8 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

1 Samuel 18:5–19:24
John 8:31-59
Psalm 112:1-10
Proverbs 15:12-14

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

John 8:31-32 (CSB): “Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'”

John 8:34 (CSB): “Jesus responded, ‘Truly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.'”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

The Bible is our guidebook for life. It tells us all that we need to know in order to live a purposeful, useful life.

But, it’s not simply a moral rulebook. It doesn’t simply give us a bunch of rules with which to comply. It is much more holistic than that.

Essentially, it tells us that mankind was created in a perfect state but because of their own free will, they chose to disobey God’s direct command. As a result, mankind was removed from paradise and their relationship with God was severed. Ever since then, mankind was rebelled against God or made feeble attempts to know God and deal with their guilt. But, it was ultimately through Jesus and the cross that God dealt with our sin and reconciled our relationship with Him. As a result, we don’t pursue godliness to gain His approval or to attain some legalistic standard. We pursue godliness because God has transformed those that trust and submit to King Jesus. We obey Him because we love Him.

What’s ultimately on the line?

  • Relationship with God or rejection by God
  • Heaven or Hell

Since there is so much at stake, we need to be sure that we are saved and we need to make the Gospel accessible to others so that they have the opportunity to trust in Jesus as well.

But, then there is a problem … a very real problem.

If the biggest decision we could ever make in our life is transferring our trust from self to Jesus so that we can enjoy God now and in eternity, then how do we know if we are truly saved? How do we know that we have been forgiven and will spend eternity in Heaven?

If we get it wrong, Hell awaits us for eternity.

So, how do we know?

Well, quite a few well-intentioned Christians believe that the way to counsel someone who is questioning their salvation is to simply ask: “Did you trust in Jesus to save you?” If the answer is “yes,” then they give assurances to the doubter that they are truly saved.

But, I believe such an approach is flawed. In fact, I believe it is unbiblical.

While we absolutely MUST put our faith in Jesus in order to be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), the Bible presents another way for us to gain assurance of our salvation.

Fortunately, there is a book in the Bible that was written specifically to give us assurance of our salvation. The Apostle John said so at the end of his letter that we call 1 John.

1 John 5:13 (CSB): “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

It’s pretty clear, isn’t it? In those words, John said that he wrote his letter so that people who had believed in Jesus would know that they are truly saved.

So, what did John write in his letter to give assurance?

He focused on a changed life. Essentially, the book is filled with behaviors like:

  • If you’re truly saved, you will obey the Lord.
  • If you’re truly saved, you will continue to trust in the Lord.
  • If you’re truly saved, you will love the Lord.
  • If you’re truly saved, you will love others.
  • If you are truly saved, you will be getting the victory over sin.

Anyone can say that they have trusted in Jesus. But, only those who are truly saved can demonstrate a changed life, characterized by the assurance of their salvation, because Jesus is making them more like Him.

Now, to the verses that I have chosen as Today’s Bible Verses. What I have just been saying is exactly what Jesus said. He told His followers precisely how they could know if they were genuine Jesus-followers or whether they were unsaved and simply going through the motions.

Read the following verses and see if you can determine what Jesus said would characterize someone who is truly saved.

John 8:31-32 (CSB): “Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'”

John 8:34 (CSB): “Jesus responded, ‘Truly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.'”

Jesus made it clear that we can determine if our belief was saving faith by observing how we relate to the Bible and sin. If we are getting into it, getting it into us, and breaking free of sin’s chains, then that is a tell-tell sign that we are saved.

But, there’s something else that may have sent up a red flag in John 8:31. “Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him.” Some may say, “Hey, Jesus was talking to believers. All it takes is belief to get saved, right?”

Well, it all depends on what kind of belief we’re talking about.

There is a kind of intellectual belief in Jesus that is limited to our agreement with the facts. And then there’s the kind of saving faith that fills the mind and heart that results in true life change.

It is necessary to believe the truths about Jesus but that alone doesn’t save us. How do I know? Because it doesn’t save demons.

James 2:19 (CSB): “You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe—and they shudder.”

Demons believe the truths about Jesus. They even shudder in terror as they acknowledge those truths. But, they aren’t saved. They will be consigned to Hell forever.

Saving faith is the kind of belief that fills our mind and is acted upon in our heart, the very deepest part of who we are.

So, how do you know if you have truly demonstrated saving faith rather than a demonic faith?

Once again, I revert back to what I have been saying and demonstrating from Scripture:

  • Has it changed your thinking and behavior in the direction of Christlikeness?
  • Has it given you a growing love for the Lord?
  • Has it given you a love for God’s Word?
  • Has it given you a desire to obey God’s Word?
  • Has it given you a love for others?
  • Has it given you disdain for sin?
  • Is it giving you victory over sin?

True saving faith changes you. That’s how you know you’re truly saved because you won’t remain the same. You will be becoming more and more conformed to the image of Jesus.

Matthew 7:16 (CSB): “You’ll recognize them by their fruit…”

Matthew 7:20 (CSB): “So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.”

Conclusion

What about you? Are you saved?

If your answer is “yes,” how do you know you’re saved? Has it brought about Christlikeness in your thinking, attitudes, and behaviors?

If not, then drop to your knees and ask Jesus to forgive you and save you. I believe that if you truly desire for Jesus to forgive and save you, that is a prayer that he will never say “no” to.