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By Rev Colin Wong

Preached at / Published Life BPC Weekly, 2003-10-05

Text: Deuteronomy 33:3

"All his saints are in thy hand" (Deuteronomy 33:3). What a comforting verse! When I was a young Christian, there was much fear of losing my salvation. And so I would pray and ask Jesus to come into my life as many times as possible. I was not told that once I put my trust in Jesus to save me from sin and misery, I would be forever saved, secure and assured of a place in heaven. This went on for a while until a Christian explained to me the blessing of salvation. He shared with me verses like 1 John 5:11-13: "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." I was told that I do not need to feel or hope or wish to have eternal life. I know I have eternal life because I have believed in Jesus Christ to take away my sin. 

He also told me that my salvation is secure and assured by Jesus himself: "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father�s hand" (John 10:28, 29). Here is a promise from the Living Word in the Written Word. Our eternal life is secure in the hand of God. No one can snatch it away. Furthermore, Jesus will never leave us, nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Our security is in Jesus' hand. There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39). 

Since then, I have no fear of losing my salvation. I am very confident that God who began a good work in me will bring it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). Like Paul, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14) because "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).

My dear reader, are you also having the same struggle as I had 29 years ago? Are you still unsure of your salvation? Be not dismayed! This is part and parcel of the Christian experience. You are not alone. The Bible does not teach that a person must have an assurance of salvation in order to be saved. Assurance of salvation may come later, sometimes much later. However, the Bible is clear that a person must acknowledge Jesus to be his personal Lord and Saviour in order to be saved. 

According to the Westminster Confession of Faith on "Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation," it is clear that, "This infallible assurance does not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness." Are you truly born again? If you are, then you are saved even though you do not have the assurance of salvation at this point in time. 

Oftentimes, backsliding Christians tell me that they no longer sense the presence of God. They feel and lament that God is far away from them. Some even wonder whether they are truly born of God. How would you counsel them? I would tell them that in God's providence, He allows such overwhelming feelings to flood their souls in order to draw them to himself and/or cause them to examine themselves. This happened to the backsliding Corinthian Christians. Paul exhorted them to examine, test or evaluate themselves to see whether they are in the Christian faith (2 Corinthians 13:5) lest they received the grace of God in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1). 

As a matter of fact, Christians are prone to wonder from the God they love. Consequently, their lives become topsy-turvy. Like the stiff-necked people in the days of Jeremiah, "We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble!" (8:15) What a tragedy!

Again the Confession says, "True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which wounds the conscience and grieves the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God's withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light: yet are they never so utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived; and by the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair." 

Assurance of Salvation will come, but it must be in God's own time. When the time comes, you will know and experience the joy of salvation (Psalm 51:12) and the peace of heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). The Scripture testifies in Romans, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (8:16). Therefore, no matter what happens, commit yourself to him, for the faithful Creator is the keeper of your soul (1 Peter 4:19). Look to Jesus, for He is the Author and Finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Dearly beloved, God's Word is sure. You are saved and secure in his hands. No one can snatch you away from him - shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For we are persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor 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 (Romans 8:35, 37-39). 

This is interestingly but true. There are many fearful Christians in the Church of Jesus Christ. Some of them are really fearful of the future and of death. How would you counsel them? The best antidote for them is The Word of God. What passages would you read to them? I would read to them passages that have to do with the blessed hope in Jesus Christ such as 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I would also share with them testimonies of godly men and women who have faced death courageously.

On his deathbed, a well-known British preacher Charles Simeon smiled brightly and asked the people gathered in his room, "What do you think especially gives me comfort at this time?" When they all remained silent, he exclaimed, "The creation! I ask myself, 'Did Jehovah create the world or did I?' He did! Now if He made the world and all the rolling spheres of the universe, He certainly can take care of me. Into Jesus' hands I can safely commit my spirit!"

James Hudson Taylor, pioneer and founder of China Inland Mission, in the closing months of his life said to a friend, "I am so weak. I can't read my Bible. I can't even pray. I can only lie still in God's arms like a little child and trust." 

Both Simeon and Taylor knew that the Almighty God who created the whole universe was holding them in His hands. These men knew their God. Though they didn't know many things about tomorrow and they didn't seem to understand, but they knew who holds tomorrow and they knew who holds their hand. Moses had the same assurance when he blessed the children of Israel before he died (Deuteronomy 33). As a result, God's people could face the future with confidence because the God who had delivered them would also preserve them.

The God who saves us will also preserve us. He will not allow our feet to slip because He is our keeper. He will keep our going out and our coming in from this time forth and forevermore (Psalm 121). Therefore, there is no need to fear. God will never forsake His redeemed children. We can rejoice that our great Creator holds us in His hands. The God who holds the universe is the God who is holding you. The God who made the firmament, who made the deepest sea, the God who put the stars in place is the God who cares for you. You are saved and secure in his hands. 

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Amen.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11