Three Words of Assurance

If you died today, would you go to heaven?  Most people respond to this question, saying, "I hope so."  Very few answer, "Yes, I will go to heaven."  How would you reply?

An elderly preacher had been in and out of prison many times.  His scarred back was testimony to the horrific suffering that he encountered.  Now he was in a Roman prison, about to be executed for his faith in Jesus Christ.  His name was Paul.

He wrote 13 letters in the New Testament.  His last letter, 2 Timothy, was written to a young man, who had served as a missionary evangelist and pastor.  No one was closer to Paul and more loved than Timothy, his son in the faith.  Knowing that his death was near, the apostle Paul expressed his assurance of eternal salvation in the following verse.

"For this reason I also suffer these things;
nevertheless I am not ashamed,
for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able
to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day."
2 Timothy 1:12.

Do you share the same assurance?  Let's look at three words of assurance in this wonderful verse.


The First Word: BELIEVE

Paul not only knew what he believed, but also whom he believed.  His faith was in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He had come to a personal knowledge of the Savior.

We cannot believe what we do not know.  In Paul's letter to the church at Rome he wrote, "And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard."  Romans 10:14.

Where can we acquire this knowledge of the Lord?  The answer is quite simple.  He has revealed the good news of Himself to us in the Bible.  The gospel of John was written that we might believe in Jesus, and have eternal life.  Consider the following promises spoken by the Son of God.

"For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life." 
John 3:16.

"Most assuredly, I say to you,
he who believes in me has everlasting life."
John 6:47.

The holy Scriptures lead us to faith in the Savior.  Through God's promise we come to know the salvation provided by the One who loved us and died on the cross for our sins.

Unfortunately, most people do not have an assurance of salvation, because they believe that salvation depends upon their good works.  But no one is good enough.  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  Romans 3:23.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 6:23.  Eternal life is a gift found in a person...Jesus Christ.  When we receive Him, we receive God's gift of eternal life.  "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."  1 John 5:12.

How do we receive Him?  "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name."  John 1:12.  He is received by faith.

When Paul was a prisoner at Philippi, the Lord caused an earthquake and the cell doors sprung open and the prisoners' chains were loosed.  A trembling jailer asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"  Paul answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."  Acts 16:31.

Our faith is in the Lord Jesus, and His promise of eternal life to all who believe in Him.  Paul said, "I know whom I have believed."  Is this your testimony?  Do you believe on the name of the Son of God?


The Second Word: COMMIT

Faith is more than an intellectual assent, a nod of the head to truth.  It involves the will, a commitment.  In Paul's letter to Timothy, you'll remember that he mentioned "what I have committed to Him until that Day."

Paul believed in a person.  Jesus Christ was the One in whom he believed.  Here he makes reference to what he had committed to the Lord.  He had committed his life to Christ.

The Greek word translated believe is pisteuo.  That word is used extensively throughout the gospel of John.  On one occasion it is translated commit.  "But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men."  John 2:24.

Belief in Christ involves commitment, a surrender of the will to Him.  It is more than turning over a new leaf, giving up this or that.  It is turning your life over to Him.

"And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again."  2 Corinthians 5:15.

Have you committed your life to the Lord?  Commitment begins with an admission of your need of Him, and is concluded with your willing submission to Him.  If you will place your life in the hands of Jesus, He will keep it safe until that Day when you see Him face to face.  Apart from commitment to Him there can be no assurance of eternal salvation.

Jesus is the good hands person.  When we commit our lives to the Lord, we place them in good hands.  He promised, "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand."  John 10:28.

The Third Word: PERSUADE

Paul was persuaded that the Lord was able to keep his life safe and secure even though he faced execution.  He was sure that he was bound for heaven.

The Greek word for persuade is peitho.  Bible translators have struggled with the meaning of the word.  Depending upon the version of the Bible it has been erroneously translated negatively as do not believe, do not obey, and reject.  Context determines its usage.  In the King James Version of the Bible it has been translated persuade 10 times, trust 8 times, and confidence 6 times.

The apostle Paul expressed his confidence in the Lord's ability to keep what he had committed to Him for time and eternity.  He was persuaded that God would not let him down, that when he died he would go to heaven.

Paul not only believed.  He was also persuaded.  "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded...."  To be persuaded is to have assurance.  Are you of this persuasion?

In Acts 26 Paul was on trial before King Agrippa.  After testifying of his conversion he addressed the king, saying, "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets?  I know that you do believe."  The king responded, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian."  Paul answered, "I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains."  Almost persuaded isn't good enough.  It's altogether persuaded or not at all.

In conclusion, please consider one more verse, which is related to 2 Timothy 1:12.  It is John 3:36, where we find both Greek words for believe and persuade.  "He who believes (pisteuo) in the Son has everlasting life; and he who do not believe (Greek, apeitho, is not persuaded about) the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

Do you believe in the Son of God?  Have you committed your life to Him?  Are you persuaded that if you die today you will go to heaven?  If you lack this assurance, why not trust Him and turn your life over to Him today?


All About God

Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
Copyright ©
1979, 1980, 1982
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by Permission.
All rights reserved.

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