Are you ready to meet Jesus? TODAY?
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. (1 John 2:28)
There is a once-in-human-history opportunity to bypass death, coming SOON. It is the ONLY opportunity to ESCAPE what is going to come upon this earth. Global earthquakes. Famine. Infectious disease. Asteroids. Toxic water. Volcanic eruptions. Starvation. Wars. Economic collapse. Governmental controls on steroids.
Many people who study Bible prophecy (including us in this ministry) believe that a number of prophetic events will be fulfilled in the very near future. This includes Jesus Christ calling all His true followers up into heaven. Many of you are eagerly watching and waiting for this event!
What about you? Do you KNOW you will be called?
We don’t have much time left! Alarmist? I don’t believe so. We Might Be Closer Than You Think. Check out these Major Prophetic Milestones! As far as what’s going to happen on earth, here’s an Overview of Things to Come (it’s worse than you think).
Everyone who confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead – these will be saved. The true Church – the invisible body of Christ, all who are born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit – will escape all these things!
For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4-5)
The God who made you, the God who loves you more than you can comprehend, is calling to your heart.
Brothers and sisters in Christ – dear family – please hear me. I speak to each of you out of a heart of love! Please bear with me on the length of this article, but it is heavily upon my heart to write. It is so, so important to me that each one of you are secure in your salvation and rapture-readiness. It is out of deep care and concern that I pour forth my heart to you. The question I must ask you is this – are you confident that if Jesus called His church home today, you would not be left behind? I don’t want you to just say “of course I’m sure!”, but to really examine your heart. Test yourself!
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5)
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)
But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)
Do your head and heart agree? Has your belief in Jesus changed you, from the inside out? Are you being transformed into Christlikeness? Are you abiding in Christ? Examine your own heart, not anyone else’s. Other people’s hearts are between them and God.
Let me be clear upfront that we can’t earn or maintain our salvation in any way. There is nothing – nothing at all – that we can do to “deserve”salvation. It is the same with the rapture. We don’t deserve it, and we can’t earn it! We deserve God’s wrath, both now and forevermore!
Sometimes people don’t like that helpless feeling of not being able to earn or maintain their own salvation, so they add traditions and works in an attempt to “measure up”. They want to feel as if they have some control over the process (if I do X and Y, then I’m “good enough”; conversely, if I do NOT do X and Y, I am NOT “good enough”). Similarly, some people don’t feel that they are worthy to escape what is to come (the time of “tribulation”) – they don’t feel “good enough” (or they don’t think we are “good enough”!). Thus, they think we need to suffer a little bit – or maybe a lot – before we are worthy of “rescue”. There may be a deep-seated unconscious desire to pay for one’s badness. This felt need for punishment often has its’ roots in childhood.
What about you? Can you understand that God saves you and will rapture you *in spite* of your badness? Can you comprehend His mercy through the blood of Christ, which withholds punishment upon you both during His earthly wrath and His eternal wrath?
My loves, we have no control. We are completely, utterly, totally, helplessly dependent upon Jesus for salvation and rapture-worthiness. No amount of suffering, trials, tribulation, or even a martyr’s death, would make us worthy for either! We have the strength to escape all these things only through the blood of Jesus, which enrobes us with His righteousness!
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (Romans 5:8-9)
My sweet friend, have you internalized that God’s love for you, unlike human love, is truly unconditional – independent of what you do or do not do? If not, please consider reading I Have Loved You With an Everlasting Love. We are only able to love God because He loved us first.
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
Jesus paid the price of your death penalty. He didn’t just pay part of the tab – He paid the full tab. All that remains is whether or not you accept that payment to be applied to your account. If you keep trying to pay part of it, you don’t truly understand the grace of God! Nor do you understand your total depravity – your complete and utter unworthiness. You do not have anything to offer God that remotely compares to what Jesus has done for you.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Salvation is the escape from God’s eternal wrath. Rapture is the escape from God’s earthly wrath, for those who are alive at the time it will occur. Neither are merited. They are gifts of God given by grace, through faith. God’s mercy withholds the punishment we do deserve; God’s grace gifts the salvation we do not deserve.
So why am I bringing this up?
If we’ve established that it is by God’s grace that we are saved, and it is through His grace that we are confident we will be raptured, why write yet another salvation post? We have many already. (Check out this one on The Law, or The Everlasting Gospel: The Mystery of the Bread of Life. A solid post on the gospel is The Five-Part Gospel).
While the gospel is unchanging, God uses our individual hearts and testimonies to touch different lives. I write my story because I can’t be the only one who has gone through the agony of wrestling with faith. Struggling with doubt – not doubt of the truth, but doubt of my own salvation. Maybe there is one person here who needs to hear this message. Maybe there is one heart that God will touch for eternity through these words!
