I was in a Sabbath school class recently when, during a discussion about salvation, a long-time member raised a hand for comment. “We should never say that we’re saved!” A partial but oft-quoted Ellen White statement was the basis of the admonition to the class. Thus began a lively exchange about the assurance of salvation.
Rebuttal texts like the following were then quoted:
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
So when did we become hearers of the Word but not doers of the Word when it comes to our belief in our own salvation?
Unconsciously we base our feelings of being saved on our actions of the moment. We know, rightly so, that we are sinners in need of a complete and total transformation. We see the example before us of the spotless Son of God. We are told that He must be our example in all things, and we look at ourselves and cannot imagine that it is possible for God to ever bring that kind of change into our lives. Our feelings are driving our experience instead of the abundant promises of God’s love and powerful workings in the lives of surrendered individuals.
The net result of our unbelief is a spasmodic Christian experience. We are up one day and down the next. One day we believe God will fight our battles and next we bemoan our defeats when we feel He does not. One day we believe that He is guiding our lives and opening doors that no man can shut. The next day we are feeling lost and asking God why He has brought us into a wilderness to die.
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:8
Our doubts about our ultimate salvation bleed into doubts about the keeping power of God over our lives. We are figuratively crossing our fingers, hoping to be saved. Our confidence in the promises of salvation must be more than that.
This week’s lesson on Salvation is a perfect time for us to reexamine the gift of salvation and the immutability of God’s promises to us who are the objects of His affection.
Believe in Jesus, trust in Jesus with living, constant faith, and rely without doubt upon Jesus to keep and save you. One mighty to save has hold upon you; and as long as you will submit to be led by Him, to learn of Him, to confide in Him, He will keep you from falling; and when God engages to keep you, He is a sure defense. He is a strong fortress, and as you confide in Him, you are perfectly secure. His word is pledged in your defense, if you will believe in Him. Simply trust in God, and obey His commandments, and you are saved by the merits and intercession of Jesus Christ. Ellen White, 14 Manuscript Release 72
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- What does Salvation mean to you?
- When does a person become saved?
- What part, if any, do we play in salvation?
- Is it true that we should never declare that we are saved? Explain your answer.
- Is it true that we will not know if we are saved until Jesus comes? Why do you say yes or no?
- Describe the difference, if any, between a person who is saved and one who is not.
- Is the following statement True, Mostly True, Somewhat True or Not True: If you sin knowingly you no longer have salvation. Explain your answer.
- How can one tell if they are saved?
We close this week with words from the Apostle John, full of inspiration and encouragement:
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. I John 5:11-13
Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School!