Tag Archives: Assurance

A Thought on Being a “Christian.”

I recently read an article about how one could be assured of their salvation, in other words, how one could be sure that he were a “Christian.”  You know it’s not uncommon to hear people say that they are a “Christian,” but saying does not make it so.  A. W. Tozer once said, “Tens of thousands, perhaps millions, have come into some kind of religious experience by accepting Christ, and they have not been saved.”  When you read that how does it make you feel?  Have you ever doubted whether you’re a “Christian” or not?  I confess that when I read that quote, it made me stop and consider.  I don’t think anyone who’s honest can say that they haven’t ever asked the question of themselves.  To be honest, I’d be worried about you if the thought had never gone through your mind.  If you really love Christ, I believe you’re going to be concerned about whether you know Him or not, and if your life is pleasing to Him.

We live in a country where many proclaim “Christianity” but, as we all know, just because someone says something doesn’t make it so.  Who of us hasn’t ever claimed to be something we weren’t?  A lot of people lay claim to families, wives, children, houses, cars, and  businesses, but just because we claim them doesn’t mean we own them, that they belong to us.  In fact, how do we know that what someone says is true, that what they claim actually belongs to them?

I know you’re thinking that’s a dumb question, but is it really?  How many of us have thought we knew someone, and what they were about only to find out that we didn’t know them at all?  We live in a world where “misrepresentation” is the norm, where “appearance” is everything.  From the President on down, we all know people who have made claims, made promises, that they had no right to make.  Now how do you and I know that?  Do we have a secret decoder ring?  Did we call 1-800-I can tell you?  Did we watch it on the news, or read it in the paper, or get it off the internet?  A lot of us get our sources of information from these places, and I submit to you that’s a part of the problem.

Truth is that most of us know when we’re being deceived, when we’re being lied to, and most of us know when somebody has made a false claim.  Most of the time the reason we know a false claim when we see one is because the evidence doesn’t support the claim.  There’s an old saying that goes, “The proof is in the pudding.”  You know what I’m saying.  Nobody in this world has to be a genius to figure out when they’re being lied to, misled, and manipulated.  All of  us have personal experience with having done all these things, and so recognizing the signs isn’t all that hard.  Perhaps you don’t like being lumped in with everyone else, but truth is truth, so if you’ve never heard this before it’s time you knew.

Now getting back to the question of being sure that you are indeed a “Christian.”  It’s not as hard as you may think.  First of all, the “Word Of God” gives us that assurance.  Did you know that?  If so, do you know where to find it?  If not, then perhaps that’s why you’re having some trouble.  You’re going to have to take my word for it when I tell you that I know where it is because I’m not going to tell you.  You want assurance look it up.  If you’re looking to anyone or anything other than “God’s Holy Word” the Bible to provide it then you’re looking to the wrong thing.  It’s just that simple.  This is an opportune time to ask yourself a few questions, “Do I have an interest in the Word of God?”  “Do I have a hunger for the Word of God?” “How often do I read and turn to God’s Word when I need guidance?”  I’ll let your answers stand for themselves.

You know I’ve often heard that the problem with “Christianity” is “Christians.”  Do you think that’s true?  If so, I’ve got news for you.  It’s not!    The problem with “Christianity” is people who claim to be “Christians.”  You have a misconception about “Christianity” if you think it’s about claiming Christ.  “Christianity” is about Christ claiming us.  That’s where too many of us have a problem, including yours truly,and that’s why so many “Christians” struggle.  It’s because we’re trying to maintain the claim, we’re trying to work the claim.  We want the power.  We want to claim “Christ,” and He is not ours to claim.

Too many “Christians” in this country and the world over live with the attitude that we’ve done “Christ” a favor by letting Him die for us.    What a privilege it must have been for you, God, to send your son to die for me.  Let me tell you something you will never experience the light and love of Christ and the grace He offers until you understand that “Christ” gave himself for you.  He willingly took your sin upon himself and died for you.  At the moment He died, He laid claim to your life, so stop living like He belongs to you, instead of the other way around.

Too many people go around living their lives like God is a little puppy following them around so thrilled to belong to them, and just wanting them to love Him.  You claim Christ?  Good for you.  A lot of people do and they feel wonderful about it, and they’re so happy.  They go around living their lives paying no attention to the pain and needs of others, building monuments to themselves, entertaining themselves, and thinking God loves me so whatever I do is okay.  Get This….it’s not!

You want to know if you’re a Christian.  Ask yourself not how much of a claim you have on Him, but how much He has a claim on you…

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A Thought on Struggling

As is my usual habit of an evening, I was going through my e-mail, and reading the posts of those I’ve subscribed to.  There’s quite a few.  Tonight there were three that spoke to me.  Let me rephrase there were three that God used in a special way to speak to me.  The order in which I read them is not the order He used in speaking to me through them, but leave it to God to speak to me in a way that got my attention.  The three posts were (not in order) God Sees YouGrace Is The Only Thing That Delivers Human Beings From Evil, and What Does God Got To Do With Me?  All three of them are great, but together, they reveal a message that cannot be given enough as far as I’m concerned.  At least given to me!

