Do you believe your salvation is secure? Or do you find yourself worrying at times that you might have done something to lose it? In this 5-day reading plan, Pete Briscoe teaches from Scripture to show you why you can have faith and trust that God will keep His promise of salvation.
Can I be sure?
Is it possible to be absolutely sure dawn is coming—that our salvation will be there for us at the end? I had a friend who was troubled by this question. Turns out, the man who’d led him to Christ later left the church and claimed atheism.
“If that guy can walk away from Jesus, can I walk away from Him too?” he asked. “Is it possible to really know that my salvation is for certain?”
I absolutely believe full assurance is possible, but first I want to walk you through what most of us already have: subjective assurance.
In Galatians 4:6, Paul writes, “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son… who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’”
There is an interaction that takes place when we say yes to Jesus—we are given the indwelling Spirit of Christ. As He lives in us, there is an intimate knowing of the Father. We feel and experience the new life. This experience is a subjective knowing.
Imagine you need a heart transplant. You want the best surgeon to cut you open, so you research all the physicians in your area.
On surgery day a friend asks, “Are you sure this is going to work?”
And you’re like, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure. But talk to me afterward.”
A few months later, the new heart is pumping and you’re back to health. If someone were to ask you about that doctor now, you’d say, “Yes! I’m absolutely convinced she can do the job.”
Those of us who’ve received a heart transplant from Jesus possess a subjective feeling that He’s there. But then life gets hard. We pray for healing but experience loss. We pray for our marriage but find ourselves divorced. Over time we wonder, If He didn’t come through in that situation, how do I know He’ll come through for me on my salvation?
The objective answer to this question is found in God’s promises.
Holy Spirit, to know You by experience is a gift. To trust You with confidence is an identity. Bless my time this week as I learn about Your character and Your promise of salvation that can be trusted. Amen.
The opposite of laziness
When we consider unanswered prayers, doubt creeps in. He could have saved my child, my marriage, or my job. We suspect God’s follow-through might be lacking. And if so, how can we know He’ll come through on salvation?
There comes a time when we desire more than subjective assurance, or feelings that it could be true. Subjective assurance is like liquid concrete—all the elements of concrete are there, but we wouldn’t put our full weight on it before it’s hardened.
When it comes to salvation, we want a promise that can be trusted. We want to know our salvation will be waiting for us at the end.
Speaking of the better things of salvation, the author of Hebrews writes, “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized” (6:11).
What is it that we hope for? That the promise of life with Jesus is real!
How do we fully realize this hope? We are to be diligent in something—but what? And for how long?
Hebrews 6:12 tells us, “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”
Do you want full assurance? Then don’t be lazy! I know this initially sounds like more work, but it’s not. I assure you.
We’ll soon see that the opposite of one who is lazy is one who trusts. In the aftermath of unanswered prayers, the diligent still trust. In the reality of disappointment, the diligent trust. In the hard work of rebuilding shattered dreams, the diligent continue to trust.
So what can you do? By the strength of His Spirit, link yourself to the chain of those who were faithful and patient. By imitating those who modeled trust, your hope is fully realized.
Now the question is: Who, exactly, should we imitate?
Jesus, I want to trust—increase my trust! Knowing that full assurance is within reach makes me catch my breath. I invite Your Spirit to reflect a life of trust through me. Amen.
An invitation to wait
When we tell our kids to cut the laziness, we usually mean, “Get up and help out.” Sometimes we promise them ice cream at the end. Everyone knows the point isn’t the ice cream—it’s the work that earns the ice cream. And so we inadvertently teach our kids: Don’t be lazy and good things will come to you. This works well in a capitalistic society.
But laziness in God’s Kingdom is mind-bogglingly different. To be lazy is to be untrusting. To reject laziness is to be full of trust.
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12)
Who? Who can we imitate in faith? We are pointed in the direction of Abraham. When Abraham was 75 years old, God promised him kids. And nine months later, Abraham and his wife had a son, right?
No. Not even close. It took 25 years for that promise to become reality. If you were Abraham, how would your faith have fared at years 2, 5, or even 20 as you blew out 95 candles on your birthday cake? We are told to imitate a man of endurance. But what sustained Abraham?
