Romans 8:1

 

Have I showed you a picture of my granddaughter Adriana?

 

Are you excited that a new year has begun – we love new beginnings, second chances.

Today you have chosen to make Jesus a priority in 2017. Excellent!

You have made the best choice you could have made.

 

What will make 2017 better than 2016?

In my opinion it is not going to be any different – you and I will have different highs and lows but the only things that matters is trusting in Jesus.

 

Some of you are going to have new struggles this year, some of you will have exciting joys this year.

We don’t know what the year holds but we know who holds the future.

Jesus is holding your life in His hands. He Loves you.

 

On Christian radio I heard a guy call in who had a rough 2016 and the three songs that just played had really encouraged him; the announcer said well 2017 is going to be great. I cringed – you don’t know that.  2017 may  be harder than 2016 for that guy.

 

We always hope that the next year will be the same or better – but what is your definition of better?

 

One of us may have the greatest year possible – we will get to die and go to Heaven.

(That’s not normally how we think.)

Maybe all of us will have the greatest year because Jesus will return.

 

I don’t know what highs and lows will come in 2017, but I know it will be good no matter the circumstances. Why? Jesus is walking with me, He loves me and I have the promise of Eternal Life.  I am just going to keep seek His kingdom and His righteousness and He will take care of everything else (Matthew 6:33).

 

As we walk into the new year I want us to walk in with confidence. Confidence in our standing before God.  Confident that we are right with God; confident that if we died right now we would be in the presence of Jesus.

 

Paul had that kind of confidence.

Philippians 1:21  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;

 

Do you desire to depart and be with Jesus?

You want to go to heaven whenever you die but you want to wait a little while longer.

Maybe you are scared to die because you are not confident you will go to Heaven.

You’re not sure if you are a good enough Christian to make it.

 

That is why I want us to talk about the Key to Assurance this morning.

 

The question is not if you are good enough the question is: Is Jesus good enough?

We don’t have assurance because we have been asking the wrong question.

 

1 Peter 1:18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19  but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

It is all about Jesus, His power, His perfection, His sacrifice.

Salvation has nothing to do with you – all you have to do is accept Him by faith and continue to walk in faith.

 

What does that look like – trusting in Him to save you just like the day you were immersed into Him. It is not about you doing, it is about you trusting in Him, in His grace, in His love, in His forgiveness, in His power every day.

 

You and I will never be good enough – that is why we need the grace of Jesus.

We are counted as good enough, we are seen as righteous. Jesus presents us without fault we don’t present ourselves.

 

Jude 1:24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy– 25  to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

 

If you are a Christian, you can have confidence that you are going to Heaven when you die.

 

Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

 

Let me quote from a commentary what that means.

“The point of the verse is this: even though sin still lives in our bodies, causing us at times to do sinful things that we hate, we can be assured that these sins will not condemn us because Christ has already died for them and we belong to Christ. Though we may still sin, we are “justified by his blood” (5:9); there is “no penalty” for us, none of any kind.”

 

When we were baptized our sins were forgiven, past, present and future. We live in a forgiven state, not guilty of any sins, we have been found innocent because of the grace of Jesus.

 

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

 

Justifying faith includes two elements.

  1. Assent, we “believe THAT” certain things are true.
  2. Trust, we “believe IN” Jesus. We trust our eternal existence into Jesus’ hands.

 

To be justified by faith means that we have faith in the saving work of Jesus and not our own good deeds.

We are justified by faith at baptism.

We stay justified by faith by constantly trusting in the sin-covering blood of Jesus.

 

The Key to our Assurance of salvation has everything to do with Jesus and nothing to do with us.

We believed in Jesus, we repented of our sins, we were baptized for the forgiveness of our sins. We were sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).

Past, present, and future sins were forgiven as we obeyed the teaching of Scripture.

 

If our future sin is already forgiven then we may as well keep on sinning.

 

The Apostle Paul dealt with that attitude with the Roman Christians. We should not want to sin, we died to sin; we want to live for righteousness, we are a new in Jesus.

 

Romans 6:1  What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2  By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– 7  because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

 

Romans 6:11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13  Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14  For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

 

What helps us maintain the right attitude about grace is our continual confessing. We are forgiven but we still must confess, we must agree with God that we have sinned.

 

Many people misunderstand 1 John 1:9 and it causes confusion to the fact that our past, present, and future sins were forgiven at baptism. That makes us question our day to day salvation.

We often think that if I die while I am sinning I will go to Hell. That is not true, you are saved, you are not condemned, your sins, all your sins have already been forgiven.  You don’t fall from grace and lose your salvation every time you sin.

 

We are not trapped in a revolving door –

an endless cycle of saved /sin /lost /confession /saved /sin / lost /confession.

No wonder a person would be scared to die – what if I forgot to ask for forgiveness about a sin or two.

We are not saved by works – we are not saved by not sinning.

We are saved by trusting in the grace of Jesus.

 

Well what does 1 John 1:9 teach?

1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

 

Verse 9 does not say ask for forgiveness, it says confess our sins. We must acknowledge that we are sinners in need of Jesus grace.  Live by faith, daily trusting in the saving power of Jesus.

Don’t become like the Pharisee, who didn’t think he was a sinner (Luke 18:9-14). Jesus said that the tax collector went home justified.  Why? The tax collector simply acknowledged that he was a sinner in need of God’s mercy.  Live everyday confessing your need for a Savior, then you will remember that you are in good standing with God.

We can live in confidence, we can be assured of our salvation because of Jesus’ grace.

 

When we confess our sins, God forgives us and purifies us.

What does that mean if we are already forgiven of future sins when we were baptized?

 

Romans 8:1 taught us that we are not condemned because we are in Jesus – we are “positionally” forgiven; we are a child of God, forgiven and holy.

 

Ephesians 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14  who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.

We are guaranteed heaven because we have faith. We don’t need “positional” forgiveness we need “relational” forgiveness.

 

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

 

When we sin we are offending God and hurting our relationship as His child.

When your child disobeys, do kick them out of the family?  NO

You forgive them – there is nothing they could do to make you stop loving them.

But the rebellion hinders your relationship. The child needs to confess his sin – you have already forgiven him.

Your child could refuse to be known as your child but that would not make you stop loving him.

 

We confess our sins to remain in a good relationship with our Heavenly Father not to become His child again.

 

In 2017 remember, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

 

As a child of God walk in confidence, assured you are on your way to heaven.

If you have doubts let’s get together and talk.

 

If you want to be assured you will go to Heaven when you die then accept Jesus’ forgiveness today.

Do you believe that Jesus died for you on the cross?

Do you know you are a sinner? Will you repent of your sins?

Will you come and be baptized?

When you do these steps you will be forgiven and you will receive the indwelling gift of God the Holy Spirit.

 

Will you come today so you can have blessed assurance