Have you ever ask someone, “Are you 100% sure you will go to heaven when you die?” This is often referred to in Christianity as the doctrine of eternal security. Some will argue that it’s impossible to know. Others will say that you can choose to walk away from God. There are also those who believe you can commit an act of sin that will keep you out.
Most Christians struggle with this. Often we struggle with believing God can’t forgive a certain sin. I struggled with this for a short time in my life. That’s why I wrote the book, Assurance of Heaven, in hopes of helping others know that you can be 100% sure.
1. The truth is that the gospel is meant to give one assurance. Without assurance of one’s relationship with Christ, it’s impossible to live an abundant life. It’s kind of like living with a spouse who doesn’t trust you. How can that relationship ever grow?
2. The gospel offers the believer everlasting life. Jesus said that whoever believes in Him has everlasting life (John 3:16; 6:47 and many other verses). I often ask my Sunday school class, “How long is everlasting life? And of course they answer, “It lasts forever.”
3. What can you do to lose EVERLASTING LIFE? If there was something you could do, it wouldn’t be everlasting life. Jesus gave no exceptions to it. Jesus paid for the sins of the entire world (Heb. 2:9; John 1:29). Even if you were to walk away from the relationship, you can never cease to be His child.
Every person is born into the family of God by faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:26). We are born again, ONCE. We become His child. You may become a disobedient child (Gal. 5:17). You may lose fellowship [close personal intimacy] (I John 1:6). You may suffer consequences for your disobedience (Gal. 6:7). You may be disciplined by the Lord (Heb. 12:5). You may go home via an early death (I Cor. 11:30). You may receive no reward for faithful service (I Cor. 3:15). But you can never cease to be God’s child once you’re born again. Just like our children, God’s children are no less His children whether they are obedient or not. Disobedience brings a variety of significant consequences, but never the loss of salvation for the child of God.
4. Everlasting life begins at the moment of faith in Christ. You don’t have to wait to die to see if you have it. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (I John 5:13).
Some manuscripts omit the second part of verse 13, “that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God”. John didn’t add this to cause them to doubt their assurance. This clause is added to encourage them to keep growing in the faith. Believers can drift away (Heb. 2:1), fall away (Heb. 6:6; Luke 8:13), bear no fruit to maturity (Luke 8:14), stumble because of tribulation (Matt. 13:21), or can become useless in their relationship with God (II Peter 1:8).
But God remains faithful (II Tim. 2:13) and will never let His children be snatched out of His hand for they are kept by the power of God through faith (the initial belief in the gospel) for salvation (I Peter 1:5). The Bible uses assurance to motivate us to steadfastness in the faith.
The more we understand the grace of God the more likely we will grow in our relationship with Him. It’s His grace that gives us assurance and it’s His grace that motivates us to live Godly (Titus 2:11). “…Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all you conduct…” (I Peter 1:13-15).
Learn more about how you can have 100% assurance.
Learn more about the book, Assurance of Heaven, God’s Promise to Anyone Who Believes the Gospel