Where Does Your Assurance Come From?

jesus is the only way

When we come to God to repent of our sins, do we come to Him feeling unsure, and insecure, about our repentance?  Are we ashamed that we sinned again?  Are we doubtful about our regeneration and justification, because we don’t feel as bad as we should about our sin?  Do we put off coming to Him to repent, because we are ashamed of how we failed again, how we sold Him over for some temporary pleasure, not much unlike how Judas Iscariot, who betrayed our beloved Savior for a mere 30 pieces of silver?  I want to be careful, so as to not appear to give license to sin, but if you are having doubts, let me ask, is your focus on your sin, how you failed again, and how you don’t feel bad enough, how you don’t deserve any good thing from God?  If that is the case let me suggest that you are trusting in yourself, rather than in the finished work of Christ.  If it is all about how you do, or don’t do, then it isn’t about who did.

Jesus is our righteousness.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” (Eph 2:8) When you, or I have sinned, we need to come to God, in the name of Christ Jesus our Savior.  Come and plead, ask for forgiveness, not because of anything of ourselves, but because of what Jesus accomplished.  “Lord, forgive me please.  I’ve sinned again.  I did “X” and deserve your wrath, but Jesus bled, suffered, died, and was resurrected Lord, for me…  Forgive me Lord because of Jesus’ Thank you, Amen.”

Lay hold of what Christ accomplished!  Claim it, cling to it, believe it, and live according to the reality of it!  It is the most real thing ever done for you, for any of us.  No person, has ever offered you any love that could compare.

The only true cure for gender dysphoria.

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If you have unbiblical preconceived notions about how you should be treated, or how your life should be going, you are not only in sin, but you will never be content, and you’ll always be angry.

If you are confused about your gender, you need the truth, not lies. If you pretend to be a man, when you are actually a woman, you will always know that you are not a man. It will be with you all the while. You will always know you are a woman pretending to be a man. You will never fit in with actual men. You don’t need people to help you lie to yourself. You need the truth. Your emotions are not tempered with knowledge that is true. This will only lead to more suffering. Accept the truth. The truth is that you have sinful feelings and thoughts. You, along with the rest of us, are perverted. We all need God to grant us repentance, and faith. Pray for God to lead you to actual truth, and free you from your sins.  Trust the finished work of Jesus Christ, on the cross for your righteousness.  He took our punishment, and satisfied the just wrath of God with His sacrifice.  We need to repent of our sins, and trust solely in Him.

The Sovereignty of God in Salvation According to Acts Chapter 11.

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In the first part of Chapter 11 we read that Peter, who was a Jew, and an Apostle of Christ, was in Joppa when he had the vision about the sheet with the unclean animals being dropped down. As a Jew there were animals he was not permitted to eat as they were considered ceremonially unclean. Now, without the context of the surrounding scriptures one might assume that this section of scripture is about making all foods acceptable to eat, although it is true that we can eat anything as long as we give thanks for it, this section of scripture should not be used as a prooftext for that truth. We would cite Mark 7, and 1 Corinthians 10 for that support.

This section of scripture is actually, about the gentiles. As of this time they were not considered by the Apostles when the gospel was preached. In this vision Peter was being prepared to preach the gospel to even the gentiles. We know the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the means to that end. We also know that people cannot know it unless someone comes to them to preach it. This notion was confirmed to Peter when the men sent to him by the Roman Cornelius arrived.

In verse 14 we read, “and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.” This is in regard to Peter and what he will say to the gentile household. Notice what happens? he will speak words… by which you will be saved… For everyone who is a fan of friendship evangelism read that over and over again.

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It must be preached with words. “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (NASB Strong’s) Romans 1:16-17. It is the means God has ordained by which to save the elect.

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (NASB Strong’s) Romans 10:14-17. You’ll notice that the gentiles received the Holy Spirit after they came to faith for it says in verse 17 that they believed first. “Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” You’ll also notice that it is God Himself who gives them the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is not imparted by a Priest or any man. He is not imparted by a ceremony, or some tradition. Those He indwells, He indwells by the will of the Father. In verse 18 we also see that the repentance that leads to life is granted by God according to His will, and the work of Christ on the cross as expressed in the gospel that was preached to them. “When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

The Word of God is truly wonderful. When we know it, and are informed by it, we can make decisions that are faithful to God. We are called to do what is right as Christians. Preaching the gospel of Christ is our mission. Repent and believe!

Peter Reports at Jerusalem
1 Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem,  those who were circumcised took issue with him, 3 saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began speaking and proceeded to explain to them in orderly sequence, saying, 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object coming down like a great sheet lowered by four corners from the sky; and it came right down to me, 6 and when I had fixed my gaze on it and was observing it I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the crawling creatures and the birds of the air. 7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord, for nothing unholy or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But a voice from heaven answered a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.’ 10 This happened three times, and everything was drawn back up into the sky. 11 And behold, at that moment three men appeared at the house in which we were staying, having been sent to me from Caesarea. 12 The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man’s house. 13 And he reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here; 14 and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” (NASB Strong’s) Acts 11:1-18

Addiction, Compulsion, and Sin.

