In the 4,300 emails you have sent us, one of the most common questions we have received for the Ask Pastor John podcast is about assurance: How can I know I'm saved?
On Monday we released Pastor John’s response (episode 139). In part, he says,
The unmistakable message all through the New Testament is this: we are saved by believing on Jesus. So rivet your attention on Christ in the gospels — John, Matthew, Mark, Luke — and the whole Bible. Rivet your attention on Christ and say what you see. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9). And say what you feel about this: “I receive him. I love him. He is my God. He is my Lord. He is my treasure.” Confess that. Let yourself hear yourself saying that. Say it to others. Say it to your wife. Say it to your kids. Say it to your friends. “Jesus is my Lord.” The Bible says no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). So if you say it and mean it, God is at work in your life, you have the Holy Spirit.
What follows are brief excerpts from each of the other episodes released in the last two weeks (click on hyperlinked titles to listen).
Sleep eight hours a night. Nothing brought me closer to quitting than sleeplessness. Hope and rest rise together. So don’t be overly spiritual and say you can get five hours of sleep and the fruit of the Holy Spirit will carry you. I think the fruit of the Holy Spirit works often by the Holy Spirit telling you, “Hey, you are not God, go to bed!” That is the Holy Spirit talking. And what you get from your restedness you got from the Holy Spirit, giving you the humility to stop playing God.
I am going to fasten on your statement that you lie mostly to gain attention. Now there are a lot of reasons why people lie. You have pointed out one, but I think that is a huge reason why we exaggerate, which are untruths, and why we just flat out affirm things that aren’t so, because if we deny them, then we look bad in other people’s eyes. So you put your finger on a deep cause of untruth and lying in people’s lives. Why do you want, need, crave the attention, the approval, the admiration of other people so much? I think that is the question you should ask, and you should dig down to the root of that and expose that. Let me help . . .
Here is why this matters. If we don’t understand that God finds us hateful and loathsome in our ugly sin, we won’t be as stunned by his love for us. God saves millions of people who in and of themselves are loathsome to him until he saves them and makes them the apple of his eye, which makes salvation stunningly more, if you get that. God comes to us, not in our attractiveness like, “Oh, I really love this person and just hate their sin.” No, he finds me reprehensible because of my rebellion, just like we find certain wicked people reprehensible because of their sin. And he is coming to us and he is dying for us in order that he might make us into the apple of his eye.
I hope the flaws of my greatest teachers — and Jonathan Edwards is about the greatest — will do me good in the end. We don’t have to hide them in order to realize they can serve us.
When discouragement stamps our lives so that we are not outgoing and loving toward people anymore, we are moping, feeling sorry for ourselves, and we are so preoccupied with our own discouragements we can’t love people anymore, we know our discouragement has become sin.
If God made me and myself the end of my goal, my quest, he wouldn’t love me so much as if he made himself the end of my goal and my quest. Self, no matter how glorified, no matter how much-made-much-of, will never satisfy my heart. I must look away from my made-much-of-self in order to see God truly, and to love him as my final treasure. Therefore, I think God makes much of us precisely so that we will have the greater capacity to enjoy him.
The reason God gave us brains — mature, adult, sophisticated, hard thinking, brains — is to understand the Bible and the work of God well enough to have faith like a child.
Ask Pastor John is a daily podcast series of 3–8 minute conversations released each weekday at 10:30am (EST) through the DG Facebook and Twitter feeds. You can tune in to the new episodes through the free Ask Pastor John mobile app for iPhone and Android. We’re currently hosting all the recordings on SoundCloud, a website making it easy to listen to several of the podcasts in one sitting. They’re also archived on the DG website and syndicated in iTunes.
We want to hear from you. To submit a question to Pastor John please include your first name, hometown, and question in an email to AskPastorJohn AT desiringGod DOT org.
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