As a young man, Dr. Leseur met with forest service officer Von Rothkirch, who asked him in his fresh manner: “Do you have a living Savior?” Somewhat embarassed, the young man answered: “I think so, I hope so!” “Now young man,” replied Rothkirch, “if I ask you, ‘Do you have a Sunday suit at home?’ then you wouldn’t answer ‘I think so, I hope so,’ but rather ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Something like that you ought to know.” These thoughts caused the young student to feel uneasy until he obtained the assurance that “Jesus is my Savior!”
Often when I ask the question, “Do you know if you are saved?” I receive the answer, “I hope so!” If this is your answer as well, than let me lovingly tell you: Examine and change your life. People who have a Savior don’t say “I hope so,” rather they know:
Now I am bound to You, Lord,
Now I am Yours, and You are mine.
I have found You, my Salvation,
So it shall be now and for all time.
I am reconciled with my God,
and crowned with His grace sublime!
To profess this is more than just a hope, it is a blessed assurance. We aren’t proclaiming some new doctrine where we say: “You will only be saved if you are sure of your salvation.” But we know that there are children of God who live God-fearing lives, yet don’t seem to have this assurance. In this kind of spiritual life, true joy is constantly lacking.
In all facets of life we seek to have certainty. When we have major pain in our bodies, we call for the doctor. We desire to have reassurance about our health. In business situations we also want to have assurance. When we apply for a job, we ask: “How much will I make?” People wish to have assurance in all aspects of life.
But when it comes to spiritual things, many people are indifferent and content to say “I think” or “I hope.” They consider anyone who says they know their sins are forgiven to be arrogant. If a child of God tells others that he is certain of his salvation, he is ridiculed and labeled a braggart. Then they say: “No one can know that for sure; it is just a false fantasy. If someone achieves salvation, it will first be revealed on the other side of death and the grave.”
Would you say that a drowning person who holds tightly to a solid rock is being proud or boastful? Certainly not! But, instead you would say: “He did the right thing! It’s good that he reached for the rock.” The same appies to people generally. We are like the drowning person. We are pulled down in the floods of sin and rushing towards eternal destruction. But praise be to the Lord, we can escape ruin. For there is a way to be rescued. Blessed are those souls who cling to One who is their only help and Savior in their time of fear and need.
Do you know this Savior? He is the Lord Jesus Christ. You can come to Him with this prayer:
Since I have nothing to bring,
I cling to Your cross alone,
Naked and bare – o, please cover me!
Helpless and lost – o please save me!
Unclean as I am, Lord, I flee to You;
Cleanse me, Jesus, by Your blood!
You see, if your heart is right with God, you can and must have assurance of salvation. There may be some who go through death’s door with fear and trembling and will still be saved, because they have clung to the Lord, but a life of faith without assurance is an unhealthy life. The normal life of God’s children is grounded upon the certainty of having salvation. Assurance of salvation is the crown of our faith. Do you possess this assurance?
The Bible Speaks of Assurance of Salvation
Like a scarlet thread, this concept of salvation is interwoven throughout the Holy Scriptures. The root tone of its testimony is the assurance of salvation. Repeatly, we read verses that confirm this assurance. Since there would be too many to cite them all, we will examine just a few.
Job was a man who had firm certainty of his faith. He testified: “For I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25). Can you also say this? Are you certain that your sins are forgiven?
The prophet Isaiah called out: “Behold, God is my salvation” (Jesaja 12,2).
David, who had fallen deep into sin, experienced being pulled out of the pit of destruction. With joy he professed: “You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5).
The Apostle Paul triumphantly wrote about the certainty of this assurance. He said: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
John proclaimed as one who rested in the arms of Jesus: “We know that we have passed from death to life…” (1 John 3:14).
Peter testified: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25).
The Lord Jesus says: “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20b). I could list one passage after another to prove that the Bible speaks about assurance of salvation. Based on these passages we can joyfully proclaim with certainty: “My name is written in heaven and I am a child of God!”
In addition to the Bible, a host of poets and songwriters spoke of this blessed asurrance. They lived with certainty of their salvation and call to us: “There is an assurance of forgiveness of our sins!” They strum their harps, and the heartstrings of God’s children respond.
The writer Ernst Moritz Arndt wrote: “I know what I believe. I know what remains secure when everything else here vanishes in sand and dust.”
Hiller wrote about his assurance in the words of this song: “Mercy was shown to me, mercy undeserved; this I count as wonderful, something for which my proud heart would never have searched. Mercy is mine, I know for sure! I’m overjoyed and praise the compassion that I was shown!”
Rothe chimes in: “I have found the foundation that holds my anchor eternal: Where else but in Jesus’ wounds? There it lay before time began, this unshakable foundation that stands secure even when heaven and earth pass away!”
Finally, Zinzendorf says: “Christ’s blood and righteousness, these are my jewels and robe so white, with which I’ll enter heaven’s gate and stand in God’s pure light.”
In like manner, we could list song after song, in which the writers expressed their assurance of faith. This certainty, which is a clear teaching of the Bible and of which songwriters of the past and present sing, must also become the keynote of your life. Don’t be satisfied with an uncertain hope. No, indeed no! You can have more. You must have assurance here on earth; a living hope amidst a hopeless generation. If you cannot say with Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”, then reach out your hands and do not rest until you can say with all your heart:
As sure as the sun is hung above in heaven,
so sure have I, a lost sinner, been forgiven.