ASSURANCE OF SALVATION
After John Wesley had been preaching for some time, some one said to him, "Are you
sure, Mr. Wesley, of your salvation?" "Well," he answered, "Jesus
Christ died for the whole world." "Yes, we all believe that; but are you sure
that you are saved?" Wesley replied that he was sure that provision had been made for
"But are you sure, Wesley, that you are saved?" It went like an arrow to his
heart, and he had no rest or power until that question was settled. Many men and many
women go on month after month, and year after year, without power, because they do not
know their standing in Christ; they are not sure of their own footing for eternity.
Latimer wrote Ridley once that when he was settled and steadfast about his own salvation
he was as bold as a lion, but if that hope became eclipsed he was fearful and afraid and
was disqualified for service. Many are disqualified for service because they are
continually doubting their own salvation.
Moody's Anecdotes, pp. 101-102.
There are four basic categories:
1) Those who think they are saved, but aren't. Matthew 7:21-3
2) Those we think are saved, but aren't. 1 John 2:18-19
3) Those who are saved, but don't act like it: Corinthians.
4) Those who are saved, and they act like it.
Sometime when you're in an airport, observe the difference between passengers who hold
confirmed tickets and those who are on standby. The ones with confirmed tickets read
newspapers, chat with their friends or sleep. The ones on standby hang around the ticket
counter, pace and smoke, smoke and pace. The difference is caused by the confidence
factor. If you knew that in fifteen minutes you would have to stand in judgment before the
Holy God and learn your eternal destiny, what would your reaction be? Would you smoke and
pace? Would you say to yourself, "I don't know what God's going to say--will it be
'Welcome home, child,' or will it be 'Depart from me; I never knew you'?
Bill Hybels, Too Busy Not To Pray, IVP, p. 113.
An elderly man said to H.A. Ironside, "I will not go on unless I know I'm saved,
or else know it's hopeless to seek to be sure of it. I want a definite witness, something
I can't be mistaken about!" Ironside replied, "Suppose you had a vision of an
angel who told you your sins were forgiven. Would that be enough to rest on?"
"Yes, I think it would. An angel should be right." Ironside continued, "But
suppose on your deathbed Satan came and said, 'I was that angel, transformed to deceive
you.' What would you say?" The man was speechless. Ironside then told him that God
has given us something more dependable than the voice of an angel. He has given His Son,
who died for our sins, and He has testified in His own Word that if we trust Him all our
sins are gone. Ironside read I John 5:13, "You may know that you have eternal
life." Then he said, "Is that not enough to rest on? It is a letter from heaven
expressly to you." God's Spirit used that to bring assurance to the man's heart.
H. A. Ironside.
Regarding salvation and assurance, there are three groups of people: (1) those who are
secure but not sure; (2) those who are "sure" but not secure; and (3) those who
are secure and sure. Category one are conscientious believers in Christ who are saved but
lack assurance. In category two are professing Christians who say, "Even though I'm
living in sin, I'll make it. After all, 'once saved, always saved!'" The third group
are born-again believers who enjoy a warm, secure relationship with Christ each day. The
objective basis of our salvation is the finished work of God's Son on the cross. The
subjective basis for our assurance is our believing the truth about Christ (I John 2:2,4;
2:15; 5:1), loving the brethren (I John 3:14, 18, 19, 4:7-8), and obeying Christ's
commandments (I John 2:3-5).