by Phillip Morrison on September 26, 2013
With a confident twinkle in his eye, the old preacher said, “Of course that’s what I’m saying. And it isn’t arrogance at all; it’s assurance — blessed assurance!”
My friend Ray Hawk knew a man who had a donut shop where he displayed some pamphlets Ray had written. One day a woman picked up a paper, read it hurriedly, and asked the proprietor, “Do you really believe what’s in here?”
When he assured her that he did believe, she said, “I have just one question. If you die right now, will you go to Heaven?”
When he began to equivocate and mumble an “I hope so…” answer, she smiled and said, “I don’t think I want to swap my certainty for your uncertainty!”
I knew another preacher who would say to his audience, “I want you to have a faith so strong that you know that you know that you know you are saved!”
If Robert Fulghum really learned everything he needed to know in kindergarten, why did he pursue higher education at Baylor University? Human knowledge is constantly being revised as new information becomes known. Faith in God is constantly growing as our relationship with him grows.
I had my epiphany as a young preacher when I delivered a sermon chastising people for not doing more and working harder to assure their salvation. In what I am convinced was a providential choice, the song following my sermon said, “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe…” Because I owe that debt — to the one who paid everything for me — I live a life of faith, expressing my gratitude every day for the price of my redemption he paid at Calvary. I don’t do it to try to do enough to get into heaven: Jesus already paid that debt! We are uncertain when we trust in ourselves and worry about our performance. When we trust in Him, we gratefully accept the fullness of redemption. Eugene Peterson has captured the essence of the Apostle Paul’s message to Christians in Ephesus:
Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and the saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing (Ephesians 2:8-9 TM).
His certainty or your uncertainty. The choice is yours.