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Bible Study #6:  The Christian: Security in Christ and Assurance of Salvation

Introduction and Review

 

Dear friend,

We rejoice that we have been able to help you study the Bible through the materials that you have already completed, and are glad to be able to continue helping you with this sixth study.  We have learned so far that the Bible is God’s perfect, error-free Word, preserved uncorrupted for us today.  We have studied a number of characteristics of the one Triune God.  We have examined God’s Law, its promise of life for sinless obedience, and its promise of eternal damnation for every failure to match up to it.  Since we have committed many sins, and have a sin nature, we were left certain of eternal loss, but we found that God has provided salvation for sinners through the redemptive work of His Son, Jesus Christ.  He is the Lord, the Savior, and the only Mediator between God and man.  His mediation appears in His roles of Prophet, Priest, and King.  His death was a sacrificial payment to the Father.  On the cross He performed the work of a Substitute and endured the judgment of God in our place, that by taking our penalty we might receive His righteousness.  His blood was a propitiation, since it forever appeased God’s wrath against the redeemed, and His sacrifice was fully complete, for His death is absolutely sufficient to save.  After dying on the cross, Christ was buried, then rose again on the third day, and ascended to the right hand of the Father.  He will come again.  Those who receive the gospel are adopted, justified, reconciled, sanctified, and certain of glorification.  The only way to receive the gospel is by repentant faith in Christ.

We defined repentance unto life as a change of mind about God and sin that results in a change of life.  We also gave a larger definition:  A lost sinner savingly repents when, out of the sight and sense not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature, and righteous law of God, and upon the apprehension of His mercy in Christ to such as are repentant, so grieves for, and hates his sins, as to turn from them all to God, purposing and endeavoring to walk with Him in all the ways of His commandments.  Since this statement explains the nature of genuine repentance, we learned that repentance was more than simply taking up the profession of Christianity, or being baptized, or living a moral life in external conformity to the rules of piety, or having powerful or even miraculous spiritual experiences, or reforming inward corruption by education, human laws, or the force of affliction, or conviction of sin from the Holy Spirit, or partial surrender to God, or sorrow over the results of sin.  Rather, saving repentance, which is motivated by God’s goodness and is impossible without a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, is intellectual, volitional, and emotional surrender to the Lord.  In repentance one agrees with God about who he is and what he deserves.  One is willing to get things right with other people.  Repentance involves turning from all known specific sins, as well as sin in general, to surrender unconditionally to Christ as Lord.  The repentant soul turns from the world-system, false religion, and self-righteousness, to God.  He is willing to take up the cross.  Having counted the cost, he determines to follow Jesus Christ.  He therefore turns to Him in faith.

We defined saving faith as follows: Believing to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word of God, saving faith receives, believes on, trusts in, and rests upon the Lord Jesus Christ for justification, sanctification, and eternal life.  We learned that saving faith is more than a dead faith that does not lead to works, or a faith that is merely mental acknowledgement of facts.  Neither is it an emotional or volitional action without intellectual understanding.  It is different from the daily serving faith of the Christian life.  Those who have a type of faith that does not bring them into fellowship with Christ, or that have a type of faith that does not endure, do not have saving faith.  One who has the faith that justifies believes everything that is in the Word of God, and his conversion will be associated with the Word.  He receives, believes on, trusts in, and rests upon the Lord Jesus Christ.  He knows that good deeds did not save him, nor do they keep him in a state of salvation—forgiveness is based entirely on the work of Christ, and is received simply by depending on Him.  The object of saving faith is Christ crucified.  One with saving faith knows the facts about the gospel, accepts them as true, and trusts or relies upon Christ and His promises to save all who believe in Him.  Furthermore, one who has been justified by faith alone is eternally secure;  once one is saved, he is always saved.

We also saw that someone must repent and believe at a particular moment in time.  One who has been born again will know when it happened.  The end of the last study asked you to consider if you yourself had ever been converted.  If you have never seen yourself as lost, repented, and believed in Christ, you are yet dead in your sins, under God’s wrath, and headed for hell.  We asked you to write down either your testimony of conversion or whatever it was that was keeping you from coming to the Savior.  It is very important that you have repented, and so been justified and become a new creature in Christ.  If you have not, at Christ’s return, or your death, either of which could happen at any moment, you will be eternally lost.  Furthermore, Bible study #6 is about the security the Christian has in Christ, and about his assurance of salvation.  While it certainly is good for anyone to keep studying the Bible, if you are not saved, the blessed promises from God mentioned in this study have nothing to do with you.  You are not eternally secure.  You have no reason to rest in the comfort of assurance of salvation, for you are assured of damnation.  Repent, and believe the gospel!  On the other hand, if you have now come to Christ, the truths in this Bible study relate directly to what God has done, and will do, in your life.  Come and learn about the great and glorious things God has promised you!

With study #6 you have also received your completed version of study #5, which has been checked and graded.  Please look over that study for corrections by your Bible teacher, especially on the quiz questions, and for comments, especially at the very end of the study, and in association with the testimony of salvation you wrote at the end (or your reasons why you have not yet come to Christ—by the way, there are no good reasons).  Also, please keep your completed studies available so that you can look back at them later.  Remember that you can use the blank space at the end of the study to write down any questions that you have.  Also, please use this space to provide us with the names and addresses of any friends or acquaintances of yours who would also be interested in studying the Bible, so that we can send these materials to them as well.  Once again, this Bible course is provided to you courtesy of Bethel Baptist Church, 4905 Appian Way, El Sobrante, CA 94803, (510) 223-8721/ (510) 223-9550, www.pillarandground.org, betbapt@flash.net.  Let us know if you would like a personal visit for Bible study, and feel free to visit us for Sunday school at 9:45 a.m., morning worship at 11:00 a.m., Sunday evening worship at 6:00 p.m., or Wednesday prayer and Bible study at 7:00 p.m.  We are overjoyed that we can assist you in studying the Bible.

