What advice can be given?
For those who dabble in sin and are not concerned about their state, we have little advice here, but for those who are concerned this is offered for your consideration:
1. The fact that you are concerned about your salvation is a healthy sign.
There may be unhealthy patterns going on, but the fact that you are concerned is much better than the indifference of many. A story here may be helpful. There was a man years ago that worked in the massive shipyards in Ireland. At the end of the day, he and thousands of others would be found walking the streets in droves towards their homes. Empty streets suddenly bustling and jostling with workmen looking forward to the rest of home.
This particular man would get paid on Friday. He would take his pay given at the end of each week, and button it and secure it in an upper pocket of his work clothes for the walk home. Often he would reach up and pat his pocket just to be sure it was “still there.” Interestingly, he never checked that pocket on Monday-Thursday. It was only when he had it that he would check it. The point being, he checked it because he had it. (retold by memory from a Jim Flanigan message on www.voicesforchrist.org).
2. Rest in Him
This may sound strange, but a believer needs to rest in Christ. Or let us say, the believer CAN rest in Christ. If we say “needs to” perhaps we further the problem telling the reader to DO something… but can you see the blessing of “can rest” in Christ? What this means is really a Spirit taught rest and may come about after a struggle.
The fight is painful but the rest, once found, is pleasant. Here let the reader consider the simple words of Christ on the cross, “It is finished.” Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, which is God’s great “AMEN” to His acceptance of the work of Christ. In other words, God is satisfied with the person and work of Christ, His Son. If God is satisfied, then the question we would pose to you is this: If God is satisfied, what is lacking?
If you seek to add something to that satisfaction, we honestly would tell you now that is a losing battle, with only disappointment before you. But if you can rest where God rests – where He bids you rest, then what more is needed? Ponder:
- the believer is Complete in Him (Col. 2:10).
- the believer is Accepted in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6).
- He is able to present you faultless before His presence (Jude 24).
3. Consider the tests of 1st John.
These have to be approached carefully, and not misunderstood. These are not things that we “do” to get eternal life, nor are they things we rest in, because we rest in Christ, but they are written that we may know that we have eternal life. So these are some of the evidences (not the means of, but evidences of) having eternal life. Just as Christ manifested eternal life, so may we:
- 1 John 2:3 You obey Christ’s commands (these are primarily the commands summarized in 1 John 3:23, which are to 1) believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and 2) to love the brethren. Do you hate Christians and true Christianity? Or do you love believers? Are you quite sure that Christ alone is where you must rest and have made that decision somewhere along the way?
- 1 John 3:8-9 You practice righteousness and do not practice sin. This doesn’t mean you never sin, nor that you are perfect, but there is a life pattern & movement in the right direction. The key word here for the fearful is “practice”. If it said the true believer “does” perfect righteousness at all times and never sins, there is no hope for any of us this side of the resurrection. The life pattern of one who HAS eternal life is what he or she practices.
4. The goodness of God leads you to repentance (Rom 2:4)
The author of this article once struggled with a sin. At this time he cannot even remember the sin itself for it was years ago, but it was swallowed up in the grace of God by this simple verse. Here’s how. After the disappointment of …yet again… falling into that sin, we sat sadly looking at ourselves…sad indeed and unhappy indeed.
There came an experience, based on this Scripture (always test experiences thus), and a forgiveness was given, such a gracious realization that in the goodness of God was this forgiveness. Oh what an appreciation of a God like this, and it was a powerful help to overcome…and at such a time of despair and anguish. Failure! But He was greater.
5. Dead in Christ
Last and similar, is what we learn in Romans 6:3 which says “do you not know that as many of us as were immersed into Christ Jesus…we were immersed into His death”. It goes on to state that we were buried with Him and raised to walk a new life in Christ Jesus. It is a tremendous thing for a Christian to recognize that we died with Christ.
What we did and really what we are…in ourselves….has been crucified with Him. We have no authority any longer to expect thatin ourselves we will find the good things we yearn for. Yet the fact that we yearn for them is again strong evidence that we possess eternal life.
The victory comes in HIM. We can reckon ourselves dead to sin, it no longer reigns as king. This is the meaning of the chapter before us. Sin was king before we were converted, after conversion it is still present, but NO LONGER REIGNS as KING. Lay hold of that dear one.
If you are that young person – a churched kid, we pray that you do not despair, but that in this conversation you may find a help on the pathway to His presence – which is a place you are welcomed at – by Him. “I am my beloved’s and His desire is towards me” (Song of Solomon 7:10)
We dare you to believe it…believe Him, and find Him altogether lovely. Then you will begin to walk and find the evidences in your life- don’t spend too much time on the chronicling of evidences though. How we often reverse the order, and look for evidences and forget to look to Him.