O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
How Do I Know I'm Saved?
The reason this session has to be the first one you go through is because as a minister my first order of business is to preach the gospel of salvation. It is the foundation that this teaching is based on. If you go through this book without the power within to "do " what is taught, then it becomes a self-help book and not one inspired by the Holy Spirit that brings full life and peace into your life - then promise of life after this life! Some people may think they are saved but they really aren't. The Holy Spirit within you teaches these teachings, and if you have not received Jesus as Savior or acknowledged what Jesus truly did on the cross for you, you may have a difficult time receiving what I'll be sharing. So before going to the "meat " of the teachings, take a look at the following points, and if any apply to you, then this session is for you: (And if not, read it anyway, you may be able to help someone else.)
- ? Have you have ever doubted your salvation, even for a minute?
- ? From the things you do and say, do you doubt that you are really saved?
- ? Are you unclear what repentance means?
- ? Do you want clear teaching to help others come to know the Lord
- ? Do you want to be saved but not sure how?
This leads me to the "unforgivable sin" issue. I've had people think they have committed it, they all have their own idea on what it is but they are all wrong. Again they are thinking that their "WORKS" will cause them to lose it. It has nothing to do with works but everything to do with faith and believing.
The unforgivable sin is rejecting Christ and His gift of salvation. That is also the only SIN that will cause you not to be saved. So for those of you who have prayed for Jesus to forgive you and you have received Him as Savior, get it clear right now - YOU ARE SAVED. This is how you can tell. Do you have a desire to love God? Do you have a desire to do things right? Do you have a desire to help other people? Do you want to have a closer relationship with God? Do you want to change? Do you want to read your bible and pray more? If you have answered YES to any of these questions, YOU ARE SAVED. I'll tell you why. Only the Holy Spirit puts in us the desire to seek God. If the Holy Spirit weren't there, you would be seeking everything BUT God. So, if you have a desire, even a tiny drop, to seek God and follow Jesus, you are saved. But, if you don't then you need to stop right now and get that right with God. Click HERE to receive Christ as Savior.
Let me put it this way. You are trying to sit in a chair you are already sitting in. Stop and begin to thank God for His love and salvation. Ask Him to help your unbelief. Ask Him to help you seek Him with all your heart, soul and mind. Start to focus on what God is, not what you are not. This is life! All this learning is part of your journey. It's not time to get mad at yourself because you haven't' "arrived" yet. Salvation is only the first step. We have to have salvation - the indwelling of the Holy Spirit - in order for us to begin our walk with God. It's not the beginning and the end of all things; it's only the start. Now we have the Holy Spirit who begins the work in us. And the first thing he does is shows us what's in us that don't belong. This is where we start having problems. We think when we get saved we are "all fixed up". That is a lie. Our spirit is quickened, but now our flesh has to catch up. And that is done ONE thing at a time. See, before you were saved you didn't "see" all these things that you see now that are in you. You see how impatient you are, how controlling you are, how angry you can become, distrusting, doubtful, fearful, etc. It's because the Holy Spirit has shed a light on those dark things in your life. But my dear friend, they have been there all along! The Holy Spirit's job is to bring them to the surface, so you can confess them to God, receive forgiveness, so God can purge them. It is a process! Its called sanctification. It's living from glory to glory. It's a life time process.
I have great news. During the sanctification process the blessings of God do come. You don't have to wait to get all fixed up to receive blessings. As you go through your discovery journey, along with it are blessings waiting just for you! I personally have a long way to go, but I am more blessed in my life than ever before. Each time the Holy Spirit reveals a secret in my heart (that even I forgot about) I face it, I confess it, and let God purge it. With that come more peace, more faith, and more love. With that comes many blessings. You don't have to wait to get all fixed up to help others either. I'm helping hundreds every year even in my imperfection. Why? Because it's not ME doing it. I'm making myself available; God's doing the work through me. God is using me in spite of me because I'm available and willing to be used. He covers me.