Blessed Assurance – I Wish It Was Mine
I was personally confident in the “facts” of Christianity. I had a loving earthly father and didn’t struggle with the concept of God’s grace. Nonetheless, there was a disturbing disconnect that nagged at my soul. It is this deep-seated, lingering doubt that I hope to expose in your heart today, if it is there. I do not want ANYONE reading this article to be left behind on rapture day.
“I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
Do you “pass the test”?
Not everyone goes through a vigorous head/heart struggle of faith, and far be it from me to cause anyone to stumble! But if this is you, if you have been struggling over and over again, I believe you can feel these words burning into your heart at this moment. I am praying for you. I believe God’s Spirit has led you here. If you have doubt in your salvation and rapture-readiness, God wants you to press on until He gives you assurance!
Examining yourself to see if you are in the faith is an act of obedience! It is part of “working out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). So here’s what I want to you to do. It doesn’t matter about the past. Are you trusting in Jesus for salvation, right now? Do you have peace in your heart that you are saved, right now? If we heard that glorious call home, right now, do you know you would be snatched from this earth? If you have momentary doubt, because I have shaken you in spirit, but then find that you are in the faith, that is “passing the test”. If you get a gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach, your mouth goes dry, and you are filled with fear, that’s not passing the test.
I did not used to “pass the test”. When I truly examined myself I knew deep down that something was wrong. I didn’t want to die, I didn’t want the rapture to occur, because I wasn’t sure where I would go. What about you? In your heart of hearts do you have peace or dread? Test yourself before God, right now! Approach Him in prayer with a seeking heart.
Talking the talk, walking the walk
I believed in Jesus (in my head), all my cognizant life. I was fortunate to be raised in a God-fearing home, although God wasn’t actively talked about much on a daily basis. We attended church regularly, and many in my family participated in church ministry. I consider my family to have been very “typical North American Christian”.
I made a decision to follow Christ in my own backyard at Bible club, at the age of 4, because the picture card of people engulfed in flames seared terror into my wee heart. While I believe it’s necessary to teach about the reality of hell, threatening children with intense suffering won’t help them understand what Jesus has done for us…
I wanted to go to heaven. Desperately. My main focus was, “will I go to heaven when I die?”.
This passage literally terrified me:
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
I would pray the “Sinner’s Prayer”, “sign the salvation card”, follow the “4-step plan”, and read through the “Romans Road” many times over the next few decades. I prayed along with Billy Graham at one of his crusades. I was baptized as an adult. I was *IN*, wasn’t I???
I had intellectual Bible knowledge. I looked the part, I said the right words. I was moral, felt guilty about the “right things”, hung around the “right people”. I went to Bible college, went on several missions trips, told others about Christ. I just couldn’t seem to get close to God, other than a few sentimental experiences here and there. Don’t get me wrong – I genuinely believed at the time that I was seeking God. No one would have ever guessed I might not have been saved. But in my heart of hearts I struggled – waning from enthusiastic, to wandering, to doubting, to indifferent.
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16)
If this is God’s job, I realized, surely He is good at His job. Why then, did I feel such unease in my spirit? Why did I not have assurance of salvation? Why did I doubt? Well meaning people assured me that it was just the enemy’s attacks, trying to rob me of joy and peace. Was it? Or was it God’s Spirit Himself, nudging me, telling me to examine myself?
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Can’t you see for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you–unless you actually fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Was I failing the test? Was Jesus Christ not in my heart?
Was I seeking warm & fuzzy feelings / spiritual encounters, or was I seeking God Himself?
Was I pursuing the gifts (blessings, answers to prayer, healing, spiritual gifts), or the Giver???
When God didn’t answer prayer “how I wanted”, did I get angry, or did I trust Him?
Did I want self-affirmation, or did I want to find my identity in Christ?
When facing hardships, did I blame God, or did I cling to faith?
Did I read the Bible because I wanted to tick off all the chapters and feel like I had done the right thing, or because I loved God and wanted to hear from Him?
Did I pray because I knew I should, or because I genuinely believed that God hears and answers prayer?
Did I obey a strong moral code to avoid punishment / consequences, or to please Jesus?
Did I want spirituality, or did I want my life to be engulfed by the eternal, living God?
Did I want heaven, or did I want Jesus?
Was I doing “mighty works in Jesus’ Name”, without ever truly knowing Him?!?
With God, it always comes down to the heart.
It comes down to the WHY, not the WHAT. You guys. I wanted to be saved from hell, not from my sins. My focus was on getting to heaven, not on loving Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I was doing good to prove I was saved to myself, not because I wanted to show my love for God.