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We, knowing our own sin, and the power of temptation to keep drawing us in. We should be the first to have mercy, and demonstrate grace to others who don’t even know the Savior. Just like us, they know in their hearts, they don’t deserve mercy or grace from us or God.

The Word of God says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (NASB) Romans 5:8”

Some of us know addiction. There is a compulsion to do something that goes against every intent of our minds, but is so overwhelming. With obese people it is the compulsion to overeat. With drug/alcohol addicts, they need the high/drunk. With adulterers they crave what they shouldn’t have. With the homosexual/porn addict/pervert, they want what is wrong. How can they know freedom from their sin, and the punishment of it? How can they fight against it? How can we preach the gospel if we are only condemning them?  How can they ever know forgiveness if we only act in as self-righteous hypocrites?  

” Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any  affection and compassion,  make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from  selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but  emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NASB) Philippians 2:1-11

So be like Christ to the world.  People are suffering in hopelessness, resigned to the notion that they will forever be a slave to their addictions, compulsions, and sins.  Do the most loving thing, and preach the gospel of Jesus to them.  

If they hear the gospel and get saved, what do they do if the temptations are still there? What does it mean if they sin again, and their hearts are being broken each time they give in to what the compulsion to sin is driving them to?

The gospel can set them free from their sinful compulsions. It doesn’t always happen immediately, but through repentance and faith, God will sanctify them, and give them victory over their sinful compulsions. His grace is sufficient. How long are you willing to stay in the fight against your sin? How many times are you willing to allow the shame and guilt to drive you to the feet of Christ to ask Him to forgive you?  Don’t give up on coming to Him.  Don’t let your loss of a battle, or many battles shake your faith in Jesus.  He has won the victory for us.  Trust in His victory.  

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. “(NASB) Philippians 1:6

God will forgive everyone who repents of their sin, and believes in the work of Jesus Christ alone. Don’t trust in your own righteousness, because it is filthy to God. Don’t trust in your good deeds, because they are tainted by your sin. Don’t trust in ceremony or rituals, they just tire you out. Trust in the God/Man Jesus Christ. He will demonstrate grace to you based on His love and goodness, not on any thing you might think deserves favor from Him.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (NASB) 1 John 1:9-10

May God grant you faith to believe in the work of the Savior, and repentance from sin. Put your faith in His finished work, and trust only in Jesus for your salvation. God will deal with you sins and justify you. He will keep dealing with your sins, and sanctify you. He will finally deal with your sins, and give you a glorified body to live with Him forever. In that eternal life you will never desire sin again. You will finally be free to only the will of God without temptation.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified  by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved  by His life.  And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (NASB) Romans 5:8-11

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (NASB) 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “ But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (NASB) Romans 1:16-17

So live by faith!  Believe that Jesus will do what He says.  Believe He is who the Bible says He is.  Believe the gospel, the good news preached in his name.  He will demonstrate His grace to you if you repent and put your faith in Him.

Struggling With Doubt, or Not a Care in the World?

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None of us are sinlessly perfect.  Everyone of us is aware of a specific sin in our lives.  Some of us wonder if we are even saved because of that specific sin that is in our lives.  Some of us are at war with the sin, while others are complacently allowing for it.  Which group are you in?

We are endangered when we count on our own efforts to fight the sin, and then failing time and time again, only to have doubt come in and rob us of our assurance, or we justify our sin away as if it is only a trifle, no big deal, everyone does it, and we allow for it instead of fighting against it.  We count on grace to keep us safe.  Both ways of thinking are wrong.  We should be at war with our sins, knowing that Christ has won the war against sin once and for all.  It is our lot to stand in front of the enemy before us and engage in the fight with all we have, resting in the knowledge that the outcome of the war has already been secured even if we fail in our battle time and time again, but with practice and provision from the Holy Spirit, and God’s word, we should be strengthened.  God will sanctify us, and mature us out of that fight into another fight.  We will keep fighting sin until we die, and are resurrected into a glorified body, that will only do that which is pleasing to God.

If you find yourself in the other group, using grace as a license for sin, sitting back in defeat, without a hope of ever growing, don’t give in.  Now is the time to stand up and fight.  Don’t prove you were never saved at all.  Don’t harden your heart to the calling of the Holy Spirit to get in the fight.  Don’t have a false assurance of your conversion.  “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you [a]fail the test?” 2 Cor 13:5  You might experience a pleasant surprise.  If you get back in the fight, repent and ask Christ to forgive you, He will.  You can have assurance of your salvation.  You can know you are saved.  You can know through the fight, successes and failures, that drive you back to the cross again and again for grace.  Don’t focus on you and your fight.  Focus on Christ and His fight.  Focus on His victory over sin, death and the grave.  Focus on His victory imputed to you by faith and enjoy the peace between you and God in the midst of the violent war against sin in your life.

