How can we have confidence in our claims to Christianity? Have you ever been challenged in your own mind about your claims to know Christ. Not just know of Him or intellectually “believe” in Him. I mean know that you are His and your sins are forgiven. Most Christians know what the Lord said in Matthew chapter 7 how many will claim to know Him yet many will be cast into hell.
Can we truly know?
Before I came to knowledge of my sin I would have claimed Christianity yet it didn’t exhibit change in my life to the glory of God. I could shine myself up a bit but there was still the hidden and secret sin residing inside of me that very few knew was there. My life was content in my self-righteousness; even though I claimed the promise.
How can we be certain?
God’s Word is the standard by which we must examine our life so today I’ll look at a couple passages that are an excellent way to see if we hit the mark.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
Sexual sin is a big problem in the “church” world today. The ease at which anyone has access to that which is displeasing to God has never been more readily available. And it also comes right into your living room via the television. As this society slips further into decline sexual sin is before our eyes daily if not hourly.
We must also consider the commonality of fornication; living in sexuality outside of marriage. This is not even looked on as a sin anymore by the populace. If you call yourself a “Believer” do not be deceived. If you practice this you will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
If you are a Pastor and you are reading this today, I will ask if you are preaching this in your church. Does your congregation know this is sin? Do they wrap themselves in their own “goodness” and righteous acts? Or does the Sword of God thunder from your pulpit forcing people to look into the sinfulness of their hearts?
Have we compared our lives to the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18?
Luke 18:13 “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Are the Lord’s words not crystal clear?
Have mercy Oh Lord! This man knew where to turn.
I’m a sinner! This man knew his wretched condition.
Was justified! This man was saved because he understood his sin and his need for a Savior.
1 Thessalonians 4:8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has given us His Holy Spirit.
If you bristle at these words you reject God and you need to turn from your sin because you are a slave to sin (Romans 6). If you struggle and you can’t overcome your sin you are correct. You need to confess your sin to God and you need to seek help from a faithful person in your church. If you believe you are saved you need to examine yourself and you need to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
So how can we be assured of our salvation?
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Those that “do” the will of God will enter heaven. Not just those that go to church, wrap themselves in religiosity, try to be a good person, etc…, etc…, etc…
I’m not talking about righteousness through works, but a life that has been radically transformed and only desires to please God by following His commands. Do your old friends cringe at who you are now? Do they see a disturbing difference in you? Most likely they enjoyed you when you were religious. Your religion did them no harm, but when you sought holiness and sanctification it really shakes the gates of hell and most won’t like it.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.
This is how we know!
See you next week with my final installment of “Another kind of Christ”