You Can Know For Sure

For the first ten years of my life, my parents attended a mainline denomination where we heard about the life of Christ and how we should live as Christians, but we never really heard how to become one. Fortunately, my folks, sensing they were missing something, decided to try out a new church, for which I will be forever grateful.  I attended a summer Bible camp sponsored by that church and there heard how to have a personal relationship with Christ by confessing my sin and trusting in Jesus as my Savior. I did that, inviting Christ into my life.  The challenge I faced, however, was to know for sure that I was still saved when I’d sin again. The particular church didn’t teach eternal salvation, so I kept trying to “get saved” over and over. I’m sure I raised my hand to receive Christ again at least a dozen times, but never really knew for sure if He was still living in me. 

     It is really difficult living with that uncertainty. It causes a lot of fear and definitely hinders spiritual growth. It is very hard to grow when you don’t know if you have been born (again)!  One time in particular I remember when  I was home alone and my folks didn’t get back when expected and I thought sure this “rapture” of believers had taken place and I had been left behind. What a terrible feeling!  Not knowing is a frightening thing when it comes to your eternal destiny.
     Even after we finally ended up in a church that teaches the security of the believer, I continued to struggle with assurance because of my background. I was confused as to what the Bible really said about the subject. It wasn’t until I was married, finished college, and was working in Portland as an engineer for Hyster Company that I finally settled the issue. I attended a “Basic Youth Conflict” seminar where one session was on eternal salvation. The verses that were shared I had read before, and I’m sure heard discussed before, but that evening the Holy Spirit illuminated them to me and “the light came on” in my heart. These were the verses:
       “And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (I Jn. 5:10-15).
     Eternal life is in a person, Jesus Christ. When we, through the prayer of our heart, admit our sin and invite Jesus into our life as Savior, He comes, and He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5).  If I sin, He doesn’t walk out of my life. My fellowship with Him is just broken, and when I confess my sin, it is restored (I Jn. 1:7-9). I don’t need to keep asking Him into my life when He is already there. That would be like inviting someone into your home and then, after visiting with them for awhile, getting back up and going to the door to invite them in again. They would probably think you were nuts and leave!
     So, for a final time in November of 1970, I prayed, trusting Christ for eternal life, saying, “Jesus, If I never fully understood what you did on my behalf at Calvary and through your resurrection, I do now; and, if I never really invited you into my life before as my personal Savior, I do so right now. Thank you for dying for me, and saving me from the penalty of my sins. Thank you for coming into my life and that You will never leave me. Make me the kind of person that you want me to be.”
     Finally, I had the assurance I had been looking for all those years. From that point on, my life really changed. I had the privilege in the next few weeks to introduce my boss and his brother (who also worked at Hyster) and our secretary to Christ. We started having Bible studies at work. Soon I started a home Bible study. I knew that God was speaking to me about doing this full time, so I eventually resigned my engineering job and came back to Montana as a missionary with Rocky Mountain Bible Mission. One of the Bible studies turned into Three Lakes Community Bible Church where I pastored for 37 years. None of that would have happened if I hadn’t finally gained assurance of salvation. If someone asks, “Dave, when did you become a Christian?” I don’t know for sure. Maybe I did at Bible camp at age 11, but I know that as of November, 1970 I for sure was a Christian and knew it.   As John wrote in his epistle, we can “KNOW” that we have eternal life.  Do you know? If you don’t, make sure. Maybe you need to, as I did,  pray for a final time to invite Him in.  You can’t really move forward in your Christian life until you know for sure you are one!
 
                   Forever His,
                        Pastor Dave
 
P.S. I have written a booklet Being Sure of Heaven (which I hope to have published). I would be glad to send you, via email, a copy of the manuscript if you’d like. Just let me know.  
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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