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  • Assurance of Salvation and Good Works

    The work of God’s grace through the perseverance of the saints inevitably brings us to the confirmation of the assurance of eternal salvation. Perseverance is inseparably connected to the fact that it is God who brings to completion the work He started PHILIPPIANS 1:6. Even if the hypocrites and the religious, the false MATTHEW 7:21-23, whom the Lord never knew and others like them who are not regenerated by the Holy Spirit can deceive themselves with false hopes of carnal presuppositions to somehow believe having entered the state of God’s grace and to be saved; this false hope (superficial and false faith) JOHN 2:23-25 will perish quickly when tried and tested MATTHEW 13:18-23. These are false believers, people to whom was never granted salvation by divine decree of election. Scripture in fact teaches that many are deceived and feel secure in the deception of their beliefs and think to be in God’s grace, however, they never have truly believed and experienced the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, their false faith will demonstrate itself to be just that when it is tried JOHN 6:63-66.To many Christians, these might have for a period even seemed like true believers, it appears therefore that they have fallen out of the state of grace they had once entered into, in other words they lost their salvation. In reality however, they never entered in the state of grace and did not ever have eternal salvation to begin with 1 JOHN 2:19. It is for this that Scripture, by many Christians misunderstand the passages where it warns to test oneself, try one’s faith to see if indeed we are in the faith, this is to confirm if we are real believers or not, or if we are just deceiving ourselves. Many Scriptures give the impression that a person is saved only if they continue in the faith, if they continue to believe, yes, in fact it is exactly that way, those who continue in faith and sanctification are the elect of God, predestined to eternal salvation and glory. These Scriptures however, DO NOT TEACH that one who is elected to salvation can lose his or her salvation and fall from God’s grace. Examining these Scriptures more carefully we clearly notice that they do not at all speak of one who once truly believed then does not believe any longer, but instead they speak of confirming our salvation to see if we are real or not and that to continue to believe, persevere and sanctify one self means then to be an elect of God 2 PETER 1:10-11. These are warning Scriptures not to deceive oneself in a false sense of hope, they demonstrate that if a person perseveres they are the elect, if they do not, in reality it means they really never believed with true faith, they are false believers, not true ones who have lost their salvation, they never had received true faith to be saved 2 CORINTHIANS 13:5;COLOSSIANS 1:21.

    There are many things that try faith to prove if it is real, the final confirmation is perseverance ROMANS 2:7;HEBREWS 3:6;HEBREWS 3:14;HEBREWS 10:38-39, but there are many others for example if we love our brothers or not 1 JOHN 3:10-241 JOHN 4:7-8 and also if our life produces certain fruits, obedience and sanctification JOHN 14:25-33; JOHN 15:4-10;1 JOHN 2:5;1 JOHN 2:15.

    Half believers do not exist, true believers who then stop believing. Real believers exist and those who do not believe with real faith but follow Jesus for erroneous and carnal reasons JOHN 2:23-25;LUKE 14:25-33, these last ones never received regenerating faith even if apparently seem to want to follow Jesus JOHN 6:60-66.

    The elect therefore, can, in fact have the assurance of eternal salvation because it is the promise of our faithful Father JOHN 3:36;JOHN 5:24; JOHN 6:39-40;JOHN 6:47;JOHN 10:27-30;JOHN 11:25-26;JOHN 17:2;JOHN 20:31;ROMANS 5:9-11;ROMANS 6:23;1 JOHN 2:25; 1 JOHN 5:13-20;TITUS 1:1-2;2 TIMOTHY 1:12;HEBREWS 7:25;HEBREWS 9:15;JUDE :15. The Spirit of God confirms that we are the children of God ROMANS 8:14-17, God’s discipline and correction confirms we are children of God, repentance proves we are elect HEBREWS 12:5-11, sanctification proves we are elect of God 1 CORINTHIANS 6:11;TITUS 3:3-7, the promises of God which we believe by faith, the drastic change in our behavior and character, our thoughts and desires are confirmation we belong to God and that we are new creatures in Christ 1 CORINTHIANS 2:10-16, the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit and works of faith JOHN 15:4-10;JAMES 2:14-26, the desire to know more and more and to practice the word of God, the obedience,the zeal for the things pertaining God is proof that we are elect TITUS 2:11-14, when faith is tried by suffering, tribulations, temptations and persecutions and we come out victorious and remain in the faith proves we are God’s elect JAMES 1:3-4;JAMES 1:12;1 PETER 1:2-9; 1 PETER 4:12-14, and the proof of proofs if we love our brothers and sisters we then love God and we belong to Him 1 JOHN 3:10-24;1 JOHN 4:7-8.

