, those chosen before the creation of the world! Chosen for heaven. Have you claimed that promise? Surely, in the face of false teaching and struggling with assurance, this is the antidote … claim the promise and be at peace!
Dear God, thank You for the assurance You provide in Your Word that gives me comfort, rest and peace in the face of the many voices in this world. Lord, You said it, I claim it, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.