I was following Jesus with my head, but not my heart.
I didn’t have a passion for Christ. I was …. lukewarm. 😬😬😬
I couldn’t maintain a commitment to Jesus over the long haul, because I was doing “Christian” by my own efforts. I would try for awhile (sprout), and then give up. My focus would drift to the things of this world (wither/choke out). Things such as entertainment, work, possessions, and hobbies – but these could really be anything other than Christ. My prayers were repetitive and void of feeling. While I found the Bible somewhat interesting to read, it didn’t “come alive” to me. Church was about religious duty. Tragedy struck in my family and I directed my anger towards God. I struggled with not having boldness to share my faith. I was embarrassed to admit I even had faith most of the time.
And then I finally wondered, *DO* I have faith? Could I be a “Christian” all my life and yet not be a Christian???
Guys, Jesus was knocking at the door of my heart and I was keeping Him out on the porch. Sure, I talked to Him through the screen door. But I was holding back. I didn’t really want Him to come in and take over. I was comfortable with ME being in charge. What if He asked me to do something I didn’t want to do? What if He told me to give up something I didn’t want to give up? And the worst – what if He asked me to go somewhere I didn’t want to go?
My dear ones, there’s going to come a point in your life when God will prick your heart. Maybe He has done so already. Maybe He’s doing it now. Maybe He will do it in the future. It might be through a friend, a stranger, a random note, a book, a funeral, a wedding, a sermon, a blog post. I don’t know. But when you feel that dagger to your heart, RESPOND. Do not pause, do not put it off, do not ignore it.
For me, the Holy Spirit pricked my heart when I read 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper. Regardless of the story’s truth (I am aware there is debate, along with the similar, but opposite, 23 Minutes in Hell), the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to consider that heaven *IS TRULY REAL*. Surely, I believed this on an intellectual level. But for the first time, my heart caught a glimpse of the significance of that statement. I finally realized that if heaven, and all that goes along with it, is ACTUALLY REAL, there are huge implications to my life.
I pleaded with God for a fresh start – a time of spiritual awakening. And in His grace and mercy, He helped me wrestle it through. By no means did it *feel* like He was helping. But, looking back, it is certain that I could not have gotten to the foot of the cross by my own strength. Now let me tell you, it wasn’t a fast or an easy process. It was very much ongoing – day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year. I like quick fixes as much as anyone else! But I had to struggle through these issues of faith. Why, when others seem to “get it” so easily? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s my personality, or maybe it’s just God’s chosen path for me. Instead of focusing on why, I am trusting that God has a purpose and plan for what I went through. Maybe it’s to help YOU.
Long story short, I finally ended up in the bathroom, in the dark, crying. Pleading with God – “I’ve done everything I can think of! Nothing is working! I believe in Jesus. I know I’ve sinned. I believe in the Bible – it’s the only reality that makes sense. I’ve tried to live out the fruit of the Spirit. I’ve prayed and prayed. I just can’t get it! My heart just won’t cooperate and I don’t know why!!!”
And God told me – “Stop.”
And with a flood of understanding, I heard all the “I’s” in my prayer. I’ve tried everything. I’ve done this. I’ve done that. I’ve prayed.
Salvation isn’t about what I’ve done – at all. Salvation is about what Jesus has done.
It is finished.
Stop striving, stop trying, stop proving, stop asking, stop reasoning, stop worrying, stop doing.
Rest in what Jesus has done.
And at that moment, I stopped. I gave up “me”. I rested in what Jesus has done.
And God gave me assurance.
After decades of asking, and trying, and crying, and begging – all I had to do was stop ME and rest in HIM. It’s been about five years now, and assurance remains strong. I’ve had a few passing whiffs of doubt where I’ve had to examine myself, but I was able to quickly take those doubts captive and submit them to Christ.
This assurance is what I desire for each one of you.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
There are generally two reasons why someone doesn’t have assurance of salvation:
- They aren’t truly in the faith.
- There is weakness in their armor of God and the enemy is attacking
I hope that in reading my own account above, you will be able to clearly recognize whether or not you are truly in the faith. Are you seeking after Jesus, or something else (gifts, encounters, heaven, answered prayers, spirituality, religion, traditions, friends)? Have you let Jesus all the way into your heart, or are you holding a part of your life back? Is Jesus the “main course” in your life, or are “Christian things” a side dish? The answer, of course, if you aren’t truly in the faith, is to fully surrender your heart to Jesus NOW.
Now, because I don’t know where you are at, I believe it’s a good idea at this point to review how to be saved. This might be your first time hearing the gospel fully laid out, or this may be something you’ve heard many times before. Even if it’s a repeat, if you are struggling with assurance of salvation, consider opening your heart to going through it again. We will discuss weakness in the armor of God afterwards.
