by Dr. Brad Black
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Let me ask you a couple of questions. I need you to be to very honest with yourself when you answer. If you were to die today, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven or is that something that you are still working on?
I want to talk this week about assurance. I had a conversation with a young lady that I was sure was a Christian. She admitted to me that she was scared of the end of the world and she did not know if she had screwed something up and would not go to heaven. This was hard for me because I have never ever doubted about my salvation. In fact, I have never spoken or written on assurance because I never felt the need. Well, this incident kind of shook me up and made me do some thinking and studying. I found out that the number one reason why people make counseling appointments with a pastor is for assurance. This fact changed my mind and made assurance very high on my list of topics to preach and write about.
Let me ask that second question. If you were dead and standing before God and he asked you, why should I let you into my Heaven? What would you say? ……
I want to deal with the second question first. This goes to the heart of Christianity. The easiest and best answer is 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
I love the way Paul says it here “of first importance”. The most important thing you need to know is that Jesus died on the cross for your sins so that you can have eternity in Heaven. However, you cannot leave Jesus on the cross therefore; he was buried and then raised on the third day. This is the miracle of Easter. Jesus did not just die on the cross but He showed us that we will have eternal life by His raising from the dead. You must believe this to be a Christian that is why it is “of first importance”. If you believe this, then that would be the correct answer to God in the second question. This is the heart of Christianity.
Now hopefully, we are all Christians, let’s deal with the second question. This young lady was scared that she was going to sin right before she died and that because of that sin she was not going to get into heaven. I would like to share with you all that this is not true. Jesus died for all of your sins past, present and future. In fact, Psalms 103:11 says
12As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from
Let me illustrate this verse; look at a globe, start at the North Pole and run your finger down or south until you get to the South Pole and then start back up. When you start back up what direction are you going?? That is right, north. Now put your finger on Brazil on the equator. Spin the globe going east go to the Indian Ocean on the opposite side of the globe. What direction will you be going if you keep spinning the globe the same direction? That right, it will still be going east until you get back to the original point, you go east the whole time. You never go west; therefore west never touches east and therefore your sins will never be attached to you if you have Jesus. Because of this, a sin will not cause you to lose your salvation. Romans 8:35-39 says it best,
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This says nothing can separate us from the Love of God, nothing. The good old Baptist phrase “once saved always saved” is proven here in these verses.
That means the answer to the first question is yes, if your answer to the second question is Jesus died for my sins and was raised on the third day.
I want to leave you with a story I came across in my reading that really shows assurance.
Ninety-two-year-old Pauline Jacobi had just finished loading her groceries into her car at a local Wal-Mart in Dyer County, Tennessee. She got in her car, and a moment later, a man climbed into the passenger side. He said he had a gun and that he would shoot her if she did not hand over her money. What she did next did not involve pepper-spray or martial arts, but it did save her life and may have saved his.
Pauline calmly refused her would-be robber three times. Then she said, "You know, as quick as you kill me, I'll go to heaven and you'll go to hell." Then she told him that he needed to ask God for forgiveness.
"Jesus is in this car," she said, "and He goes with me everywhere I go." Jacobi said that the man looked around, and then tears began to come to his eyes.
For 10 more minutes, Jacobi shared with the man. Finally, he said, "I think I will go home tonight and pray." But Jacobi told him that he did not need to wait to pray; he could pray now. Then Jacobi, voluntarily, offered the man all the money she had on her, 10 bucks, on one condition-that he not spend the money on whiskey. After that, the man kissed her on the cheek, got out of the car, and walked away.
I hope I have the
strength of assurance this lady did.
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