As you know, I’ve been trying to write more of my own feelings, and about myself.  Hard to do.  Yet, I’m beginning to understand that it’s something I need to do.  In case you didn’t know I tend to be mule-headed, intensely stubborn, and therefore most of the time the lessons I learn tend to be very painful.  It pains me to say that some of them I’ve had to repeat, but to say or imply that I’ve learned all my lessons the first time around would be a lie, and I try to be honest.

You know that I struggle in my walk with the Lord.  I haven’t made any secret of it.  I don’t know how smart it is to confess to others that my faith is weaker than what I want for it to be, but since I’ve never laid claim to being smart,  I can at least hold my head high in the sense that I’m maintaining my integrity.  If I were to confess a couple of the incredibly stupid things I’ve done over the last couple of weeks you would most certainly shake your head.  Believe me I’ve been shaking mine, and I did them!  I’d tell you what they were, but right now they’re still stinging pretty good, and it’s going to take a little time for me to let them go.  Notice I mentioned “me” letting them go.  I’ve confessed them, and I know that God has already let them go.  Here’s where I make a confession (since it seems I’m in the mood for making one) I have a hard time letting go of mistakes.  I tend to keep punishing myself for them.  I’ve often thought what an insult it is to God that I act as if what He sent His son, Jesus, to do for me isn’t enough.  I do.  I just have to keep reminding myself of it. I’m praying the day will come when I don’t remind myself anymore……

Sometimes, it seems to me, as if I’m full of contradictions!  I’d be lying if I said I never felt like a hypocrite because I have.  There’s an old saying that goes the things you hate most in other people are the things you have inside of yourself.  I can see the truth in those words.  I hate lying, hate it with a passion, hate stealing, lying, cheating, dishonesty in all it’s forms, and yes, I’ve been dishonest in every single way possible.  I don’t say this because I’m proud of it.  I say it because it’s true.  What I wouldn’t give to be able to say that I’m not guilty of even one of those things…… I’m not going to be able to say that, but I’m comforted in the knowledge that I’m going to have someone say it for me.  That is essentially what Jesus did for me, did He not?

The thing that saddens me, grieves my heart, is the fact that to this day, this very day, after having been a Christian many, many years, I still struggle with “Knowing” this in my heart.  There are days when I still “wonder” if I’m a Christian.  I don’t like admitting that but it’s true.  A lot of people believe in God, even the devil does that.  A lot of people acknowledge Jesus Christ…… I know that there are a lot of Christians in this world who have no real sense of peace or assurance that they’re truly a Christian because I’m one of them, well not so much now, but there are still days……

The thing that comforts me is reading my Bible.  I think where people struggle is in that they don’t afford themselves the luxury of knowing God’s Word, of hearing his voice speak to them, of seeing His promises in front of their eyes.  I think it’s a result of not spending enough time with Him in prayer, in talking to Him about the things that truly rend their hearts.  Sometimes we want the quick fix to our problems, and we’re very quick to judge others and their actions and make our own conclusions, but I don’t believe God is quite so quick.  I believe He’s a little more patient with me than I am.  The Christian life is a process, it’s a transformation from what was, to is, to becoming what will be…. Yes, I have my struggles, as we all do, but I’m not giving up on becoming what I know God wants me to be, and I know that He didn’t give up on me.

From Winslow “Morning Thoughts”

     We live in a world where people feel the sting of comdenation as a matter of course.  Yet, we, as christians, are free of comdenation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  There’s nothing like a careful reading of Romans 5 to help the believer understand that his security as a child of God is assured.  We are justififed through our faith in Christ Jesus, and are under no comdenation.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:1, 2

WHAT a ground of rejoicing have the saints of God! You may see within and around you-in your soul, in your family, and your circumstances-much that saddens, and wounds, and discourages you; but behold the truth which more than counterbalances it all-your freedom from condemnation. What if you are poor-you are not condemned. What if you are afflicted-you are not condemned! What if you are tempted-you are not condemned! What if you are assailed and judged by others, you yet are not forsaken and condemned by God; and ought you not then to rejoice? Go to the condemned cell, and assure the criminal awaiting his execution that you bear from his sovereign a pardon; and what, though he emerge from his imprisonment and his manacles to battle with poverty, with sorrow, and contempt, will he murmur and repine, that in the redemption of his forfeited life there is no clause that exempts him from the ills to which that life is linked? No! life to him is so sweet and precious a thing, that though you return it trammeled with want, and beclouded with shame, you have yet conferred upon him a boon which creates sunshine all within and around him. And why should not we “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,” for whom, “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” there is now no condemnation? Christ has “redeemed our life from destruction;” and although it is “through much tribulation we are to enter the kingdom,” yet shall we not quicken our pace to that kingdom, rejoicing as we go, that “there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”? “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

Be earnest and diligent in making sure to yourself your discharge from the sentence and penalty of the law. Sue out the great fact in the Lord’s own court by fervent prayer and simple faith. Your Surety has cancelled your debt, and purchased your exemption from death. Avail yourself of the comfort and the stimulus of the blessing. You may be certain, yes, quite certain, of its truth. No process is more easy. It is but to look from off yourself to Christ, and to believe with all your heart that He came into the world to save sinners, and assurance is yours. The order is-“We believe, and are sure.” Oh, do not leave this matter to a bare peradventure. Make sure of your union with Christ, and you may be sure of no condemnation from Christ.