The Christian: Security in Christ

Security Defined

God promises all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ eternal life.  The moment they trust in the Savior, they are secure forever, kept by the power of God.  God will never cast away any of His children.  The moment they are justified, they are as certain of eternal glory as believers who are in heaven already.  Romans 4:16 shows us that eternal security is one of the reasons God has made salvation by faith, rather than by works:  “Therefore it [salvation] is of __ __ __ __ __, that it might be by __ __ __ __ __; to the end the promise might be __ __ __ __ to __ __ __ the seed [believers]; not to that only which is of the law [Jews], but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham [Gentiles]; who is the father of us all.”  If salvation were not by faith alone, it could not be sure to all believers;  we would have to keep doing works while in constant fear that we were not good enough to meet the standard.  However, since God has promised to save all who believe on His Son, salvation is sure to every sinner who trusts the Lord Jesus.  Redemption is not based on what you have done, what you are doing, or what you will do in the future—it is based on what Jesus has done for you.  As long as Jesus is a perfect Savior, so long is every one of His own secure.  Once you are saved, you are always saved.

Since eternal security is tied into the very nature of the gospel, many Scriptural truths, passages, and individual verses support it.  We will look at seven.

1.) The Christian is secure because of unchanging and eternal election.  Romans 8:33 reads, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s __ __ __ __ __? It is God that justifieth.”  The elect are those whom God “hath chosen . . . in [Christ] before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9).  Elect means chosen—the elect are those who God has determined to save.  They are “ordained to eternal life” (Acts 13:48).  Jesus prayed to His Father, “Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. . . . I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me . . . I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. . . . Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:2, 6, 8, 24).  Before the creation of the world, God the Father gave the elect to the Son as a gift.  The Son came into the world to redeem them and give them eternal life.  Those the Father gave to the Son in eternity past receive the gift of faith and so believe in Jesus.  In John 6:37, Christ says, “All that the Father __ __ __ __ __ __ me shall __ __ __ __ to me; and __ __ __ that __ __ __ __ __ __ to me I will in no wise [absolutely not] cast out.”  Have you come to Jesus?  Then “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).  The Father chose you and gave you to His Son before the foundation of the world.  For you to be lost, God would have to change His eternal purpose, which He will never do (Romans 11:29).  The Father’s gift to the Son would have parts missing;  the people who did not do enough works to remain saved would not be there.  If you would not give someone you love a damaged, altered, broken present, do you think that God the Father would give something like that to His beloved Son (James 1:17)?  The all-powerful God will not, cannot, fail to bring to heaven those He has chosen to save.  Election is a glorious reason for the eternal security of the believer.

2.) The Christian is secure because of Divine predestination.  God has “__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:5-6).  Predestinate means predetermine.  God has eternally determined that all who believe in His Son will be like the Lord Jesus and be with Him in heaven forever.  He “did predestinate [them] to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29), so that they “have obtained an [heavenly] inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11).  As a result, we “who first trusted in Christ” will “be to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12).  The Father has ordained that all who trust in Christ will be in heaven and give the Triune God praise and glory there forever.  His decree is certain.  Predestination is a sure ground for the eternal security of the believer.

3.) The Christian is secure because of Christ’s High Priestly ministry.  We learned in study #4 that Jesus Christ is the great High Priest for all believers.  On the basis of His sacrifice of Himself, He completely removes the sins of His own, and, having risen from the dead and returned to heaven, perpetually intercedes for them before His Father on the basis of His death and shed blood.  Romans 8:34 states, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ for us.”  The Lord Jesus takes the Christian’s side before His Father.  Are you converted?  Then Jesus is your advocate, your lawyer, as it were, to plead before the bar of God.  The Savior has never lost a case.  He is “able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).  1 John 2:1-2 states, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”  You should not sin, but when you do, your perfectly righteous High Priest takes the stand for you and pleads His death and blood, His substitutionary work, for you.  Jesus has prayed on your behalf, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).  For one believer to be lost, the Father would have to reject the intercession of His beloved Son.  Christ’s ministry as High Priest would be a failure, and the Lord Jesus’ prayers would have to be rejected.  This is all absolutely impossible (John 11:42), indeed, unthinkable.  The perfect High Priest never fails, so no Christian can be lost.

4.) The Christian is secure because of the nature of justification.  We learned in study #4 that justification is the act whereby God “declares righteous” the believer.  We said that it was a judicial act in which God pardons the sins of, and accounts and accepts as righteous, all believers, not because of anything worked in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone, by crediting to them His righteousness.  Since we are “now __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ by [Jesus’] blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9).  The moment you came to Christ, all your past, present, and future sins were paid for.  You were also credited the Lord Jesus’ righteousness.  God treats you as if you were free from Adam’s sin, were sinless in your nature, and perfectly obeyed His Law your entire life, because of your holy Substitute.  The moment you believed in Christ, you were “perfected forever” (Hebrews 10:14).  You can say with the apostle Paul, “[I am] found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9).  All your sin is forever paid for and erased.  How could you possibly be more secure? The Law requires death for sin, and the Savior has died in your place.  The Law promises life for sinless obedience, and the Savior has obeyed for you.  Justice smiles, and asks no more.  The righteousness, faithfulness, and holiness of God require your salvation.  The justified can never perish.

