Last time we looked at a snippet of the covenant promise that Christ has made with us from the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. This week we are going to ask the question, “How can I know if God has purposed me to be in covenant with Him”? We will also discuss a little of the doctrine of election, and the perseverance of the saints.
So how do I know if I’m saved?
1. Are you standing in the Gospel?
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:1-17)
The whole idea behind this passage is that we remain in Christ and that we strive to the end that our fruit which is produced would be to God’s glory. For me this is the mark of a true believer in Christ, that they bear much fruit. As you can see apart from Christ we can do nothing and our end is to be burned by fire. Those who do not bear fruit have not been chosen by Christ to do so, for example Judas who was in the close-knit circle which Jesus chose, did not bear fruit but fulfilled the scriptures written about him. He tasted the heavenly things, saw the miracles, spoke the very words of Christ yet in end because he was not appointed to bear fruit, his end became an unquenchable fire. This whole idea of remaining in Christ may raise some questions especially about our works in remaining in Christ. Let me remind you brethren that we are saved by grace through faith and that not of our own works. (Ephesians 2:8) It has been said that we are not saved by works but to works. An outpouring of the Spirit in us should produce works in keeping with repentance. That is to say, when the Spirit of Christ regenerates us then the correct response should be to bear much fruit and to abide in that which Christ has purchased for us, if that is not the response to the saving work of grace then I would contend that one has not been born again. So on this point of abiding in Christ let me borrow a phrase from Hebrews, ” We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” (2:1)
Am I part of the Elect?
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” (John 17:6-12)
That question is a fancy was of asking am I saved but I wanted to throw it in there to speak of this passage in John which reveals that there are those whom Christ has chosen out of this world. This portion of scripture also speaks to the fact that God preserves those who are under the shadow of his wings. The phrase, “none has been lost”, brings me great joy to know that none whom Christ has chosen were lost. That means that Christ will keep me until the end and that I will not fall away from his saving grace. However, I must be careful not to neglect so great a salvation. The power not to neglect does not come from my own purpose but that which Christ has already purposed for me. For in Christ I have been adopted as a son and have been given an inheritance that in imperishable which is kept in heaven for me. That’s my hope for this life, that I may attain that which Christ has purchased for me. My favorite verse in the bible comes from Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
This verse speaks a little bit to the doctrine of the imputation of righteousness. We will get into that in part 3 of this series. Let me continue to encourage you brothers and sisters to keep striving to produce fruit by living a life of obedience to Christ. By the power of His Spirit may you grasp the severity of this call, to abide in the love of Christ. We know and understand that to not abide in Christ will mean everlasting separation from the glory of God. Let us take this exhortation as adopted sons and daughters and take that to a world who is in desperate need of a fresh outpouring of the love of Christ and the correct understanding of His word. Praise be to God!