The Assurance of Eternal Life ó
Several years ago a pastor in Pennsylvania, concerned for the salvation of the many Roman Catholics in his community, invited me to come up and teach a seminar. First he asked me to send some of our publications so he could become more familiar with our ministry. After reviewing our Gospel tracts, he called me to cancel the seminar because he discovered that I teach the assurance of salvation. I explained to him that assurance is what makes Godís plan of salvation "good news." God promises to save forever those who come to Him through Jesus (Heb. 7:25). I asked him what good news do you have to share with Catholics if you preach eternal life is not everlasting but can be lost? Catholics already adhere to a "maybe" salvation that depends on what they do rather than what God has done through Jesus Christ. After many exchanges, this pastor was unwilling to believe Godís promise, that everyone who has been saved by grace through faith in Jesus shall be brought to glory.
Those who reject the doctrine of eternal security tend to place more emphasis on the subjective experiences of "professing" Christians than the objective truth of Scripture. They may know someone who was baptized, repeated a prayer or responded to an altar call, then later rejected the faith or turned to a life of habitual sin. These experiences become their proof that salvation has no assurance. But is there any way to know if these people were born again? Judging someoneís spiritual condition is risky because no one can see a personís heart. Opponents of assurance focus on manís failures rather than on Godís divine power. Such misunderstandings can be overcome by discarding human reason and accepting divine revelation. Faith should not rest on the wisdom of man but on the power of God (1 Cor. 2:5).
Consider the Word "Eternal"
Gospel (Rev. 14:6) of our "eternal" God (Rom. 16:26) promises every
believer "eternal" life (1 John 5:13) and "eternal" glory (1 Pet.
5:10) in His "eternal" kingdom (2 Pet. 1:11).
Eternal life is
not only an infinite quantity of time (people in hell will live
forever), but an eternal quality of life. It is an intimate
relationship with Jesus whereby His life and divine nature is placed
in every believer and every believer is in Him
Those who reject eternal security must explain
why they do not also reject everything else described as eternal,
such as the eternal triune God and His punishment for unbelievers.
They must also be able to answerówith Scriptureósome other relevant
Consider the Promises of Jesus
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life (John 5:24). "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:27-28). Jesus also promises never to cast out or lose anyone that His Father gives Him (John 6:37, 39). The promises of Jesus to all believers are clear and are guaranteed by His divine power and attributes. Having received eternal life, the sheep will follow the Shepherd who will keep them and protect them. Jesus promises they will never be judged for their sins, will not experience spiritual death, shall not perish and will never be cast out or lost. How can Christians say they trust Jesus and not believe His promises?
Consider the Fatherís Role with the Spirit
God the Father has caused His children to be born again to a living hope. They are now protected by His power and will obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and reserved for them in heaven (1 Pet. 1:3-5). This inheritance has been securely guaranteed by the sealing of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:11-14). The Father, who calls believers into fellowship with His Son, is faithful and will confirm them until the end (1 Cor. 1:8,9). He promises to glorify those He justifies (Rom 8:30). Godís children have this assurance: "He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:6). On that spectacular day, all believers will be revealed with Him in glory (Col. 3:4). Everyone who has trusted Christ can have the same confidence as Paul who wrote: "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (2 Tim. 1:12).
Consider the Nature of Godís Gifts
Believers also have the assurance that Godís gifts and calling are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). The amazing gifts God gives to repentant sinners include eternal life (Rom. 6:23), the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:45) and the righteousness of Jesus (Rom. 5:17). Those who have received these gifts will never again be separated from God and never come into judgment for their sins. Opponents of assurance will say that people can give back the gifts or throw them away. But where is the Scriptural support for this? God has credited the gift of righteousness to the believerís account. Does man have access to Godís books to change His accounting?
Consider Godís Chastening of His Sons
The Lord knows those who are His and everyone who names the name of Christ must depart from iniquity (2 Tim. 2:19). But what does God do with any of His children who persist in sinning? He chastens them, as a loving Father, so they will not be condemned along with the world (1 Cor. 11:32). Godís chastening has a purifying effect on those who do not judge themselves. His discipline will continue until there is repentance or until He calls them home. Those who fall away or fall into habitual sin without Godís chastening were never His children (Heb. 12:6-9).
The Roman Catholic
Catechism (CCC) teaches that Catholics lose their salvation when
mortal sins are committed (CCC, para. 1035). Catholics must do works
of penance and merit enough grace to regain their salvation (CCC,
para. 1456, 2027). Needless to say, Catholics can never be sure
about their eternal destiny because, whenever man is involved in
attaining and/or preserving his salvation, there can never be
assurance. However, when man forsakes all efforts to save himself
and believes the objective truth of the Gospel, he will be more
certain of living eternally in heaven than one more day on earth.
John wrote his
first epistle to those "who believe on the name of the Son of God,
in order that you may know [Gk. oida] you have eternal life
(1 John 5:13).
There is Assurance When Salvation is of God
There is No Assurance When Salvation is of Man
® The priest baptizes with water which is said to wash away original sin and regenerate Catholics as children of God (1213)
® The priest is said to have the power to impart the Holy Spirit through the sacrament of Confirmation (1302).
® The priest is said to have the power to forgive sins through the sacrament of penance (986)
® The sinner can perform acts of charity (1394) or earn indulgences (1471) to have sins forgiven
® The priest is said to have the power to call the Lord Jesus down from heaven to re-present Him as a sacrificial victim for the sins of the living and the dead (1367)
® The priest is said to offer the Lord Jesus Christ to Catholics in the Eucharistic wafer (1374)
® The priest performs last rites for Catholics for the forgiveness of their sins and to prepare them for eternity (1532)
DO YOU HAVE THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION ? IF NOT - NOW YOU KNOW THE REASON