5.) The Christian is secure because salvation is not by works.  We learned this glorious truth in Bible study #5.  Galatians 2:16 reads, “Knowing that a man is __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ by the __ __ __ __ __ of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and __ __ __ by the __ __ __ __ __ of the law: for by the works of the law shall __ __    __ __ __ __ __ be justified.”  You were not justified because you did good deeds, and you do not stay justified by doing good deeds.  Justification by grace and justification by works are mutually exclusive (Romans 11:6).  Salvation is “not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Romans 9:16).  “He that is entered into [God’s salvation] rest, he also hath ceased from his own works” (Hebrews 4:10).  If we needed to stay saved by doing good works, we would have a big problem.  “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).  If redemption could be lost, you would lose it as soon as you sinned once.  None of us ever at any time do enough good, or are inwardly holy enough, to meet the standard of “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48), so even the holiest Christian on earth perpetually falls short of God’s standard.  “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).  If we had to keep ourselves saved by works, we would all be lost instantly, and we would never get salvation back again until we had worked our way into perfect inward purity and outward sinlessness.  Since we would never reach that point, nobody would be saved—the entire human race would go to hell.  Aren’t you glad that salvation is not received or maintained based on your works?

6.) The Christian is secure because of the seal of the Holy Spirit.  Ephesians 1:13-14 reads, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were __ __ __ __ __ __ with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the __ __ __ __ __ __ __ [downpayment] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”  A “seal” was attached to goods in transit to indicate ownership and secure possession.  The Spirit, whom all believers receive the moment they are regenerated (Romans 8:9), is God’s pledge that the saints belong to Him and that He will bring them to be with Him eternally (Romans 8:11).  This is also seen from the fact that the Spirit is an “earnest” (Ephesians 1:14) of the Christian’s inheritance (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5).  This word was borrowed from the commercial world and means a deposit or first installment in a purchase. It was a payment assuring the vendor that the full amount would eventually follow.  When confirmed in this manner, no room was left for a change of mind.  God gives all believers this earnest of the Spirit.  He thus promises that He will bring them into His heavenly kingdom forever.  The “redemption” (v. 14) of their bodies in the resurrection unto life is secure (cf. Romans 8:23; John 5:29).  They are already God’s “purchased possession,” which He will not give up.  Since all believers have this wonderful seal and earnest, God the Spirit Himself, they will certainly dwell forever with the Lord.

7.) The Christian is secure because of many plain promises of security. In Bible study #5, we looked at several passages that promised this.  Romans 8:28-39 gives at least twelve different proofs for eternal security, a few of which were mentioned.  We saw the evidence for the doctrine in John 10:28-30.  Since security is tied into the nature of the gospel itself, we should not be surprised that many other verses demonstrate this comforting truth.  We will look at five of them here:

i.) Philippians 1:6 states, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __ __ __ it until the __ __ __ of Jesus Christ.”  The God who gave you repentance and faith, who justified and regenerated you, will continue that good work in you until you meet Christ.  The preservation of the saints is based on His faithfulness, not your own.

ii.) In John 4:13-14, “Jesus answered and said unto [a woman], Whosoever drinketh of this [physical well] water shall thirst __ __ __ __ __: But whosoever drinketh of the [spiritual] water that I shall give him __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __ thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”  The Lord Jesus was preaching the gospel in John chapter four to a woman that had come out to a well.  He contrasted the physical well water with the spiritual water, the spiritual life, that He gave.  To avoid thirst with physical water, we need to keep drinking and drinking;  if we stop, we then will be thirsty again not that long afterwards.  With the spiritual water that Christ gives, in contrast, if we drink one time, we will never, ever thirst again.  The sinner who comes to the Lord Jesus spiritually at one point in time can never afterwards be spiritually lost.  He is secure from that point on to all eternity future.

iii.) Psalm 37:28 promises, “For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; __ __ __ __ are __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.”  The Old Testament promises eternal security just like the New Testament does.  This should not surprise us, since justification was by faith alone, apart from works, in the Old Testament era, just as it is today.

iv.) John 6:39-40 records Jesus’ teaching, “And this is the __ __ __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __ which hath sent me, that of __ __ __ which he hath __ __ __ __ __    __ __ I should __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __ __ __, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ which seeth the Son, and __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ on him, may have __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  Those who believe on Christ are those whom the Father gave to His Son in eternity past.  God has decreed that none of these would be lost.  They are therefore secure.  Christ also promised that He “will” raise them up in the resurrection of the just.  This is a second promise of eternal security in this passage.  A third reason is that, upon believing, God gives them “everlasting” or eternal life, not temporary or conditional life.  Imagine if someone sold you what he said was an everlasting lawnmower.  If it broke down the first time you used it, was it everlasting?  Far from it!  What if it ran great for three years, but then it broke down—was it everlasting?  No.  What if it worked for three thousand years, but then broke down—was it everlasting?  No!  It would need to continue to operate for all eternity future.  (Lesson:  don’t believe someone if he says he will sell you an everlasting lawnmower.)  The point is that if something is everlasting, it must ever-last—it must continue forever.  Many verses (like John 6:40) promise that as soon as you believe in the Lord, you possess “everlasting” or “eternal” life (see John 3:15, 16; 3:36; 5:24; 6:47).  You do not need to wait until the return of Christ or the time of your death to get eternal life.  The moment you trust Christ, you have everlasting life, just like the saints do who are already in heaven.  Each of these verses promise eternal security for all who ever place their faith in the Savior.

