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How to know you will live forever

Unsplash/Cris Baron

Isn’t it the epitome of arrogance to claim that you know for sure you will gain entrance into Heaven? Well, that all depends upon the basis of your assurance. If your assurance is based on your righteous deeds and supposed moral perfection, then yes, it is the epitome of arrogance. After all, do you honestly think you no longer sin?

On the other hand, if the object of your faith is Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross, your humble focus is spot on. The evangelist D.L. Moody said, “Faith is the root; assurance is the flower.” Please allow me to explain.

Believers in Jesus receive the free gift of everlasting life in Heaven on the front end of our relationship with God. Coming to Christ involves repenting of your sins and trusting Jesus to wash them away with the blood He shed on the cross. When you believe, you receive. 

Nevertheless, you may find yourself having doubts at times about whether or not you will make it into Heaven. Such uncertainty does not mean you are not saved. If the object of your faith is Christ alone and not your good works, then you are saved, redeemed, born again, justified and forgiven.

“So how do I deal with my doubts?” I am glad you asked.

The way for your faith to grow from belief to certainty and from root to flower is to stand on the promises of God’s Word. For example, 1 John 5:13 states: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” It’s true! Believers in Jesus are actually able to know that they have eternal life. I refer to this knowledge as “sanctified reason.”  The Holy Spirit gives us this blessed assurance as we stand on the promises of God.

For example, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). Jesus also said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

If you trust in Jesus as your Savior but still have doubts about going to Heaven, keep going over those passages in your mind in order to strengthen your faith. The Holy Spirit will work through the Word to drive away your doubts and give you assurance, sanctified reason, and the knowledge that you will indeed live forever in Heaven. Millions of Christians have experienced this certainty, but only by standing on God’s promises.

What about someone who claims to believe in Jesus, and yet hates others? Such a person is self-deceived. Scripture declares: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar” (1 John 4:20). Without repentance, a person will not enter Heaven, period.

Satan may attempt to steal your assurance of salvation by tempting you to focus on the strength or weakness of your faith, rather than on Christ’s sacrifice for your sins. I received an email recently from a young man who has struggled with this issue, but has learned how to avoid this trap of the devil. Andrew gave me permission to share his name and his testimony.

Hello Dan,

My name is Andrew Bradley from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I felt led to send you this email after reading a post of yours on The Christian Post from 2017 called “Placing Faith in Your Faith Produces Doubt.”

A little bit about me, I became a Christian when I was young. I can hardly remember a time when I did not believe in Jesus as my Savior even though I wandered from Him at times. When I was about 19 years old I began to have doubts about my salvation. Terrible fears that one day I wouldn’t see Jesus face when I passed away, struggling whether I really believed or not. Picking up my Bible was hard because I wasn’t sure that I could understand if I wasn’t certain of my salvation. I battled with those thoughts for a few years before coming across some of Luther’s writings about his dealings with intrusive thoughts and scrupulosity. I began to dig deeper and found that I also have some OCD tendencies that play into my doubts. Through all of my searching I finally found some peace when I realized that what I seemed to have a problem with was I always looked at my own faith as my assurance that I was saved when I should be beholding Jesus.

I think I was about 22 or 23 at the time when I realized this. It felt like the world was lifted off my fearful shoulders. I’m 28 today and over those years I have been much better at looking to Jesus when those thoughts come along. Until recently the devil has tried to bring those thoughts up again. And by God's perfect will I came across your article that pointed me right back to where He revealed it to me the first time. Making sure the object of my faith is Jesus and not my own faith. I felt that peace once again.

Jesus is so good ...Thank you sir, I will see you on the other side.

God Bless,

Andrew Bradley 

Like Andrew, I hope you too experience great joy and comfort this Easter as you personally embrace Christ’s promise of everlasting life. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Well, do you? And if not, what are you waiting for?

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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