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From the DayBreaks archive, April 2005:
This past week I was in Florida for the funeral of my sister’s husband who passed away with pancreatic cancer. He had fought the disease to a standstill for much longer than they thought possible, but it finally overtook him on Sunday, April 10. On Sunday, April 17, as I was attending worship in a church in the Tampa, Florida area, the preacher was bringing a message to confront the audience with questions of the utmost importance – questions that relate to our assurance of salvation. It is a truly critical topic – and death helps to bring it into a crystalline focus. Many of those in attendance were college kids – many had been students of my brother-in-law. And of course, as we all know, when you’re college age, it’s hard to get your focus around a subject the size of death and eternity.
At one point the preacher asked the question: “Do you know if you’re saved?” He went on to talk about how typically we might answer with phrases like these: “I think so,” or “I hope I am.” Many might also say, “I really don’t know. I’d like to think so, but I’m not sure.” My experience says that more often than not, the answer someone gives is closely related to recent activities in their life. Of course, John says that we can KNOW that we are saved. How? 1 John 5 talks about this at length, but to put it in a nutshell, John says that it is the one who believes in the Son of God. Believing means more than just intellectual acceptance, for other passages tell us that the demons believe – and tremble. So it means more than just saying, “Jesus is Lord.” That’s a start, but just a start. It is then accepting him as the Lord of your life, letting Him lead you through the Spirit, doing the best you can to carry on the work of the Lord in a pained world.
But what really bothered me was not that question, but the next one that the preacher asked. He said, “Do you have confidence that your faith is strong enough to save you?” Again, many might say, “I don’t know, I hope so, it’s getting stronger,” or something to that effect. I think that he asked the wrong question entirely. I think that it ultimately has very, very little (if anything) to do with the strength of my faith. If he’d asked me that question directly, I’d have answered, “No. My faith isn’t strong enough to save me. I have no confidence in my faith. But I am confident that Jesus is going to save me in spite of my weak faith.”
No where in the Bible does it say that your faith has to measure up to a certain “standard” of strength or confidence. God doesn’t require us to put on a demonstration that we can say to a mountain, “Be moved to over there” before we are saved. It is the fact of faith, not the strength of faith, that is the qualifying agent. At the pearly gates, there will be no circus device that we must strike with the sledgehammer of our faith in an attempt to ring the bell to prove our faith is muscle-y enough to unlock the doorway to heaven. God will look us over for the presence of faith in His Son. And that is the key to the Father’s home. If you have that, you have the key in your hand and in your heart. And by that, you may know that you have eternal life.
PRAYER: Let us rest in Your promise to save those who come to You in faith! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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