v.) 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 reads, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man __ __ __ __ __ upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s __ __ __ __ shall be made manifest: for the __ __ __ shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by __ __ __ __; and the fire shall __ __ __ every man’s __ __ __ __ of what sort it is. If any man’s work __ __ __ __ __ which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a __ __ __ __ __ __. If any man’s work shall be __ __ __ __ __ __, he shall suffer __ __ __ __: but __ __    __ __ __ __ __ __ __ shall __ __    __ __ __ __ __; yet so as by fire.”  This passage deals with what will happen to Christians when they stand before God for judgment.  The justified will not stand before God to determine if they have done enough good to enter heaven, or enough evil to merit hell.  The eternal death in hell that the saints deserve was already judged at the cross, and their condemnation was forever removed the moment they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:18).  Their judgment will be about how faithful they were.  Good works, faithful living, is here compared to “gold, silver, [and] precious stones.”  As these valuable items will withstand a fire, so the things a Christian does that glorify God will stand the test in judgment, and “he shall receive a reward” for them.  The sins of the Christian are compared to “wood, hay, [and] stubble [stubble is like dry leftover stalks of grain].”  These things burn up when put through a fire.  The bad works of the justified will be burned up in the judgment;  rather than receiving a reward, the Christian will “suffer loss” for them.  He will deeply regret his disobedience and will have less glory in heaven forever than he would have had if he had done what was right.  “He shall suffer loss,” and his evil works will be destroyed “as by fire.”  But will the disobedient child of God be sent to hell?  Can he be cast away and lost?  No—“he himself shall be saved”!  The redeemed cannot be lost eternally.

These verses plainly promise eternal security to the believer.  People who reject the gospel for works salvation often say that it is proud for a believer to say that he is sure that he is saved, but it is no such thing—security is based on God’s faithfulness, not on one’s faithfulness or goodness.  Denying eternal security is what really is proud—it is a stubborn refusal to submit to what God has declared in His Word.[i]  The God of love has promised us many, many times that He will never leave or forsake us.

All who ever place their faith in Christ are safe forever.  The certainty of the believer’s salvation is bound up with the nature of the gospel itself.  God’s eternal election and predestination require eternal security.  So does the Lord Jesus’ unfailing ministry as High Priest for His people.  The nature of justification, the fact that salvation is not by works, and the permanent sealing by the Spirit given the saints, all require security.  Many specific promises prove the doctrine as well.  The Old Testament states that no believer will ever be forsaken.  God has promised to continue the good work of salvation in all those in whom He has begun that work.  The Son of God has promised that all who ever drink of Him spiritually will never, ever thirst again.  They will certainly rise in the resurrection of the just, for they possess everlasting life already.  The Bible demonstrates that when the Christian sins, he loses heavenly reward, but he does not become unsaved.  God’s unchanging character requires your presence in heaven.  God’s love for His Son guarantees your salvation, for He is your intercessor, and you were given to Him;  God’s love for you guarantees your future blessedness as well.  His holiness and righteousness, His eternal decree, and His faithfulness to His Word, all guarantee your salvation.  Oh blessed promises!  Oh great salvation!  What a great and good God is our Lord!  The infinite goodness and mercy of God towards you in giving you this eternal salvation is a powerful motivation to love God and live a holy life.  The child of God who doubts that he is secure, or who does not know that he, personally, is truly saved, is deficient in very important aspects of his spiritual life.  Assurance powerfully aids Christian growth.  We therefore turn now to this topic.

The Christian: Assurance of Salvation

And the Results of Security

Eternal security in Christ is the objective state of every child of God.  It is unchanging;  it is not based upon the Christian’s feelings, but upon Divine realities.  The redeemed never grow less secure, and they cannot become more secure than they already are.  Assurance is the subjective recognition by the Christian of his salvation.  While he is always secure, he may fail to recognize this fact and lose the comfort of it.  It is possible for the saints to doubt that they belong to God.  They can also gain a stronger confidence in that invariable certainty, and have their assurance increase.  It is possible for the believer to have 100% certainty of his eternal happiness, for those “that believe on the name of the Son of God . . . may know that [they] have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).  The moment they trust in Christ, God certainly knows they belong to Him.  They are able to share in that Divine certainty.

Assurance is important.  God commands us to have it.  2 Peter 1:10 reads, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ to make your calling and election __ __ __ __.”  This verse is not saying that somehow believers must make God sure that they are saved.  God has foreordained the salvation of His elect from the foundation of the world—certainly it is sure to Him!  Rather, the command is for them to make sure that they themselves are saved.  Scripture commands them to gain assurance of salvation.  Those who do what is involved in gaining Biblical assurance are promised that they “shall never fall:  For so an entrance shall be ministered unto [them] abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11).  Assurance also helps a believer to “sin not” (1 John 2:1).   Knowing for sure that he is on his way to heaven, the Christian who has assurance of his salvation can serve God with love and gratitude for the eternal life he knows he possesses, instead of having his spiritual growth crushed by doub and fear.  Furthermore, believers should have assurance “that [their] joy may be full” (1 John 1:4).  To know with confidence that your future is everlasting fellowship with God, glory in His kingdom, and perfect holiness and freedom from sin, is a source of tremendous joy.  A lack of assurance, by contrast, is a source of great misery.  How can one who recognizes the infinite horrors of hell be happy without knowing that he will not go there?  How can one who loves and longs for God be satisfied without knowing that he will enjoy holy fellowship with Him forever?  Both the command of the Bible to obtain assurance and the peace of heart brought by possessing it demonstrate its great value.