I hope that it's very clear that works does not save you Nor are you KEPT saved by works. (Galations 3:1-3) You are saved because He loves you! "We are saved BY grace through Faith, not of works lest anyone should boast". (Ephesians 2:8) If you need further help in this area, pick up the book I wrote called, "A matter of the mind." You will be encouraged and taught how to live IN the Promised Land. That there is MORE than what you are living right now. That there is a wonderful plan for your life.
The first thing we need to do is go to the Word and see what it says:
"As it is written, there is non righteous, no not one. " (Romans 3:10)
"For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God " (Romans 3:23)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. " (Romans 6:23)
"If we say we have no sin then the truth is not in us. " (I John 1:5-8)
"If we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved. " (Romans 10:9)
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life. " (John 3:16)
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. " (I John 1:9)
Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. (Romans 10:13)
"We are saved by grace through faith, not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. " (Ephesians 2:8)
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name (Jesus), He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, so let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. " (John 14:26-27)
These scriptures clearly show us one main theme. If you believe! That is all you need to do to be saved and to continue growing in the things of the Lord. Being saved does not mean you have to go and prove to the world you are saved by starting some worldwide ministry, or "trying " to be perfect. Being saved comes from believing, and then from believing you will be able to receive the truth that causes you to begin living rightly (righteousness).
I discovered that I can't do anything good, if I don't first believe in it. If I begin "doing " something without believing it to be true, it becomes works of the flesh and can end up in failure, frustration, guilt and sin. God looks upon our heart, not our works - the works is a manifestation of our heart. So then as we go and "do " the word (James 1) from our heart, then others will see your good fruit and that could lead to their conversion as well. We win others by our example, not by our words. But remember, "trying" to be a good example is NOT what you are to do. People can see through works vs. reality and truth. This is where the word hypocrite comes from. We talk a good talk, but the fruit is not there. When you truly believe something, you will "live " it easily and naturally, without effort! This is the peace God speaks of in the Bible. This is what "people " are seeking in us. If you start believing, the rest will follow. Believing is ONLY the beginning of a lifelong journey. Believing helps you to receive the reality of truth into your own heart. If you don't believe something now, pray that God help you believe, and wait on Him to help you receive and bring it to pass. The Bible is very clear that God wills in us both to will and do of his good pleasure (Phil: 2:13) so, get off that treadmill of "good works " and believe, knowing that you will "do." God puts in us the ability to believe so we can receive (not just in our head, but in our heart). In time, your faith will increase, but it's done little steps at a time. We are building our lives line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little (Isaiah 28:10).
However, this is where most people start to have problems. Once we are saved by believing, we are recruited to begin "doing " a bunch of stuff - either by others, our church or even ourselves. We jump in and begin "trying " to be a Christian! The same way you were saved is the same way you continue living, by believing. (Galatians 3:1-3). We are only perfected in our Christian walk by faith (believing) and that comes in time, not over night! You do not need to be doing more than you believe right now! What I mean is that you are OK right where you are, you don't have to "try " to do any more than you are doing, unless of course the Lord is leading you "by faith " to do something more.
I found that when I finally believed the following things, my life took a radical change for the better.
- That I'm truly saved (I doubted it from time to time because of what I would do or think)
- To live my life simply believing (I wasn't doing this either, I was out "trying " to accomplish the Christian life instead of entering into God's rest to accomplish it for me!)
- And most of all that God loved me, just as I am, at all times, regardless of what I thing, said or did. (We think we are loved when we are doing something "spiritual " and loved less when we are doing mundane things, or wrong things. God loves at all times, he doesn't categorize his love.)
If we believe that we are truly saved, then we won't have any question about God's love for us, right? Not necessarily. I was saved for 18 years before I learned how to "receive" God's love for me personally."For God so loved the world that He gave…. " This is the KEY to living the life as a believer. I know that many of you "know " God loves you, but what you have to do is to "receive" that love. When we truly believe something, it becomes part of us (that's the receiving end), not like "knowledge " that comes and goes. When we truly believe, it becomes a permanent fixture in our lives. We begin living what we believe! The Bible says that we should lay a firm foundation so we can begin building on it, but if we still have to keep going over and over the foundation points, we'll never grow. Ask God now to help you get this once and for all for yourself - even if you have been a Christian for many years like I was!
