This week I want to look at the doctrine of assurance. Christian assurance is primarily the understanding that you are definitely going to heaven instead of hell. Christian assurance is actually very similar to any other assurance in that it is based upon evidence. For example, the bank assures you that they have your money with evidence – they send you statements and give you your money when you request it. But what are the primary evidences that assure you you’re going to heaven when you die?
Firstly, you can have assurance you are saved because of the historical act of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus lived and breathed just as we do. Moreover, he died an excruciating death and came back to life. If he did not, then your assurance would be completely wiped away. Paul says ‘And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith’ (1 Corinthians 15:14). Thus your assurance that you are going to heaven is based on someone who is true and historically reliable.
Secondly, you can have assurance you are saved because of an internal sense through the Holy Spirit’s witness. Paul speaks of this: ‘The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children’ (Romans 8:16). Usually a Christian can sense deep down that they are saved through a God-given testimony of the Holy Spirit in their heart.
Thirdly, you can have assurance you are saved because you believe in the sound teachings of the church. For example, those who refuse to believe the teachings of the apostles should not be assured of their salvation. John says, ‘whoever knows God listens to us’ (1 John 4:3). If you accept the major doctrinal teachings of the Bible then you should take this as a sign that you are saved.
Fourthly, you can have assurance you are saved because you see yourselves doing what is right. Peter says that if you live good lives, ‘…you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’ (2 Peter 1:10-11). How do you know you will be welcomed into heaven? By living good lives that reflect God’s changing work in you.
Are you assured that you are going to heaven? Christian assurance is not a shaky faith that is full of doubts. Rather it is an assurance that is based on strong evidence in the lives of Jesus Christ, his disciples and ourselves. Joel Radford.