Assurance assumes certain prerequisites.  You cannot have assurance of salvation unless you first have salvation.  Not everyone who claims to be a Christian and claims to believe the gospel has really been born again.  If you cannot identify a point when you repented and trusted in Christ, as explained in study #5, you are lost.  You can have no genuine assurance of salvation because you are still dead in your sins.  You do not have the bedrock foundation of regeneration in Christ upon which to build the house of assurance.  You are not certain to go to heaven, but certain of hell.  In fact, to think that you are saved, when you are not, is one of the worst things that could happen to you.  It is a tremendous barrier to your true conversion.  Unless you recognize that you really are still lost, you can never genuinely come to Christ.  Matthew 7:21-23 records the case of some who thought they belonged to God, but found out on the day of judgment, when it was too late, that they did not.  Jesus warned, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  __ __ __ __ will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __ you: __ __ __ __ __ __ from me, ye that work iniquity.”  These people thought that they belonged to God—had they not done miracles?  Had they not done many good works in the name of the Lord?  However, they were condemned—they never had been born again!  On the day of judgment, it is too late to recognize that you never were saved, and that your assurance had no basis.  Do not make this mistake and lose your soul!  Furthermore, the Christian who wants full assurance must be obedient to God.  If we are saved, “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16), but the disobedient child of God will “grieve” and “quench” the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).  The saint who is not following God’s commands is still eternally secure, but he will not have the assurance of this fact that he should.  Regeneration and obedience are the two great prerequisites before Biblical assurance is possible.

Assurance comes from Scriptural evidences of the new birth in your life.  God gave the book of 1 John to those who “__ __ __ __ __ __ __ on the name of the Son of God; that __ __ may __ __ __ __ that ye have eternal __ __ __ __” (1 John 5:13).  First John is the book of assurance.  Sometimes unsaved people are deceived into thinking they are converted, or Christians fear that that they do not belong to God, because of confusion about the basis for assurance.  We will not concentrate upon the many non-Biblical reasons that people think they have been born of God.  People say they have assurance because they remember praying the sinner’s prayer, or have experienced signs and wonders, or have felt what they assumed is God’s presence, or have made it through a crisis experience where they think they relied on the Lord, or countless other reasons which God never says are genuine grounds for assurance.  Instead, we will look at seven marks of true conversion given in the book of 1 John.  These marks will always appear in those who have received Christ.  If you see them in your own life, you can have confidence that God has indeed given you a new heart and made you His dear child.  If you claim that you have been born again, but these marks are not present in your life, you have no reason to think that you belong to God.  Rather, you have plenty of reason to think that you are still lost.  All believers have these seven marks, and no unbeliever can have any of the seven marks.

The first mark is that the Christian does not live in sin, that is, he will not practice sin as a lifestyle.  1 John 3:2-10 reads:

2 Beloved, now __ __ __ we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And __ __ __ __ __ man that hath this hope in him __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ himself, even as he is pure. 4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him __ __ __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ is righteous, even __ __    __ __ is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the __ __ __ __ __; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not __ __ __ __ __ __ sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he __ __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are __ __ __ __ __ __ __, and the children of the devil: whosoever __ __ __ __ __ not __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

As in the rest of the epistle of 1 John, the apostle John addresses believers (v. 2).  He tells them that everyone who is a child of God, and therefore looks forward to the return of Christ, purifies himself in light of this certain future event (v. 3).  The one who belongs to Christ “sinneth not” (v. 6).  This does not mean that he never sins even one time—that would contradict what John had said in 1 John 1:8, 10.  It means, rather, that he does not sin as a continuing action.  This use of the present tense for continuing action is very common in the book of 1 John.  The one who does not live in sin belongs to God, while whosoever “sinneth,” that is, lives in sin, has never known God.  Verses seven and eight make this even more clear;  only the one that “doeth” righteousness, whose life is characterized by righteousness, is born of God (cf. 2:29).  Such a one has been justified, not by his acts of righteousness, but by Christ’s perfect righteousness accounted to him—he who perseveres in obedience is “righteous, even as [Christ] is righteous” (v. 7).  On the other hand, the one that “committeth sin,” who lives a lifestyle of sin, is “of the devil” (v. 8).  The one who is born of God “doth not commit sin” (v. 9) as a practice, because God’s “seed remaineth in him”—he has been given a new nature that desires and will practice holiness.  He “cannot sin” (v. 9), that is, continue in sin, because it is contrary to his nature as a child of God.  Verse ten shows us that the practice of righteousness demonstrates that one is a child of God, while characteristic disobedience is a sure mark of the children of the devil.  Clearly, the genuine Christian will not live in sin. He no longer sins with his heart and will and whole inclination, like the ungodly.  He hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, groans under the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be delivered from it altogether.  He guards or keeps himself (1 John 5:18), watching carefully against sin and whatever may lead to it.  Sin no longer pleases him, nor is even a matter of indifference; it has become an abominable thing which he hates.  He cannot prevent its dwelling within him (Romans 7:14-25).  Bad thoughts will at times arise within him, and shortcomings, omissions, and defects will appear, both in his words and actions.  But he can say truly, and as in the sight of God, that these things are a daily grief and sorrow to him, and that his whole nature does not consent to them.  Do you have this mark of the children of God?

The second mark is genuine faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.  1 John 5:1 (cf. v. 4-5) states, “Whosoever __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”  The true Christian believes that Jesus Christ is the only Savior by whom his soul can be pardoned.  In himself he sees nothing but unworthiness, but in Christ he sees ground for the fullest confidence, and trusting in Him, he believes that his sins are all forgiven.  He believes that for the sake of Christ’s finished work and death upon the cross, he is reckoned righteous in God’s sight, and may look forward to death and judgment without alarm.  He may have his fears and doubts. He may sometimes feel as if he had no faith at all.  But ask him whether he will rest his hopes of eternal life on his own goodness, his own achievements, his prayers, his baptism, or his church, and see what he will reply.  Ask him whether he will give up Christ, and place his confidence in any other way of justification.  Depend upon it, he would say that though he does feel weak and bad, he would not give up Christ for all the world.  Depend upon it, he would say he found a preciousness in Christ, a suitableness to his own soul in Christ, that he found nowhere else, and that he must cling to Him (John 6:66-69).  Having been given the gift of saving faith at the moment of his new birth, he will continue to place all his confidence in the only Savior of sinners.  Do you have this mark of the children of God?