An important note on "receiving." When we believe it has to be followed with "receiving." We believe AND receive to be complete. I can believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins, but until I receive that truth into my life, it's nothing. The devils even "believe " the difference is they cannot "receive. " This is CRITICAL for you to be able to have the kind of relationship you want with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We "receive " totally when we apply the sacrifice Jesus gave. Truthfully, as a believer you do not need to ASK for forgiveness, you need to "receive " because Jesus has forgiven you of all your sins, yesterdays, todays and tomorrows. He's forgiven the sins of the whole world, the world is you!
When I confess my sins to God, I then say, "Father I receive the forgiveness, and thank you for forgiving me. " But, until we "receive " and "apply " (appropriate) that forgiveness to our sin, we will be under guilt and condemnation. People who are under guilt of any kind or feeling condemned for any reason have NOT applied the forgiveness and sacrifice to their lives for that particular thing.
So perhaps you "know " you are saved, but do you "believe " you are saved is the real question?
This is the foundation for us to grow up in Christ. Many are "trying " to be Christians but don't have the power behind it (the Holy Spirit within) to "be " a Christian. When we receive Christ (believe what I shared above), we are given the power to overcome sin. And truthfully, that is what being a believer means. Believing is the power to be victorious over all sin. If sin were not in the world, we would not need a Savior? After all, Jesus came to save us FROM our sin! It's all about "sin! "
Once we have been saved, now what do we do? As I shared moments ago, we are to continue our lives "believing " not "doing " as the scriptures say (Galatians 3:1-3). Doing comes after we truly believed AND received the salvation and forgiveness of sins. However, many are out doing a bunch of stuff thinking it's what they are supposed to be doing as part of their salvation. This is error and bondage. The scripture, "Faith without works is dead " (James 2:17) applies here. Because God looks at the heart and motive for whatever we do, and if it's not being done in faith, no matter what it is, it's counted as sin. (Romans 14:23) But a person who truly has received a revelation on being forgiven and applying it daily to their lives, they will have "works " that are not dead. They will have fruit, and many will be touched by this person's life, because it's from the heart of God, which is through faith.
Once we get past the salvation, we need to now understand what "repentance " means. We are to live a life in truth. (John 17:17) What is really awesome is that God has made a way for us to remain a Christian even when we do things wrong because of the price Jesus paid for our sins - we ARE forgiven! Forever! But we need to believe we are forgiven - that's what it means when Jesus told the disciples the work they were to do was "believe " (John 6:29). He knew that was going to be the most difficult thing they would do. But to only believe is the first part of repentance, we need to receive. I can believe I'm forgiven, but it does me little good until I receive the forgiveness. If I go around "knowing " I can fall under guilt and shame. But once I "receive " it, I'm made free of all guilt and shame! We don't have to beg to be forgiven. We ARE forgiven.
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways and he shall receive nothing of the Lord! (James 1:6-8) If we believe and then doubt, believe and then doubt, this is double-mindedness. We are not saved one day when we "think " we are good, and the next we are not when we "think " we are bad. When our children do this, does that make our children any less our children when they disobey? No, they are still your child. Same with us, we are still saved and Children of God regardless!
As we go out into the world from conversion, we have opportunity to come up against so many obstacles. How deep our roots are from the first moment we believe is how we will weather these obstacles. (Mark 4:3-8) Good roots are made deep when you truly "believe " what I've just shared.
Now to set that salvation in stone, we need to live as though we are saved. When we receive Christ as our Savior, we have been given a desire to serve Him. We turn from those things we used to serve to serve Him. This is called repentance.
If you have a desire to serve the Lord in your heart, this is evidence that you are saved. The Holy Spirit draws us by His spirit and calls us to be God's own. That means we have an inherited desire to follow him (not that we do such a good job at it) but we want to follow him none-the-less.
