Recently a book I read stated that your level of generosity to missions is a sure sign of whether you are saved or not. Is that true?
Others state that if you hold to your faith under persecution it’s a sure sign of your salvation. Is that true?
There are many outward signs that people believe are salvation, like being nice to people, being polite, sharing, empathy, caring, doing what you’re told, and hard-working. But, are these signs of salvation. The world can practice the same signs and often better than the church.
1 Corinthians 13 says you can give all your money to the poor, and even give your body to be burned, but if it’s not in love, it profits you nothing. It might profit the other person, but it will profit you nothing. Jesus, Himself, contradicted all of these outward signs at different times in His ministry. He was rude to His mother at least twice, He was disrespectful of the Pharisees, and He talked in parables so the people wouldn’t understand the truth. By modern standards He sometimes wasn’t very nice at all, but the key was that His actions were never based on envy; they were always based on a relationship … the relationship with His Father.
The key to knowing whether you are saved is not so much by outward signs but by relationship. Romans 8:16,17 says that “The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” You know that you are a Christian by the witness in your spirit … on one proviso … “if so be that you suffer with Him.” In other words if you aren’t suffering for the name of Christ, don’t say that your spirit bears witness that you are saved.
“All that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12
Jesus knew in His Spirit that He was God and he suffered for it. If Jesus dwells within you then you will suffer for it because the Spirit of God attracts suffering. In the western world, perhaps the main type of suffering is not being liked. Everyone likes being liked. If you’re saved, your new nature won’t be liked because your new nature is Jesus. You won’t have to do anything and you’ll get misjudged, misunderstood, and disliked.
People with their old nature, especially those who say they are Christian, will feel uncomfortable with you because the new nature in you will make them uncomfortable, and they won’t like you. You’ll be either directly or subtly disliked by the church, by your friends, and by your family. They may pretend to like you, but underneath it all, they’ll envy your new nature and dislike you for it, especially when you hold a position of scripture that threatens their comfortable religious position, and ‘grace’ will be their argument of defence against you. You’ll end up more isolated and alone and more separated from the world, and it will test you to see if you’re real or fake yourself.
What are the signs that the Spirit of God is bearing witness with your spirit?
It’s not so much the outward signs as the inward signs …
- Able to forgive
- Able to repent
- Not competing for position … happy if someone gets it before you
- Thankful for what God has done and is doing even if the circumstances are bad
Suffering is the pathway to death-to-self. That means, learning to freely give up your right to justice for yourself in preference to trusting the Lord’s outcome.
Let’s look at repentance.
You don’t get saved by asking Jesus into your heart, or by trying to keep His commandments. You can only get saved by repenting of your sin. You need Christ to expose you to your envy, covetousness and greed for position and value in the eyes of other people. If you don’t see yourself in the light of sin you can’t repent, and if you can’t repent you can’t get saved from hell. Do all the right things as much as you like, it won’t save you. You can forgive and do as many good deeds as you like, but it won’t count for anything if you don’t find repentance. A heck of a lot of Christians are not going to get saved; they’re too good in their own eyes.
This generation seems to have lost the basics of Christianity; they don’t know how to repent. They’ve been taught to stand up for their rights instead of seeing their sin, and they like being liked, and thus they’re on their way to hell,. They don’t see any danger in being liked and having Christ as well. What’s the big deal? But myy Bible says friend of the world = enemy of God.
Repentance isn’t saying “I’m sorry”. It isn’t crying or being sad that you were caught. It isn’t taking half the blame as long as they take the other half. It isn’t figuring out how to not do it again. It isn’t blaming someone for stirring you up, and it’s certainly not explaining why you were not wrong, and it certainly isn’t criticising the person correcting you.
Repentance isn’t “I’m wrong”, it’s I’m wrong + FAITH.
Without faith the “I’m wrong” won’t profit you anything. In other words, to truly repent of doing something wrong, you have to own that you’re wrong whether you understand it or not, you have to trust the Lord’s outcome for the situation, and you have to trust Him with your pain of injustice and unfairness. If you see your sin, trust Him and repent. If you can’t see your sin, trust Him and repent; then He’ll show it to you. Waiting to you see your sin is not faith in God who says you are, it’s arrogance … I’ll believe it when I see it.
In Revelation chapters 2 to 5, John shares the seven letters to the churches. They’re not written to the world, they’re written to the churches themselves. Ephesus – the rightness church – was told to repent or miss out on salvation. Pergamos – the lust church – was told to repent or miss out on salvation. Thyatira – the tolerant of sin church – was told to repent or miss out on salvation. Sardis – the good works church – was told to repent or miss out on salvation, and Laodicea – the have everything church – was told to repent or miss out on salvation. The only churches that escaped God’s wrath were Smyrna – the persecuted church – and Philadelphia – the patient with hassles church. In the western world there are very few if any Smyrna’s or Philadelphia’s. No one wants to pay this price for salvation. We all prefer to pretend we’re ok in the other types of churches and we all believe we are right and the other church down the road is wrong.
God says repent.
May you surrender and see.
Pastor Greg Upway