Many people who claim to be Christians go through life not sure of their salvation. Is this how God wants His children to view their salvation? Are we to go through life wondering if we have been saved or are we know that we are saved?
The apostle Paul was one who knew his relationship with the Father through the Son. He wrote to the church at Philippi about his thoughts regarding his own death. These things show us the confidence that he had concerning his salvation and his relationship with Christ: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better” (Philippians 1:21-23). Now note that the apostle Paul says for him to die is “gain”. How can that be? How can anyone look at the thought of dying as gain? The only way he could look at death this way is if he was confident where he was going when he died. Paul had the desire to depart because he knew he would be with Christ. That is the same kind of confidence you and I should have.
The book of Hebrews discusses the idea of confidence, and I’d like to discuss four verses with you from that writer.
First, Hebrews 3:6 says, “But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house — whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end”. The “confidence” spoken of here that we are to “hold fast” to is from a word (parreesia) which means “free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance” (Thayer). This “confidence” that we are talking about is based on our hope. Hope can only give us “confidence” when it’s something we can lay hold of.
Second, Hebrews 4:16 says, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. The same kind of “confidence” that we are told to hold onto, is the same kind of “confidence” that we can approach “the throne of grace” with. Why can we do that? We know it’s our sins that separate us from God (Isaiah 59:2). So the only way that we could approach the throne of God is if our sins were forgiven (Acts 2:38, 22:16). When we were clothed with Christ in baptism, our sins are washed away (Galatians 3:27). Being forgiven of our sins, washed clean by the blood the Lamb, we can approach the throne of God with confidence.
Third, Hebrews 10:19 reads, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus”. Again this same “confidence” is what we have to enter the holy place. But again this “confidence” isn’t based on our own abilities but on the “blood of Jesus”. Jesus is our High Priest who has offered the perfect sacrifice for our sins, “who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever” (Hebrews 7:27-28). Because of this we can enter the holy place having been sprinkled by the blood of Christ, “and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:21-22).
Fourth, Hebrews 10:35 states, “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward”. The last of the four Hebrew texts tells us this “confidence” that we have been talking of is something that we aren’t to throw away. Why? Because it has a great reward. The Hebrew writer goes on to tell us, “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:36). We need to do the will of God or we can’t have true confidence that God wants for us.
This confidence is dependent on Christ and our relationship to Him. John said, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (1 John 2:28). Our “confidence” isn’t based on our own abilities to be righteous but on the promises of God, “in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago” (Titus 1:2). The Hebrew writer says, “… so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18). We can have confidence in our salvation because we serve a risen Savior and an awesome God.
Adapted from Ernie Sprinkle