I worked with someone recently who was seeking help from the Lord, people ministered to her, she even went to seminars and conferences, she knew the Bible was the help she needed but struggled terribly to live in victory. She shared with me that she realized she was never really saved! It wasn't until she "understood " what it meant to truly repent. The information below is an excerpt from what she shared:
The Real Meaning of Repentance
Most believers don't believe that Satan can lead them astray through God's Word. But Satan comes as "an angel of light " (II Corinthians11:14). So he won't come to you quoting from some heathen religious book, but from the Bible. If Satan could try to tempt even Jesus by quoting the Scriptures, we can be certain that he will try that with us too.
Someone has said that truth is like a bird having two wings - "It is written " and "It is also written ". If you have only one wing, you will go around in circles perpetually and probably astray. But when you have both wings you move forward.
Consider the answer to this question: Why did Christ die on the cross? The common answer to that question is: It is written, "Christ died for our sins. " (1 Corinthians15:3). But that is only half the truth. To get the whole truth, we must look at another Scripture. It is also written, "Christ died so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. " (II Corinthians 5:15). Only when we put both these Scriptures together, do we get both wings of truth.
When we read that Christ died for our sins - we need to understand what sin is. This can be understood aright only when we look at the second Scripture. There we see that to sin is to live for ourselves. But that is not the common understanding of sin that most believers have. When you say that you don't want to sin anymore, do you really mean that you don't want to live for yourself anymore?
As we get a better understanding of God and Scripture, we will realize that sin is not just murder, adultery and theft etc., it is living for oneself. If we live for ourselves, whatever bad habits we may have put away, we are still living in sin. Anything that is not of faith is Sin. (Romans 14)
"If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away " (II Corinthians 5:17). This means that the old attitudes, the old way of living has gone away. He is no longer living for himself. He has not reached the goal of Christ likeness. But he has turned around and is seeking to live for the glory of God. This and this alone is true repentance.
Repentance means an "About turn ", so that we turn our backs henceforth to living for ourselves and decide to live for God alone. This does not mean becoming full time Christian workers. No. God calls only 1 in a 1000 of believers to be full time workers. He wants all His other children to work in secular jobs - earning their own living, but not living for themselves but for the glory of God.
Repentance is described in 1 Thessalonians 1:9, as "Turning to God from idols." Many so-called believers have not turned to God from their idols. In India, many of the heathen people are happy to accept Christ as their god - but only as one more god in addition to the many idols that they already worship. We know that this is impossible. One who accepts Christ must give up all other gods and idols.
Remember the Holy Spirit says to believers, "Little children, guard yourselves from idols " (1 John.5:21). There is no difference between a heathen man who wants to accept Christ in addition to his existing gods, and the so-called believer who wants to accept Christ, but still wants to pursue after money (his present god).
We must give our lives to God, our lives must be for Him to order as He pleases. Have you turned toward Him and away from seeking your own? Many believers are going to have a lot of regret when Jesus returns and they discover that all the money that they earned on earth was no better than the play-money that children play with in a MONOPOLY game - worth nothing!! And all the property that they acquired on earth too was just like the hotels and the houses on that MONOPOLY board - worth nothing. The game of life is over then and they never accomplished anything other than accumulating worthless things that have no eternal value. They have lived a useless life. There will be tremendous regret too if all they sought for was honor and they discover that their honor has evaporated in the light of eternity. We are to seek those things, which are above, not the things that are upon the earth. (Colossians 3:1)
But those who have lived to do the will of God and for the glory of God will find that they have tremendous joy in that day. Material things are only for our use on this earth. That is all. As long as we use them, that is all right. But they should never master us. It is one thing to use money. It is another thing to be mastered by it. Money is an excellent servant but a terrible master.
Why are most homes war zones today? Because both husbands and wives want to live for themselves. Even pastors and preachers are divorcing their wives and marrying other women.
The reason for all this is that believers have not seen that sin is living for oneself. They have not seen it because they have not been taught it. The fault is with their leaders and their blood is on the hands of their leaders who are accountable to God.
Jesus said, "very few will find the way of life ". Why?
