By David Jeremiah
Our days are fleeting; they may end before the next sunrise. Yet God’s children are never insecure. The Bible says of us: “We are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.… We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). We cannot be confident in everyday life if we aren’t confident of eternal life.
To be self-confident, we must be Christ confident; and that means being certain of His love for us both today and tomorrow. God has placed eternity in our hearts, and that’s why secularism can’t erase heaven and hell from people’s minds. It’s somewhat surprising, but most Americans still believe in heaven and hell. According to findings published by LifeWay Research, 67 percent of Americans believe heaven is a real place. And 61 percent believe in hell.1
We cannot be confident in everyday life if we aren’t confident of eternal life.
SHARE ON:But who is going where?
A survey by Barna Group found respondents conflicted between “Jesus” and “Good Deeds” as the way to heaven. “Millennials are less likely to believe that Jesus is the path to Heaven than are other generations. Among Millennials who have made a personal commitment to Jesus, only 56 percent say they believe they will go to heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. This percentage climbs to two-thirds of Gen-Xers (64%), six in 10 Boomers (62%), and nearly seven in 10 among Elders (68%).”
Barna went on to say, “Many adults believe, however, that they will go to heaven as a result of their good works. Broadly speaking, this is the most common perception among Americans who have never made a commitment to Jesus—and it is also quite common among self-identified Christians.”2
It’s frightening to stake our eternal destination on whether we’re good enough to get to heaven on our own. Who can be good enough for heaven? How could we ever earn enough merits to stand in the presence of the glorious God of perfection and purity? The Bible says, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Only Christ can take us there. We have to be Christ confident. We have to say: “He has me!”
That was the final testimony of the apostle Paul. In his last letter, he declared: “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
Until we know the Savior, understand His Word to us, and believe in the security of His work, we’ll not experience a confident Christian life.
SHARE ON:The power of this verse is exhibited in a story that comes down from our hymn histories, having to do with Daniel Webster Whittle, a Massachusetts native who moved to Chicago and found a job as cashier at the Wells Fargo Bank. When the Civil War broke out, Whittle enlisted in the 72nd Illinois Infantry. He was badly wounded in the Battle of Vicksburg and taken prisoner by the Confederates. In the hospital recovering from his wounds, he looked for something to read and grabbed a copy of the New Testament. As he read its words, his heart was moved and he felt a need to accept Christ as his Savior. He wasn’t ready to do that, however, and he drifted into sleep.
A hospital orderly awakened him, saying another POW was dying and wanted someone to pray with him. When Whittle hesitated, the orderly said, “But I thought you were a Christian; I have seen you reading your Bible.”
Whittle later wrote, “I dropped on my knees and held the boy’s hand in mine. In a few broken words, I confessed my sins and asked Christ to forgive me. I believed right there that He did forgive me. I then prayed and pleaded God’s promises. When I arose from my knees, he was dead. A look of peace had come over his troubled face, and I cannot but believe that God who used him to bring me to the Savior used me to lead him to trust Christ’s precious blood and find pardon.”
If you aren’t sure about your eternal destination, you’ll worry every step of the way.
SHARE ON:Daniel Whittle later wrote this hymn—“I Know Whom I Have Believed”—as an expression of his testimony of faith in Jesus Christ. The words said:
I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
But I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.
The Purpose of Christ: Redeemer
That truth summarizes the purpose of Christ. As the song says, though we are unworthy, Christ in love redeemed us for His own. The Bible frequently uses the word “redemption” to describe what Jesus did for us. The idea behind redemption being delivered from the bondage of sin by the offering of Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a sacrifice in our place. Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.” Titus 2:14 says He “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people.”
The Passion of Christ: Savior
In order to redeem us, Jesus had to offer Himself in our place and suffer the excruciation of the cross. The angels gave Him the title “Savior” as they announced His birth to the shepherds of Bethlehem: “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). He came to save us from sin, death, hell, the devil, the world, the flesh, and the kingdom of darkness. He came to save us eternally. Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).
The Practice of Christ: Intercessor
Having redeemed and saved us, Jesus ascended to heaven to await the consummation of the ages. But He’s not inactive in heaven. He is interceding for us all the time—when we’re tempted, when we’re tired, when we sin, whenever we falter and fail. The apostle John said, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). He later added, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13, emphasis added).
Paul had a similar attitude: “It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:34-35)
Until we know the Savior, understand His Word to us, and believe in the security of His work, we’ll not experience a confident Christian life. If you don’t have confidence in the Savior, you cannot have confidence in your salvation. If you aren’t sure about your eternal destination, you’ll worry every step of the way.
It’s my deeply held conviction that you can know you have eternal life. You can be confident of Christ and His ability to keep you and to keep that which you’ve entrusted into His care. He isn’t a temporary Savior, and His children don’t possess a “hope so” or “maybe” or “wait and see” salvation. He is our Redeemer, our Savior, and our Intercessor. His Word will never fail, and His work will never cease. You can fall asleep every night knowing in whom you have believed and being persuaded He is able to preserve your inheritance in Him.
On the other hand, if you have never acknowledged Him as Lord and Savior, you’re neglecting the only path to heaven. You can’t get there by your own efforts. Even baptism and church attendance aren’t enough. Even good works and a lifetime of charity won’t do. You need Christ alone. There is no other Redeemer, Savior, or Lord. Confess Him as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead. Commit your life to Him for time and eternity. Do it today, and claim His free offer of eternal life.
Christ gladly died to give us eternal life. Let’s claim it, enjoy it, and live with Christ confidence in our hearts. Let’s say, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!”
Live with boldness. He has you—both today and forever.
1Bob Smietana, “Americans Believe in Heaven, Hell, and a Little Bit of Heresy,” Lifeway Research, October 28, 2014, http://www.lifewayresearch.com/2014/10/28/americans-believe-in-heaven-hell-and-a-little-bit-of-heresy/.
2“What Do Americans Believe About Jesus? 5 Popular Beliefs,” Barna Group, April 1, 2015, https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/714-what-do-americans-believe-about-jesus-5-popular-beliefs#.Vnc-FhGTS2o.