Section 7: Salvation – Part 2
Week 3: Perseverance
Day 4: The Holy Spirit Works in the Lives of Believers to Give Them Assurance of Their Salvation
Rom. 8:1-17; Phil. 1:1-6; 1 John 2:3-6
We said earlier that all genuine believers persevere. We noted yesterday, though, that not everyone who professes faith is a genuine believer. That raises a question. How can we be sure we will persevere and be saved? If we’re genuine believers, it is an objective fact that we will be saved. But could we be deceived about whether or not we are believers? After all, Jesus himself referred to those at the end to whom he would say, “I never knew you” even though they said, “Lord, Lord” and did many things in his name. (Matt 7:21-23). So do we have to wait to the end to find out and just hope for the best?
No. God doesn’t want his children to worry about whether or not they are going to be saved. He wants us to be assured of his love for us. And the Holy Spirit works to produce that assurance within us. How does he do that?
As we’ve seen, when we put our faith in Christ, two things happen:
1. We are justified or declared righteous because of Christ’s life and death. As a result, we are no longer under God’s condemnation.
2. At the same time, the Holy Spirit starts working in our lives to conform us to Christ’s image. As a result, we start to bear spiritual fruit.
When you put those two things together, the Spirit’s work in the life of the believer is a clear sign that he or she has been saved. And because we know that he who began a good work in us will see it to completion, we can be confident that we won’t somehow lose that salvation.
That clues us in to how the Spirit produces assurance within the hearts and minds of believers:
1. He produces spiritual fruit in our lives.
2. Then he points to the biblical implications of that fruit.
As Millard Erickson explains,
Assurance of salvation, the subjective conviction that one is a Christian, results from the Holy Spirit’s giving evidence that he is at work in the life of the individual. The Spirit’s work results in conviction on biblical grounds that God will enable the Christian to persist in that relationship – that nothing can separate the true believer from God’s love.”[i]
Look back at the list you made in the sanctification section of the ways you have grown spiritually.
Can you see God’s hand at work in the items on that list? What implications does that have in terms of perseverance?
[i] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, Second Edition, Grand Rapids: Baker Books (1998), 1007-1008.