(six years ago)
The rain poured in torrents and thunder rumbled outside our small brick home. A tornado watch was issued for our county. When the watch turned into a warning we knew it was time to take cover.
Descending the stairs to our basement, we realized that our “safe place” was piled full of storage boxes. With haste, we cleared everything out from underneath the stairs and took the mattress off the spare bed.
We climbed underneath the staircase, our hearts beating with worry.
“What about you, Daddy?” A little one asked. “Aren’t you coming too?”
“I’m staying out here so I can throw the mattress on top of everyone if the tornado comes our way.”
I’d always been told that a tornado sounds like a train whistle. But I didn’t believe it until I heard it for myself that stormy night. A shrill whistle, (and yes, it sounded just like a train,) erupted through the sudden stillness of the storm. Since that day, I’ve yet to hear a more eerie and frightening sound.
Six pairs of wide and frightened eyes stared at Mama for comfort. “Are we safe here?" "What if the tornado gets our house?”
After a moment of silence, a quiet voice from the corner asked, “Mama, how do I know for sure that I’m saved?”
I’ve never forgotten that question. When it was asked, I felt the breath exhale from my lungs.
I’d never even thought to doubt my own salvation, but after I heard that fearful question, I began to doubt my own. In the blink of an eye this tornado could tear through our house, and in a single moment I would be standing in front of my Creator who would determine my fate. Guilty? Or saved by the blood of the lamb?
I think it’s only natural for humans to question their salvation when faced with the possibility of death. When faced with this question, what assurance do you have that you’re saved?
When the thought first came to my mind to write this post, I almost didn’t want to do it. I don’t know why, but something told me that people wouldn’t benefit from it and that nobody would desire to read it. “You probably don’t even know enough to write a post about this.” A voice whispered.
The same day I’d decided not to write this post, I read a prayer request. It said, “please pray for my friend, she’s only 90% sure she’s saved.”
My hands stilled on the laptop as I stared without blinking at that short sentence. That did it. I was determined to write this post! So, with a lot of prayer and research (it’s hard to condense such an important topic into a short post!) I started writing.
Let’s start with Jesus’ words in Luke. He describes the difference between a Christian and an unbeliever through a parable:
“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:43-45)
So, one way you can have assurance of your salvation, is by your fruits. Are you bearing good fruits? Are you constantly weeding out bad fruits?
“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” (James 3:10-12)
We are commanded to have our speech seasoned with grace (Col. 4:6) and to edify one another and build each other up (1 Thess. 5:11). If are speech is never seasoned with grace, and if we are constantly tearing each other down, it’s time to take a good look at where we stand on the platform of salvation.
Are you sorry for your sin? Do you hate and forsake it because it’s displeasing to God? If we’re truly saved, when we sin, our spirit should grieve until repentance and restoration take place.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
If we are saved, then we should be constantly changing and growing closer to Him daily. Who we were before we were saved, should be a stark contrast from who we are now. It’s kind of like a compelling protagonist in a story. To write a compelling protagonist, the character must have weaknesses and desires, and they need to grow and mature throughout the story. By the end of the book, you should be able to see a BIG difference in this character’s life. Who they were at the beginning, isn’t who they are now. They’ve grown, and we as Christians should grow too.
As Christians, God won’t allow us to continue down the path of sin. He won’t allow us to keep bearing bad fruit. He continues to prune us daily (John 15:2) and He will continue to prune and complete the work He has started in us until the coming of Christ. (Phil. 1:6)
We can’t be saved through our own works. At the end of time when we stand before our Creator, the question won’t be “if we knew Christ.” But rather, “did He ever know us?”
We will have a desire to be with God’s people:
In Hidden Treasures (coming soon) I talk about the importance of a relationship with God’s people:
“As Christians, we should desire to be with other likeminded believers. If we call ourselves Christians, yet don’t yearn for the fellowship of other sisters and brothers in Christ, there’s something big missing in our lives. And as my daddy says, “failure to love the church (the body of Christ, 1 Cor. 12:27) is a failure to love Christ.”
And the fellowshipping of believers doesn’t only encourage each member, but it strengthens, refreshes and proves to be a continuous accountability.
So, does all this mean that a Christian doesn't sin? No, absolutely not!
We will continue to fall into sin and various trials because we aren’t perfect, (Romans 3:10) but if we are truly saved, we won’t continue down that rut of sin for very long.
And we'll always have trials that usually aren't even related to sin or bad works. As I once heard a pastor say, "As Christians, we either just came through a trial, we're going through one now, or we're about to go through one in the near future."
God uses trials to sanctify us and grow us closer to Him.
So what are four ways that we can be assured of our salvation?
- We will bear good fruit
- We will be sorry for our sin and hate and forsake it
- We will constantly be changing and growing closer to Him
- We will desire to be with God’s people
Because of this, we can take joy in what God’s Word says to us. Instead of doubting, we can live with confidence! We can have the assurance from Christ’s own Word that our salvation will never be in question. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, old things have passed away and all things have become new! Because of His death, our sins, past, present and future, have all been forgiven!
Because He lives, we can have hope, assurance and a blessed peace that we WILL abide with Him for eternity-in a home that exceeds far beyond the spaces of our imagination.
Are you ready for the trumpet? Are you ready for the coming of Christ? If you died this one second, would you be ready to face your Creator?
Take a moment and ponder these questions in your heart.
I don’t want to get to heaven and find you missing!