“I believe in a Day of Judgment. I want to pass whatever the “test” is and get into heaven. I’ve heard it said if I just turn away from my sins, believe that Jesus is the One and say a simple prayer about it and then try to be “good,” everything will turn out okay. But, sometimes I get worried about it and don’t know what to do. I usually just get busy with something and it passes over. Then, later, that worried feeling comes back.”
“Of course you’ll make it! We’ve been in church together for years. You have always worried too much! If you’re not going to pass the test, then no one else will either!! No one said you had to be perfect. We’re doing the best we can.”
A friend’s light response like this doesn’t help much; it really just makes us more hesitant to speak up about spiritual things next time. What would be a better way to respond?
Helping A Friend
“Wow, that can really be tough. I remember feeling like that myself. I just determined to try harder, to be such a good person I’d be sure of “getting in.” That didn’t last very long. I fell flat on my face!! It turned out that Romans 8 helped me a lot. I learned that this assurance thing is so very individual and personal. It really rests upon our having the Holy Spirit active in our life. That is what gives us hope that we will ‘make it’.”
“You mean like speaking in tongues or seeing into the future or something? Then I’m in big trouble!”
“Oh no. Let me jot down three biblical principles for you to think about as you read Romans 8. I think they will help you see how we can know we have the Holy Spirit.
1. God’s promises about Christ are made real and alive to me resulting in my believing and having faith that Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection has saved me from being condemned on Judgment Day.
2. I can see the effect of the Holy Spirit on my heart because I see myself as God’s child, knowing he loves me and watches over me.
3. I’m not what I used to be! My character and conduct is changing as I love God and others more. It’s the result of the Spirit on my spirit and showing itself in how I live and relate. Yet, I rely on Jesus’ life being perfect instead of mine.
Study Romans 8 and see if it doesn’t help you understand these principles. All three need to be true of you at least a little bit. You can’t just rely on #3 by itself without the other two. You’d become a legalist if you do that. If you can see just a little bit of each three in yourself, then you can have some hope. Call or email me if you have any questions.”
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word (2 Thessalonians 3:1).