How Can I KNOW If God Has Saved Me? – Part 5
- Examine Yourselves, Prove Your Own Selves – This is a very important question that we should all seriously consider, “How Can I KNOW If God Has Saved Me?”. This question gets to the essence of what life is all about. God tells us everything we need to know with regard to His salvation plan for mankind in His Book, the Bible, and God explains that assurance of our salvationis indeedpossible as 1 John 5:11-13 explains. We must realize that God does ALL the work of salvation. The Bible teaches that we cannot save ourselves. No church, no religious ritual, no person, and no human effort can save us. Only the work done by the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross and by the Holy Spirit in our hearts can save us. Believing, or having “faith”, in the Lord Jesus Christ is the result of salvation – not the cause of it. Rom 5:10 declares that if God has saved you, your spiritual war with God has ended: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life”. In other words: If God has saved you from Hell, the Lord Jesus Christ paid for ALL of your sins with His life so that you now have eternal life, and you made no contribution to your salvation in any way, as Tit 3:4-7 declares. However, if God does not save you before you die or the Lord Jesus Christ returns in judgment, you will face eternal damnation in Hell under the wrath of God as a payment for your own sins. If God has already saved you from eternal damnation, He has put His Spirit within you and resurrected your soul (that is, you became a new creature in Christ); as God stated in the verses Eze 36:26-27 and 2 Cor 5:17. In 2 Cor 13:5 and 2 Pet 1:10, God commands us to evaluate our spiritual condition to determine if we truly have received the gift of eternal life based on what the Bible teaches about salvation. In this fifth part of the study we will ask ourselves several questions based on the biblical evidences of salvation to help us “examine” the state of our souls. May God cause each of us to seriouslyexamine our self in the light of His Word to discover whether we are indeed a child of God or not. If we are not (or are not sure), wonderfully today is still the day of salvation; and we can cry out to God for mercy, read His Word, and wait (trusting altogether) on Him.
1 John 5:11-13 “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Tit 3:4-7 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Eze 36:26-27 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
2 Cor 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
2 Pet 1:10 “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”
- Is the “Fruit of the Spirit” becoming more Evident in your Life? – We see in Eph 2:10 that true believers areGod’s “workmanship”, which means “the fruit (or product) of a workman’s labor”. We also see in Gal 5:22-26 that true believers are governed by the “fruit” (or product) of the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance …”. There is “no law” against these nine fruit of the Spirit because they reflect the righteous nature of God Himself. True believers can sincerely exclaim the words of Eph 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ!”
Eph 2:8-10 “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. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Gal 5:22-26 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
- The Fruit of the Spirit is “Longsuffering” – Are you able to be patient and forgive others as God has forgiven your multitude of sins? The “longsuffering”, or patience, of God can be readily seen throughout the Bible. Actually, it is astounding that God is so patient with rebellious man. Unbelievable as it sounds, forgiveness first originated with God Himself although we have rebelled against him. The Greek word for “suffereth long” is also translated as “patience” and is closely related to God’s forgiveness. We learn in Rom 2:4 that God’s “goodness” and “longsuffering” leads His elect to repentance:“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth theeto repentance?”. Indeed, with the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives Col 1:11 admonishes us to be, “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness”. As we look to the Bible to learn about this wonderful forgiveness that God has provided, may we be compelled to examine our own hearts to see how we stand before God. Have we received His incomprehensible forgiveness? If we have, are we sharing the Gospel of Christ with others so they, too, may also come to know His marvelous forgiveness? God’s love and forgiveness covers multitude of sins, as 1 Pet 4:8 states: “And above all things have fervent charity [love] among yourselves: for charity[love]shall cover the multitude of sins”. And Col 3:13 admonishes the believers who received the eternal forgiveness from God, to pattern their life after their Master, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” and in Eph 4:2 “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love”. God explains this in the parable of the wicked servant in Mat 18. With the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, God admonishes us to be patient, likewise, towards one another by reproving, rebuking, exhorting with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Tim 4:2).
Num 14:18 “The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”
Matt 18:21-35 “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. 23Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
Col 3:12-15 “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye”
Eph 4:30-32 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
- The Fruit of the Spirit is “Gentleness” – Are you able to love your enemies and be kind to them? hoping for nothing again? Following the pattern of their Master, those who are part of the eternal church are equipped with the fruit of “gentleness”, or kindness, as Eph 2:7 describes, “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus”. Those to whom God has graciously given the gift of salvation do not, in any way, merit such eternal kindness and blessing nor can they claim any credit for it. We see that God is “kind” even to unthankful and evil people in Luke 6:35: “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil”. In Eph 4:32 and Col 3:12, true believers are instructed to mirror the kindness that God has shown to them by being kind to one another. We will look at one of Jonathan’s sons, Mephibosheth, to whom King David showed much kindness in 2 Sam 9:3-8 and 13. David loved Jonathan dearly, and in the historical context he desired to express that in a tangible way to Saul’s relatives. He wanted to “shew the kindness of God” to “any of the house of Saul”. King Saul was Jonathan’s father and David’s former enemy. This is a beautiful representation of the biblical injunction to “love your enemies”. May the Holy Spirit empower us to exhibit patience, kindness, and the good kind of zeal in our lives for God’s honor and glory.
Eph 2:7 “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
Eph 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Col 3:12-13 “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
2 Sam 9:3-8, 13 “And the king [David] said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?. …So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.”
Psa 40:11 “Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.”
- The Fruit of the Spirit is “Goodness” – Are you able to do good works by the empowering of Holy Spirit and share the good news of the Gospel? God’s goodness is uniquely associated with His mercy in a number of passages: “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee” (Psa 86:5). Not only is God inherently good, but He bestows His goodness upon His creatures, and salvation is the highest expression of His infinite goodness. Isa 52:7 announces the greatest demonstration of God’s goodness as found in the Gospel – “good tidings of good, thatpublisheth salvation”.Rom 2:4 immediately helps us to see the reason for this– God’s “goodness” leads His elect to repentance.Psa 65:4 pinpoints how God “draws” a person to salvation and is another beautiful illustration of God’s mercy in making His people as holy as Himself. Eph 5:9 gives us an excellent description of “goodness” as one of three main categories of the fruit of the Spirit: “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth”. We also read in 2 Chr 6:41, “Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness”. Remember that “priests” and “saints” are both synonyms for the children of God. We need to understand that God must first raise us from spiritual death before we can be “good” and “upright” in God’s eyes. Only those whom God has saved can “be good” and “do good” in His eyes because their “good works” are no longer tainted with sin, since their sins have been paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross; and whatever “good works” they do is only because God is working in them to accomplish “His good pleasure”, according to Php 2:13: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”. Eph 5:9 and Gal 5:22-23 gives us an excellent description of “goodness” as one of the fruit of the Spirit. With the continual work of grace – the operation of God – in the Christian’s life, God gives to those who are “new creatures in Christ” – this command in Jam 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves”. If God has saved you, He will give you an earnest and ongoing desire to do His will, as set forth in His Word, the Bible. God’s people will receive His “goodness and mercy” all the days of their lives – which is forevermore. Salvation is life eternal and, once received, can never be lost or taken away. Eph 2:7 gives us a glimpse of what God has planned for believers in eternity future: “That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus”.
Psa 65:4 “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.”
Isa 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
Luke 11:9-13 “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
Jam 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Eph 5:8-11 “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
2 The 1:11 “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power…”
Php 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in youwill perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
Psa 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
Heb 13:20-21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.