Unilever is an Australian consumer products company that makes a deodorant and antiperspirant called Sure. During the 1980s, they advertised their product by showing images of confident people raising their hand high into the air, including a student asking a question, a bridesmaid catching a bouquet, and a policewoman directing traffic. The snappy ad jingle closed by saying, “Confident, confident, dry and secure. Raise your hand, raise your hand if you're sure!”
As a believer in Jesus Christ, you can and should be able to raise your hand with confidence that you are sure of your salvation. The apostle John says assuredly, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). As a belief system, Christianity teaches there are some things we can know for sure.
Philosophy, on the other hand, begins with the basic assumption that we cannot know anything for sure. Socrates famously said, “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.” However, this is where human philosophy and biblical truth part ways. Colossians 2:8 warns, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
Philosophy is right about one thing. We cannot know anything unless someone or something with knowledge reveals truth to us. That’s exactly what the Bible says God has most certainly done in creation, in our conscience, through His written Word, and in the Living Word who is Jesus Christ. For that reason, we can raise our hand and be sure of so much, including that we possess eternal life through faith in Jesus.
Theologically, the assurance of our salvation flows out of the doctrine of eternal security, which points to the Holy Spirit’s role in securing our salvation. The Holy Spirit is God’s unbreakable seal on His people (Ephesians 4:30). The presence of the Holy Spirit in us from the moment of saving faith is also God’s guarantee of our spiritual inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22). Think of the Spirit as like an earnest money deposit in a real estate transaction. The buyer’s indication of good faith is the deposit he gives to the seller. He is saying, “I am good for the rest of the purchase price at closing.” In the same way, the Holy Spirit is the first installment of the salvation inheritance God promises to give us in Christ.
A Trinitarian view of salvation helps to understand our assurance (Ephesians 1:3-14). God the Father planned our salvation, God the Son purchased our salvation, and God the Holy Spirit promises, secures, seals, and guarantees our salvation. Salvation is all about what God has done for us by His own gracious action. Because God is the One who guarantees our salvation by His Spirit, we should never doubt that He has saved us (1 Peter 1:4-5).
Why is the assurance of our salvation so important? Generally speaking, psychologists tell us that insecure people develop unhealthy relationships. They are self-obsessed and present false exteriors. They put other people down to make themselves feel good. I could go on but I think you get the idea.
Likewise, insecure Christians have a difficult time accepting the fullness of God’s grace and forgiveness. Because they worry they might lose their salvation, they are always seeking God’s approval rather than embracing the righteousness of Christ applied to them by faith. They often feel more rejected than redeemed, and certainly not pleasing in the eyes of God. An insecure believer may feel unworthy to come boldly before the throne of grace in prayer for help in time of need. Eternal insecurity can also lead to legalism, the measuring of one’s spirituality by a list of arbitrary externals and the placing of those demands on others in the body of Christ.
For all of these reasons and more, the assurance of your salvation is essential to your healthy growth and development in Christ. This is why the devil, the accuser of God’s people, will do everything he can to cast doubt on what God has declared to be true about you in Christ.
The phrase “once saved, always saved” is not found anywhere in the Bible, but the concept certainly is. As a believer in Jesus Christ, therefore, remember this: Confident, confident, saved and secure. Raise your hand, raise your hand because you’re sure!
This blog is an excerpt from Starting Point: A Disciple's First Steps. Starting Point is an online discipleship coaching experience by Dr. Ron Jones.