The Assurance Of Salvation

WHITE PAPER ON The Assurance of Salvation BY Kenneth M. Axelson

While the title of this White Paper is Assurance of Salvation, Scripture presents many components to your spiritual condition, all of which are contributors to assuring you of where you will spend eternity, and I intend to cover the essentials.  Soteriology is the nomenclature (term) for the doctrine of salvation (how one is saved).  Many live pondering what lies ahead of them, perhaps one of mankind’s greatest questions.  What awaits you when you step through death’s door to the world beyond?  Scripture does not conceal the details about the two potential eternal dispositions.  Scripture states repeatedly that souls are eternal, and death is the portal your soul either passes through from its physical abode, to a spiritual state with the Lord Jesus Christ in a righteous environment void of sin, or separated from Him eternally in a place of unimaginable torment.  Souls in both dispositions are exclusively spirit, yet the Rich Man of Luke 16:19-31 without a body thirsted, felt pain and hunger when he died and found himself in a deplorable plight, where his bad choices in life haunted him!  This passage is often classified as a parable, but Lazarus by name transforms it into a true story, and those to whom Jesus spoke likely knew both characters.  The Author of the Hebrew letter indicates life is a spiritual training course, and I would remind you that you remain only one heartbeat removed from your final exam…

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Hebrews 9:27 (KJV)

The Rich Man of Luke 16 flunked his final exam!  The passage text suggests the Rich Man knew what he should have done with Lazarus when he sat at his gate, but chose to disregard it.  I wonder if the Lord placed a ‘Lazarus’ at ‘your gate’ you may be disregarding?  This is Scriptural fact, not supposition, and the Lord Jesus Christ clarified the consequences…

(13)  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  (14)  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV)

Because the Rich Man apparently embraced the popular theology of his day that taught that health and wealth were the barometer of the Lord’s approval and endorsement of his spiritual status, he lived in deception the Apostle Paul documented in II Corinthians 4:1-4, and disregarded his mission in Lazarus the Lord placed at his gate, and his disregard cost him eternally!  The wise learn from other’s negative examples, and strive to avoid their blunders!  Do you learn from others’ blunders what to avoid, or do you try to see where their failure came and pursue their path intending not to fail?  The Lord further clarified this when He said…

(27)  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  (28)  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

John 10:27-28 (KJV)

Scripture identifies the place of destruction the broad way leads to as Hell.  Growing numbers of Twenty-first Century contemporaries believe Hell is just a perverted fantasy, but Scripture describes both Heaven and Hell with physical attributes.  Most people are conscious of this spiritual precept, but reason that since God is love, He would not create such a place and His love prohibits Him from sending anyone there, but those holding to this thesis disregard Jesus’ Own words…

Then shall He (Jesus) say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Matthew 25:41 (KJV)

As well as the Psalmist’s, comment...

The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Psalm 11:5 (KJV)

Liberal theology has mesmerized church people to think Jesus is longing for more and more people to choose Him, and when they do, He will give them a life of ease, comfort and pleasure.  There is no Scriptural support for this thesis.  Trials and tribulation follow the new–birth experience (Matthew 16:24, Matthew 19:21, Luke 9:23, John 12:26 and John 16:33). In fact, concerning salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ described just the converse…

All that the Father giveth Me (Jesus) shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.

John 6:37 (KJV)

In addition, the negative counterpart…

No man can come to Me (Jesus), except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:44 (KJV)

The Apostle John penned a, staggering comment in the Revelation of Jesus Christ when he wrote…

The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Revelation 17:8 (KJV)

The Father recorded the name of every elect soul in the Lamb’s Book of Life and sealed the book before time was!  This destroys the popular concept of a divine scribe with a pen and a bottle of Whiteout modifying the contents of the Lamb’s Book of Life as congregants experience pressing traumatic incidents that trigger insincere professions of faith.  There is a tension here the righteous must learn to deal with.  There will be souls you know, and feel burdens for, very likely family members that you pray for, and witness to, who will not respond.  You must learn to disregard discouragement, while continuing to intercede when you feel the burden and witness when the Lord avails you the opportunity!  A chaste, virgin bride is the profile of the Church.  The concept that Jesus does not know who constitutes the Church is as ridiculous as a man planning to marry hanging-out at a church, waiting for a candidate bride to just appear.  Just as men court the woman they plan to marry, the Lord Jesus Christ is courting the elect using the Power of the Holy Spirit in progressive sanctification to do so!

Jesus’ Glory is the object of His Redemptive Plan, which will culminate when every knee bows before Him, confessing that He is Lord to God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).  There is nothing in Scripture that remotely suggests that will happen on this side of eternity!  The Twenty-First Century carnal culture has overlaid the Lord’s agape love with a reciprocal, and often sensual counterpart, disregarding the fact, that wrath is part of God’s agape love!  Because of the fall and subsequent curse(Genesis 3), everyone ever born is separated from God (lost and on the broad way by default) (Romans 3:10-18, 23 and 6:23), except those regenerated to new life in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:3 and Titus 3:5 - saved) by the Power of the Holy Spirit.  American prosperity feeds the thought, ‘I’m in good shape.  I do not need to be saved from anything except possibly the IRS, political corruption, the Deep State, financial collapse, or whatever else’ and yonder they go!  Spiritual salvation is the threshold to exempt you from Hell, so there are two questions: how am I saved and how can I be assured of my salvation.

