ARE YOU REALLYSAVED?
of Poteau, Oklahoma
It is very likely that you have been asked, “Are you saved?” Most people who consider themselves Christians answer that question in the affirmative. We ought to ask that question of ourselves often. But we ought not to answer that question about ourselves thoughtlessly or in haste. Paul instructed Church members: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Let us, then, ask ourselves these questions: “Are you in the faith?” or stated another way, “Is Christ in you?” These are serious questions.
Most people think salvation only has to do with being saved from a place they call Hell. Obviously, nobody wants to be cast into the lake of fire for eternity! Everybody wants to be saved from that place of eternal punishment. And Christ does indeed save His people from that place. But, in God’s plan of salvation, first He saves us from the pleasure of sin. Have you been saved from the pleasure of sin?It is this salvation from the pleasure of sin that is often overlooked and even denied by most of our religious contemporaries. Today mostpreachersignore this aspect of salvation because they want to be popular. In fact, you may have attended religious meetings all your life and never heard that in God’s order of salvation He first saves lost people from the pleasure of sin. But it is most certainly a Scriptural concept. When God regenerates a person that individual is saved from the pleasure of sin. I do not mean that truly saved people do not sin nor that they do not battle with the old nature that yet resides within them. Alas! It is a part of the life of every true child of God to do battle daily with sin: to strive against it and seek to live above it.
But how does it come about that lost sinners come to hate sin? It is in this way. When the Holy Spirit regenerates a person He moves in, if I may say it that way. That new nature that is sovereignly implanted within at the instant of the new birth is nothing more or less than the work of the Holy Spirit who becomes resident within us. Paul makes this great truth clear in 1 Corinthians 6:19 where he writes: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”Lost people are not temples of the Holy Spirit! Saved people are! A Christian is not someone who has done something. A Christian is someone for whom and to whom God has done something. A Christian is someone in whom God dwells!Not only does the Holy Spirit dwell in truly saved people, but so also does the Father and the Son. This is the teaching of Christ on the matter for He said, “…If a man love mehe will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). God has nothing to do with sin and is “of purer eyes than to behold evil” (Habakkuk 1:13). It is impossible that one who is indwelt by the oly Holy One, the Holy God Himself, should take pleasure in sin.
I do not mean that a saved person does not sin. It is not the will of God to totally eradicate sin in His children who yet live upon the earth. Their lot is to be greatly exercised in striving against sin. But the attitude of one in whom Christ dwells is far different than that of lost persons. The natural man – another name for a lost person – is nothing more than a pleasure-seeking animal. Individuals may take pleasure in different things. One person may take pleasure in the sin of drunkenness. Another may take pleasure in illicit sex or drugs. But all children of the devil seek pleasure. Pleasure-seeking consumes them. This can be seen in how they spend their time and money. They ignore spiritual things for the sake of the pleasures of their choice. That their pleasure-seeking involves sins and causes them to walk contrary to the revealed will of God means little if anything to them. Their thinking is “I’m OK, you’re OK.”
But to the born again person things are different! God has, in salvation, saved him or her from the pleasure of sin. The Psalmist in Psalm 119 verse 104 says, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” and again in verse 128 he wrote: “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.”The saved individual is alive to the Word of God and coming to understand it more and more in his ongoing experience with the Lord. The Word of God causes each saved person to hate sin in general. He sees its evil consequences, true, but he also recognizes the great offence sin is to the holy God to whom he belongs and whom he loves.
But there is another hatred that exists in the true child of God. He hates both the sin nature and the acts of sins that he sees only too well in himself. Job 42:5, 6 says, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”It is one thing to learn of God in preaching or reading, but when God saves a person they are enlightened by Him. A saved person begins to look at things as God does. All truly saved people abhor themselves. Abhor means to hate or loathe. Paul wrote about this in another way. He wrote, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…” (Romans 7:18). He also wrote that one of the marks of truly saved people is that they “…have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).
While the lost man may wish to escape the consequences of his sins, he lacks the ability to abhor himself. He has all kinds of excuses for himself. He sees himself as the product of his environment, his genetic makeup, his poverty, society around him, his own inherent weakness, etc., etc., but he compares himself with others and does not see himself correctly. But the one born of the Spirit has been saved from the pleasure of sin. He hates sin in general when he sees it in society around him. That is true. But more than that, he abhors himself and that awful thing called sin that plagues him, causing him at times to fall into evil thoughts and actions.
What a great difference there is between the child of God and the lost person! And so it is we come back to our original question: Are you saved? Is Christ in you? Do you hate every false way? Do you abhor yourself? Do you agree with the apostle that there is nothing good in you? “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Has God made Himself known to you so that you “see” Him and therefore you say with Job, “…I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes?” If this is not true in your life, you are yet in your sins. Cast yourself upon the Lord Jesus Christ and cease from trusting in yourself, your prayer, your faith, your decision, your goodness and anything else. Jesus said, “…Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). That is the only remedy for your need!