The Purpose of This Life is Knowing God
We pursue, pursue, pursue, and when we accomplish it is exciting but also empty – now what? The rich never have enough money, the mighty never have enough power, the beautiful always have some flaw. We move from one thing to the next, never satisfied. Why?
There is something (someone) missing.
God made humanity for his pleasure, and it was always supposed to be a mutual relationship. We messed it up, on our end. So now the whole point of our lives is finding God and being reconciled to Him in relationship. If we miss this, we miss the entire point of our existence.
We are like lost sheep – wandering around aimlessly. Sure, there are some “good things” and distractions in this world. But when it really counts, if we lost it all, if we faced a car crash or a terminal illness – what is this life about? We were meant to live in harmony with God, our Father. His Spirit is meant to comfort us, to guide us, to bring us love, joy, peace, and hope. Apart from Him, everything is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
We are born into this world as spiritual orphans. We remain that way unless we listen to God’s call and find our way home. God wants to restore relationship with you. But you have to want to restore the relationship too. Relationships go both ways.
If you do not know Him personally, then right now, God is calling you. He has chosen you for this time, and for this purpose. Your soul is never going to die. While your body lives, you have the free will to choose your eternal destiny. God is offering you salvation by His grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. The price has already been paid; the gift has been purchased. God is offering it to you – will you take it?
Satan will soon be handed the reins of the earth and will be permitted to unleash his ultimate deception upon it. Make no mistake, he’s been planning this for thousands of years and it’s going to be quite the show. But satan is evil to the core – he is the father of lies. He hates you, and he particularly hates any interest you show in Jesus Christ. He wants nothing more than to see your eternal torment. Don’t let satan control your eternal destiny.
Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Matthew 12:30)
There is no walking the fence. You are either fully FOR Jesus, or you are fully AGAINST Him.
Know How God Sees You
God loves you, and has known you from before the creation of the world. He knew there would be a “you”. You were created specifically to be in His family, in relationship with Him. So, what’s wrong? Why does it feel like God doesn’t care – that He is absent?
The answer is sin. Sin separates us from God. Sin is anything we think, say, or do that goes against God’s laws. This world is broken because people are trapped in sin. Our sinful choices affect ourselves, each other, and even entire generations and societies. God has given us free will to choose to do as we please, and many times, people choose sin.
What are the laws of God? In the Bible, God has given many instructions for living right before Him. These include the 10 Commandments among others. But apart from the Bible, God has written His commands on human hearts, which we refer to as “conscience”. Our conscience is what tells us that murder is wrong. It is what makes us angry at injustices, abuses, and crime. We know we violate our consciences. The telltale signs are lying about it, hiding it (doing it in secret), or covering it up. This is how God can hold us as being without excuse (Romans 2:14-16).
Above all, God tells us to love Him with all our soul, heart, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. If you love anything in your life more than you love God (or a fellow human being), you have broken this command. Whenever you do anything you know you shouldn’t (lying, gossiping, pornography, stealing, cheating, sleeping around, saying “Oh my God”, disobeying your parents, etc), it is “sin”. We hold ourselves up to God’s standards and see that we fall hopelessly short. We’ve blown it, many times. And we know it.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
You may ask – “What if people choose to be good?” There are many non-religious and religious people who are “good” and kind, by human standards. But no matter how “good” we are, we aren’t perfect. God’s holiness requires us to be perfect (Matthew 5:48). (Here is a wonderful article that explains God’s holy requirements).
God’s laws are a mirror, to reflect back to us where we have failed.
Know Where You’re Headed
You know you’ve sinned, you’ve broken God’s laws. So what does that mean?
Our physical bodies die someday. However, God created humans to be eternal. That means the part of you that’s “you” – your spirit – is going to live on forever. God says that He has “placed eternity in the hearts of men” – deep down, we know that physical death is not the end (Ecclesiastes 3:11). When you die, you will stand before God and give an account of EVERYTHING you have done while alive (2 Corinthians 5:10). Everything done in the darkness and secret will be brought to light before Him (and perhaps before the angels and the rest of humanity as well – Luke 8:17).
According to God, breaking even one of His laws, once, results in the death penalty.
“For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)
Death?? Isn’t that extreme? God, as a supreme holy and righteous being, cannot tolerate any sin (breaking of the law) in His presence. God sees one sin as the same as being guilty of all sins. That’s how high His standard is. Unless we repair our relationship with God we will “die” for eternity. Eternal “death” is eternal separation from God and others, in the “lake of fire” – a place of torment and suffering.
