Assurance and the Word of God
Study verse: 1 John 5:11-13
"And this is the testimony; God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Having understood the importance of being 'born again' in our last study, we need to come to a place where we can relax into the things of God. If we doubt our salvation this relaxing is impossible, it's like sitting on a garden chair that you are not sure will hold you. God wants you to be sure of his love for you, and wants you to rest in the security of that love. He wants you to know he loves you and that your salvation is secure in eternity. He does this by telling us in his word, the bible. It's interesting, and profitable, to read through the first epistle (letter) of John where there are at least 30 references to things that we can know. See how many you can find and fit in with the points 1 to 4 listed below.
Note especially 1 John 2:3, 2:20, 3:2, 3:14, 3:19, 4:13, and 5:13.
Can a person really be sure of salvation? YES. Certainly God has given us four principle means of assurance:
1. THE CLEAR TEACHING OF THE WORD OF GOD WHICH WE RECEIVE BY FAITH. In John 6:37 Jesus says, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away." See also John 5:24, Romans 6:23, John 3:14-18
2. THE INNER WITNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT WE HAVE BEEN MADE CHILDREN OF GOD. In Romans 8:15-16 it says, "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship. And by him we cry 'Abba, Father'. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." See also John 6:63, Romans 8:11, John 14:15-17.
3. THE DISCOVERY THAT AS WE OBEY HIS WILL, GOD IS WORKING WITH US. In Philippians 2:12 it says, "Therefore my dear friends as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." See also Romans 6:15-18, John 14:15-16, 21, John 15:9-11.
4 THE DESIRE TO BECOME LIKE THE LORD JESUS. In Romans 8:29 it says "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brothers". See also Phil. 3:20-21, Eph.4:22-24, Col.3:9-10. In the light of all this you can say with confidence you are a Christian, that you have been born again, that you are a child of God, part of his family the church?
THE WORD OF GOD
Study verse: 2 Timothy 3:16
"All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness."
The Bible is a collection of books, 66 in all, divided into the Old Testament, which consists of 39 books, and the New Testament, which consists of 27 books. Although these 66 books were written by about 50 human authors, the bible is nevertheless one book.The unifying theme of the bible is Christ. The Old Testament prepares for and predicts his coming. The gospels present him in a divine-human manifestation. The book of Acts portrays him preached and his gospel propagated in the world. The letters expound his redemptive work. The Revelation reveals him as the consummation of all the plans and purposes of God. The Bible is the inspired word of God.
What do we mean by that? From Genesis to Revelation the bible makes the tremendous claim that in it's words God has spoken to man. The initiative here had to be taken by God, otherwise all his thoughts and plans for the well-being of man and the world must have remained unknown forever. But God has come to help and in the bible we find ourselves confronted with a strange new world, the world of God. The word 'revelation' is a bible word and means the drawing away of a veil from that which had previously been hidden in mystery. In this fashion God found a way to convey his message and to reveal himself to mankind in the written word and in the incarnate word - Jesus; the infinite communicating with the finite, the Creator with his creatures, the absolute truth expressed in the relative terms of human language.
Looking again at our study verse we see the thought is not of God as breathing through scripture, or of scripture as breathing out God, but of God having breathed out scripture. Paul's words mean, not that scripture is inspiring (true though this is), but that scripture is a divine product, and must be approached and estimated as such. Paul is affirming that all that comes in the category of scripture, just because it is God breathed, is profitable for the guiding of both faith and life. So, the bible is the inspired word of God - God breathed; look at the following scriptures:
2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Acts 1:16, John 6:63. John 1:14, Philippians 2:16.
Reading the Bible
It is important not only for the new Christian to read the Bible daily but for every Christian to do so. We should study and search the scriptures so we can know, obey, and believe the bible and apply its truths to our lives. Once we know the word we can use it as a weapon against our enemy Satan, to both resist temptation and to receive spiritual victory. The Bible is a treasure chest of promises, ministering faith and the life of God to his people. Read the following scriptures to discover the effect reading the bible will have:
Psalm 119:11, 2 Timothy 3:16, Romans 15:4, Romans 10:17, James 1:18, Ephesians 6:13-18, Psalm 19:105.
Where do I start ?
A good place to start is in the New Testament, which records the life and teaching of Jesus and his disciples. The first parts of the New Testament were in circulation less than twenty years after Jesus died and rose again. The rest followed soon after, with the last book being completed around AD 90 - all within the lifetime of people who knew Jesus personally. The book of Mark is a good place to begin as it is bustling with life and is full of action. There is a strong early tradition that Mark wrote Jesus' story as he heard it direct from the apostle Peter. After reading Mark, read Luke, John and Matthew, before continuing on with the New Testament. As you read expect God to speak to you individually. As he speaks to us, our response should be the same as Samuel's: "Speak for your servant is listening." (1 Samuel 3:10)
New Birth / Prayer