Do You Love the Biblical Jesus?
“Some Christians that I know struggle with assurance and knowing that they are saved. So how can a Christian know that he is saved?”
Well, first of all, let me just say that I hear that question a lot and it’s a crucial question. It’s not just an abstract theological curiosity. It has to do with your very status before God. You want to know for sure that you’re in the kingdom of God. Peter tells us that ‘we are to make our election and our calling sure’ for the purpose of growth in our sanctification. Because if we’re not sure where our standing is before God, then we’re tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, we’re unstable in all of our ways. So I just want to underscore how important that question is. Now I come at it two ways, one theological and the other one very practical. I’ll start with a practical one. When people ask me how can I know if I’m saved, I ask them, “Do you love the biblical Christ perfectly?” And almost every time—I’ve only had one practicing perfectionist answer it differently, but almost every time—people will look at me and say, “No, I don’t love him perfectly.” I said, “Okay.” Well, the second question is this, “Do you love Him as much as you should love Him?” Obviously, if they answered yes to the first question, they have to answer yes again. I said, “Okay.” So now, whatever assurance they maybe had has started to dissolve away just by this question.
I said, “Let me ask a third question, this is a critical question, Do you love the biblical Jesus at all? Do you have any affection in your heart for the Christ of the New Testament?” And if they say yes to that then I can say, “Okay, how can you possibly have any affection for Jesus unless you’re born of the Holy Spirit? And you couldn’t be born of the Holy Spirit unless you were elect, and if you are elect, then you can be sure of your status before God.” Now that’s where your whole doctrine of justification, your doctrine of election, and all of that theological content comes into play, because I know that I couldn’t love Jesus unless I were reborn, and I couldn’t be reborn unless God has sovereignly chosen to give me the gift of regeneration. So there my theology supports my confidence that He will finish what He has started and that I can have my full trust in my salvation.