While your physical body is alive, you can choose the eternal destiny of your spirit. Once your physical body dies, there are no second chances (Hebrews 9:27).
There’s Only One Way Out
A change of heart, seeing ourselves as utterly lost/sinful and wanting to do something about it, is called repentance. Just recognizing that we do bad things (as defined by God), but not having a desire to stop, is not true repentance. We must truly want to be changed, to be restored to right relationship with God, to be saved. Are you wanting to go to heaven, to be raptured, or are you wanting to be saved from your sins?
Following Jesus isn’t about religion. Being a true Christian comes down to a heart transformation. We can never be worthy of a “heart transplant” from God. In fact, all our works are as “filthy rags” in trying to earn it. Going to church, reading through the Bible, acting morally, these count as nothing – even worse, they are as soiled menstrual garments (what filthy rags means).
There is nothing *we* can do to fix our “wrongness” – no good work, no sacrament, no penance. But because God our Father loves us, He has provided a way to restore the relationship.
Jesus says “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6)
God does not want you to be separated from Him for eternity. He created hell and the eternal Lake of Fire for satan and the fallen angels, NOT for humans (Matthew 25:41). But you will go there if you reject God’s rescue plan. He wants you to come back to His family. So He sent a part of Himself, Jesus Christ, to die for you. The Bible makes it clear that every sin has to be punished by death and paid by the penalty of innocent blood. Jesus lived a perfect life on Earth – though He lived as a man under God’s Law, He never broke the Law. This qualified Him to take our sins upon Himself to become a perfect sacrifice. Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment for us. His blood paid the price required by God for our sins.
But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
It doesn’t end there, though. On the third day, Jesus was raised to life, to a new eternal body. When we join God’s spiritual family, we, too, will get a new eternal body someday.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures… (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
“the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Romans 3:23)
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)
Turn From Yourself Towards God and Believe
We chose to sin and Jesus chose to be a “sin-bearer” and take God’s wrath for us. God offers an all-inclusive “forgiveness slip” to every human on earth. If we believe what God has said about us (we are totally lost and have no hope of saving ourselves), and what He has done to fix it (Jesus is the only way as a Savior), we can obtain this “forgiveness slip”. We can ask God for Jesus’ payment to be applied to our account. This allows us to be declared innocent and sin-free in God’s eyes – the debt we owed for our crimes is paid. Salvation is a change in legal standing before God – from “guilty” to “not guilty”. Jesus didn’t just pay PART of our debt, or even MOST of it, leaving some on the tab for us. He paid our ENTIRE debt.
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
When you say Jesus is Lord, this means you believe He is God and He deserves to be Lord of your life. When you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you accept that what the Bible teaches about Jesus is true and that His death paid the price for your wrongdoings.
For many years I didn’t “get” the simplicity of salvation and tried to “earn” it, be “worthy of it”, and “prove it to myself” by repeating the sinner’s prayer, trying to live morally, reading the Bible, and doing other good works. My dear ones, salvation is not about anything we DO, but about what Jesus has already DONE. We must truly rest in faith. Faith in Jesus’ provision. Faith in His completed work for us on the cross. That’s the beauty of God’s grace – “It is finished”.
For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Asking for Jesus’ sacrifice in our stead results in immediate salvation and sealing of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). That’s what being “Born Again” means (1 Peter 1:23). We are forgiven (1 John 1:9). We can’t accidentally lose our salvation, and God will never remove it from us (John 6:39). We cannot be kicked out of the sheep fold.
[I don’t wish to be dogmatic about it, nor start any Calvinist / Arminian debates, but I want to acknowledge that there is some Biblical evidence that suggests we may retain free will to reject our salvation (not lose it) and leave the faith by our own choice. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that those who appear to do so were never truly in the faith (1 John 2:19). Regardless of your beliefs on this issue, it doesn’t really matter about the past – what about today? Are you trusting Jesus for salvation today?]
Repeating certain words or saying a specific prayer won’t save you. There is no formula for salvation – it’s a heart change! You don’t even need to say any words at all! Maybe you have reached this point and your heart’s desire is truly in agreement that you want to fully surrender your life to Christ. Maybe you’ve never heard anyone pray (talk to God) before. If this is you, here is an example of what you can say to God in your own words:
“Heavenly Father, I have broken your rules and I’m so, so sorry. You are right, I am lost! Please forgive me through the blood of Jesus Christ and wash away my sins. Come into my heart and seal me with Your Holy Spirit. Change me and make me new. I want to be alive in Christ! Help me to walk with You until my very last breath. Amen.”
