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Anxious about whether he was really saved, North Carolina pastor J. D. Greear kept asking Jesus into his heart—it must have been several thousand times, he says—until he came to put his faith in the truth of the gospel instead. The difference ...

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Rick Dalbey

March 29, 2013  1:07pm

This gets to what we mean by believe. If I say I believe in the parachute I am sitting on, yet the plane goes down and I die in a fiery crash, it is obvious that I really did not believe in the parachute or I would have deployed it. Is it possible to have faith in a parachute yet never deploy it? Hence James 2. Or, is it possible to say, I know Mother Theresa, in fact I love her, give my life to her and follow her and yet have a thriving practice as an abortionist? Hence 1 John 2. Biblical faith is inherently active. The 3000 who were saved on the day of Pentecost trusted in Jesus, immediately demonstrated their new faith by water baptism, repentance and receiving the Holy Spirit. Faith has observable effects that proceed from our new nature. We are born again, have a new nature, are sealed by the Holy Spirit, kept by the hand of God. And yes I believe once saved, always saved. The foundation of Christ is laid and whether we build wood, hay straw or precious stones, the fire will tell.

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Tom Nash

March 28, 2013  8:37pm

Here are a couple of nagging verses that can cloud our sense of assurance. James 2:14 ESV "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?" Also, 1 John 2:3-4 ESV "And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says, 'I know him' but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him...."

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Rick Dalbey

March 28, 2013  3:44pm

AMEN BRENT!

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audrey ruth

March 27, 2013  10:58pm

ITA with you, Brent. The Word of God speaks for Himself: "Truly, truly, I [Jesus] say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." John 5:24

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Brent Bridgeman

March 27, 2013  6:34pm

As Christians, why do we make the assurance of our eternal salvation so difficult, when the Bible makes it so easy? In Acts 16, the jailer explicitly asks what he needs to do to be saved and Paul replies, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” No mention of any works or feeling sorry for your sins, just believe. If you believe that you have to persevere in the faith until death, how can you have any assurance until the exact moment you die? You can't know if you will die in a moment that you have stopped persevering, if only temporarily. How can you know if you are truly persevering? How much persevering is enough persevering? What truly constitutes persevering? All of these questions must cause doubts and insecurities in the lives of believers when all we need to do is rest on the truth claims of God that point to belief in Christ's grace-filled finished work on the cross as the only means of eternal salvation.

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Jim Ricker

March 23, 2013  5:17am

Paul tells us the Great News is that Jesus is King over all. Our faith and salvation are grace to us from God (Ephesian 2). How can we be assured that we are His? If we follow Him. The Muslim who has Isa visit him or her in a dream and obediently follows Him does so almost always without having our understanding of faith, salvation and the Trinity but does that make that Muslim unsaved? Of course not. How do we know that Muslim believer is saved? By his or her walk - is that person following Jesus as best as he or she understands? If the answer is yes, then that person is saved and can be assured they are one of His own. Too often it seems we have made believing in sola fide the saving belief.

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Stephen Swihart

March 22, 2013  9:47am

Assurance came for me when I began to trust the promises of Jesus ("He who believes in me has everlasting life" John 6:47) rather than wondering if my behavior adequately proves I'm a possessor of eternal life. Having said this, my love for such a wonderful, promise-keeping savior motivates me to live for Him.

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Gabrielle LeBlanc

March 21, 2013  7:50pm

Where does the Bible say there are two different kinds of faith, one saving, one temporary? The Bible talks about faith -only ONE- and works are either added to this faith, or it isn't. Does God really give the WRONG kind of faith to the reprobate - one that is defective and doesn't produce works, and the RIGHT kind of faith to the elect - one that generates works?!? Or MAYBE WE are supposed to make use of the grace extended to us and of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and the faith give to us to PRODUCE WORKS?!?