Concerning salvation, two lines of thought prevail in religious circles.  Liturgical theology says that one must earn a place in Heaven, through adherence to religious rules, charitable, compassionate, or righteous deeds done and/or measures of suffering (salvation by works).  Adherents to this belief must disregard Scripture altogether, or remove focal passages from their context for support, and there are verses, which when removed from their context seem to support salvation by works.Matthew 7:13-14 is but one passage salvation-by-works advocates use to affirm their position that souls choose which of the two gates to pass through.  This thinking springs from the idea that souls enter this life with a neutral spiritual report card, and then accrue good and bad marks on that ledger, which will be tallied by a divine accountant at some point in the future to determine eternal disposition.  In this thesis, the broad-way-travelers are the ones who accrue all the bad marks.  The problem with this view is one can never be sure you have done enough of the right things to escape Hell!   Proponents of works-based salvation have expanded their error to claim there is no Hell and all one must do to get to Heaven is be committed to whatever religious persuasion you prefer.  This is bogus counsel from false prophets, and false prophet messages continue to multiply like rodents as we near Jesus’ return!  In concert are growing numbers of gullible souls and diminishing discerning Christians willing to challenge the deception.   Assurance of one’s salvation is not available in this soteriological construct!  The Apostle Paul clarified the means to salvation when he wrote…

(8)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  (9)  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  (10)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)

Verse 10 certifies divine purpose in the salvation of every soul that are not saved by works, but saved to work for the Lord!  This process requires one’s total submission to Jesus’ Lordship (James 4:7a), but this discipline continues to decline among contemporary church people, who see themselves as ‘Christians’ void of responsibility!  While this may seem harsh, the Lord Jesus said ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits’ (Matthew 7:16), and there is very little spiritual fruit in the contemporary church, which has now degenerated into a religious social club.  I have purposed to ask Church people who claim to be participating in Bible studies, what they are learning, but they cannot answer the question.  I then ask them what was the last spiritual principle they learned and how long ago was it that they learned it, but they cannot answer those questions either.  This resembles a marching band just marking time.  People as mean as hungry, junkyard dogs can attend church and think they are serving the Lord.  The man the Lord first ordained to disciple me told me, ‘Ken, you better pay attention to every sermon you hear preached and every Sunday school lesson you hear taught, because the Lord expects you to obey.’  His exhortation put the fear of God in me to begin internalizing spiritual principles and heeding them in my actions and reactions.  While there is no way you can determine anyone else’s spiritual condition, conservative theologians fear that the percentage of American Christians hovers around one percent.  Christian in this context is one regenerated to new life in the Lord Jesus Christ by the Power of the Holy Spirit, is a member in good standing of a local congregation, who knows their spiritual gifting, who is mindful of personal sinful tendencies and purposes to reel them in, and who remains pliable in the Lord’s Hand!  The Apostle Matthewrecorded the Lord Jesus Christ’s correction of the growing misunderstanding about His sheep (John 10:3-5) when He said…

(21)  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  (22)  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  (23)  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)

Avoidance of this dilemma is Scriptural knowledge together with obedience to it.  Matthew 7:21-23 is one of the most somber passages in Scripture!  It is hard to imagine the horror in someone’s soul hearing the Lord say, ‘I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  They will be face-to-face with the memory of a wasted life based on lies!’  I have only witnessed to three people whom so hated God that they said they wanted to go to Hell. Most people do not want to go to Hell, but neither are they willing to submit themselves to Jesus’ Lordship, the prerequisite to salvation (John 14:6).  This should emphasize the importance of learning, understanding, embracing and obeying Scriptural principles!

At physical birth, everyone is on the broad way, having a living body, an eternal soul, but a dead spirit you were born with, which remains in that state until the Holy Spirit of God breathes life into your dead spirit, giving you new life in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:3 and Titus 3:5).  At that point, the Holy Spirit of God comes to indwell you and impart one, or more spiritual gifts (Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12), which you are to embrace, develop and pursue ways to invest in the lives of others for Jesus Glory.  The New Testament refers candidly to this spiritual fruit!  The indwelling Holy Spirit introduces the newly regeneratedsoul to two former unknowns: free will and double mindedness.

Souls enter life single minded, serving either self, or Satan (Ephesians 2:1-2).  They have no desire, capacity, or will for spiritual matters.  Many believe that humankind has free will, which is true in a limited sense.  They can make temporal choices, but remain indifferent to spiritual matters until the Holy Spirit breathes life into their dead spirit, and comes to indwell them.  The Apostle Paul provides this statement of reassurance…

(13)  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  (14)  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:13-14 (KJV)

The unregenerate may avoid carnal conduct by virtue of lack of opportunity, or fear of reprisal, criticism or consequences, but not because of concern of any spiritual impact.  Regenerationintroduces the new Christian to his or her desperate plight apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, a concept it was formerly clueless about.  Following this event, the Holy Spirit quickens them in the face of temptation that yielding to it is sin and enables them to resist.  For the first time, the newly regenerated soul has the free will to disregard the Holy Spirit’s quickening and satisfy the flesh, which quenches the power of the Holy Spirit, or obey the Spirit, resist the temptation and crucify your flesh according to the Apostle Paul

And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Galatians 5:24 (KJV)

Spiritual free will is only present following regeneration.  Here, you have a bold warning about the presence and danger of double mindedness!  There are several Scriptural principles the Christian must discipline self to obey…

(17)  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  (18)  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

II Corinthians 5:17-18 (KJV)

The old things that passed away are byproducts of repentance (II Timothy 2:24-25).  I would challenge you to audit your life sincethe Holy Spirit of God regenerated you to new life in the Lord Jesus Christ.  If you detect no change, or changes are minimal, you might do well to check your spiritual pulse!  Some classify this as legalism, or works-oriented salvation, but the Scriptural directive is for those regenerated to…

(7)  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  (8)  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

James 4:7-8 (KJV)

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