Allow your heart to open towards God, mentally and emotionally releasing all that you are to Him. I really want to emphasize that it’s the desire and authenticity of your heart that matters, far more than any specific words you use. Jesus tells a story about that here:
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
Take My Life and Let It Be
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
A Word For the Unsure
My dear ones struggling with assurance of salvation, I continue to pray that God speaks to you through these words. My heart’s desire is that you be freed of doubt.
The “heart” is comprised of our emotions/feelings, our mind/intellect, and our will/actions. We have feelings about God, we think through the facts about Jesus and the Bible, and our actions demonstrate what we believe. In each of these areas, we must rely on GOD to provide the faith. We can’t make ourselves believe – we can’t force feelings, we can’t understand if our spiritual eyes are closed, and actions done on our own effort will consistently fizzle over time. Examine if all three aspects of your heart are in alignment. If not, confess that to God and pray for HIM to provide you with saving faith.
You want to be secure! You want to know you are going to heaven! You want to know you will be raptured! You are desperate for that assurance. But, my sweet friends, your motivation cannot be heaven, nor the rapture – for that would be an idol. Your motivation cannot be in fear of hell, nor in being left behind – acting in fear doesn’t come from your heart.
“But I’m not worthy!”
Of course you’re not. None of us are.
“I can’t do it! I’ve tried to be good, I’ve tried to do the right things. I’ve tried everything I can think of! I’ve done everything I can do!”
STOP. Give that all up. Come to the end of yourself.
“Have mercy upon me, Lord, a sinner.”
Fall on your face before the foot of the cross. Allow the blood of Jesus to wash away your sin. Yield your heart – it’s all you have to give. Release all the darkness. Allow God’s light to shine in.
“Change me, Lord. I give it all to You – my heart, my life, my all.”
Rest in what Jesus has done for you. Be still. Allow God to minister to you. Don’t hold back. Don’t resist the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to work in your heart. Be still. Listen. Rest.
“I surrender, Lord.”
Allow Him to come in, to set up residence. Allow the Holy Spirit to possess you as His temple, as His own.
“I believe, Lord, help my unbelief”!
Allow God to fully transform your heart into a new creation. Choose to believe in His promises.
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (John 6:37)
Treasure this moment and write it down in your Bible. Start your journey with Christ anew. Allow this to be a defining moment, from which you will never, ever turn back. Make the decision today to follow Jesus from this day forward – no turning back.
All To Jesus I Surrender
All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.
All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.
All to Jesus I surrender,
Now I feel the sacred flame.
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory to His name
If you asked God to forgive you, and have chosen to follow Him, you are now part of His family. It’s time to learn more about Him, grow your relationship with Him, and choose to obey Him. It’s like any relationship – it takes time and dedication!
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
First, talk to God. This can seem awkward at first, but talk to Him as you would to a best friend. Nothing fancy, no complicated words or phrases, just talk to Him. Tell Him how you feel, what you’re doing, what questions you have, what you need. God’s not a magic genie – he doesn’t give us things for our selfish purposes. He wants you to see yourself in His bigger picture. He wants you to grow in holiness, to become more like Him. If you ask God to help you know Him better, to help you understand His word and how He wants you to live, he always answers those prayers!
Second, read the Bible. The Bible is more precious than gold – find one and keep it safe! Try hard to read it every day. A suggestion might be to start in the book of John, then Romans, and then read the rest of the New Testament. Each time you read, ask God to help you understand.
Third, try to obey God. Ask Him to help you. As you read the Bible, He will teach you what He wants you to do. Deliberately choose to stop doing things He doesn’t like and commands against. Deliberately choose to allow Him to help you be more like Him – patient, kind, forgiving, joyful, serving, gentle, self-controlled, honest. You will still struggle with doing what you don’t want to do, and not doing what you want to do. When you sin, ask God to forgive you, then don’t dwell on it. Get right back up and keep on going. Jesus wants you to keep your eyes on HIM, not on yourself (neither your failures nor your successes!).
Fourth, be baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This can be done in any body of water and can be performed by any true follower of Jesus Christ. It should be done by full immersion (under the water) if possible. Baptism isn’t necessary for salvation, but it is an important act of faith and obedience. If you have an opportunity to do so, you should take it. Through baptism, you symbolize your spiritual death and resurrection, and publicly declare your decision to follow Christ.
Fifth, find other Christians to spend your time with. Our friends can influence our attitudes and behaviors. Trying to find a local church is a good idea. (There are so many and it’s difficult to know where to start. Not all churches have sound teaching about the Bible and salvation. I would personally recommend choosing a conservative evangelical church.) You are also welcome to join us for fellowship on FaceBook (Group for Women; Group for Everyone)!