Because the gate is so narrow. (Matthew 7:14)
A believer, a true believer, LOVES the truth. The truth about themselves, the truth about the Word, the truth about everything. The Bible says that those who love a lie, their father is the devil. It is a great grace that God has given us an ear to hear the truth. God loved us before we were born and wanted the best for us. He did not want us to waste our lives and to wake up in eternity to find ourselves paupers. He wants us to be wise and to live for the things that are eternal.
Kingdom living is not living for money, houses and lands, etc.; they will be shaken and removed one day. Only that which is not created will remain. So we must be wise to spend our time and energies for that which will remain eternally. And let me say again that that does not mean that you should all become full time Christian workers. But it does mean that in whatever work you do; you no longer live for yourself, but only for the glory of God. The Bible says that we can do nothing apart from Him anyway. You can certainly work and earn the best salary possible - to support yourself and the Lord's work. But your goal in life must be the glory of God. Your ambition in life must be to please Him.
I am not saying that we can't go for a picnic or have any form of recreation. Of course we can. As human beings, we need that - whether playing games or listening to music and even visiting with friends and neighbors (which by the way is a way we also visit with God) or whatever. All that is perfectly all right, if it is clean and healthy entertainment. It is when any of these things master us and begin to be a dominant interest in our lives that we cross over the red line into dangerous ground. It is very easy for a job or a sport or some harmless entertainment to become so much a part of a person's life that it becomes the main thing in his life (idol). And then even his wife and children get neglected. And God of course gets neglected first of all. When that happens, then you know that that thing (whatever it is) has become the man's master.
God tested Abraham's devotion that day to check whether Isaac had become an idol in his life. God told him, as it were, that he had to turn from all idolatry if he was to serve the Lord. And so he had to place his son on the altar and give him up. God did not take Isaac away, because God was only detaching Abraham from his unnatural attachment to Isaac that would have hindered his walk with God. God has to do the same with us. We have to give him that which is most precious to us.
In the rich young ruler's case it was his money. Just like God asked Abraham to give up Isaac, God asked the rich young ruler to give up his money. For all you know, if that rich man had only said "Yes, Lord, here it is all ", God may have told him that he could keep his money, just like he told Abraham to keep Isaac. But he had to give it up first.
May we then all have the grace to say, "Lord whatever Isaacs there are in my life, I lay them all on the altar and give them all up to you. I don't want any more idols in my life that come between you and me. I don't want to live for myself. I really want to live for you alone. I want to live for the glory of God. I don't want to waste my life. "
This is the best news in the world: We don't have to be slaves to our own ambitions and desires any more and thus waste our earthly lives, but can be free to live for the glory of God and thus live useful lives. To live for ourselves is to live in bondage and in chains. To live for the glory of God is to be like the eagles that fly in the sky. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus can break every chain and set you free - TODAY!! It is written, "If you lose your life, you shall find it. "
If you have wasted much time in profitless pursuits in the past, you can't do anything about that now. You can confess your sin of selfishness, etc., receive forgiveness now and start the day a-new. The Bible says His mercies are "new " every morning!
End of exerpt
If you desire a security of salvation and of repentance, then pray this prayer:
"Lord I can't do anything about the years of my life that are past. But I want to live the rest of my life for you alone. Search my life and see if there are any idols that I am worshipping. I want to turn from every idol in my life to worship and serve you alone. Lord Jesus I repent especially of this unconscious idolatry of living for myself. I ask you to come into my life, not only as my Savior, but as my Lord. I pray that you are Lord over my life, not me. I know that I am a sinner and Jesus came to pay the penalty for my sins. I believe He rose from the grave and lives! And because He lives, by my receiving Him, I will live too. I confess my sins and thank you for forgiving me of my sins, and cleansing me from all unrighteousness. I believe you have saved me and will not doubt that salvation again. Help me to believe this every day of my life Lord. I receive your Love, your forgiveness and choose to live for your glory every day. When I fail, I will come to you and confess, I will not fear or doubt or worry I've lost your love - I will only believe that you forgive and receive that love and forgiveness immediately. I pray all these things by faith, in Jesus precious name, Amen. "
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