I like to cut the lawn edges before I mow the lawns because any grass cuttings left on the lawn will be sucked up into the lawn mower’s grass catcher. Friday is, weather permitting, grass cutting day. So, there I was cutting the edges with the weed eater. I use two extension cords. One had been damaged a long time ago when someone else was cutting the grass, but it was repaired with insulation tape and worked well … that is, until today.
As I was cutting the edges on the top lawn, I pulled on the extension cord and it stuck as the adapter to the next extension lead got stuck against the brick edging. Suddenly, it was free … and there was no power because the “join” came lose. My pulling caused the “join” to break. I repaired the cable, and soon there was power again.
The weed eater is quite new. I paid the electrical bill. The extension cables were long enough, but without power (electricity) the weed eater does not work … yet with everything working well, I have the assurance that the weed eater works. Without power the weed eater does not work … with power it does work. Assurance means that once the weed eater is functional; the cables are functional; the electricity bill is paid … I can do the intended task.
There is another “assurance” that every Christian needs to have. It is the assurance of salvation. Far too many people attend church and proceed through all the rituals (baptism, confirmation, stewardship [in the shape of tithing or ministry], membership, etc.) yet lack assurance of faith. They attend Church and Bible Study, maybe visit the sick and pray for them, give lifts to those unable to get to Church or the shops, live good moral lives and still lack assurance of salvation. Why is this?
Have you ever heard the saying, “You were saved, are being saved and will be saved”? There is the past, present and future in that saying. At some stage in the past, you made a commitment to believe and follow Jesus. You got it all right by being convicted by the Spirit who convinced you to exercise saving faith, confessing all sin and turning in repentance to follow Jesus Christ. You were born again and it is genuine.
There is also the future. Jesus in the Bible promises that everyone who is trusting in His Gospel (His deity, humanity, death, resurrection, ascension and return) will be saved on that glorious day when He return with His angels, calling an end to this world and ushering in the new and eternal dispensation for His blood washed people.
So we have the past and the future … and sandwiched in between is the present. The present might not function all that well … like the electrical cable that broke preventing power getting to the weed eater. When this happens (in the present), assurance of what happened in the past and what will happen in the future becomes hazy and might even be so blurred that there is no assurance of salvation (past) and heaven (future). This prevents spiritual life (power) from activating your soul to enjoy what you have and are in Jesus Christ.
To the Philippians, Paul writes under inspiration, saying:
Phil 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
This verse is loaded with teaching but look at that phrase … “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” … this is dealing with the “present”. How do you do this and why is it so necessary? The concept of “continue” and “work out” means that there is something that needs to be done between your salvation (past) and your eternal salvation in heaven (future). What it amounts to is “proving” your salvation true throughout your Christian life. The discipline of daily Bible Readings and Prayer; of personal Bible Study; of growing in the graces (such as the Fruit of the Spirit); conquering sin; displaying holiness and blamelessness to God and mankind; etc.
Let me repeat it again … this is a life long journey. It is an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly exercise for all of life. And the reason you do this proves to God you are true and proves to yourself you are genuine and proves to those around you (pastor, family, congregation) that you are real! Even the people you meet up with need to know and hear you are proving whom you are. A young man in his early 30’s came to our home this evening to have a document certified. As a Marriage Officer, I am a Commissioner of Oaths as well. Whilst he was with us and we talked about many things, we tried hard to bring Jesus into every topic we spoke about. This showed him we are for real and at the same time reminded us of whom we are.
Sir Michael Faraday was a great Christian and scientist. On his death bed, a journalist questioned him as to his speculations concerning the soul and death. “Speculations!” he said in astonishment. “I know nothing about speculations. I am resting in certainties! I know who I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (Gospel Trumpet). That is resting on Scripture:
2 Tim 1:12 Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
You see, a life lived out daily for Jesus grants great assurance of past, present and future salvation. Assurance is like the elderly lady on her death bed who was being asked by her pastor, “My sister, what would you say if after all God has done for you, He lets you perish?”
She replied, “Pastor, even as He likes. If He does, He will lose more than I will for I will lose my soul but He will lose His honour because His Word will be broken”.
Dear loving, merciful Father. Thank You for salvation. Help me to work out my salvation daily, with fear and trembling. You see me … help me for I am so weak and need so much help. Help me to remember that I must live my life for You and not for the gallery, as my life here is a dress rehearsal for Glory. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.