Tag Archives: assurance

Full Assurance – Hebrews 10:22

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:19-23).

As we continue to work through the book of Hebrews in our Bible study, I am amazed time after time after time by the goodness of God. A wretched sinner like me can enter the holy places of God with full assurance? How can that be? Full assurance to come into the presence of God? Really?

If I look inside myself, I can never have that assurance. But if I put my trust in what Jesus, the great high priest, has done on the cross then I can have assurance. He shed his blood so my sins are covered. He paid the price to redeem me from my sin and spare me from the judgment and wrath of God. And God is faithful to keep his promises. So I do not have to worry that God will change his mind and decide that perhaps my sins are too great.

Do you have that assurance? The Bible tells us that we can. If you do not, then perhaps you are looking in the wrong place. No other religion can provide full assurance of salvation. But, be warned that Jesus also described false assurance:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23).

Those individuals had a false assurance based upon their good works. Look to Jesus alone for the assurance that you can draw near to God, because he alone is faithful.

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He Always Lives to Make Intercession – Hebrews 7:25

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).

As we continue to work our way through the book of Hebrews in our Sunday morning Bible study, we hit that verse last week. Wow! What a powerful verse (set in the powerful context of Hebrews 6-10) demonstrating the great assurance of salvation we can have in Christ Jesus. I know that my salvation is not at risk because Jesus not only lives again after paying for my sins on the cross, but he always lives to make intercession for me. I did not save myself. I am not keeping myself saved.

budda_statuesWhat a contrast this provides to so many man-made religions. Religions in which their objects of worship are not alive. Religions in which Jesus does not save to the uttermost, but only helps out after you have done enough on your own. Religions in which you can lose your salvation today when you sin and then have to work to reacquire it through rituals. And then face the same challenge again tomorrow. Religions in which you hope you have done enough good to counter your bad.

I have been saved to the uttermost and continue to be saved to the uttermost because Jesus lives. Not because of anything I have done. Hallelujah and Amen!

 

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An Anchor of the Soul – Hebrews 6:17-19

anchorSo when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.  We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:17-19).

Sir Francis Bacon famously said that “knowledge is power.” The author of the book of Hebrews would agree. For Christians, our knowledge of God, his unchangeable nature, his works in history and his promises for the future is powerful. This knowledge strengthens our faith. It provides a sure and steadfast anchor for our souls and the hope that we have. Hope of our future glorification. Hope that Jesus will come again. Hope for the new heaven and the new earth.

When the winds of doubt assail our assurance of salvation, we can hold fast. When the waves of uncertainty threaten to drag us away from our faith in Jesus alone, we can hold fast. We have a sure and steadfast anchor for our souls.

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All the saints greet you – 2 Corinthians 13:13

This past Sunday, my dear friend, Paul, and his beautiful family were visiting our church (and which used to be their church before he headed off to seminary). Paul read Scripture during our service and opened by bringing greetings from the congregation he now serves in Wisconsin to our congregation in Idaho. A decade ago I probably would have thought, “That’s nice,” and promptly forgot about it.

But as the world around me continues to become more hostile to the Christian faith and the proclamation of its life-giving truths, I become more and more comforted by hearing greetings from these other saints. Even these saints I have never met and likely will only meet in the presence of our Lord.

Similar greetings were recorded in the New Testament:

All the saints greet you (2 Corinthians 13:13).

Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.
All the saints greet you (Philippians 4:21-22).

Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings (Hebrews 13:24).

In the early Christian church, the persecution was real and far worse than what I see around me today. So, I would imagine that these simple greetings were of great comfort and encouragement to them.

As we see apostasy and heresy abound, it is easy to lament that, like Elijah, we fell isolated and alone :

For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away (1 Kings 19:14).

These greetings from the saints are little reminders that God is preserving his remnant and we are most certainly not alone.

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Forever fixed in the heavens – Psalm 119:89-91

Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants (Psalm 119:89-91).

What an amazing comfort it is to know that God’s word is firmly and forever fixed. It is so much more comforting to rest on the sure and unchanging promises of God than to look for new and changing words. The false prophets come and go. Their words are unclear, contradictory, shifting sand. But God’s word is unmoved because it is based upon his unchanging character.

It is by his word that I can trust that his faithfulness will endure forever. Because all things were created and are sustained by his word, I can know that he has ordained all things and that all things serve his sovereign purpose. God and his word are the bedrock of my faith and my protection from the evil of this world.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:2-3).

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“Forever” or Forever?

Last night on the television at the gym I could see an advertisement for the latest Publisher’s Clearinghouse sweepstakes. The large print banner for the ad said:

Win $5,000 A Week “Forever”

Did you notice those quotes around the word “forever”? Why are they there? Because the Publisher’s Clearinghouse folks really do not mean “forever”, but rather “awhile”. Naturally, there were also several tiny lines of legal text across the bottom of the screen that probably spelled out this distinction in detail, but I could not read them.

I am so glad that our promises from God do not come with quotes and legal disclaimers. Can you imagine if 1 John 2:17 was recast in this manner?

…whoever does the will of God abides “forever”.

Putting quotes around “forever” would severally dampen our enthusiasm for God’s promises. Imagine also if the Bible also included very small fine print in the footnotes:

This offer subject to change at any time. “Forever” means a period of time not greater than 120 years or until God decides to change his mind, whichever comes first. Not valid to residents of Rhode Island or Puerto Rico. Non-transferable. All benefits received under this offer will be reported to the IRS and are taxable.

Thankfully, when God says “forever” he really means it. So, we who are in Christ Jesus through faith (alone!) can have assurance of our eternal resting place. We can have assurance that all of our sins are forgiven, not “all” of our sins. We can know that we have peace with God, not “peace” with God.

 

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Laughing at Kings – Psalm 2:4

It can be easy to be discouraged about this world as we see evil perpetrated by leadership around the world, including in our own country. We should remember that

he who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them (the kings of the earth and the rulers) in derision (Psalm 2:4).

The Lord is in control and his wrath and fury will come upon them (Psalm 2:5) and they will be dashed to pieces (Psalm 2:9), unless they repent and turn to him. God is in control.

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