As the old preacher was wrapping up his millionth sermon, he launched into autopilot and invited the congregation to close their heads and bow their eyes. Whoops. So close and yet so far. The last thing we need is a closed head!
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!” So goes the old hymn. But life here can seem anything but a foretaste of heaven. It can be hard and discouraging; it can rattle our sense of assurance that Jesus has us in the palm of His hand or that we are securely under His watchful care. When that happens, we must open our eyes and our minds to the truth which God has spoken.
Assurance of our salvation is an anchor for our feelings and thoughts especially in troubling times. The Apostle John said, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). He didn’t want his readers to be wishy-washy about being saved to the uttermost through the grace that is in Christ Jesus. He wanted them to know they were safe and secure for all eternity.
The Apostle Paul wrote that “the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16, 17). The ministry of the Holy Spirit is one of confirmation that God is our Father through faith in His Son, and that eternal life with Christ awaits us as a guaranteed inheritance.
Jesus Himself gave three succinct proofs of a true disciple. Each of these serve both as evidence and assurance that we genuinely know (follow) Jesus – according to HIS criteria. The first proof is a love for the Word of God and the commitment to remain obediently in it. Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31, 32). The truth of God shapes us, sanctifies us, and frees us. We want to be in it – be obedient to it – be under its authority – because we are truly in Him.
The second assurance that we are saved and being transformed by Jesus is a growing love for others. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34, 35). Evidence of love is evidence of belonging to Him. And a loving community of Christ followers is a powerful witness to a world without Him.
The third mark of an assured disciple is one who bears observable fruit for God. Their life demonstrates His new life in a myriad of ways. Again, Jesus said, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples (John 15:8). Proof of discipleship is bearing fruit for God. That fruit may be new Christ-like character (Galatians 5:22, 23); a life of service to others (John 13:14); a fervent life of prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) and worship (Hebrews 13:15, 16). But the point is, by their fruit you shall know them. Assuredly.
I’m praying for God’s blessed assurance to you today. Make it your story. Make it your song. Praising your Savior all the day long!
With you on the journey,