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God wants believers to be assured of their salvation. He wants them to know without doubt that, having repented and trusted in Jesus, they have eternal life and will never perish (John 3:16; John 6:47; John 10:28; Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 6:17-20; Hebrews 7:25; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 5:12-13). God promises believers eternal security, and his promises are certain. God is faithful, and his promises can be trusted (John 6:37; Romans 10:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Timothy 2:19; Hebrews 10:22-23; 1 Peter 1:5).

What God has done

Believers have this assurance because their salvation depends not on anything they have done, but on what God has done for them in Christ. Through Christ’s death, God has forgiven their sins and brought them into a new relationship with himself. God now accepts them as being ‘in Christ’ (Romans 3:24-25; Romans 5:1; Romans 8:1; Romans 8:33-34; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 10:17-18; Hebrews 10:22; Judges 1:24; see FORGIVENESS; JUSTIFICATION).

Further assurance comes from the fact of God’s election. In his sovereign will and grace, God has elected, or chosen, believers to be his children, to have eternal life, to escape the wrath of God, and to share with Christ in the full blessings of the age to come (John 1:12-13; John 6:37-39; Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 2 Timothy 1:9; see ELECTION). Nothing can separate them from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39; Ephesians 2:4-5), and they receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of their eternal salvation. The Holy Spirit is God’s mark of ownership upon them (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 4:13).

The response of believers

These great facts are all concerned with what God has done, and they are the basis of true assurance. In addition, however, believers are aware within themselves that they are children of God (Romans 8:16).

This added assurance within believers comes from a variety of experiences relating to their new life. Such experiences include their desire to obey God (1 John 2:3-6), their sensitivity to sin (2 Timothy 2:19; 1 John 3:4-10; 1 John 3:19-21), their awareness of God’s discipline in their lives (Hebrews 12:5-8), their love for others (1 John 3:14-15), their desire to know more of God and his Word (1 Peter 2:2-3), and their constant perseverance in the faith (Mark 4:18-20; 1 Peter 1:6-9; Hebrews 6:11-12). Without these evidences of a changed life, those who claim to have assurance of salvation are deceiving themselves (Titus 1:16; 1 John 2:4; 1 John 2:9-11; 1 John 3:10; cf. Matthew 7:22-23; Matthew 25:41-46). (See also BACKSLIDING; PERSEVERANCE.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Assurance'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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