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May 8, 2019, 2:09 PM

Do you know the Lord or do you know the Lord


 

As a pastor, I get asked a lot of questions about doctrine and spirituality. One of the more frequent questions I hear has to do with what is commonly referred to as the security of the believer, or to some, the perseverance of the saints. There are times when the individual asking this question is genuinely concerned about their eternal hope of salvation and simply need a Scriptural guide to finding the answer they are seeking. They display genuine fruit of being a believer but may be struggling with doubt. There are other times when I am asked the question and the person asking is looking for affirmation that I can’t give. Often their search is driven by a need to ease the guilt for choices and actions that don’t align with the Word of God or a certain level of morality and ethics they were exposed to somewhere along the way. One of the most dangerous things I can do as a pastor is to give assurance of salvation. I believe the Scripture teaches what the life of a follower of Christ looks like and the conviction that comes from having an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. One of those scriptures can be found in Hebrews 8:11, which is a quoted portion of Jeremiah 31. God says that under the new covenant of grace in Jesus Christ, people won’t have to tell others to know God because those who are the children of God will know Him. Now, the same English word is used- know, but in the original Koine Greek, “know” is represented by two different words. The first pertains to knowing the precepts of God based on exposure to them. More importantly, it is used in the tense that describes a completed action that took place once in the past. This is similar to someone being exposed to the Bible or church at some point in their life but it has no lasting impact on their life. The second “know” in this verse describes a knowledge of God that is attained from a previous encounter, but contrary to the first “know”, this encounter with God has a lasting impact on the person. This is equivalent to placing one’s faith in Christ and being radically changed both now and for eternity. There are many searching for confirmation of salvation that has only been exposed to the knowledge of God and the Bible teaches that simple exposure isn’t enough. Only those who have experienced a radical, life-changing, soul saving encounter with God that continues to impact their life have the security of the believer. I do adhere to the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints and do believe that once saved, always saved. God does the saving, securing, and the sanctifying and there is none greater or more powerful than He. Here are some other verses that may help those who are seeking confirmation between exposure and salvation: Romans 6:17-21; Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 3:7.

Robert


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