Do You Gain Assurance by Presevering to the End? Part I

Many well-meaning teachers proclaim that a true believer will persevere in faith and good works to the end of life. But if one must persevere in faith and good works, then it would be impossible to know that we will end up in heaven. You could never know until the day you died, if you did enough or was faithful enough. And that violates Scripture that tells us we can know (I John 5:13).

This teaching often comes from incorrectly understanding the distinction between justification and sanctification.  A person who understands the gospel and believes it is saved immediately from the penalty of sin (Eternal separation from God). Their destiny has changed. They are now destined for heaven. Justification occurs in the court room of God where He pronounces a guilty sinner not guilty. Once you’re saved you can never perish, and no one can snatch you out of God’s hand (John 10:28).

There are numerous examples of people in the Bible who believed and were saved immediately. Someone heard the gospel, they believed it, and they immediately became a citizen of heaven. The Philippian jailer is one example (Acts 16:30, 31).  Cornelius, a Gentile, is another example (Acts 10:34-48). At the preaching of Peter, “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).

Sanctification requires perseverance; not justification. If one is to grow spiritually, it will require perseverance. Believers should persevere and not give up. But that is different for every believer. And there are consequences for failing to persevere in faith and good works. But a lack of perseverance will never prevent a born again believer from entering into God’s presence. Learn to discern the distinction and rest completely in the assurance of your salvation by faith alone in Christ alone!

Assurance in the Message of the Prophet

In the last post Abel was identified as the very first prophet. He prophesied of a coming Messiah (Christ) that would die for sin and rise from the dead. The purpose was to fulfill God’s promise to Adam and Eve of a Deliverer who would crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3).

God immediately taught Adam and Eve that an innocent victim would have to die for the guilty. That was a consequence of disobedience, often referred to as sin.  The result of Adam’s sin was death. Death in the Bible refers to separation. In Adam and Eve’s case, they immediately experienced relational death with God. Their disobedience resulted in fear, guilt, and shame causing them to hide from Him. They had lost their relationship with God. They were no longer righteous in their standing with Him.

But God in His infinite mercy and grace came looking for them. They had sewn fig leaves together to cover themselves. It was the works of their hands. But God offered to them skins of an animal, picturing a future substitutionary sacrificial Victim. The ultimate substitutionary Victim would be the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinless Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).  It would be His work on their behalf because He is the only acceptable covering – His robe of righteousness (Is. 61:10).

Anyone from the beginning of time could be restored to fellowship with God by faith in His provision. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). 

In the third chapter of Assurance of Heaven, I demonstrate from Scripture how simple God made it to be restored to fellowship with Himself. Its people that make it complicated and convoluted by adding to the gospel.  In following posts we’ll look at some wrong gospels that cause Christians to lack assurance.

The First Prophet

The very first prophet mentioned in the Bible was Abel the son of our first parents, Adam and Eve (Luke 11:50, 51). And according to the same writer, Luke, all the prophets foretold of the future suffering of the Messiah [Christ] (Acts 3:18). In a conversation with King Agrippa, the apostle Paul said that he testified of the same things that the prophets foretold. The prophets said that the Christ would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead (Acts 26:23).

It seems as though the Old Testament saints knew more than we give them credit. The grace of our God was there communicating the truth of restoration and salvation from the very beginning. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The Old Testament saints look forward by faith to the coming of the Christ, understanding that He would die for sin and rise again. New Testament saints look backward to the death and resurrection of Christ by faith. Salvation is the same for all people. It’s always been by God’s grace through faith in the substitutionary sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Preview of “Assurance of Heaven” Book

Many are subtly taught that you must be good to go to heaven. Assurance of Heaven shows how incorrect Biblical teaching causes people to doubt their salvation because they are trusting in their performance rather than in Christ.

  • Must one persevere to the end to be saved?
  • Can a true believer fall away?
  • Can one fail miserably and still go to heaven?
  • How many good works are necessary?

Assurance of Heaven makes the Biblical gospel clear so as a believer you can know you have everlasting life.

The author, George Mains, has served in church leadership for over 35 years. Currently he serves as an elder, teacher, and usher at Calvary Baptist Church in Irwin, PA. He and his wife, Carol, have two sons and seven grandkids.

The book is available through Xulon Press, on Amazon, and in local bookstores.