The doctrine of assurance of salvation is an essential Christian doctrine and this series of lessons looks at specific ways by which we can be assured of our salvation in Jesus Christ.
In the first lesson we learned that we can be assured of our salvation because we are safe and secure in Jesus’ and God’s hands. That lesson helped us build a stable and secure foundation regarding assurance of salvation, however perhaps you still have questions or doubts regarding your salvation? Perhaps you know you are safe in God’s hands yet you still struggle with assurance?
In this lesson we will be looking at how the works we do for Jesus and the fruits we bear provide a source of evidence and assurance of our salvation.
Before we begin however you must know that good works are a result of salvation, not a condition for it.
8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
You see because we are all sinners good works cannot earn favor or salvation from God; instead salvation is a gift we receive from God through acceptance, belief and confession.
We need Him to change us before we can change ourselves. When He saves us He transforms our lives from serving sin to serving Him. That is how men and women are truly changed.“We need Him to change us before we can change ourselves.”
In regards to our lives as Christians after we are saved good works then take on an entirely new meaning and significance. This does not mean however that works are the measure by which we should judge our lives as Christians or the lives of other Christians for as we will see later in this lesson the Christian life is ultimately a matter of the heart.
Nevertheless one of the principal purposes of the Christian life is to do good works for God, which flow from a changed heart, therefore it follows that if we are saved that good works will be an evidence of our salvation and this evidence provides a source for assurance of salvation.
10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10 (KJV)
26) For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.James 2:26 (KJV)
God has good works planned for all His children, in fact we were created to do good for God!
Salvation though is the key that enables us to do this for we are born corrupt and in a fallen state but when we are saved we are spiritually reborn. Salvation therefore does not exist in a vacuum, it is not an end in and of itself. Rather salvation is a packaged deal that comes with results and produces great things within our hearts for the benefit of the world around us and to the glory of God. It is faith with works that makes us alive as Christians!
You can be logically assured of your salvation reader because of these facts, God does not just save us, He changes us, let that give you assurance and confidence.
How then do we walk in the good works that God has planned for us? Well think on this fact…God does not just save us and change us, He saves us and lives with us!
25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.Galatians 5:25 (KJV)
We must walk in the Spirit, that is in the Holy Spirit who enables us to live a life in service to God, the same Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
Reader if you are struggling with doubts about your salvation know first that you were saved to do good things. Next know that God lives in you and that you can now walk in the Spirit. You are not alone! Your assurance is not based on just the act of accepting Jesus gift of salvation but on all of these attributes of your new life with Jesus.
4) Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
5) For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
6) But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.Romans 7:4-6 (KJV)
You see salvation is a heart matter, it’s a renewal, a literal change of heart. When it comes to assurance of salvation one of the greatest first evidences of salvation are not just the works we produce for God but the work that He has already done in our lives by giving us a new heart.
Reader you are now dead to the law, that is the law (Ten Commandments) that condemned you because of your sins. What is more you are now married to Jesus so that you can bring forth fruit unto God.“…one of the greatest first evidences of salvation are not just the works we produce for God but the work that He has already done in our lives by giving us a new heart.”
Salvation restores us to being people enabled to live for God, that is to serve and glorify Him. When we were unsaved sin worked in us to cause even our good works to be misguided in that they did not proceed from a regenerated heart. Don’t get me wrong, unsaved individuals can do good by the worlds standards however because they have not been born again and are not a part of God’s restored family their motivations will never be fully pure, notice Romans mentions “the motions of sins” are what caused us to act. Now though we serve in newness of spirit! We serve because we love God and want to glorify Him.
So then what kinds of works provide an evidence of salvation and can help us overcome doubts about assurance of salvation?
Works that proceed from a changed heart (the work that God has done for us) and works that proceed from walking in the Spirit. This is the foundation of the intent and the motivation of our new life in Jesus and service to Him. In fact this is where the fruits of the Spirit come from…
22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)
The desires in your heart to serve God, the things you do that are purely motivated for Him because of your new heart, those are all things to be confident in and things that are evidential of your salvation.
So reader know that God has changed your heart through salvation but also remember, especially if you still struggle in this matter, to rely on Him…
4) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.John 15:4-5 (KJV)
Just as we must walk in the Spirit so must we continually abide with Jesus.
Remember that your good fruits come from God, you do not have to rely on yourself nor should you for your resources are limited but God’s resources are limitless.
As a Christian you can do nothing without Him. You must stay connected to the true vine. You must also remember that you have been born again, that is spiritually born again of God…
7) Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.I John 4:7 (KJV)
19) We love him, because he first loved us.I John 4:19 (KJV)
You show true purely directed love towards others because you have been reborn by God. Also pure love for others is the result of God’s regeneration of your heart through salvation. So then abide in God and also know that you have been born of Him and that your good works come from Him.
When you consider abiding in God and loving others you must be careful not to judge yourself too harshly regarding your works. For example look not at the quantity of what you do for God but the quality of it.
It is all too easy to fall in the trap of comparison with other Christians in regards to works. Don’t let that happen.
God’s pace of making us more like Him is different for each and every one of us. Just as a parent might take more time teaching a sibling who needs more time to learn how to ride a bike than the other sibling. In fact isn’t it often those who go through more time training and learning that turn out to be the most equipped in service for God?“It is all too easy to fall in the trap of comparison with other Christians in regards to works. Don’t let that happen…God’s pace of making us more like Him is different for each and every one of us.”
Good works proceed out of the heart and actions that come from the heart are often more profound internally than their external results might imply. For example not all good works go noticed, nor should they, however God always sees the heart.
Additionally heart battles are not seen while life battles are more visible but one is not less important than the other in God’s eyes. Therefore never judge a Christian by how good they seem, perhaps they are not so good inside. The opposite is also true, never be too quick to judge another Christian as not good enough for they may be stronger than you realize on the inside!
So then reader do not doubt your salvation because the good works you are committed to are not grandiose or noticed or as “good” as others. Remember God has transformed your heart and lives in you through the Holy Spirit, He sees and knows your intent, trust Him!
Simply be committed to good works and service, that is more than enough, and let Him work on continually making your heart to love Him more.
16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
Always make God’s glory the priority, for it is then that your good works will truly shine. Also note that others will see your good works and they will glorify God too. This is pivotal not for your own pride but for said works to change someone else’s life. You see the works we do for God are vitally important to a lost and dying world. This is why we work for God as Paul so stated to the church at Colossae…
23) And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;Colossians 3:23 (KJV)
Work for God, not for man, give Him the glory and mankind will be changed.
This sums up our second lesson on assurance of salvation perfectly. Reader, know that your changed heart and good works are evidential of your salvation.
Understand that you must walk in the Spirit and abide in Jesus. Always set out to give God the glory in whatever you chose to do in life for when you do everything heartily unto the Lord you will no longer be burdened by doubts of your salvation but will rather have your heart assured of your salvation and focus on God who has great things in store for you to change mankind and the world.
Remember, salvation is just the very beginning! Amen!