April 26, 2019
by Dr. J. Vernon McGee
I was once on a flight from Los Angeles to Phoenix. The plane hit rough air and began to bounce around. The pilot tried to get us out of it by going higher, but it only got rougher up there, so he leveled off. At times the plane would drop, and it seemed to me like it would never stop. I grabbed the seat in front of me and held on for dear life. But across the aisle from me sat a man who was a former pilot, and he’d fallen asleep by the time the plane even took to the air. When we hit that turbulence, he was merely annoyed by all the disturbance and turned over and went back to sleep. After we landed he said he’d actually enjoyed the flight! I certainly could not say the same.
Now, I was just as safe on that airplane as the other man—whatever security the plane offered was mine as well as his. We both had faith enough to enter the plane, but he had the understanding and experience to enjoy the trip. He had assurance, but I did not.
Now, let’s apply this lesson to the very important reality of your salvation. My friend, God wants you to enjoy and be assured of your relationship with Him. His “plane” cannot fall, and you do not have to hold on to the seat in front of you—He holds you!
If you’ve ever experienced “inner turbulence” regarding your salvation, I invite you to take these two important truths to heart.
Truth #1: You are God’s child through faith in Jesus Christ.
If you have accepted God’s offer of eternal life, then you can be assured of it. Some Christians believe in the security of the believer but do not themselves have the assurance of their salvation. To that I say, “My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:10). God will not go back on His promise to save you. Put your misgivings, doubts, and a lack of assurance out on the curb.
Remember this: You are His child through faith in Jesus Christ.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12, 13)
Did you see that? Your salvation is of God. You did not earn it, therefore you can do nothing to lose it. When talking about salvation, remove words like “maybe” and “perhaps” from your vocabulary. God doesn’t offer a “hope so” salvation—His is a “know so” salvation. Your salvation is not temporary or conditional; God’s Word describes it as everlasting or eternal life.
Be assured by what God actually says:
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:12, 13)
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22)
What gives us this certain confidence in our salvation?
Truth #2: Jesus’ righteousness gives you your secure standing with God.
Your standing before God cannot be improved upon because it is through Jesus and He is in perfect fellowship with God. It cannot be disturbed because it is given wholly to the lost sinner who trusts in Jesus. (Read Isaiah 32:17.)
God wants all who trust Christ to experience salvation in such a way that they say confidently, boldly, and with much assurance:
… I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (2 Timothy 1:12)
Don’t miss the best God has for you. Spend your life going deeper in your understanding and appreciation of His “so great a salvation” (Hebrews 2:3).
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29)
He never lets go. Relax, believer, and enjoy your salvation.
Dr. McGee answers the question: What causes a Christian to doubt their salvation?
Unconfessed sin in the life of a believer is the greatest thief of the assurance of salvation. God wants us to have the full assurance of faith, and this comes experientially through fellowship with Him. Sin breaks our fellowship, which in time causes a chain reaction that breaks our assurance.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 John 1:6)
We can put up a front that all is well, but underneath, doubts gnaw like little foxes at our faith. We start to feel like we are not really God’s children. Yet God is still our Father, and a conviction of sin is pretty good evidence of it. We have lost our fellowship with Him, and therefore our assurance—but not our salvation.
What a Christian needs to do is come to the light, the Word of God. It reveals our sin, and shows us the remedy.
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
You see, the genuine child of God is always disturbed by sin in his life, because he knows it breaks fellowship with God.
Feel far from God? Ask yourself two questions:
- Is there something in my life that shouldn’t be there? When we intentionally ignore or rationalize sin in our lives, we are choosing to break off our fellowship with God. If you know something that needs to go—tell the Lord about it (confess) and turn around (repent), leaving it behind you.
- Is there something God is prompting me to do that I’m not doing? You might feel distant from God because you’re not willing to do what He asks. This is called quenching or grieving the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19, Eph. 4:30). It’s when the Spirit prompts you to do something and for various reasons, you say “no.” Like in any relationship, this causes distance. Eventually it may cause you to think you’re no longer saved. Tell God now that you’re willing and want His help to do what He wants you to do—and the next time He prompts you to do something, do it. Likely, you will sense your relationship begin to be restored.