The third mark is love for God and other true Christians.  1 John 4:7-11 reads, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that __ __ __ __ __ __ is __ __ __ __ of __ __ __, and __ __ __ __ __ __ __ God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to __ __ __ __    __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __ __ __.” 1 John 3:14 states, “We __ __ __ __ that we have passed from death unto life, because we __ __ __ __ the __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”  Scripture affirms that “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha [accursed or damned when the Lord comes]” (1 Corinthians 16:22), but we are also told in these passages from 1 John that the one who does not love the brethren is equally lost.  Love for God will result in obedience to Him: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).  Love for God will result in holy actions (John 14:15), in meditation upon and speaking about the Lord (Malachi 3:16-17), in a deep desire for fellowship with Him (Philippians 3:10), in a reverential fear and awe of God (Psalm 128:1;  Deuteronomy 10:12-13; Isaiah 66:2; Hebrews 12:28-29), in a delight in His Word (Psalm 119:47) and in His worship (Psalm 26:8), and a love for His people.  The new heart given in the new birth will always lead the saint to love the other children of God.  Love for God and the saints are very closely connected;  indeed, we love God when we love the children of God (1 John 4:20-21) and love the children of God when we love God (1 John 5:2).  The regenerate man, like his Father in heaven, loves all men with a great general love, but he has a special love for those who are his fellow-soldiers in their spiritual warfare, his fellow-travelers to heaven.  A certain unbreakable spiritual union and fellowship exists among all believers (John 17:20-23).  The one who prefers the company of those made holy by the gospel evidences that he is one with them (Acts 2:42), and will share their blessed eternal destiny, while he who prefers the fellowship of the wicked should expect to join them in their coming damnation.  The convert prefers the holy deeds and conversation of those also in Christ.  He understands them, and they understand him.  They may differ in social background, ethnicity, or wealth, but they are fellow children of the same heavenly Father.  The disciple values Christ-likeness in others—those who are most like his Savior are the ones he most loves.  This love for the saints will manifest itself in self-sacrificing practical action, rather than being a matter of the lips alone;  it is not “in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:15-19).  Do you evidence love for God and His people?  Do you have this mark of the children of God?

The fourth mark is that the Christian practices righteousness.  1 John 2:29 reads, “If ye know that he [God] is righteous, ye know that every one that __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ is born of him.”  The regenerate will characteristically obey Scripture.  The one who “saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3).  The saint seeks to live according to God’s will, to do the things that please Him, and avoid the things that He hates.  The believer’s aim and desire is to love God with heart and soul and mind and strength, to love his neighbor as himself, and do whatever Christ commands.  No doubt he is not perfect.  None will tell you that sooner than he will.  He groans under the burden of indwelling corruption cleaving to him.  He finds an evil principle within him constantly warring against grace, and trying to draw him away from God (Romans 7:14-25).  But he does not consent to it, though he cannot prevent its presence.  He will persevere in righteousness to the end.  In spite of all shortcomings, the average bent and bias of his way is holy, his doings are holy, his tastes holy, and his habits holy.  In spite of all his swerving and turning aside, like a ship beating up against a contrary wind, the general course of his life is in one direction—toward God and for God.  He can say, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be.  I am not what I hope to be in another world, but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.” Do you do righteousness?  Do you have this mark of the children of God?

The fifth mark is continued belief and practice of true doctrine.  1 John 2:19-21, 26-27 reads, “They __ __ __ __    __ __ __ from us, but they were __ __ __    __ __ us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ with us: but they went out, that they might be made __ __ __ ___ __ __ __ __ that they were not all of us. But ye have an __ __ __ __ __ __ __ [anointing] from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. . . . These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him __ __ __ __ __ __ __ in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __    ___ __ __ __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __ in him.”  The Holy Spirit lives inside true Christians, and He protects them from false teaching (like that mentioned in 2:22-23).  The Spirit draws the believer to a congregation that honors Christ, and leads the saint to worship and serve the Lord there.  Someone who rejects God’s church, its doctrines and practices, who “goes out from” it (v. 19), or who is removed from its membership roll because of his unbiblical deeds or doctrine (Matthew 18:17), should very seriously consider if he has ever been genuinely converted.  Also, someone who is not faithful to church, but can easily skip services, has no grounds for assurance of salvation. In Acts 2:41-42, 47, all “they that gladly received his word [Peter’s preaching of the gospel, 2:14-40] were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. . . . Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  The three thousand converts were all baptized and persevered in faithfulness to church.  It was not 3,000 saved, 500 baptized, and 22 still in church a year later, but 3,000 saved, 3,000 baptized, and 3,000 added to the church membership and continuing faithful—even in the face of persecution.  This is the pattern throughout the New Testament.  No one is saved because he goes to church, but those who do not go to church should seriously think about if they are truly born again.  Furthermore, while the justified may be confused to a certain extent, the Spirit protects the elect, so that they are not ultimately deceived and led astray by false teachers (Matthew 24:24).  They will never deny the Trinity, justification by faith alone, the inspiration of Scripture, and other teachings of the Bible like these.  Their Savior protects them from apostasy from the faith (Luke 22:32; John 17).  Someone who claims he was born again, but then rejects Christ, or returns unashamedly to an immoral life, did not fall out of a state of justification, but was never truly saved in the first place.

