Arrogance or Assurance

 

I hope it does not seem arrogant or prideful to say that I know I am a child of God, and that I belong to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and that I will live with The Father, Son and Holy Spirit forever.

To say that I was not sure of that would be to deny all that Christ did for me and said about his work and love for me. For example he says that anyone who comes to him will never be turned away. (John 6:37) He further illuminates that promise by telling those around him that the ones who come to him, who are hungry for his life are indeed brought by his Father. To my way of thinking it means that anyone who has the inclination towards placing his or her confidence in Jesus Christ is already in relationship to him.

If my wife had said that anyone who calls her on the telephone to ask for a date (back when we were not married, of course) would not be turned away, I would have been on the phone in a heartbeat and assured of a wonderful time.

Jesus told the crowds of people to come to him to find rest for their weary souls, burdened usually by bad religious advice and demands. He promised a new way of life working with him. (Matthew 11)

In John 5 Jesus tells people that whoever hears his words and believes in the God who sent him has eternal life, a life that begins the moment we place our confidence in him. I do believe and I do listen to or read his words. Jesus came with a simple message of love from the Father, a love that seeks to embrace humanity and we don’t want to place greater expectation on ourselves than he does.

Paul writes in Ephesians 2 that we are rescued (saved), made whole by faith and not by works. The reason for that is said to be so that we don’t take credit or merit for being reconciled to God. I could also well be so that we don’t become uncertain whether or not we have ‘done enough’ to warrant salvation with God.

Certainly there are challenges for every believer. Jesus often says that to love him includes obeying him. (John 14) He tells his followers that listening to his word includes doing his words, taking his advice, fulfilling his commands and certainly if we love God we are going to want to do what God says through his son. Jesus goes so far as to say that if we don’t forgive others then God won’t forgive us. There’s good reason for that law which we will look at in another chapter. But here’s the thing. His laws are not burdensome. (1John 5:3)

Here’s what becomes burdensome; ten thousand different expressions of Christianity. Layers upon layers of doctrines and rituals become legalistic and not life-giving. Jesus came to seek and save the lost folks of this earth, the people who know they need a doctor. He came humbly and lovingly and he enlists us to join him in his work, his Father’s work. Doing that can sometimes seem hard and even carrying the name of Jesus can bring persecution to the extreme of earthly death. But Jesus is with us, loving us, forgiving us when we mess it all up. He promises that nothing can separate us from his love. And he tells us through the Gospel of John that he will not lose any of us who have come to him (John 6).

Is it arrogant to say that all this we have from our Lord guarantees that we belong to him forever? No, I think it is ‘assurance’ that brings with it humility and gratitude to our God as well as the desire to love others in the way he has loved us.

If we read the Gospels this is the picture we will see. This is the story we need to hold on to. And let us not be detoured by another other message. Let no one try to place us in his or her ‘category’. This is Good News. Let us welcome it and the One who brought it to us.

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