    Who posses these fruits in their life even if in different degrees and stages can be sure of eternal salvation. To give believers assurance of salvation John wrote the epistle of 1 John, assurance of salvation is the overarching theme of the letter, that we can know we are eternally secure by how we live. For the elect of God there is assurance of eternal salvation and there does not need to be doubts or preoccupations, rather a certainty, God wants us to be certain of His promises. We want and can be certain of this because the word of God gives us assurance, God is faithful to His promises and His eternal covenant, otherwise it could not be considered an eternal covenant. Without assurance of our salvation we could not live a life of victory.

    All of this does not have anything to do with having the fear of God, of sanctifying oneself and persevering because the elect have the fear of God and non one has to make them feel guilty or fearful to lose their salvation if they do not live in a certain way. The elect know they are not perfect but seek to be holy by God’s grace and faith,they do not need to seek approval or acceptance from God based upon their works or Christian lifestyle, only by faith in Christ and His virtues and merits ONLY, the elect persevere because God protects them, Christ intercedes for them and makes them victorious in spite of the trials and tribulations they have. We persevere because God is faithful to His promises and completes the good work He has begun in us. We are preserved and protected by God’s power through faith, faith that even if tried to the extreme does not fail. No one can ever snatch us from our Father’s hands, in which we are eternally secure JOHN 10:27-30. In addition the Spirit of God has been given us as a guarantee of God’s promise and our eternal inheritance, we are sealed for the day of redemption, a seal made by the Holy Spirit that nothing or no one can unseal or undo.

    2 Corinthians 1:21-23 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

    Ephesians 1:13-14 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, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

    Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

    GOOD WORKS

    Good works, the only works that count are the works that God commands in His Holy word, good works done by faith and obedience to God’s commandments. These works however, have to be the confirmation, the evidence that true faith, in other words the grace of God has been conferred upon the person who does them. These are the works that faith generates, those that by obedience a believer does after a person has believed.

    These are the works God has previously prepared that we, the elect should walk in them. The good works God has prepared in advance are as we can see by His grace EPHESIANS 2:8-10 and are not generated by man rather by the Holy Spirit who through the word of God gives us instruction, grace and power for us to perform them EPHESIANS 3:20. Practicing these works does absolutely nothing in regard to obtaining salvation, justification nor do they add anything to our sanctification process, rather they are a fruit of it. Repentance for example can be considered a good work, but it does not count for obtaining salvation and be justified, it is only grace and faith that count. The point in the end is this, that the work of repentance is itself the fruit of true faith and it is this faith that brings to practicing the good works God has prepared for us JAMES 2:14-26.

    Only the Holy Spirit gives the ability and the power to obey and to do the work of God. This does not at all mean that a believer does not do the works God requires exclusively only if the Holy Spirit moves to do them, otherwise does not do anything. No, the believer coming to know the will of God through His written word and with the power of the Holy Spirit works to obey that which the word commands to do PHILIPPIANS 2:12-16. There are instances when the Spirit of God has to guide us specifically into doing certain things, however He will do it and we will continue to obey and to do what God has called us to do. This obviously is considering the gifts God has given each believer as one cannot operate outside his or her own Holy Spirit given gift and sphere of authority. It needs to be repeated that these works do not at all give us favor with God in regards to His salvation, His justification they are however the vehicle through which the believer receives his or her reward form the Lord. The faithfulness with which one operates in the works God gives him or her to accomplish is the measure with which the elect will receive rewards in eternity. The believers’ rewards are not to be confused with salvation, they are two completely different things MATTHEW 19:27-29;1 CORINTHIANS 3:12-14;2 CORINTHIANS 5:10; REVELATION 22:12.

    Works done by unregenerate men and women, those who are not the elect of God, therefore not saved, do not bring any pleasure to God and they are in the end only a further insult to His Holy person. This is because even if the works performed by the unsaved are good works, useful to mankind and works that perhaps God even commands to do, because they proceed from unregenerate people, slaves to sinfulness and without faith, perhaps even blasphemers toward God, God cannot an will not accept the work as a credit for righteousness. These works many erroneously think they provide some favor toward receiving God’s acceptance, or applied toward some credit system and applied toward one’s salvation and justification, they do not!

    However, the neglect of doing them by the majority of the people of the world is retained even more sinful and causes God’s disfavor, disapproval and judgment MATTHEW 25:31-46. Salvation and justification as we repeat is by grace and faith only, not by works. Works of faith are of different categories, works and fruits that faith generates. Repentance, truthfulness, honesty, diligence, faithfulness, love (Agape), peace, patience, humility, goodness, gentleness, self control, these are all things that make the elect operate the good, acceptable and perfect will of God and doing God’s will is that which He requires MATTHEW 7:21;ROMANS 12:1-2. Only the ones who are known by God do God’s will and listen to His voice JOHN 10:25-30