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Assurance of Salvation

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(By Mark Fontecchio)

I absolutely believe that a person can be sure of their eternal salvation.  First and foremost this assurance should be based on a proper understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Saving faith is the belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died and rose again to pay one’s personal penalty for sin and the one who gives eternal life to all who trust Him and Him alone for it.  A partial gospel, or an incorrect gospel, will lead many to have a lack of assurance of salvation because their faith has been placed in a message that will not save.

Having trusted in the true gospel of Jesus Christ we should turn to the Word of God for the assurance of our salvation.  The Apostle John recorded, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:12-13).  In other words, part of the very reason that the Spirit of God inspired the Apostle John to write this portion of the letter to the Christians was to give them assurance of their salvation.  This teaches us that assurance of salvation, “rests fundamentally and sufficiently on the direct promises that God makes to that believer” (Walvoord 902).

The promises to believers who have received His gospel message are numerous regarding the assurance of salvation.  Another clear example of the promise of salvation for the believer is found in the gospel of John, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).  It is here that we learn an important truth.  Our assurance of salvation comes from the power of Jesus Christ (Carson 393).  No one can take us away from Him.  Our security rests with the good shepherd (Carson 393).

The passage that has affected me the most on this issue can be found in Ephesians.  It is there that the Apostle Paul wrote, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14).  The seal, “indicates authority, authenticity, and security” (Anders 93).  This is a clear indication that we belong to God.  Paul builds upon this beautiful truth by teaching in verse 14 that the Spirit of God is our guarantee or down payment of our inheritance (Eph. 1:14).  This should remind us of the same teaching that Paul mentioned to the church at Corinth where He wrote, “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 1:21-22).  God has given us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our eternal redemption in Christ.  It comes down to a promise that God has guaranteed.  The real question becomes, “Do we believe the promise of God?”

In Chapter 5 of 2 Corinthians this becomes the very issue that Paul himself brings up.  Paul sums up the subject for us, “Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:5-8).  Once again we read that the Spirit of God is our guarantee.  We should be confident of our position in Christ knowing that if we died today we would be with the Lord.  Paul taught, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).  The redeemed child of God can absolutely have assurance and confidence of eternal salvation, as long as we have faith in the promises of God!

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The New King James Version. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1982.

Anders, Max. Galatians-Colossians. Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999.

Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991.

Walvoord, John F., Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983.


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