“Renounce your faith now or I will kill you!”
With each person’s faithful “Jesus is still my Lord and my Saviour”, the gun roars.
5th person, 4th, 3rd and 2nd … The gun roars as it travels from one victim to another. Finally it rests on me.
What would my answer be?
I used to be so afraid whenever I thought of the End Times, where there would be a great persecution in the last days (Revelation 7). I used to imagine a gun being pointed to my head and a scary voice asking me to renounce Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.
It shook me to think: Would I be able to stand firm on the “strong faith” that I’ve built from diligently going to church, serving God’s people, reading the Bible and praying?
I couldn’t be sure, and that made me real sad. If doing these things couldn’t even make me proclaim a resounding YES to the above question, I am hopeless indeed. What else can I base my confidence on?
But as I studied the Gospel of John, my anguished heart found the assurance I was so desperately searching for in my prayers – the person of Jesus Christ.
The assurance of my salvation can never lie in how disciplined I am in reading the Bible, praying to or serving Him.
When Jesus says, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37), I know that nothing will stop me from going to Him for I will go to Him by His grace.
When He says, “I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:39), I stand confident in His power to preserve my faith till my death and to the point where I will be raised in glory with Christ.
When He says, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name. The sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:5), I know that these fears are unfounded for He who saved me has made it such that my ears are inclined to His voice.
And when He says, “I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15), I believe His death was not in vain and I will indeed know Jesus – even to the point of death.
I can trust all of it. If Jesus has the power and authority to lay down His own life and take it up again (John 10:18), He has the power to keep and preserve my faith.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep. The assurance of my salvation can never lie in how disciplined I am in reading the Bible, praying to or serving Him. It has always been all about Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection that now lives inside of me.
What He says, I can trust. The security I find is no longer based on the strength of my own faith or by the wisdom of my choices. Instead, I rest firmly in the hands of the eternal Son of God.
Therefore, my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure; For He will not abandon my soul to Sheol, nor let His Holy One see corruption. (Psalm 16:9-10)
This article was first published at Peiyi’s blog and was republished with permission.