The Holy Spirit, the Author of Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:13), also opens the true convert’s mind to understand and love the Word of God, and to instinctively submit to its authority and rule.  1 Corinthians 2:14-16 reads, “But the natural man [the unsaved man] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ unto him: neither can he know them, because they are __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ discerned. But he that is spiritual [the saved man] judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”  When people come to know God, they no longer see the Bible as a dry, incomprehensible book, a chore to read, and a burden to obey.  The convert has new eyes to see the spiritual beauty and glory of the Scripture.  This does not mean that he will instantly understand everything in its pages—there are “some things hard to be understood” (2 Peter 3:16) in its text—but it is no longer generally or in its entirety a closed book.  The regenerate also implicitly submit to its authority.  They do not try to get out of obedience to its commands.  They steadfastly persevere in the study and practice of Scripture.  Continued belief and practice of true doctrine, including faithfulness to church and a love for and obedience to Scripture, is a mark of God’s elect.  Do you have this mark of the children of God?

The sixth mark is the testimony of the Spirit.  1 John 4:13 states, “Hereby __ __ __ __ we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath __ __ __ __ __ us of his __ __ __ __ __ __.”  The Holy Spirit, who dwells within all those born of God, witnesses to the saint of his new, forgiven state and produces a variety of fruits in the Christian’s life.  Romans 8:9-16 explains this well:

9 But ye are not in the __ __ __ __ __, [unsaved] but in the __ __ __ __ __ __, [in the realm of the Spirit, saved] if so be that the Spirit of God dwell __ __    __ __ __. Now if any man __ __ __ __    __ __ __the Spirit of Christ, he is __ __ __ __ of __ __ __. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are __ __ __ by the __ __ __ __ __ __ of God, __ __ __ __ are the __ __ __ __ of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we __ __ __, Abba [a tender word for “Father”], Father. 16 The Spirit itself __ __ __ __ __ __ __    __ __ __ __ __ __ __ with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

Every believer has the Spirit of God living inside of him—people who do not have the Spirit do not belong to God (v. 9; Jude 19).  The indwelling Spirit is a promise of eternal life and resurrection with the just (v. 10-11).  Those indwelt will characteristically reject fleshly, ungodly works by the Spirit’s power (v. 12-13).  The general course of their life is not one where the sinful nature is in control, but is one where the Holy Spirit is in control (v. 14).  The Spirit leads the children of God to the practice of genuine prayer (v. 15; cf. Galatians 4:6).  The child of God naturally seeks his Father in prayer in a manner unknown before conversion.  Along with this, the Spirit testifies to the Christian’s spirit that he is born of God (v. 16).

One truly born of God may have this testimony from the Holy Ghost greatly weakened if he falls into sin.  If he grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), although His indwelling presence still remains, the comfort of His testimony to the saint’s conversion will decrease.  Indeed, the Spirit will make the disobedient saint miserable until he repents.  The sinning Christian cannot expect to regain comfort and assurance from the Spirit until he confesses his sin and returns to unhindered fellowship with God.  Also, sometimes people claim that the Holy Spirit witnesses to them that they have been born again, but they lack the other marks of regeneration or otherwise plainly evidence that they are unconverted.  Such people are self-deceived, and their false assurance comes either directly from the devil or from their own deluded minds. Nevertheless, the witness of God the Spirit in the heart of the child of God is an important evidence of salvation.  Scripture affirms that those who have received Christ are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  He leads them in the way of righteousness, leads them to pray in a manner they never knew before their conversion, and directly testifies to their spirit that they are indeed born of God.  Do you have the Spirit?  Do you have this mark of the children of God?

The seventh mark is that the convert overcomes the world.  1 John 5:4-5 declares, “For whatsoever is born of God __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ the __ __ __ __ __: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”  The Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19).  The system of this world, its loves, goals, and values, is against God and His Christ.  1 John 2:15-17 therefore commands, “__ __ __ __    __ __ __ the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is __ __ __ in __ __ __. For all that is in the world, the __ __ __ __ of the __ __ __ __ __, and the __ __ __ __ of the __ __ __ __, and the __ __ __ __ __ of __ __ __ __, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”  Worldly people, conversation, appearance, desires, manners, music, customs, and all else are no longer the aspiration of the Christian.  He no longer loves the lust of the flesh, from sexual immorality in deed and thought to excess in eating, drinking, and partying.  He no longer loves the lust of the eyes, from looking at evil and sensual things to covetousness for worldly goods.  He rejects the pride of life, desires for worldly honor, important positions, and living in a rich and luxurious manner.  He is “not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2) because of “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto [him], and [he] unto the world” (Galatians 6:14).  The new nature and the power of God’s grace and Spirit in his life radically change him.  He does not mind going against the stream of the world’s way.  He finds no pleasure in things that most people around him call happiness.  He cannot enjoy their enjoyments:  they weary him.  They appear to him vain, unprofitable, and unworthy of an immortal being.  He overcomes the fear of the world.  He is content to do many things which all around him think unnecessary, to say the least.  They blame him;  it does not move him.  They ridicule him;  he does not give way.  He loves the praise of God more than the praise of men.  He fears offending his Lord more than giving offense to man.  He has counted the cost.  It is a small thing with him whether he is blamed or praised.  He is no longer the servant of fashion and custom.  To please the world is quite a secondary consideration with him.  His first aim is to please God.  Are you of this world, or of the next?  Does the world overcome you, or do you overcome the world?  Do you have this mark of the children of God?

