Friday, March 25, 2016

how can you know if you're saved?

The base-level answer is quite easy. Verses like Ephesians 2:8-9 make it clear that we're saved by faith in God's grace, rather than trying to justify ourselves to God through our deeply-flawed works. But Ephesians 2:10 follows by noting that we're created to do good works. We're not saved by "good works". But we're saved-- and then we're supposed to do good works from the overflow of a saving faith and the empowerment of Christ in us. Or in a word, we're not saved by good works, but to do good works.

Biblically, there is (or can be) some challenge here. The biggest rub is not (and cannot be) the existence of sin or even "besetting sins" (however defined), since everyone sins, believer or not.

Particularly from John's epistles and James, the question is what to infer from a lack of fruit or the production of largely-rancid fruit. The problems are that:

a.) it's difficult for one to judge someone else on this (in fact, there are warnings against that and prohibitions against a firmly-held sense of judgment about someone else); and

b.) it can even be difficult to judge that within oneself-- thus, leading to potential and highly-appropriate questions about whether one has a saving faith.

If I had to recommend one passage on this, it'd be James 2 on "can such faith save?". There, Abraham and Rahab are examples of those who are justified before people by their deeds, even though they are justified before God by their faith. John and James indicate/write that if I don't have appropriate fruit in my life, then I (and those close to me) should be asking some tough questions.

If one is saved by grace, embraced through faith-- and has the relevant "fruit"-- then biblically, one can be assured of salvation, eternal life, Heaven, etc. It requires as much faith as believing that Abraham Lincoln was president.


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