One thing is for sure Calvinists don’t have the exclusive on doubt about their salvation. An Arminian might well believe he could loose his salvation and therefore worry about how to be sure he didn’t. A Calvinist might worry that he never had it in the first place!
In this next series of posts I intend to look at reasons for assurance of salvation- What makes someone a Christian? How can I know I am saved? Can I know I am saved? There are several aspects to this, and I will post on a different one each time.
Today, I intend to simply discuss what things DON’T guarentee you are a Christian and what you SHOULD NOT rely on as proof you are on your way to heaven.
Firstly, being a “good person”. The bible is very clear that none of us can be good enough to deseverve heaven. It is amazing how many people seem to go along with this- even in our churches. “Old Mrs Smith was such a kind lady I am sure she went to heaven when she died”. Amazingly though, even people who declare a faith in Christ often seem to depend on their own goodness as a proof of their salvation. This is of course the receipe for legalism and explains why in many churches the pharisees would almost not be considered strict enough. “Markers” of holiness have at various times and in various places included not going to the cinema, not drinking any alcohol, not dancing, not watching TV, not playing any “frivilous games”, not associating with unbelievers, wearing unfashinable clothes and generally denying oneself various pleasures. It is my belief that such “sacrifices” count for absolutely nothing.
Being baptised as a baby clearly does nothing for you either in terms of going to heaven. There are still far too many adults who genuinely believe that because they were “done” as a baby they are on their way to heaven. To me that is argument enough not to christen babies without all the other great reasons.
Being born in a christian country or even going to church doesnt help either. Nor does prayer or reading your bible as many pagans do that. Nor dare I say it does appearing to have powerful abilities to do things “in God’s name”. There have been too many charlatons for that to be the case. Nor does simply having gone forward at a crusade together with many others because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
So how can I know I am a Christian then? You might feel close to despair at this point- I hope not, and I will try not to leave you in suspense for too long. (If you really can’t wait and are in concern about your spiritual state, do drop me an email…. I wouldn’t want you to be desperate…..)