One of the most crucial questions we all face is: how do I know I am saved? How do I know that I won’t walk away from God one day? Here are a few passages that will answer that question.
Saving faith is the permanent, ongoing trust in God that one day He will free me completely from all the consequences and effects of sin because of the blood of Jesus Christ. Saving faith itself is a gift from God and it involves 4 things.
With chapter 4, Paul finishes his case for justification by faith. Chapter 5 answers the question, “so what?”
James 1:1-8 is one of the most important passages of the book. It sets the tone, the theme and the foundation for the rest of the letter. If we get this passage wrong, it is like grabbing the salt instead of the sugar. It will change the entire flavor and understanding of the letter.
John concludes his letter saying believers can have confidence about three things: 1) that you have eternal life, 2) that your sin cannot jeopardize that life and 3) that this gospel message is true.
In the field of psychology, “locus of control” refers to the extent to which a person believes they can control the world around them. People with a strong internal locus of control tend to attribute the outcome of events to factors under their own control. People with a strong external locus of control attribute outcomes of events to external circumstances. But both have a perspective which influences and predicts their actions. The book of 1 Peter is about that big perspective. In a sense, Peter is writing to explain a “gospel locus of control.”
The Sermon on the Mount is basically about one topic: Who will be saved? Who will find eternal life in the kingdom of heaven? Jesus opens the Sermon on the Mount by describing the people who have saving faith.
The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most important passages in Scripture, as it is a profound and unique body of teaching from the Messiah himself. Yet throughout church history, believers have found it difficult to agree on what this sermon means and how it is to be applied to our lives. In this introduction, I’ll contrast the different approaches to the Sermon on the Mount and explain which approach I take.
Before we look at the beatitudes, we need to understand what it means to be blessed, the nature of a beatitudes (Jesus wasn’t the first to employ them) and how Jesus expects us to understand them.
Unlike those who are self-satisfied and see themselves as spiritually rich, the poor in spirit know that they are morally bankrupt and nothing in this world can give them what they truly need. This knowledge is a core conviction of saving faith.
Mourning is the appropriate emotional response to being poor in spirit. When you realize that life is not what it should be and you are not the kind of person you should be, the appropriate response is to weep over it.
While Matthew 5:5 is probably the most famous beatitude, not many people understand what it means. Jesus does not explain what he means by “meek”, but he is quoting Psalm 37 which gives us a very big clue.
When you’re physically hungry, the desire to eat is so overwhelming you can hardly think about anything else. Jesus is counting on that experience in this beatitude. The truly fortunate ones long for that which is missing in this life, that which only the kingdom of God can fulfill: holiness.
Only those will to commit the costly act of being merciful will receive mercy in the kingdom of God, because showing mercy is an implication of having saving faith.
The pure in heart are not those who are morally perfect. Rather their hearts have been cleansed of rebellion and rejection of God. The pure in heart live like the gospel is true, though not perfectly. One day they will stand before God and be accepted.
Like the merciful, those commit the costly act of refusing to answer injury for injury and seeking a peaceful reconciliation instead will find their inheritance as children of God in the kingdom of heaven. When we realize how deeply we ourselves are indebted to God’s grace and dependent on His mercy, we also realize we’re in no position to condemn the sins of others.
People marked by the being poor in spirit, mourning over sin, hungering for righteousness, pursuing peace and mercy, etc. will draw the hostility of the world, but they will be rewarded with eternal life in the kingdom of God. We, his disciples, are not to shrink from following Jesus for fear that the world might hate us. We are to follow him, even though that invites mocking, scoffing and persecution.