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Duane D Watts

March 21, 2013  7:01pm

The problem may be, for many, that the law is the fulfillment of the Gospel. Since (in their minds) the law preceded the Gospel, "...but of the forbidden tree thou shall not eat", then the saved will go on to fulfill the law to the end. But the Gospel was eternally about God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit camping out with us, communing with us, even establishing union with His creation (God was walking in the garden). The fall merely added the requisite sacrifice to the already intended incarnation. Now "Christ is the end of the law to everyone who believes", or the law stands in the Church today as our school master to teach us that we should love and how we should love. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Master. How He works that out in each of our lives is His perogative. The analogy of the chair is good, but I think that perseverence need not enter into the discussion regarding "real faith or temporary faith". The question is, having left the pig sty, why would you want to go back?

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Tom Nash

March 21, 2013  6:57pm

This is a difficult issue. Like many aspects of the Christian life, assurance is not based on one's feelings, but on one's faith. And our faith is frequently tested. The article raised a very good question: Do I currently believe the gospel? If my answer is yes, then that is a strong indicator that I am in fact saved. Another indicator is whether or not any positive change has occurred in my life since I first believed. Of course things get murky here, since the process of a Christian's sanctification involves many fluctuations, even periods of outright backsliding. But as the article said, if a person is persevering in the end, then they are saved. If one's life is marked by outright unbelief and rebellion against God, then that is a strong indicator that they were never born again, even if they once recited a sinner's prayer.

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Duane D Watts

March 21, 2013  6:26pm

I would fuze Luther and Calvin. Salvation is all of Jesus. The reformers were right to say we are totally depraved. Then merely assent to His Person and His work: He is Christ, the Son of the Living God, and He has saved me. To make a work out of it is contrary to the Gospel. Is not perseverence a life-long work, greater than any that can be accomplished by any man? Then why put yourselves under any such yoke? You believe Christ. ALL of the rest is in His hands (remember? the ones with the scars?). YOU rest. We therefore labor to enter into His rest. Do you doubt? Go, look at the cross. Now go, gaze into the empty tomb and be free.

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Rick Dalbey

March 21, 2013  3:57pm

Decisionalists? Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. Evangelists bring people to a decision for Christ, as Peter did for the 3000 who were born again on the day of pentecost. As Paul did when he preached, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation". Sure, God may have chosen us first. But we make a decision to love Him because He first loved us. Stick to the Bible Rod. Decisionalists?

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Rod Culbertson

March 21, 2013  3:37pm

George Whitfield, Great Awakening Revivalist and Evangelist "On Counting Converts" - "There are so many stony-ground hearers which receive the word with joy that I have determined to suspend judgment till I know the tree by its fruits. A holy life is the best evidence of a gracious state." Biblically speaking, it would appear premature to give "decisionalists" assurance of salvation until some fruit is seen and borne. Our present day Gospel is so diluted and the responses are so often cajoled into being that promoting assurance would seem dangerous. The Westminster Confession of Faith provides a tremendous and invaluable summary statement on assurance in Chap. XVIII. "Concerning the Assurance of Grace and Salvation." (http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/). See also Westminster Larger Catechism Questions 80 and 81.

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Rick Dalbey

March 21, 2013  2:50pm

New birth is a moment that happens in history, just like childbirth. “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” 3000 were saved on the day of pentecost. They were then sealed with the Holy Spirit. They became new creatures in Christ. "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." 2 Cor 5:16. Salvation is not a posture, it does not happen by osmosis. “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation"

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Anthony Giezendanner

March 21, 2013  2:43pm

I have no anxiety! I have obeyed what Peter and the Apostles announced to everyone who had faith on the day of Pentecost for every generation to do as a promise of God for so that my sins are forgiven and I receive His indwelling Holy Spirit as a guarantee of eternal life in heaven: "Acts 2:38-41, And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be immersed every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation. They then that received his word were immersed: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls." God is a Promise Keeper. I have met His conditions to receive His grace (Col 2:12). I have no guilt, no worries. Man's substitutes cause anxiety!

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