I was born and raised in the Bible Belt. I attend a private Christian university. My father is a minister, so church has been the center of my family’s lives for longer than I’ve been alive.
In an overwhelmingly Christian-cultural environment, I have to be deliberate about stepping out of my Christian-comfort zone to spread the good news of Jesus to those who don’t yet know Him.
Thankfully I am being discipled by a sister in Christ who is very deliberate about sharing the gospel with everyone–especially those who aren’t following Christ. This sister in Christ introduced me to a friend who does not see Jesus as divine and holds a very different perspective of “God.” I believe that the Holy Spirit is working in this friend’s life, as evidenced by her willingness to meet with Christians to discuss our differing beliefs.
In a recent conversation with this friend, she expressed that she hopes to enter Heaven when she dies, since “God” is merciful. But she cannot say that she will definitely go to Heaven because she does not want to assume “God’s” role as ultimate judge.
To her, knowing that “God” is merciful is not enough to claim assurance of her salvation. To her, Jesus was a good teacher. To me, Jesus is the Son of God who provides assurance of my salvation because of His death on the cross for my sins.
If I were on trial for a crime of which I was guilty, I would blindly hope to be found not-guilty. A just judge would declare me guilty. God is a just judge. But He fulfilled the punishment for my sins by taking the sentence on Himself. I am certain of my salvation because my sentence has already been served.
When Jesus took my place for the punishment of my sin, He not only proved that God the Father is merciful; He also proved that I can’t earn my own salvation. The location where I was raised, the people I surround myself with, and my family can’t guarantee my salvation. Assurance of my salvation rests entirely on the shoulders of the One who “was pierced for our transgressions [and] crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5 NIV).
Fanny Crosby’s hymn “Blessed Assurance” touches on the joy we can experience because we have assurance of our salvation.
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”
What a joy to know that I find myself “lost in His love!” What peace we can experience by resting in the work that Jesus has completed for us! I can rest assured that I will be spending eternity in the presence of God because of Jesus.
Emily (@ejenkins220) is an author and editor at thegracescripts.com. She is passionate about ministry + sharing in her brokenness. Emily currently attends Samford University and is studying Religion. She lives in Alabama.