11/17/15 Latrice 28
Can we be confident of our own salvation without the same self-righteous attitude that Jesus condemned in the religious people of His day? I would argue that yes, we can, and I would go a step further and say we not only can, we should be confident. If we are not, our lack of confidence for salvation is because we have been trusting in our own efforts rather than in Jesus’ work on the cross.
Surprisingly, a very high percentage of non-religious people I meet on the streets are very confident that if heaven and hell are real, they would go to heaven. This is because they generally trivialize the magnitude of their sin and of God’s holiness. On the other hand, many religious people – like a young lady named Latrice that we talked with today – outwardly proclaim they are unsure if they will go to heaven. Latrice grew up Pentecostal and believes that to be confident of her own salvation would be an obvious display of self-righteousness, but to be unsure of her salvation is a sign of the humility she needs to gain salvation.
This is far from the truth, however. I told Latrice that toward the end of his first letter, the Apostle John wrote “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” He wanted believers to be confident of their salvation. Where does our confidence come from? John had just completed an entire letter describing how we can know our faith in Jesus is real. He wrote of the evidence of love and good deeds in our lives that don’t save us, but that spring from the fact that we have already been saved. The love of Jesus fills us because Jesus is the one who has saved us.
Our confidence comes not from the self-righteous attitude that we are worthy, but from the wonder and appreciation that Jesus alone is worthy and His sacrifice on the cross is sufficient. We do need righteousness – a right relationship with God. Not “a righteousness of my own that comes from the law” but rather “the righteousness that comes from God.” (Phil.3) Our confidence – like our righteousness, must only come from God.