Something from Habakkuk to Remember.

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Here is Habakkuk’s cry to God,

“Habakkuk 1:1-4 NASB The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw. (2) How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save. (3) Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises. (4) Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.”

Notice, his cry to God could be our cry today in the midst of a godless, secular, America.  Now look at God’s reply,

“Habakkuk 1:5-11 NASB “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days– You would not believe if you were told. (6) “For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, That fierce and impetuous people Who march throughout the earth To seize dwelling places which are not theirs. (7) “They are dreaded and feared; Their justice and authority originate with themselves. (8) “Their horses are swifter than leopards And keener than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen come galloping, Their horsemen come from afar; They fly like an eagle swooping down to devour. (9) “All of them come for violence. Their horde of faces moves forward. They collect captives like sand. (10) “They mock at kings And rulers are a laughing matter to them. They laugh at every fortress And heap up rubble to capture it. (11) “Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, They whose strength is their god.”

Do you see what God was doing there?  He was giving the prophet Habakkuk His word that He is using the pagan Chaldeans for His purposes.  He was raising them up to use as judgment against His people.  Israel had rebelled and neglected God’s word as revealed through the prophets.  Make sure to read the last part of verse 11, “But they will be held guilty, They whose strength is their god.”  The Chaldeans were going to be held accountable by God in His justice.

Habakkuk’s reply to God,

“Habakkuk 1:12-17 NASB Are You not from everlasting, O LORD, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. You, O LORD, have appointed them to judge; And You, O Rock, have established them to correct. (13) Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they? (14) Why have You made men like the fish of the sea, Like creeping things without a ruler over them? (15) The Chaldeans bring all of them up with a hook, Drag them away with their net, And gather them together in their fishing net. Therefore they rejoice and are glad. (16) Therefore they offer a sacrifice to their net And burn incense to their fishing net; Because through these things their catch is large, And their food is plentiful. (17) Will they therefore empty their net And continually slay nations without sparing?”

At first it seems that Habakkuk understands why God is going to punish Israel, but then he goes on pleading with God.  His questions seem to call for God to not allow this to happen.  Sometimes we can be like that.  We live in a great land.  Many of us are like the Chaldeans.  We put our faith in the strength of our military, or our wealth.  We trust a nationalistic ideology called America.  We offer our sacrifices to it.  We neglect God and His word.  We rebel against Him.  We kill our young and call it a woman’s right to choose.  We make legal all types of perverse abominations and call it progress, and liberty.  Just because we legislate it and make it legal does not make it moral.  Just because a secular majority deems something to be good doesn’t make it so.

As Christians we have an external moral authority Who is immutable.  He never changes and is eternal.  His decrees of good and evil stand for ever, no matter what human government makes legal.  The political candidates we have to choose from, the debased minds that many of our fellow Americans have, the perversions that are abounding, are all punishments from God.  We are under judgement.  We need to be outside of our Churches, evangelizing so that people might be saved and come in.  We need to repent of our personal sins.  We need to repent of the attractional model of Church.  We need to stop begging goats to come in to our Churches.  We need to go out to them and preach the gospel of Jesus, which is repentance from sin and faith in Christ’s work on the cross.

When people are miraculously changed by God they will become sheep.  They  will come to Church without the need of the gimmicks of silly centers.  They will hunger for the preaching of God’s word, fellowship with brothers and sisters, praising God with hymns, prayer, and the glory of God will be their aim.  Don’t be bashful, now is not the time.  Be bold for Christ and His gospel to go forth!  Are you saddened by the damage and hurt you see being done by sin in the lives of your friends and neighbors?  Do you think that you love them?  If you do, then you must give to them the only cure for their brokenness.  You must give them the only thing that will heal them and make them whole!  Give them the gospel of Jesus!  It is truth and love!

So if you find yourself crying out to God much like Habakkuk did, ask yourself why God is doing what He is doing.  Ask yourself what the proper response is to what He is doing.  Then I think you will come to the same conclusion.

Two Types of Repentance.

There are two types of repentance.  One that leads to death and one that leads to life.  Which one do you have?

There is one repentance that leads to death. That is the ritualistic, self-righteous act of atoning for your own sin. There is another that leads to life. That is the one of truly realizing that it is God who you have sinned against. Having true shame and sorrow over the sin that you have committed against God. A sorrow that leads you to hate the sins that you do. A sorrow that makes you zealous for God’s will and obedience to Him. One comes from a self-centered heart that is dead in sin. The other comes from a heart that is after God’s own will.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11 NASB [9] I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. [10] For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. [11] For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

Acts 13:22-24 NASB “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.’ [23] “From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, [24] after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.