Evidence of Salvation

Take a little test that will help reveal to yourself some things about salvation. On a sale of 1-5 rate yourself:

  1. Never true
  2. Rarely true
  3. Sometimes true
  4. Usually true
  5. Always true
  • ____ I have an awareness and brokenness over my sin.
  • ____ I have a hunger for God’s word.
  • ____ I have a desire for living the Christian life of obedience.
  • ____ I have seen an increase in Satan attacking my faith.
  • ____ I have genuine love for others.
  • ____ I have a desire to share my faith with others.
  • ____ I have experienced social pressure or ridicule from non-believing family, friends, classmates, co-works, etc.

We will ALWAYS be growing in these areas, and we will NEVER reach a point where we perfectly do all of these things, but these seven areas are indicators that we are believers and are actively pursuing God. Let’s look at why these are solid evidences of salvation.

1. Brokenness over Sin:

  • 1 John 1:6 “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”
  • 1 John 1:8-10 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”

2. Hunger for God’s Word:

  • 1 Peter 2:2 “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,”

3. Christian Life Transformation and Obedience:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
  • 1 John 2:4 “The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

4. Testing, Troubles and Trials in Life:

  • 2 Timothy 3:12 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”

5. Genuine Love for Others:

  • 1 John 4:7-23 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

6. Desire to Tell Others About Your Faith:

  • Mark 8:28 “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
  • Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

7. Social Pressure Because of Your Faith:

  • John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
  • John 17:14 “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.”
  • 1 John 3:13 “Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.”

Life Can Be Hard

After Paul had his near death experience (the stoning at Lystra – Acts 14:8, 19), the group packed up and headed to Derbe (Acts 14:20). They preached the gospel faithfully and then went back through the previous cities to strengthen the believers by telling them that “we must suffer many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:21, 22). The converts needed to be reminded to stay true to the faith.

What did Paul mean using the word, “must?” He meant that it was inevitable in the nature of things. Hardship has a place in the life of a believer, check out 2 Corinthians 4:17, mentioning “our light and momentary troubles achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweigh them all.” Perspective helps us to see that what happens on earth is temporary but our eternity is worth it. Our struggle is not against fresh and blood but against spiritual forces that would have us fail (Ephesians 6:12). A great reminder comes from 1 John 4:4, that God is greater than our common enemy who wants us to fall.

At first we may not think a message of unavoidable troubles very appealing, but check this out:

Recognizing inevitable hardships can motivate us to redirect our energies; fear of the trial can consume more energy than just facing the trial. In redirection, we change our focus from fear to faith. I’m not talking about a prosperity gospel that says if one has enough faith these hardships won’t defeat us, but to stand on what Peter says that hardships will prove that our faith is genuine (1 Peter 1:7).

Believing a heretical prosperity gospel can leave us disappointed, broken, wounded and discouraged. A friend once told me “the only people who believe such a gospel are baby Christians in America.” I tend to agree. I have seen great faith of believers in Africa, who regularly suffer greatly. I see their faith to be genuine, not a result of what they get out of a relationship with God. It is such an insult to their faith to say that if they only had enough faith they would not have children die of worms or malaria, or they would have plenty of food on the table.

We also know unbelievers who may suffer as terribly as believers, but the difference is that our suffering is never in vain; Paul says that we will enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

Application: Do you ever feel that God is against you when your life seems to be falling apart? Take courage in the fact that you and the apostles and early believers are in good company. They did not escape the hardships of life, so why should we be immune to them? See life from God’s perspective, he walks through life with us. We may not experience his deliverance as we would like, but we always have His presence. Paul encouraged Timothy that all who desire to live a godly life will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12, John 15:20). Sounds like a certainty to me. Keep the faith.

Men and Accountability, Part 3

For the third time I want to revisit the story in the life of Moses and Joshua that encourages accountability between men. (see Part 1 and Part 2)

“And he named the place Massah and Meribah… and Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim.” (Exodus 17:7, 8).

Where are they? Rephidim. “So what” you say? I discovered that Rephidim in Hebrew has different meanings. It could mean “supports” which is a convenient definition since it is here that Moses’ hands were supported by Aaron and Hur, which led to the Israelite victory (Exodus 17:11). Another definition I found is “rests” or “stays” or “resting places.” I see how these two definitions might be similar, since “rests” and “supports” appear to be the same idea.

But the idea of “resting places” intrigues me because it is here, at Rephidim, where the people of Israel were doing anything but resting.

First they were fussing about the lack of drinking water. So much were they ticked off at Moses that they intended to stone him and go back to Egypt (Exodus 17:3, 4). Leave it to the people of God to forsake all they know to be true… that God loves them, that Moses was God’s deliverer, that God provided for them… like the Red Sea crossing (Exodus 14:21), quail for dinner (Exodus 16:13), manna for breakfast (Exodus 16:14, 15, 31)… and then complain. Not much has changed in 3500 years. When life gets hard we tend to blame God rather than the enemy. Think about it, how many swear words do you know that include the name of or reference to Satan (the adversary) or Lucifer or the devil?

They were also fighting for their very existence. Rather than a honorable adversary who fought on the battlefield, they had an enemy that attacked the weak and weary (Deuteronomy 25:18). Remember that it was here at Rephidim that the people grumbled about having no water and turned against Moses (Exodus 17:1, 3). After the water came from the rock, perhaps Rephidim could be a “resting place” but they named the place Massah (from the root word “to test”) and Meribah (meaning strife or argument) (see Exodus 17:7).

My point here is that in a location called, “resting places” the enemy came to attack. After they received the refreshing waters from the rock (Exodus 17:6) and a full tummy of manna each morning, there was an enemy ready to fight against them. Our enemy comes to us when we are most comfortable and vulnerable. At times we have a false sense of security, believing that since everything is going our way, we are not in danger. I used to tell my teenagers, if you don’t bump into the devil every once in a while, you might just be travelling in the same direction.

Accountability and men… when you are comfortable, you will often compromise or slide into places that you never thought you’d be. Moses told the people they should not test God (Exodus 17:2, 7), so let us not test him by pushing ourselves up to the line we said we would never cross. In a moment of weakness we can cross that line and have enormous regrets. We are accountable to God, so let’s not fuss and fight with God or His leaders on earth because there is a real enemy out there who seeks to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Come to the place of rest and keep watch. Allow God to bless your life while you offer thanksgiving and obedience to Him each day.