How can we have assurance of salvation without being complicit in either a cultural Christianity or a "comfortable" Christianity?
Well, 1 John is a great picture of how we know we have assurance of salvation. Are we believing in the truth of Christ? Are we expressing the love of Christ? Are we walking in the word of Christ? These are things the Bible encourages us to ask ourselves.
I'm trying to show what happens when someone becomes a follower of Jesus. How does that play out? In the book, I try to walk through the inner transformation that happens when we're forgiven of our sins and we're filled with the Spirit of God. We begin to think differently. We begin to desire differently. We begin to want what God wants. We begin to live differently. And that's a good thing, because we believe Jesus knows what's best. Our relationships also begin to change. We see the importance of the community of faith and the church. And we become more intentional about sharing the gospel with people who don't know Christ.
So, those are all domino effects of the forgiveness of Christ and the Spirit of Christ coming to dwell in us. And that's true of every Christian, not just super Christians. This is what it means to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus with a transformed mind, heart, desires, will, relationships, and purpose for living.
You've traveled several times to India, and concluded that "597 million Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Sikhs around me would go to hell if they didn't trust in Jesus." What motivation should the doctrine of hell play in evangelism?
The doctrine of hell is undergirding everything. The reality is, evangelism is the necessary proclamation of the gospel because people are lost without Christ, separated from God, and in need of a Savior to redeem them. Eternity is at stake with how we respond to God's provision of salvation in Christ. Every single person in this world will either go to eternal hell or everlasting heaven. If that reality is true, then certainly we want to make that known. We would not want to hide that or shirk that or even be embarrassed of that.
Now, the doctrine of hell is not the ultimate motivator in evangelism. The ultimate motivator is the glory of God. In northern India, all kinds of other gods are being worshipped. I believe the Bible, and I believe there is only one God who is worthy of all worship. More than anything, I want to make his goodness greatness known in that place for His glory, also knowing that God glorifies himself by saving sinners.
Hell doesn't need to be the leading line in sharing the gospel. Maybe in some circumstances it is. But whenever I'm sharing the gospel, I'm always looking for ways to build bridges into people's lives and where their worldview is—to an understanding of who God is, who man is, who Christ is, and that Christ is the only way to salvation.