One of the things I remember from my time at Multnomah is the Bible test they give you as you enter school. They then give the same test just before you graduate. They wanted to see what you knew about the Bible as you began and what knowledge you gained from your time in class.
The one question from the test that still sticks out in my mind is, “Who was the left-handed Judge?” I was stumped. I thought I had a good grasp of the Bible, but realized I may not have been as knowledgeable as I thought.
Fortunately, when I retook the test as a Senior, I knew the answer (Ehud – Judges 3:15). Now, I realize that knowing the answer to that question won’t really help me in life or in my Christian walk (although, it does help with Bible Trivia). But there are other questions we have have about the Bible that do truly impact how we live and grow in the Lord.
For the month of March, in Adult Education class, we will be looking at different questions, that we sometimes find ourselves struggling with, and sharing clear, Biblical answers each week. (See below for information on class, and to submit your questions!)
In anticipation for this upcoming class, I found myself thinking about different questions believers have asked over the years. One question that people seem to often have is in regard to the assurance of their salvation. And at times, people who wrestle with this find moving forward in their spiritual walk a challenge.
I was raised in a church and attended bible schools that taught the security of the believer. I believed it, but I didn’t have a solid understanding of and basis for it until I came across a couple passages that, to me, settled the issue once and for all.
At the time, I was teaching a Sunday school class on John and leading a Bible Study on Romans. In preparing to teach these one week, John 14:16 and Romans 8:9 connected in my mind like two magnets being pulled together.
In John 14, Jesus is giving His farewell discourse to the disciples. He is sharing with them specific information as He prepares to go to the cross and die for our sins. He mentions to them He will be leaving them, which caused them to be confused and perplexed.
Questions like, “Where will you go?” and “What will we do?” and “How will we get along without you?” were racing through their heads.
In order to settle their hearts and reassure them about the future, He tells them,
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” (vs. 16)
This Helper is the Holy Spirit as Jesus makes clear in verse 26. From this passage, we see that when the Holy Spirit comes to indwell a believer, He is with them forever.
The other verse to remember, in my mind, that connected with our security as believers, is Romans 8:9. In Romans, the Apostle Paul is writing to believers to inform and encourage them in their faith. One of the aspects they were wrestling with is the idea of walking in the Spirit and walking in the flesh.
To make it clear about those who are in the Spirit, versus those in the flesh, Paul states,
“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (vs.9)
One point from this verse is that if someone is a Christian, they will have the Holy Spirit in them. Paul makes it very clear, if someone has the Spirit they are truly saved, if they don’t have the Spirit they are not saved.
So how do these two verses come together to help us be assured of our salvation?
According to Paul’s inspired writing, if a person is saved they will have the Spirit. If they are not saved, they won’t. Jesus said that when the Spirit comes to indwell a person, He will be with them forever.
So, when I accept Jesus personally as my Savior (John 1:12, Romans 6:23), the Holy Spirit comes to live inside me and He is there forever.
If I am truly saved, then I have the Holy Spirit in me. If I could ever stop being saved (i.e. do something to lose it, choose to give it up, etc.) then the Holy Spirit would have to leave me. But He can’t leave me, because Jesus said He would be with me forever! And if He left me, because I was once saved but am no longer saved, that would make Jesus’ statement false and Him a liar.
Of course, we know Jesus can’t lie or make false statements. Therefore, if I have accepted Jesus as my Savior, I have the Holy Spirit indwelling me to guide me, teach me, help me, empower me…and there is nothing that can happen that would make Him leave. He couldn’t, even if He wanted to (which He doesn’t want to and never will).
Some say that if you believe your salvation is secure no matter what you do, that you are giving people permission to sin.
To that I reply, first of all, it is clear to me that this is what the Bible teaches, so it’s not me saying it but God’s Word.
Secondly, its not a license to sin. The Bible makes clear that a true believer can’t continue to sin as a habit (1 John 3:5, 6, 9). If someone can live in sin continually, without conviction, they should question if they are truly saved at all (Matthew 7:21-23). If someone is a true believer and lives in sin, the Holy Spirit will convict them and God will ultimately discipline them (Hebrews 12:5-8).
There are other passages of Scripture that teach the security of our salvation, as well, but for me these two provide an airtight case for it.
Written by Mark A.
Submit Your Question for the Q&A in Adult Ed!
We are excited about this fun, interactive time of discovery as we explore and wrestle with those tricky questions of the Bible, but we need your help!
Maybe you have a question about the Bible, possibly a passage or a topic, that you’ve been wondering about. Maybe you’ve read verses that seem to be contradictory and don’t know how to reconcile them? Would you send your questions to us, by Sunday, February 26th, so we can answer it in one of the classes?
You can submit your question online, here, send it to us by email or drop it in the offering box on Sunday. All questions will remain anonymous, and we will compile as many as we can to be answered during the Adult Ed classes in March.