This morning I concluded my message in John 8:31-38 with six practical applications by which we can measure our assurance of salvation in terms of the third evidence of a genuine faith – liberation from one’s sin. You can listen to the entire message here.
I blew through these applications fairly quickly. I offer them here on the blog for further consideration. These things will be true of us in this area, if we truly belong to the One who sets free indeed.
- We will not habitually commit sin. – Rom. 6:2 – How can we who died to sin still live in it? We will experience over the course of time, sometimes painfully slow, the progressive, gradual, transforming power of grace from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:18).
- We will deliberately rely on grace and the power of the Gospel for transformation not our own moral effort. 2 Cor. 3:18 begins And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord (emphasis added). It’s not about trying harder; it’s about becoming transfixed, gloriously mesmerized by the beauty and grace of Jesus who sets free by the power of the gospel appropriated by faith.
- We will consistently confess and repent of our sins when we do fall in this life and pursue accountability so as not to deceive ourselves. If you battle an addiction, you may battle for years. Don’t give up. As long as you have accountability, practice James 5:16, see others signs of God’s grace at work in your lives, you may legitimately have assurance of salvation. Claim promises like John 8:32 & 36 and host of other grace-empowering, sin-liberating promises of God’s word until you prevail. Get out of compromising situations and patterns that set you up. Don’t tell me you’re serious about your faith and overcoming lust if you continue to put yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time with your boyfriend/girl friend. Tell somebody what’s going on and pick someone with guts who will get in your face when you get out of line.
- We will seek to live a holy life as an overall pattern by obeying God’s words and doing good works. Eph. 2:10 says we are created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared before hand in which we should walk. Good works are conspicuous and even those that aren’t can’t remain hidden according to 1 Tim. 5:25. Does anybody anywhere see anything of this nature going on in your life?
- We will practice love for all, but especially for our brothers and sisters in the faith. 1 John 3:14 – We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. Tremble, shake in your boots, if you profess to follow Christ but anger, bitterness, malice, wrath, and resentment consume you. Genuine believers give off the aroma of kindness/grace/love. They practice forgiveness. They are peacemakers.
- We will seek to set our affections more upon the things above as opposed to worldly things below. Col. 3:1-2 – Seek the things above, set your minds on things above not things below. If your delights and affections get more traction downtown in the bar and club scene on Saturday nights as a rule than they do in a God-centered, Christ-honoring, joy-giving church scene on Sunday morning, and I’ll grant you not all churches fit that description, you should ask yourself some very hard questions. Your faith may be fatally flawed.
If these things are true of us and growing, we may draw hope and strength from the assurance that our faith is genuine. All glory to Him who saves and keeps His own to the very end.
So, if after a contemplation of the last two sermon, one finds oneself in a position of having fatally flawed faith–how should that person proceed?
Thank you for the question, Jeff. Two things, I think. First, take care at how fast one draws the conlusion. Weak faith is still saving faith. Not all enjoy confident assurance. Ryle’s chapter on assurance in his book Holiness is a great help in that regard. Second, if the conclusion is correct, then Jesus explains the cause in John 8:47 – you are not of God. I will address that this Sunday, Lord willing, in the next sermon, but this much can be said in a brief response. Acknowledge the bankrupt, deceived condition. Repent of shallow faith. And cry out to God for His regenerating work in one’s life that will lead to geniune faith in Jesus. That faith will manifest itself in the six evidences I outlined last Sunday.