Sixth, teach others what you know. As a follower of Christ, your eyes are opened and you can see! Tell others of the spiritual battle that is going on and help deliver them from deception. In this way you will literally pull them out of the flames of eternal fire! Encourage others in the faith! All we can do is plant seeds of the gospel and water sprouts of growth in other believers – God gives all the increase. Never stop planting, watering, and praying!
Seventh, pray specifically. God’s Spirit works where the gospel of Jesus is being preached and where people are desperately seeking Him. He WANTS to help you. Pray for healing, protection, and deliverance. With that said, trials of faith will most certainly be on your path. Trust God in both the little and the big things in life. Put your faith in Him.
Eighth, read up! Apart from the Bible, there are books and articles and sermons online you can learn from. Several websites I would recommend for growth in sound doctrine, besides our very own Unsealed, include GraceThruFaith, Gotquestions, CARM, Compelling Truth, and Middletown Bible Church.
What if I Still Struggle With Sin?
Of course you will still struggle with sin. Even the godliest people struggle with sin – doing what we don’t want to do, or not doing what we want to do (Romans 7:15-20). However, our hearts and minds are freed from being enslaved to it. If we call for help, God will provide a way out – even if it’s hard. The trick is identifying temptation early, and halting it before we are sucked into full blown sin.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
You can be sure you will be tempted – often!
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Predators look for weakness. Our enemy looks for ANY opening he can find to pull us away from God. He tells us there are “little sins” that are “no big deal”. He tempts us, saying “surely this one time won’t make a difference”. And if we fall, he hisses in our ears that we are guilty, shameful. We are “too bad” for God to save. He tells us the Bible is “boring” and that it “doesn’t matter if we miss one day”. He says God doesn’t care and doesn’t answer. My friend, what makes you question your faith? What makes you turn away from Jesus and towards the world? You can be sure that the enemy will sink his teeth into those specific weaknesses. Have you already been targeted? Think again if you have put something down to “chance”, “bad luck”, or “accidents”.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
Coming to Christ, and abiding in Christ, puts a huge spiritual target on your back. God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, but He certainly allows us to be tempted. While no weapon formed against us will succeed, weapons will most certainly be formed against us (Isaiah 54:17)!
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
While you will still do wrong things, you should have a desire to get back on track. If you don’t, examine your heart as to why. Are you desiring to hold back a part of your life from God? Have you surrendered to Jesus fully, or only partly? Is there anything in your life that is worth more to you than God? Remember that Jesus frequently turned half-hearted followers away and finds lukewarmness repulsive (John 6:53-66, Revelation 3:16). That is incredibly sobering! If you can continue in habitual sin without feeling remorse and guilt (even common sins like sex outside of marriage, gossip, lying, cheating, pride…) then you should be very concerned and take up the matter before God.
Although individual sins won’t take away your salvation, they will put you out of fellowship with God. Sinning “grieves” and “quenches” the Holy Spirit who lives in your heart (1 Thessalonians 5:19, Ephesians 4:30) . When the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, it is your job to listen to Him and follow His lead. Apologize to God with a sincere heart, and determine to practice taking sinful thoughts captive before they bloom into action.
Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Maintaining a pure heart before God will cause you to progress in holiness (sanctification), and become more like Jesus. It will also ripen His fruit in your life (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control – Galatians 5:22-23).
What if I STILL Don’t “Feel” Saved?
Let’s say you’ve gone through the steps to salvation above. You agree with them all. You’re not holding back from God, and you truly desire to follow Him with all your heart. It’s not about heaven for you – it’s about Jesus. You’ve examined yourself, have found that you have faith, but you still doubt. Listen, there’s a difference between being plagued by doubts and never having had assurance of faith at all. Do you find you sometimes have assurance, and sometimes not? Have you ever had a moment where you KNOW you’ve turned your life over to God? If you’ve had a “light bulb moment”, where everything has clicked, and you surrendered your heart to Jesus, it’s time to consider that the enemy is attacking you through fear and confusion.
Far be it from me to give anyone false assurance in this ear-tickling generation – that’s why this section is at the bottom. However, there is biblical precedence that there are some who are truly in the faith, who doubt.
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
My dear ones, Jesus wants you to have faith and not doubt. For you, we are going to prescribe several exercises:
- Stand on the Promises of God
- Take Thoughts Captive
- Put on the Armor of God
Stand on the Promises of God
At this point I’m going to tell you to stand on the promises of God, which (if you were paying attention) is precisely what I told you NOT to rely on if you had a lack of assurance. Hehe, you love me anyways, right? The whole point is I wanted you to genuinely, sincerely, truly examine yourself for anything that was holding you back from God, before assuming your doubts were “just” a spiritual attack.
