It was “cry night” at camp and I was the only kid in my cabin who wasn’t crying and who didn’t go forward for the altar call. Upon returning to our cabin for discussions and prayer all eyes turned to me, as if they were asking, “Mike, what’s wrong with you? Why didn’t you go up? Should we be concerned about you?” I simply explained that I’m already a Christian and didn’t feel the need to go forward and recommit my life to Christ since I’m already trying to live for him. I didn’t understand why my friends kept going forward every summer.
Since that time, I’ve realized that many struggle with security of their salvation. They question whether or not they have saving faith, or if they’ll be one of those to whom Jesus says, “depart from me, for I never knew you.”
Here are a few questions to consider if you (or someone you care about) struggle to have security of your salvation.
Do You Live Out of Grace or Duty?
Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.” The gospel is a proclamation of grace and rescue, not list of rules to keep. As Christians, we live differently because we have been set free through faith in Jesus Christ. The Christian life reflects the grace we have received. Those who try to live the Christian life in order to “prove themselves” to God and to others will crumble under the weight of God’s commands – every sin to them will seem like evidence their faith isn’t good enough to save. Instead, Christian freedom means we have nothing to prove and no one to impress, because we have already been full accepted by God through faith alone in Jesus Christ. The heart of the Christian life is grace, not duty.
Does Sin Make You Sick?
Romans 6:1-2 addresses sin in the lives of Christians, “Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” When you sin, what happens? Do you feel guilty, or do you justify it away? Sin may continue to look appealing, and even taste good at first, but the aftertaste makes the Christian’s heart sick. When professing Christians excuse their sin as “no big deal,” they are disgracing the gospel and treating the grace of God as something they deserve. Guilt about indwelling sin can actually be evidence that your faith is genuine (if it drives you back to Christ as the one who set you free from slavery to sin).
Do You Deny Yourself to Follow Christ?
Jesus described the life of a disciple in Luke 9:23 by issuing this invitation, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Christians seek to honor and obey Jesus. Do you live in self-denial because the grace of God has made you new, or are you trying to follow Jesus on your own terms? Following Jesus means you’ll need to obey him even when you’d rather do your own thing. Because we trust in God, we obey him and follow his lead.
Have You (and others) Noticed Any Change in Your Life?
1 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” Confession and repentance brings a new life, a new heart, and a new identity… because you are now “in Christ.” This should not come off as pressure or duty to force change. Instead, the grace of God has begun a change in our lives and that will be evident to others.
Prayerfully consider these questions. Better yet, discuss them with a pastor or mature Christian friend.