Yesterday we were talking about the trials of life never causing you to doubt God's salvation, God's love, or God's grace in Christ toward the believer. Our trials are given to us as tests to prove His love, to prove His power on our behalf. God brings us trials and sufferings to show us that we are Christians! In times of trial and suffering He is maturing our faith. And since it is God who is allowing our trials and difficulties, we are to be diligent. We are to endure. We are to be patient for the result is the full assurance of hope.
Hebrews 6:10 says, "For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name and having ministered and still ministering to the saints, and we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end that you may not be sluggish but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
Can you see that trials are the very crucible in which assurance is formed?
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
“…we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…”
And in Romans 8:38 Paul says. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
God allowed Paul to be afflicted, perplexed, and persecuted and Paul says I'm convinced; I am absolutely convinced that none of these things can separate us from God! Going back to verse 35 he says,
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, For your sake we are being put to death all day long, we were considered as sheep to the slaughter, but in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us, I am convinced."
God allows awful things to come into your life, but He will not allow you to be overcome by them. There is no trial, or suffering that can take away a believer’s salvation. This is the idea of being overcome, worn down to the point where you chuck the whole Christianity thing. A true believer is eternally secure and God won’t allow that to happen. He keeps you.
This about this: what convinced Paul of the security of his salvation? What convinced him and gave him assurance? What did that? He just told you. Do you realize that he had experienced every negative thing he just mentioned? Did you note that? I would encourage you to do so!
It was Paul’s own experience of tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, death, life, angels, principalities, things present, things to come, powers, height, depth, created things, he went through it all, none of it removed the assurance of his salvation. None of it stole his assurance.
Paul says I've been through it all and I'm convinced. What convinced you? It isn't just the fact that it's written in the Word, it has been tested.
The Psalmist makes note of God’s faithfulness and our assurance of secure salvation in the midst of adversity.
Psalm 40:11 - You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.
Psalm 18:35-36 - You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped.
Psalm 54:4 - Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.
Isaiah 41:10 - ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Psalm 119:116-117 - Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Uphold me that I may be safe, That I may have regard for Your statutes continually.
You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.
Paul and Jude also remind us that God will hold us fast, even during our times of trial and adversity and suffering
2 Thessalonians 3:3 -
But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy