Monday, August 8, 2011
True Christians long for Christ's return and to be led by the Holy Spirit
We have looked at five assurances or fruits that one can look for when evaluating the genuineness of saving faith in their lives. How can I know, that I know, that I know that I'm a Christian? Thus far we have seen that true Christians hate worldliness, love God's word, Christ, God's people, obedience and prayer. Today we will conclude the assurances of salvation by noting that true Christians long for Christ's return and want to be led by the Holy Spirit.
1. True Christians long for Christ's return
1 John 3:1-3 states - "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."
It is no accident that the Christian's pre-occupation with Christ's return should grow over time, since satisfaction with the things of this world gradually pale, and longing to see Jesus should increase. It can seem at times we are more caught up in the here-and-now than in the sweet-by-and-by. Yet God's grace prompts us, reminds us, to long for His return. This is why God's love is the motivation. If we will but "see, behold" God the Father's love, we will then long for the second coming of Jesus.
2. True Christians want to be led by the Holy Spirit
As Christians, we will either be "self-led" or "Spirit-led". Ephesians 5:18 uses the language of "filling" to remind us of the repeated need for the Spirit's leading: "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit". At salvation, the Christian gets all of the Holy Spirit they will ever need. From that point onward, the issue becomes: "how much of me does the Holy Spirit have?"
1 John 4:13 states - "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit." The battle between "self" and "The Holy Spirit" is a daily affair. Will I let my emotions and my thinking guide me, or will I order my emotions and thoughts under God's word. The Holy Spirit living inside every Christian is "God in us", pointing to Jesus, who is "God with us", who bids us to love The Father, "God above us".
What happens if I cannot gain assurance of salvation?
My prayer is that as you look at your heart, that these various assurances will clarify for you whether or not you are truly a Christian. The basis of your salvation rests not in how you feel, but rather in God's written word - the Bible; and in God's Living word - Jesus Christ. Have you by faith trusted in Christ alone by faith alone? More importantly, are you right now, at this moment, relying upon Jesus Christ as your Savior, Lord and Treasure? If you cannot answer these questions in the affirmative, Romans 10:9-10 is the plainest verse I know for settling the issue: "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."