Matthew R. Perry

How Can We Know We’re Secure?

In Devotional on November 11, 2007 at 8:25 am

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces  endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame (Romans 5:1-5b, ESV)

Harry Ironside stated that salvation was like Noah inviting a pagan in his day to place his trust in God’s Word and come in to the ark. Some view salvation like Noah offering to put a peg on the outside of the ark. “If you just hang on through the storm, you’ll be saved.” Salvation is not dependent on our holding on to God, but on our being securely held by and in Christ.

Paul lets us know that if we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God. To be justified by faith means that God has declared us innocent of all charges. We were under the penalty of sin which leads to death. Romans 3:20 says, “For by the works of the Law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” People who believe they can work their way to heaven misunderstand what God’s law is. God’s law does not make us right before Him — it shows us how we cannot be right before Him.  God’s Law is His standard — and since we are not God, we cannot live by His standard. Thus, we have no peace.

J. Gresham Machen points out that “To say that we are justified by faith is  just another way of saying that we are justified not in the slightest measure by ourselves, but simply and solely by the One in whom faith is reposed.”

There are those who struggle with doubting their salvation. They may question whether God really will keep them. Yet, the way the Bible speaks of the way God saves us, He gives us every reason to be secure in our salvation. Fretting about our salvation either means there is a sin in your life that needs confessing and needs turned from, or it means that the truth of God’s Word hasn’t sunk in. (1 John 5:13; 1 John 3:19)

What are the benefits of being secure? Look at what Paul tells us.

We have peace with God:

The Personnel Journal reported this incredible statistic: since the beginning of recorded history, the entire world has been at peace less than eight percent of the time! In its study, the periodical discovered that of 3530 years of recorded history, only 286 years saw peace. Moreover, in excess of 8000 peace treaties were made–and broken.

Clearly, there is nowhere on earth that we may find peace — so we must look to God. We have peace with God when God cleanses us of our sin nature and transforms us into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul makes it clear that we have been enemies of God due to our sinful nature (Romans 5:10, 8:7; Ephesians 2:1). When God brings His righteousness to the believer who trusts in Him for salvation, then that brings a security and ultimately a peace that passes all understanding.

In 1555, Nicholas Ridley was burned at the stake because of his witness for Christ. On the night before Ridley’s execution, his brother offered to remain with him in the prison chamber to be of assistance and comfort. Nicholas declined the offer and replied that he meant to go to bed and sleep as quietly as ever he did in his life. Because he knew the peace of God, he could rest in the strength of the everlasting arms of his Lord to meet his need. So can we!

We have access to God.

Thanks to Jesus Christ’s work on the cross in justifying us, we now have “obtained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” A few weeks ago, we talked about in Hebrews 10 how we are able to “draw near with confidence” to the presence of God — something that those under the Old Testament and under the Law could never dream of!

A.W. Pink said: “It is utterly and absolutely impossible that the sentence of the divine Judge should ever be revoked or reversed. Sooner shall the lightnings of omnipotence shiver the Rock of Ages that those sheltering in Him again be brought under condemnation.” When we stand in grace, that means that we stand in the realm of everlasting forgiveness.

I could go to the governor’s mansion, but would likely never get in to see Gov. Fletcher. I could fly to England to see the Queen, but would never get past the guards. I could drive to Washington, D.C., and try to see the President, but would need clearance of some kind to get past the secret service men.

But when I have received the justifying work of Jesus on the cross, I have access to the King of Kings and Lord or lords anytime, day or night. That’s a great gift from God.

We rejoice in God!

We rejoice in knowing that we have hope in a hopeless world thanks to Christ’s atoning  work. Where does this hope come from? It begins with suffering. “All those who live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12, ESV). Matthew 5:11-12 says, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Paul in 2 Cor. 4:16-18 says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

The joy in sufferings produces endurance. Joseph Stowell in his book Fan the Flame noted, “The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique. The winner was not the runner who finished first. It was the runner who finished with his torch still lit. I want  to run all the way with the flame of my torch still lit for Him.” Jesus says, “He that endures to the end shall be saved” (Mark 13:13). Perseverance is the mark of the Christian — not making a decision or praying a sinner’s prayer. The question is, is the faith one has an enduring faith or a persevering faith? This is the only type of faith there is.

Endurance produces character. Goethe once said, “A talent is formed in stillness, a character in the world’s torrents.” So true. And may it be so with us.

 

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