Response: First of all, the Bible does not teach justification by election, but that our just standing before God is by grace alone in Christ alone as evidenced by our faith. Election does not save but is a blueprint of what God intends to do in time in Jesus Christ. If you are a sinner who has cast aside all self-righteousness and trusts in Jesus Christ as your only hope for salvation, you can know, based on God's certain promise that He has done a work of grace in you, that your sins are forgiven and are, therefore, counted among the elect.
God commands all men everywhere to repent and believe the
gospel. But when someone actually comes to faith in Christ we can know
from Scripture that it was God who, in His great mercy, opened their
blind eyes, unplugged their deaf ears and gave them a new heart to
understand and obey the command (Deut 29:4, 30:6; Matt 16:16-17; Rom
9:15, 16). When God removes the scales from our eyes, when He turns the
heart of stone to a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26) there is no longer
resistance because the heart is no longer hard like stone. All
resistance has been disarmed.
"Our Lord did not come to tell us
what we have to do in order to save ourselves; He came to save us... The
Christian doctrine of salvation and redemption is this - that Christ
Himself is the salvation."- Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And
Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and
blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. -
Jesus declares Peter's confession was supernatural.
That means the fallen sinner's faith in Christ is not self-generated
but a work of creation (regeneration) which the Holy Spirit broods over
until hatched, so to speak. And since it is a work of God we have
confidence that He will finish what He began (John 6:37-39).
Studies on Saving Faith (free eBook) by A. W. Pink
Assurance by J. C. Ryle
Reflections on Assurance by D. A. Carson
The Assurance of Salvation (Study Guide) by R. C. Sproul
Once in a while I will receive an email like the following from someone who is worried that some sin they have committed may have crossed the place of no return to God's favor.
Visitor: Even after I was sealed for the day of redemption, I still have sinned against God. I continue to fight addicting sin(s), and though most of the time I defeat the sin, sometimes I foolishly give in to it. I'm so sorry that I have given in to foolish and sinful lusts, and all I want to do is to cast away those actions forever, and to be forgiven, and sin no more. But I don't know if I am saved anymore, because I have really been scared that my repentance is not true, because I have again sinned, and that God has cast me away. Please help me, because I am very scared. I want to be forgiven and be different.
Response: Your sin is not greater than Christ's grace and work. Having been united to Christ, the Spirit of adoption can come to you no more with a Spirit of bondage and fear because in Christ you no longer stand in your own sins, merit or performances, but are clothed in His righteousness. Becaue of Jesus you are already on the other side of justice and it can no longer have you (Rom 8:1). No condemnation for you in Christ for the full justice of God has been satisfied. Christ's once for all sacrifice means there is no longer necessary a sacrifice for sin year after year (as in Leviticus) but now His atoning work is sufficient for all time for you before God. Remember, you can neither attain, nor maintain, your right standing before God. You never did and never will, for sin cannot disolve the covenant which God has graciously granted you in Christ any more than He would disolve his relationship with Christ himself. Now as always, our only hope is Jesus Christ. When God justified you, He did not then, and does not now, look at you but rather, at the covenant He made with you in Christ. Consider, when God made the covenant of grace with Abraham, God made Abraham sleep and God himself walked through the divided animals and so promised to take on Himself the punishment if Abraham failed to fulfill his side of the covenant. And so it was, the seed of Abraham (that's us) all failed to keep the covenant and so God Himself came in the flesh to fully bear up the punishment we justly deserve for not keeping our side of it. Jesus Kept it for us. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves, from our side. We are justified for His sake, not for anything God sees in us or will see in us.
It was not your obedience, repentance or faith that caused God to justify you because none of these things can pay for sin - not now, not ever. Only Christ alone can save and pay for sin. And He did. Your safety is based, therefore, on Christ's merit, not on what you do, otherwise you are looking in your self for confidence before God, rather than Christ. No one, not one of us would have any hope if we had to look to ourselves even a little for our final salvation. So look to Christ. He is the author and perfector of our salvation. He alone is able to keep you. Herein is the gospel.
And if one thinks they can lose their salvation because of some sin they committed, they are essentially acknowldging that what Christ did for them was insufficient. They are looking at least partly to themselves for their right standing before God - looking to Christ PLUS their keeping of the Law (Gal 3:3). It misses the whole point of the gospel which is that Christ saves from first to last. The passage that warns the Hebrews against falling away is warning them against one thing: abandoning trust in Christ alone by going back to now worthless and obsolete things, such as trusting in the temple sacrifice and the Law in order to be justified. The warnings in Hebrews are given to those in the covenant community that they would not be tempted to turn from trusting Jesus alone (who is God over all) for some lesser or meaningless ritual act or law keeping that supposedly now can improve on Christ's redemption to curry God's favor. Trusting in anything except Christ alone, who is the light that scatters all shadows, is said to be tantamount to "trampling under foot the Son of God", that is, believing that His once of all sacrifice is insufficient in itself to save. If something in place of, or in addition to, Jesus is trusted in it is no different than a denial of Him. So in context, the persons who go back by trading in Christ for the now-empty ritual of the temple (that itself was meant to point to the fulfillment in Christ), are then re-crucifying the Son to their shame. But unfortunately, Hebrews 6:4-8 is often read in isolation apart from this context.
In fact this is a backdoor to the Galatian heresy where Paul says, "Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" (Gal 3:3) To believe one can lose salvation, therefore, is trusting in something other than Jesus Christ to keep you righteous in Him. The Hebrews were tempted to go back to temple sacrifice (trusting in something other than Christ) and the doctrine that one can lose salvation is likewise trusting in ones' own moral ability to maintain a just standing before God, since Jesus, according to them, is unable to save completely those who He came to save. Either we are trusting in Christ alone to both attain and maintain our justification or we are trusting in something worthless which the author of Hebrews gives severe warnings about. Quite ironic. That passage is a warning passage for the very error those who teach we can lose salvation are making.
So if your faith is in him today, no matter what you have done, by the promise of God in the gospel you can know that your sins are forgiven. As surely as God is good, in Christ's blood He remembers to never treat you as your sins justly deserve because justice has already been carried out (past tense) for them. You have been set free in Christ and have been given a new heart that loves God. We trust and obey Christ, not in order to be saved but because He has saved us already. May he grant you a Spirit of revelation and an increasing knowledge of Him that your affection for Him would overcome all other vain affections.
by John Hendryx
How Do I Know I am Saved?