Witnessing for Christ in Hostile Territory 1 Corinthians 11:1 and Matthew 10:16 By Dr. David…
By Grant Phillips
This article is meant to be a continuation of my previous article entitled Don’t Let Satan Steal Your Joy. I sympathize with any true born-again believer in Jesus that has moments of occasional doubt about their own salvation. It is a miserable place to be, and the Lord wants us to have assurance.
How do we become a child of God (born-again, a Christian)?
– We must admit that we are a sinner. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – (Romans 3:23)
– We must believe on Jesus (His death, burial and resurrection). “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” – (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
– Jesus is the only way we can be saved. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) We must ask Him to save us. “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” – (Romans 10:9)
That is very simplified, but the Gospel is simple. We are sinners. Jesus paid our sin debt in full, and will save all who come to Him in simple child-like faith.
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” – (John 6:37)
As a new believer, He gave us His righteousness and sealed us with the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing our eternal salvation.
“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” – (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” – (Ephesians 1:13-14)
We are His for eternity, and no one can change that.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” – (John 10:27-30)
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – (Romans 8:38-39)
When we doubt our salvation, we are questioning His power to save us and keep us. Jesus said we must be born again.
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – (John 3:3)
The first time we were born of the flesh. In Jesus, we are born of the spirit, and we cannot be unborn spiritually any more than we could be unborn physically.
So why do some, sometimes question their salvation? I’ll offer a few possibilities in no particular order.
Eternal Security (OSAS)
One reason is that we are doubting the very power of God to keep us. Read John 10:27-30 and Romans 8:38-39 again. Anyone who does not believe in the eternal security of the believer is calling God a liar and showing utter contempt for God’s divine plan. How can we, His creation, ever think we are more powerful than He, the Creator? We can never undo what God has done. If we have been saved by His grace, we will be kept by His grace.
Sin in our life
Another reason is due to sin in our life. The guilt from sin has us looking at our failures instead of His resounding accomplishment for us on the cross.
Sin is any act or thought contrary to God’s divine law. As a Christian, even though we will sin, we don’t want sin in our life. We want to please God out of gratitude for the wonderful gift of eternal life He has given us. We now hate the sin that once kept us bound.
The unbeliever has little to no conscience that he is rebelling against God when living in sin.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – (Galatians 5:19-21)
No Godly works
Works (our works) cannot save us. Only the work of Jesus can save anyone. Once we are saved, God will work through us, helping us to produce Godly works.
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” – (Philippians 1:6)
“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” – (Philippians 2:13)
Paul and James are clear that works will FOLLOW salvation, but our works CANNOT save us. Instead, the fruit of the Spirit should follow as we mature as a child of God. Can we see the works of the Spirit in our life?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” – (Galatians 5:22-23)
Depending on our works
We conscientiously or sub-conscientiously are depending on our works. The Bible is very clear that we are saved by grace, not our works.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” – (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Mankind, worldwide, really has a serious problem in thinking we must contribute something for God to accept us. We must understand however that we have nothing to contribute. Our eternal destination is hopeless without Jesus. Please read Romans 3:9-20.
Guilt over past sins
Satan can and will bring up our past sins to haunt us, especially those sins we have committed as a Christian. His minions will shout in our ears, “I TOLD YOU SO! YOU’VE DISAPPOINTED GOD! YOU’VE LET HIM DOWN…AGAIN!” Remember this, God knew BEFORE He saved us every sin, we would ever commit until the day we die, and Jesus paid for every last one of them. That’s why it’s called GRACE!
Don’t feel saved
There is certainly nothing wrong with having feelings. We all have them, and they come in many different flavors. For example:
Family members – feelings of love
Children at Christmas – feelings of anticipation and joy
Funerals – feelings of sadness
Thanksgiving – feelings of thankfulness
School tests – feelings of dread
War – feelings of fear
Salvation – feelings of relief and joy … BUT
Salvation is not based upon our feelings. Some will weep when they are saved. Some will not. Some will show outward emotion. Some will not. Salvation is based upon the truth of God’s Word, and God cannot lie.
“in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” – (Titus 1:2)
“Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” – (Hebrews 6:17-18)
To doubt God’s Word is to call Him a liar.
“He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.” (1 John 5:10)
Spiritual battle from Satan
Satan is a liar (just ask Eve) and will scramble your brain if he can.
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” – (John 8:44)
Peter warns us that Satan is always busy with his attacks upon us.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” – (1 Peter 5:8)
Saved at a young age
I can see it might be a struggle for some who were saved at a very young age, but it shouldn’t be so.
Let’s say, for example, that Tom lived a rough life. He was a liar, cheater, lady’s man, law-breaker and wanted nothing to do with God. Fortunately, by the time he was 30 years old, a friend told him about Jesus, and he repented and asked Jesus to save him. As the years passed, it wasn’t hard for him to look back and see how much he had changed from the first 29 years of his life. He is now a new person in Jesus, his Savior and Lord, and so thankful that Jesus saved him.
On the other hand, since Molly had a Christian family, always attended church and was saved at the young age of seven, she doesn’t have the same frame of reference to look back upon, as does Tom. Tom can see a major difference in his first 29 years and the life he lives now. Even though she realizes we are all born sinners (Romans 3:23), there isn’t much a young child could get into. Tom’s life, before and after salvation, is black and white, but Molly’s is somewhat gray, before and after.
What is the answer to these possibilities?
The answer is found in one word…trust. Prayerfully search the Scriptures daily and trust what God says in His Word. He cannot lie! Feelings can lie. Satan lies. Our own opinions can lie to us. Guilt from sin can knock us down. Pride will get our eyes off God.
If you have admitted that you are a sinner, have believed upon Jesus and have asked Him to save you, He has promised to do so.
As we have already noted, God does not and cannot lie. All that He has said in His Word is the absolute Truth.
If we asked Him to save us, He did, and He will keep us. Someone once said that we don’t hold His hand, because we may let go, but He holds our hand, and will never let go.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” – (Romans 8:1)