"We are obeying God by reexamining the issue of our own salvation. We are also acting with the highest level of common sense, considering the stakes. Will you search it out? What is most alarming is the risky willingness of many professing Christians to gamble eternity on an emotional one-time experience, a "sinner's prayer" properly prayed, or a feeling of substantial relief at a juncture in time, without ever taking a serious look at what is evident now, at this moment. Is eternal life of so little value that it seems unnecessary to examine yourself for evidence of it? Is there nothing to lose? Hell is engorged with people who once thought of themselves as Christians. Is there no danger for you?"3He goes on to describe six counterfeit faiths, faiths that will not provide entrance to heaven: Faith without the Spirit, faith without Christ, faith without reason, faith without repentance, faith without fruit, and faith that does not last. He stresses the importance of relying on God for salvation, rather than on our own merits, actions, desires, or prayers. But he also emphasizes that true faith will result in a changed lifestyle, will produce fruit, and will be able to endure tribulation.
"Saving faith is an initial and ongoing belief in the truth about Jesus Christ (who He is and | what He has done) and a lifelong reliance upon Him alone for salvation."4
"Saving faith is prefixed by repentance, or a thorough change of mind about sin and God. Saving faith is suffixed by affection for God seen in its fruit, obedience. Saving faith is evidenced by love toward others, both in terms of correct responses | and benevolent deeds. Saving faith will endure, even though tested by fire.
Is saving faith the faith you have?"5
This kind of talk goes against much of the modern church, which considers any questioning of your salvation as doubts from the devil. But the Bible also encourages us to "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves." (2 Corinthians 13:5) And again, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:10 - 11)
So in light of eternity, where do you stand before God? Is your faith and salvation genuine? Have you truly repented, and are you now living a life that is pleasing to God and that brings forth fruit for His glory? Or are you trusting in your own works or even your own faith to save you? It is Jesus who saves you, and Him alone. Nothing we can do or say can save us; all we can do is accept the salvation Jesus freely offers us. But a life that is radically changed at the fundamental level is part and package of that salvation. No fruits, no salvation.
As we were reminded in the last post, Jesus is coming again, and soon. Yet we don't even have the assurance that we will live until then. Death is sure. Is your faith genuine? As the words of a song go, "The Lord is coming! Are you ready?"
1. Jim Elliff, Wasted Faith, (Missouri, USA: Christian Communicators Worldwide, 2005), 7.
2. Ibid, 8.
3. Ibid, 9.
4. Ibid, 35 - 36.
5. Ibid, 51 - 52.