I want you to print out these verses and memorize them. Read and repeat them over and over, whenever you doubt your salvation.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:28-29)
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (John 6:37)
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
True assurance of salvation comes from the objective truth of God’s word, not from our subjective experiences. God promises that we will find Him if we seek Him with all our hearts. He promises that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. He promises that ALL who receive Him will become His children. He promises to reward those who seek Him (I would suggest the greatest reward is Himself). He promises that NO ONE can snatch us out of His hand. ALL who come to Jesus, He will never cast out. Jesus will come in to ALL who open the door of their hearts to Him. The Holy Spirit seals believers until the day of redemption. These are promises God has made and He MUST honor them, for He is Truth.
Take Thoughts Captive
In addition to keeping in mind the promises of God, you will need to take every thought captive that opposes these promises. When we focus on our doubts, we have taken our eyes off of Jesus.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Practically speaking, whenever doubts of salvation or rapture-readiness enter your mind, you are going to acknowledge them and reject them. It’s more effective to do it out loud, even if just a whisper, because then you hear yourself saying it.
“Doubt, I command you to STOP in the Name of Jesus.”
“I will NOT fear. I gave my fear to Jesus.”
“Jesus will NOT lose me. He has promised.”
“I WILL find God, because I’m seeking Him with all my heart.”
“No, I will not entertain doubt. Be gone in Jesus’ Name.”
Once you have commanded the thought to leave, recite the scriptures you have memorized above. Repeat until the thought has left. In my experience, it sometimes takes three or more repetitions.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:1-3)
When you take your thoughts captive, you make them submit to God in the Name of Jesus. You use the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, to do battle. Which brings us to our next exercise – examining the Armor of God.
Put on the Armor of God
If you have a sincere heart that is seeking God, but you continually struggle with assurance of salvation, you need to consider the very real possibility that you are prone to doubts and worries. Satan’s forces recognize this weakness, and will use it to seize your attention – tearing your eyes off of Jesus, and placing them on your own fears and insufficiency. The remedy for this is to stand strong in the armor of God.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
He put on righteousness like a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle. (Isaiah 59:17)
Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist. (Isaiah 11:5)
Helmet of Salvation – When we are sure of our salvation, this belief protects our mind. We use the helmet to keep out ungodly thoughts and lies from the enemy.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)
“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Breastplate of Righteousness – When Jesus comes into our hearts, He clothes us with His righteousness. We use the breastplate when we guard our hearts.
Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:18)
Belt of Truth – Wrapping ourselves with the Truth of God’s word enables to spot the enemy’s lies.
We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception. (1 John 4:6)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)
However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. (John 16:13)
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Sword of the Spirit – Hiding God’s word in our hearts makes it accessible when we need to wield counter attacks against the enemy. Reciting scripture during an attack is how we use this offensive weapon. Remember that this is how Jesus battled satan in the wilderness?
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11)
Shield of Faith – Holding unswervingly to the hope we profess is how we use the shield to ward off attacks from the enemy. We choose to stubbornly, resolutely cling to faith – no matter what.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)
According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
Feet of Peace – Staying in a state of attentive readiness is how we use the shoes of the armor. We flee from sin, we are ready to share the gospel, we wait on the Lord actively.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)
…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect… (1 Peter 3:15)
Wait patiently for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait patiently for the LORD. (Psalm 27:14)
No matter what – do not give up! Do not despair! Cling to God with all your might, no matter how you feel. Hold on firmly and stubbornly to your faith until death. Refuse to allow thoughts of giving up to creep into your mind.
Consider praying along with me, in your own words:
Jesus, I want to love you, more than anyone and anything else!!! I believe I am a sinner and that You are my Savior. Help my unbelief! Help me, Holy Spirit! Intercede for me now I pray! I plead with You for the assurance of salvation that I so deeply crave. Give me wisdom and understanding of the scriptures! Open my eyes to see you! Open my ears to hear you! Open my heart to receive you. Flow through me! Flood my heart with Your peace, and confirm in my soul that I am a child of God! From this day forward, I choose to stubbornly cling to faith. When I have doubt, I will choose to stand on the Truth of Your Word. Give me a burning, passionate love for you! Make me like You, Jesus! Take away my desires for the things of this world that don’t please You. I acknowledge that they cannot satisfy. Lead me and guide me. I surrender my heart, my life, my love to you!
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
If you have gone through all the above, and are still struggling, please message me. I can be reached in the comments below, via the contact section, or most quickly on Facebook (Even at the Doors: Pre-trib Rapture Watchers group, Group for Women; Group for Everyone).
Love in Christ,
Your sister, Stephanie Dawn
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!