God invited Abraham to trust, and Abraham accepted the invitation. It’s that simple.
After waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. (Hebrews 6:15)
The struggle that comes with our question—“How can we know if our salvation will be there for us at the end?”—is a struggle of waiting.
Many people received salvation as a kid, and Jesus’ promise to sustain them for the next 80 or so years—until death—is a long way off. Others received Jesus during the lowest moment of their lives, and His salvation carried them back to the land of the living. But now that we’re able, we wonder if there’s something more we should be doing to guarantee this life in Christ.
By all means, stop being lazy. But don’t mistake for a minute that the invitation to trust is an invitation to work.
Lord, when was the last time I waited for more than a month or two for something to be realized? I can’t even let a webpage load without hitting refresh! Show me how to stand still—with my full weight on Your promise of eternal life. Amen.
God’s double-dog dare promise
If you received a promise from God, how long would it sustain you? At what point might you start to waver? After all, seeing a promise through to reality is often a marathon, not a sprint.
Is our wavering endurance one reason why God might add an oath to a promise when the promise should be more than enough?
Let me show you what I mean: When we hear of God’s promise to Abraham, we sometimes forget it’s recorded in two different places, Genesis 15 and 22. The first time, God showed Abraham the stars and said, “So shall your offspring be” (15:5). That was the promise, but it was only a promise—no extra oath.
God’s second promise to Abraham is in Genesis 22. It’s 40 years later, and Abraham’s son Isaac, now a young man, is lying upon the altar of sacrifice. Abraham has the knife raised when an angel of the Lord yells, “Stop!” And then the angel delivers a message from God, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD… I will surely bless you” (22:16a-17a).
“I swear by Myself.” It’s like putting your hand on the Bible in a courtroom and saying, “I swear I will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me—me!” God swore an oath on Himself on top of His promise. Why? After all, Abraham believed the original promise for 25 years. He believed it enough to take his son to the altar of sacrifice. He believed it enough to lift the knife.
God didn’t up the promise with an oath because Abraham might have failed in the trust department. Rather, “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath” (Hebrews 6:17).
“Very clear” is a legal term set in stone. Did God need to give an oath on top of His promise? No. But He did it because He desires His people to have full assurance—complete confidence—in His unchanging character.
Some of you are thinking, Yeah, Abraham received a promise and an oath. How does this affect my confidence in salvation? We’re about to find out that we received a promise and an oath too.
Lord, I admit I don’t always know how to “hold nothing back” as Abraham did, but I desire this faith immensely. So I give You me—completely. Increase my trust in Your unchanging character. Amen.
Trusting enough to live
Wouldn’t it be terrible to receive a heart transplant and then be afraid of living? Living in constant trepidation that your new heart might stop working would cause you to miss out on the life that the new heart was inserted to give you.
Some of us do this with our salvation. We have received Christ. We trust Christ. But we are so afraid that our own sin will negate our adoption into God’s eternal family that we stop living.
God can be trusted. We can rest in the presence of God because of the work of Jesus. This is a promise, and this promise comes with an oath:
[Jesus] has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. … For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” … And it was not without an oath! (Hebrews 6:20; 7:17,20)
I know what you’re thinking: That doesn’t look like a promise or an oath. But it is. Until Jesus, priests like Melchizedek and the Levites were priests of ancestry. But Jesus was a priest of “indestructible life” (Hebrews 7:16), and His priesthood was accompanied by an oath: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever’” (Hebrews 7:21).
Jesus is our High Priest forever. Forever! He is our hope. Hebrews tells us two things about this hope:
- “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19). We can drop anchor and rest in Christ.
- Our hope “enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (Hebrews 6:19-20). We are invited into the presence of God—the holiest of places—when we follow Jesus.
It’s a promise and an oath. Jesus is our High Priest. Every moment of every day, our Forever High Priest applies His blood to us. As long as He lives, we live.
I get it; we sin. But there is no allowance in Scripture for some of us losing our salvation, and some of us keeping it. If such an allowance existed, then salvation would be about us, not Jesus.
Your salvation will be there for you at the end. It’s true. God promised—with an oath. Start living!
- What is God saying to me about my trust in Him?
- Do I trust God to come through on His promises, including Salvation?