As biblical Christians, we’d be wise not to deny that we know the will of the Father and the Way He wants for us to follow. After copious instructions in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy as to the will of God for His people, to attempt to claim ignorance as to what His will is is utter folly on our part. “The secret things belong to the Lord, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). He has made it no secret what His desires are. He has made it crystal clear throughout all books in our Bibles, Old and New Testament alike. Therefore, “when such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, ‘I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way.’ This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. The Lord will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man” (Deuteronomy 29:19-20). This here, in addition to the passage Jesus speaks in Matthew 7:13-23, is a dire warning to those of us who hear His word, but continue on in our own way. How certain are we of our salvation unto the Lord? Could it be that we’re falsely assured that our names are written in the book of life, but inevitably will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15)?
Jesus makes it quite clear in the Matthew passage that “small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14). He continues to issue stern admonishment to those who may think they’re on the narrow road, “who say to Him, ‘Lord, Lord,'” but aren’t granted access to the kingdom of heaven because they haven’t done the will of His Father (7:21). Who are those on the broad road that leads to destruction? Those that don’t do the will of God. Some may claim a defense that they’re unable to know the will of the Almighty, but I digress, as does the entirety of Scripture. Although we aren’t given insight into the secret will of God, as referenced in the Deuteronomy 29:29 verse above, we are held accountable to know the exhaustive revealed will He has given us throughout the Bible. Ignorance cannot be claimed; He has not left us in the dark as to what His will is. What we do with it is on us, just as it was on the Israelites.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). A commonly referenced verse, loaded with implications. For this post, I’ll focus on the first four words of Jesus, “I am the way.” Here we can be assured that we aren’t only given directives as to what the will of our Father is, but that the way to follow is found in Jesus Christ. Again, God hasn’t left us in the dark as to how to follow Christ our Teacher. His guidance is thorough, His way is lit up for us in the words recorded and through the work of the Holy Spirit. There isn’t an excuse, or reason, available for us to defend ourselves before a Holy God. So, “if we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Hebrews 10:26-27). Those of us who’ve received Christ, the Truth, must consider all of these verses as to whether we are, in all actuality, enemies of God. Pursuit of this answer is not one that we ought to rest passively on, with a superficial assurance that rides with us on our way to hell. It is imperative to seek and search for the supernatural assurance of our salvation, with fervor, fear, and trembling.
My motives for this blog post aren’t legalistic, Pharisaical, or to induce shame to my brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle incessantly with their sinfulness. Those who eagerly search the Scriptures to find what the revealed will of our God is, making repeated attempts to serve under Him with biblical integrity and a clear conscience, failing and falling back, but standing firm in their faith that He will overcome and fight for us who are striving to follow His will and His Way. My intention is to challenge those who proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, but persist in going their own way, deliberately keep on sinning, and simply write off their trespasses and intentional ignorance as “well, we’re all sinners.” While it is true that we’re all sinners, saved by grace, when we’re indwelt with the Spirit of God, we trample and insult His majesty and holiness by skirting the sin issue by offering such excuses. As though the Holy Spirit within us holds no power, or limited power, to convict and increasingly change us into vessels at the ready to be glorified when He calls us home; He does, of course, and when we throw our hands up in defeat, we speak as though His power is weak.
I’m going to extend the idea that salvation, justification, sanctification, and glorification are four terms that label both the simplicity and the perplexity of the gospel; each of them cannot exist without the other. I’d suggest that assurance of salvation must be aligned with the assurance of the other three “-tions.” To be assured of our salvation, we must also be assured of our justification by faith alone, our glorification as we pass from our mortal bodies to our eternal ones, and our sanctification as we grow in the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10). When we aren’t concerned with what God’s revealed will is, or struggling to follow the Way, it is reasonable to question our own salvation; however, what is not reasonable is to wait until tomorrow to find out.