I spoke at length last night with a Christian woman who admitted her occasional struggles with whether or not she has truly been saved. This is not a rare conversation for me to have with someone in the Church. Numerous factors can assault our personal sense of assurance that we are safe within the hand of God. Fortunately, our sense of assurance does not determine whether or not we are truly secured in God’s grace. Our emotions will deceive us, but God’s Word never will.
There are times when life can seem unstable, desperate, insecure or even frightening. This world offers little more than unreliable sand which shifts under our feet. Certainly, there is no lasting anchor which exists apart from the Gospel of Christ. Making matters worse is that many who profess to belong to Jesus are scrambling through the nooks and crannies of this world looking for the stability that has already been freely provided to them through their relationship with Christ. Life here threatens to topple us and, if we are holding onto people, possessions or experiences as our security then we have no real peace within. Paul’s letter to the church at Rome painstakingly reveals to us both the source and the depth of our security in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The apostle does not apologize for outlining our awful sin in the early chapters of Romans, yet he does not allow us to despair before we find him magnifying God’s remedy for our condemnation. He repeatedly declares in dozens of ways how Jesus has fully and forever rescued those who bow to Him! More so than any other book in the New Testament, the letter to the Romans reinforces to us the assurance of our standing with the God of the universe through the finished work of His only begotten Son.
By the time we get to Romans 8:33 (quoted above), Paul has established to the children of God that we are powerfully secured in Jesus. The main reason for this is because our salvation began in the infinite heart of the Almighty. Contrary to popular teaching, you did not just up-and-decide to become a Christian one day. How fragile your salvation would be if it originated within your own unreliable heart! Paul shows that the architect of your eternity is none other than the God against whom you have a history of indifference and even rebellion. We do not despair about our checkered history with Him. Why?
“29 For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom he justified He also glorified.” – Romans 8:29-30
Working backwards from the end of verse 30 into verse 29, here is what we clearly see:
- This same God has determined to glorify you for eternity (Romans 8:30d).
- In order to do glorify you for all eternity, He decreed that you are justified from your sins forever (Romans 8:30c).
- God has made this your present reality by calling you unto Himself with a voice that would not be ignored (Romans 8:30b).
- This was His gracious plan for you before you were ever a physical reality in your mother’s womb (Romans 8:30a).
- God’s plan for you was not described in terms that allow us to believe in error that He was simply aware that you would end up with Him in Paradise one day – He gloriously, sovereignly willed it to be so (Romans 8:29)!
The truth of God’s sovereign goodness is your anchor of hope. What God willed before there was ever an opportunity for you to respond cannot be undone by anything. We who have surrendered to His Son are in His gracious grip today! This is, always has been, and always will be the anchor of our security.
My friend, please draw great comfort and strength and courage and humility from the astounding truth that nothing can take away from your absolute security in Christ (Romans 8:35-39). All around you there is instability…but there is none above you. Failures and fears will haunt you, and the demonic realm will work feverishly to divert your attention onto all that is wrong, inconsistent or incomplete with you. His skilled accusation will not cease while you continue to live out your days. Your own religiously-proud flesh might seek to “help out God” by scrambling to establish some goodness of your own to add to salvation’s equation. If you are not careful, you will seek to be good in order to show why you are a fit candidate for God’s unspeakable gift of forgiveness, thereby giving you a sense that you have helped earn the gift of eternal life. That tendency within us is a smear against the glory of God. Oh – go ahead and be as good as you can be! But do this because you are absolutely pardoned and safe and justified and cleansed through what Jesus has accomplished, and never think of being good because it adds to your security with the Father. No, only the eternally righteous standing of Jesus Christ secures that for you – and that is enough.
Nothing will separate you from Him.
Nothing can undermine the work that He has begun and will undoubtedly complete in you.
Nothing can shake the Rock of your salvation.
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