The book of 1 John has given us seven marks of the new birth with which we can test our lives.  It has shown us that those whom God has saved do not live in sin, have genuine faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, love God and other true Christians, practice righteousness, continue in the belief and practice of true doctrine, have the Holy Spirit, and overcome the world.  It is certainly true that these marks will vary in their depth and clarity in different people.  In some they are faint, dim, and feeble.  In others they are bold, sharp, clear, plain, and unmistakable.  Some of these marks are more visible in some people, and other marks are more visible in others.  Nevertheless, after every allowance, here we find seven definite marks of being born of God. Only those persons are born again who have these seven marks about them, and all men and women who do not have these marks, are not born again.  “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 Corinthians 13:5).  After the time of your conversion, has God worked these marks in your life?  If so, rejoice!  You have every right to confidence that you belong to God, that your sins have been washed away in the Lord Jesus’ blood, and that God has made you a new creature in Him.  Your heavenly Father loves you and will never cast you out.  You can rejoice in the sure hope of everlasting life and an unimaginably joyous and glorious eternity with your God.  If, on the other hand, you have not seen these marks developing in you since the time you claimed you were born again, you are in big trouble.  If God has not given you a new nature so that these marks appear in your life, you are still lost.  Do not deceive yourself—without holiness, no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).  You may have performed various religious rituals, and created a “salvation testimony” of a sort, but you never have really been converted.  You have no Biblical grounds to conclude that you are saved.  You should carefully and prayerfully review Bible study #5 and this Bible study.  Read the gospel of John, which was written so that you could believe in Christ and have eternal life (John 20:31).  Also read 1 John, which was written so that believers could have assurance and clearly distinguishes the marks of genuine and spurious conversion (1 John 5:13).  Contact us—we want to help you.  Make sure that you understand the gospel.  God commands you to immediately repent and believe in the Lord Jesus.  Christ’s promise is sure:  “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

Conclusion:

Be Saved, Sure, and Serving!

We have learned in this Bible study that God always saves those who come to Christ from sin’s penalty and power.  They are eternally secure, so that once they are justified they can never fall from their redeemed state, and they are irrevocably changed, so that they will be characterized by godliness.  Eternal security is bound up with the gospel itself, so it is taught throughout Scripture.  We looked at seven Biblical reasons for it:  the doctrine of election, the doctrine of predestination, Christ’s High Priestly ministry, the nature of justification, the fact that salvation is not by works, the seal of the Holy Spirit, and many plain promises of security.  Having seen that all Christians are objectively and forever certain of heaven, we turned to personal assurance of salvation, the subjective recognition by the Christian of his forgiven state.  We learned that God commands believers to have assurance, and that it is a great source of joy for them.  Before anyone can have assurance, he must actually belong to God—the unregenerate cannot have Biblical assurance—and he must be obedient to Scripture.  We looked at seven marks of true salvation, given in the book of 1 John.  When a believer sees these evidences in his life, he should have the peace and happiness that comes from knowing for sure that God has saved him.  The seven marks were the inability to live in continual sin, genuine faith in Jesus Christ, love for God and other true Christians, doing righteousness, continued belief and practice of true doctrine, the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and overcoming the world-system.  Those who have these seven marks should rejoice in the certainty of a wonderful eternity in the kingdom of God.  Those without them should not have assurance, but re-examine the nature of genuine conversion. As the saint grows in spiritual maturity, the marks will grow clearer, and although they can be dimmed by disobedience, the new birth itself will always bring these evidences.

Are you saved?  Are you sure?  Then the question for you should be, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).  You have begun a new life—the only life with real value—a life of service to your God and Savior!  God has set up an institution that is extremely important in your service for Him—the church.  It is not possible for you to serve God the way He wants you to without an association with His church.  However, as we examine the religious world today, we see many different organizations that claim to be the church of Christ.  How can we know what the truth is on this subject?  We will look at this in our next Bible study—The Church of Jesus Christ.

Review Quiz For Bible Study #6

1.) It is absolutely impossible for a true Christian to fall from a state of salvation;  once he is saved, he is always saved.    True     False

2.) Everyone who says that he believes in Jesus Christ is eternally secure.    True     False

3.) Eternal security is connected to the gospel itself; the fact that we are justified by faith without works requires eternal security.    True     False

4.) Since Christians are eternally secure, they should go out and live in sin, since what they do does not matter to God.    True     False

5.) Everyone who really has been born again will have assurance of his salvation.    True     False

6.) Eternal security is an unchanging fact for all the redeemed, but some believers can lose assurance or grow stronger in their assurance.    True     False

7.) God commands His children to be absolutely certain that they have been eternally cleansed from their sins.    True     False

8.) A lost person may deceive himself and think that he possesses God-given assurance.    True     False

9.) The book of 1 John gives (at least) seven marks of regeneration, and those who have these marks in their lives after they have received Christ should be 100% certain that they have been born again.    True     False

10.) It is possible for a Christian to live unashamedly in perpetual sin.    True     False

11.) While the marks of regeneration will be more obvious in some saints than in others, every Christian has all seven marks given in 1 John, and no lost person has these seven marks.    True     False

12.) Believing in eternal security, and having personal assurance of one’s own salvation, is very important in the Christian life.    True     False

Request for Study #7

___ I have returned the sixth Bible study to you with the answer blanks filled in, and answered the review quiz questions.  Please send me the next Bible study, The Church of Jesus Christ.

___ I would like to meet with or talk to someone in person.  I have put information in the spaces below (phone number, times available, etc.) to contact me.

Please explain in the space below whether or not you personally know 100% for sure that you will go to heaven when Christ returns or when you die, and give us the reasons for your assurance or lack of assurance.  You can also ask any other related question that you have.  Please also record any changes of address, as well as the names and addresses of people you know who might also like to do this Bible study.

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[i]               Some religious groups that call themselves Christian, such as the Methodist denomination, advocates of so-called “Holiness” theology, defenders of Arminianism, the overwhelming majority of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, and all who openly assert salvation is by works, deny the eternal security of the believer, misinterpreting various passages to support their view.  If you have further questions on the doctrine of eternal security, please contact us, and we will help you with your question.

Help for People in Many Different Religions

Resources On Evidence for Scripture and Christian Apologetics