There is a difference between a person who isn’t concerened with indwelling sin than a person who just doesnt care. A person who claims to be a Christian, yet has no desire for spiritual things should question their salvation. But what about a person who truly does care about the state of their soul? What about a person who has the tendency to be constantly looking inward to see if they are really saved.
This is a phrase you hear often in reformed circles. Is there evidence of regeneration in your life? Does your life show fruit that you have the Holy Spirit living within you? In other words are you getting better? Is sin becoming more repugnant? Are you becoming more holy? Do you love more? And what about the “spiritual disiplines?” Are you praying, reading your Bible, serving in your local church, involved in some sort of ministry?
Not that these are bad questions. These are things that are good and helpful. But let’s be honest Any unregenerate person can do good works. Works do not save. And relying on works for our assurance can be deceiving. Yes they are important in the Christian life but if they are the standard by which we measure our salvation than they can be dangerous.
Jesus said in Matthew 7, “Many will say to Me on that Day, Lord didn’t we do mighty works in Your Name, like casting out demons and mighty miracles? These are impressive works for sure. But what does Jesus say? “Depart from Me you workers of iniquity.” Why? Because they were trusting in their works to save them.
“This is the work of God”
In John 6 the crowd that Jesus fed with the loaves and the fish went looking for Him. Not because they wanted salvation but because they wanted more food. They saw Jesus as someone that could deliver them from Roman tirany and provide for them their every need. As a matter of fact, at the begining of the chapter they were going to make Him king by force. During their conversation with Jesus they asked Him this question: “what must we do to be doing the works of God?” Here was His answer: “This is the work of God, that you believe on the One He has sent.
Our work-Look outside of ourselves
“Navel gazing” is the constant looking inward to see if we are truly saved. But looking inward will not bring us real assurance of salvation. It’s subjective rather than objective. We must look outside of ourselves to something objective in order to have the assurance we so long for. We must look at the objective work of Christ.
He did the work for us that God requires from us
God requires us to keep His Law perfectly. Those who fail to do so will be punished for eternity in hell. And yet all of us have broken God’s Law. So how can God be just, and still forgive sinners? By sending His Son to be our substitute. Jesus was the New Adam. The first Adam broke one command, “You shall not eat. For on the day that you eat of it, you will surely die. The New Adam (Jesus) kept the entire Law perfectly. He did this as our substitute. And then He went to the cross and was punished by God for every time we broke God’s Law.
No more navel gazing
True assurance of salvation comes not by constantly looking inward but by looking outside of us, to the work that Christ did on our behalf. There is a time for self examination for sure, but constant self examination will not bring lasting assurance. Only by looking at the finished work of Christ will we find true peace and the assurance we so long for. Remember the words of our Savior, “It is Finished.”